Tag Archives: Humor

Cliché

I hate being a cliché.

It wasn’t that long ago that I would have started with the PMS stereotype, in which along with the flood of rage and raw emotion I also felt like cringing for being so predictable, but now that I am kind of cranky, bitchy and a little paranoid all the time, this stereotype is less relevant. As I tell my husband, I am now empowered to tell it like it is more than three days a month. How is that not a good thing?

A few years back, when I was trying to be a good pet owner and help my cat get some exercise, I took him out on a leash regularly. I found the experience boring. To entertain myself during the long stretches of time Cat-tabulous wanted to sniff a twig or watch a dog sleeping in a yard a block away, I brought along my crocheting. To protect my face from the sun, I wore a floppy hat. I was one ugly cat sweatshirt (okay, and maybe five cats) away from being a crazy cat lady.

Crazy Cat Lady School

Oh, I still take the cat out (#catonaleash) but now I look MUCH less crazy, scrolling along on my smartphone in a baseball cap. Yes, that IS TOO much less crazy.

In the past year I have found that I fit two new-to-me dreaded stereotypes, the 1.) out-of-touch older parent type who tries to have culturally relevant conversations with the younger generation and FAILS painfully (I managed to get Seth MacFarlane mixed up with both Seth Rogen and Seth Meyers in the SAME conversation,) and the 2.) horrifying older person who pulls out a photo of herself with a celebrity and shows it around at a family gathering, and then forgets and does it AGAIN WITH THE SAME PEOPLE AT THE NEXT GATHERING.

This is a blurry picture of Bill Nye the Science Guy and me.  Yeah, we were hanging out at the Minnesota Science Museum last November. We do that.

This is a blurry picture of Bill Nye the Science Guy and me hanging out at the Minnesota Science Museum last November. We do that.

(Note to Reader: Now that I have officially shown off to the world, I have retired that photo from my phone. You will have to return to this post to relive my brush with stardom, because I won’t be able to show it to you when I see you at the grocery store, Thanksgiving Dinner, or the cat supply warehouse.)

How many steps is it from where I am now to becoming a doddering fool? I am looking forward to the phase where I no longer care, because the sooner I start enjoying the slide, the happier my declining years will be. I picture me cackling, with many, many cats.

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My Naughty New Tweeps

One of my new things in 2011, that didn’t quite make my list of Best New Things, was Twitter. I know I’ve said this on more than one occasion, but I am not a dunce when it comes to technology; I do the facebook thing, and text, obviously I blog and am all over my smartphone. I can figure out how to get most things done on my laptop and the computer at BRX and even on my mom’s computer which I can’t even see. So even though you still seem to be skeptical, let me assure you, I can function with the technology. I was slow in finding my way to Twitter, though. First, I couldn’t think of anything I wanted say that was worthwhile and could be expressed in 140 characters. Loquacious me. Then, I was intimidated by all the @ and # going on. It seemed important though, so I begged Kelly to help me out and she took my by the metaphorical/virtual hand and led me through the setup. Then I ignored it for a few months, because I was still intimidated. One more tutorial with Kelly and I was hooked. I was tweeting like a little bird hopped up on espresso. But no one was listening. Because it takes time (unless you are famous or super popular, alas, not me) to build a following. So following me I had only Kelly, and some people I knew through freelancing, a couple of friends and my cousin (YAY!) I was following all of them plus some famous and/or super popular people who don’t know or care who I am, but they say entertaining/interesting things once in awhile and make my world seem bigger.

I tweeted out into twitterspace, and tweeted @ people, and used the #, mostly for laughs, and to my surprise and pleasure, people started following me! It was so nice! Obviously my wit and brevity were appreciated and I was aglow. And then I started checking up on my new “tweeps.” And, ummm, most of them seem to be adult internet porn folk? Nearly ALL of them?! Their names look normal, but their websites, my WORD! Not that I went there–as I said I am not a dunce, but when a person’s website is named…let me find one that I can use without going to hell…topwhores, you can kind of infer the content. And these people don’t tweet, except for one who actually had me thinking she was for real. This particular girl/woman/businessperson had five tweets; four inspirational quotes and one funny one. Clever, clever, I expect she will get LOTS more hits on her oral sex pictorial website than the others who just randomly follow naive mom bloggers but don’t actually have any words on their twitterfeeds. So, I have had to come to the conclusion that these people do NOT think I am interesting, or want to be my friend, but are only hoping that somehow I will be persuaded to buy access to naughty pictures of them. What floors me is that this must work to some extent, or why would they bother? Not that this has been a total waste of my time. Once my delicate sensibilities shattered around me, some of the website names were kind of amusing. Still gross, but sometimes you just have to laugh.

I am not thrilled that my first post of the year is about twitterporn, but I haven’t been able to get past this topic as I sit here at the computer. And it’s been a GREAT day! Church and big dinner, and photo organizing and I am reading a new book…and this is what I bring here to share with you. I think we are both disappointed in me, and yet, in order to move on, I needed to work through this. In apology, at least let me offer you the first thing I did today; a picture I took of the first sunrise of the new year. Older, wiser, and more ready to handle the strange new world we live in, I wish you the best in the remaining days of 2012.

CHECK THE CRAWL SPACE

Tap, tap, tap, tap. Tap-tap, pause, shuffle, tap, tap. What the hell was making that sound above the bathroom ceiling? Way bigger than a mouse. Mutant raccoon? How would something that sounded that big get UP there? I stared at the ceiling, as though I would suddenly develop x-ray vision. Why would a varmint be tapping? What if it wasn’t a varmint? What if it was Tooms, from the X-files? That episode, while not the first one I saw, was definitely the one that sold me on the series. And now, thanks to my stupid vivid memory and imagination, I was afraid I was going to be his next victim. Except I wasn’t–of course not, FICTION, woman, you know the difference. Ha-ha. Right. Well, I couldn’t drive to St. Paul in my bathrobe. I was going to have to get dressed and ready for the day. Which was difficult while keeping my eyes glued to the ceiling exhaust fan. If I had seen a pair of eyes peek out at me, or a mutant paw reach through the grate, whatever it was wasn’t going to get a chance to kill me. I’d drop dead from terror first.

This wasn’t the first time fear has kicked me across the “over-reacting” threshold. The first time, decades ago, I was standing by the door in a preschool room I was working in and a little vole scampered across the floor by my feet, looking for a way out. The next thing we all knew, I was across the room, standing on a Little Tykes slide. None of us, the other teachers, the kids, even I, knew how I’d gotten there so fast. Either I was a blur, or I somehow opened a little wormhole in time/space. Neat trick, if I could figure out how to do it on purpose, but I was a little surprised that I had had such an extreme reaction. I used to work with mice and rats in a laboratory, and they weren’t my faves but I hadn’t been frightened of them. Of course, they hadn’t been zipping around by the cuff of my pant leg, either. The next episode from my diary of terror, I was in the basement and I heard very clearly the floor above me creak from the weight of footsteps. I froze, and the footsteps stopped. Husband and kids being at work and school, I had been alone in the house, I’d thought. After holding my breath and listening for a few minutes, hearing nothing more, I couldn’t bring myself to go up the steps. I dashed out the back and went to my friend’s house down the street. She was sitting with two of our neighbors and another woman I knew a little. After I tried to laugh off my situation, they all insisted on coming and searching my house to make sure no one was there. At that point I remembered the state of my house, and tried to stop them, figuring death by stranger would be preferable to them seeing the shocking mess in every dang room, but they would have none of it. Mortifying. I can’t even put words to it.  The most recent episode before today was another wormhole incident, when Mr. W and I were having a conversation in his workshop. The walls down there were unfinished, just plastic sheeting stretched over fiberglass insulation and studs. To my horror, I saw the plastic over the patio door BULGE out as a fist-sized black something scurried along the top of the door. Mr. W was all, “Hey, look at tha…” but I was twenty feet away, covering my mouth so the scream couldn’t get out of it and jumping up and down.

I don’t know when I got all squirrelly, but it is undeniable. I am a lunatic. But I had things to do. I couldn’t just sit around and wait for whatever was living in the crawl space to finish me off, so I rapped on the ceiling with one of the kid’s broken air soft rifles and the tapping subsided with only the hint of a shuffle. Then I rinsed the bedhead out of my hair as fast as I could, dressed and got the hell out of there. I notified my tweeps, and am telling you now, that if our bodies are found with our livers removed or with oddly large rodent toothmarks on our tibias, CHECK THE CRAWL SPACE. Well, not you personally, I love you and wouldn’t want anything to gnaw your head off, but get a professional. I wonder if Mulder and Scully still make house calls?

Unmentionables, Pt. 2: Marilyn’s Secret

When a very good friend of mine turned thirty years old, I sent her a gift. It was a pair of panties that I promised her would be the most comfortable and least “creepy” (in the sense that underwear creeps) that she had ever worn. At the time, I was in my early thirties and had done the full round. The cotton bikinis which snugged up and left unsightly butt bulges were first, then the thongs which were pretty invisible (because this was back in the day when the waistband of women’s pants were ridiculously high–around the waist, in fact) but which were soon discarded because they made me walk funny due the wad of fabric wedged into my backside. The G-string followed that, and worked better because if a person is going to walk around with fabric wedged into their butt, then less is more. But I wanted more. More comfort, more fit and that meant…more fabric. Wandering through Target, I found them. Bloomers, Grandma pants, whatever you want to call them, they were voluminous white nylon garments trimmed with a wide band of stretchy lace. They completely conflicted with my sartorial self-image, but they also had a retro, Marilyn Monroe-esque appeal. I bought them and I loved how comfortable and content to stay in one place they were, although the waistband was high enough to peek over the top of my pants. I sent a pair to my friend who tried them on and loved them too, but when her husband saw them on her he told her something to the effect of, “If you ever want to have sex again, you need to get rid of those.” Empty threat, I told her. Wear what you want. Sporty boyshorts came out some time later, and I converted to those, but the best pair I ever owned was the first ones I bought. The boyshort’s rise got lower and lower, trying to hide under the descending waistbands which ultimately brought on the whole muffin top unsightliness, while the leg bands got higher and tighter (trying to be cuter?) but renewing the butt bulge dilemma. Suddenly boyshorts were the worst of both worlds.

I think that between the changes in the fashions and the maturation of my derriere, the search for the best undergarment will be a lifelong one.  In the meantime, I keep a little of everything in my underwear drawer, including the Marilyns.

I Bet I Can

I peeled my dining room ceiling like a carrot today. The popcorn finish has been bugging me forever in that room, which has a weird octagonal inset in the middle of the otherwise dropped ceiling. I believe the dropped ceiling is to accommodate the plumbing for the whirlpool tub in the master bath which is directly above. We never use the whirlpool jets because the last time I did, there was a leak in the pump and it rained in the dining room from at least ten places. This interior downpour was very exciting and messy, leaving brownish stains and bubbled paint on the ceiling and giving me cause to use every profane word I know as I tried to save the wooden table, the wooden floor, the computer, the business documents and everything else left laying around. I turned off the whirlpool jets almost immediately, but it took thirty minutes for the storm to diminish to a sprinkle. It took twenty-four more hours to get rid of the nervous tic beneath my right eye.

That was at least six weeks ago, and as I said, the popcorn had been bugging me for much longer than that, but I didn’t do anything about it. Why? I wasn’t sure I could. I thought maybe there was a right way to do it, that I needed a professional with knowledge and skill and maybe some useful products. I didn’t know any professional popcorn removers, so I hesitated and tried not to look at the brown circles and stripes on the gross bumpy ceiling, imagining instead a clean painted surface with maybe some white crown molding. Fancy. Then, today, a thunderstorm derailed our plans to work on our deck and so Mr. Wordtabulous and I started watching Yard Crashers and House Crashers on HGTV. We are highly susceptible to the DIY influence in our home and soon my husband was up and installing the new light fixtures I’d recently purchased in our upstairs bedrooms. (The old ones were deteriorating in a scary and oddly smelly way–I never knew corroded wire covering could smell like decaying mouse, but it does.) And I thought, I bet I could just scrape that popcorn ceiling off by myself. And I did.  I wore a filtered mask and goggles. I spritzed water on the popcorn then scraped it off with a ten inch taping knife (think wide spatula.) The first two-thirds was easy, the last third was a chore, but I did it. I made a huge mess, which was contained to the dining room because I had put plastic drop cloths over the doorways into the kitchen and living room. I was pretty impressed with myself until my husband looked in and all he said was, “You didn’t put down a drop cloth?” Men. That wasn’t even a question. Obviously I had not put down a drop cloth. Which was fine, because dragging a drop cloth loaded with four pounds of ceiling popcorn and dust through the rest of the house wasn’t going to work better than just cleaning up the mess where it was. I then cleaned up, and with a few touch-ups I think we are looking good. I’ve got a nice rustic look with some texture and some flat spots. Now it is time to start thinking about paint colors for the ceiling and the walls.

The point is that I’m moving forward on something I thought I needed help with and was a little afraid of. Self-doubt is a drain on energy, opportunity, fun and momentum. My mom says that when people used to say to my grandma that they didn’t think she could do something, she’d give them a bright and challenging look and say, “I bet I can.” I get messages from the world and my own brain all the time that say, “You can’t.” I have considered this carefully and I am positive that listening to this message has hurt me by limiting possibilities  many, many more times than it has helped me avoid stupid endeavors. It is (way past) time to stop always being a good little girl and to look fate, the odds, my own warped fears or whoever is standing in my way straight in the eye and say, “I bet I can.”

Insomnia Nibbles

Insomnia nibbles away the minutes of what should be my good night’s sleep. My head crowds with unwritten words, snatches of song, to-do lists and the recurrent montage of embarrassing moments past. Ghostly tickles play across my ribcage, my ankle, my neck. There is nothing there when I brush my hand against my skin. The tickle fades whether I scratch at it or not, but I can’t help myself—what if it is a bug? It isn’t a bug. Lying on my right side, my underwear bunches uncomfortably. Lying on my left gives rise to a breathless panicky feeling, what is that about? Lying on my back feels pointless. My husband is restless in the same bed but in a different universe. His sleeplessness is a dual problem: he needs to rest both in order to function and to be fit to live with. I get up so I don’t contribute to his issue. Minnesota’s fever has broken and the temp outside has dropped to 71 degrees. The moonlight makes the world bright but a little blurry; the houses are softened in a way I remember from the pre-Lasik days. I turn on my computer and am blinded by the screen. Maybe if I write my lists down I can turn off my brain for awhile: write a blog post, contact sources for next month’s article, respond to messages from the last blog post, check younger son’s summer reading, edit some short stories, look for a market for short stories, what is good enough to go out? Write something new, plan menus for the rest of the week, work out to counter all the recent indulgences, book a flight to visit mom, force the kids to clean the xbox room.

This isn’t helping. I hear the creak of the bed upstairs as my husband struggles to find repose. When he rolls over in bed, it shifts violently, like a raft riding waves in a storm.

I am grateful this doesn’t happen more often. For me it is a rare lingering visit to the surreal grey zone between daytime normal and nighttime unconscious. For my friend Kelly, this would be a normal night. She would scoff at my wimpy loss of a few hours. Call me some night when you’ve had a solid week like that, she might say. Seriously, call me, I’ll be up. I won’t call her tonight, though. That would be rude, and I’d have to get up and find my phone. I’m just sleepless, not energetic.

The sky brightens to the east. When I think of the long dark winter nights, an edging toward dawn at 4:30 a.m. seems a profligate use of daylight. That’s nature for you. All bounteous overflowing abundance, then the backhand smack of privation and/or disaster. That sounds like a blog for another day. Which could be today, now that day is arriving…

Yep. I am going down the rabbit hole all right. It is time to let my laptop get some sleep at least. Thanks for keeping me company.