This girl is funny...not skinny.

This girl is funny...not skinny.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wait! I need to get my dressy shoes back from Goodwill!

Good afternoon!

I love shoes.

Let me say that again. 

I love shoes. 

I love shopping for them, I love trying them on, I love buying them, and I love wearing them, and matching them with different outfits.  Shoes, unlike any other piece of clothing, do not judge.  You may have big feet, but there's no such thing as a "plus size" department for shoes where they make really ugly, tent like shoes that are not flattering.  You may get bigger or smaller in your life, but your shoe size, typically, will stay the same.  After the birth of my kids, my shoes size went up a half a size.  My dress size, on the other hand....


I have owned, at any one time, no less than six pairs of black dress shoes. And I'm not even a person who buys a lot of shoes. You have to have no fewer than four pairs of black dress shoes, because you simply never know what is going to work best with the outfit you pick. The right shoe can make all the difference when an outfit is perhaps a bit lack luster.  So I was ready for anything, with my six.  I had a two pairs of black pumps, one patent leather (I love that shine) and one not.  Then you've got to have the flats.  I don't like flats, they make my legs look thicker than they already are, but you have to have a pair of dressy flats.  And of course, there's the bulkier shoe you have to have when you wear slacks in the winter.  Maybe a bit chunky, but solid and warmer and every bit as nice as any of the others.  Then I had two pairs of boots, one a cute slouchy pair and one, my favorite shoe, a backless pair of boots.  You read that right.  Backless boots.  I get a lot of looks in this, especially when I wear them to church.  Nothing so titillating as an ankle up there at the Communion rail.

Six pairs of shoes...all black.  And then, in a shoe conquest I'll never forget, I got a 7th.  A shiny, sparkly pair of shoes with a 5 inch stiletto heel and rhinestones from stem to stern.  Spaghetti thin straps I  barely knew I had shoes on.  (Well, except for the searing pain in the balls of my feet when I hoisted my rotundness up on them.)  Beautiful shoes. 

I was ready for any sort of dressy affair that might come along.

Which is what I figured yesterday when I went to my closet to put together an ensemble for the theater.  I'm going to see "Wicked" with Peaches, Hubby, and Marie and her boy tomorrow.  I have to have just the right outfit for this event.  Since I don't get out often, I have a very casual wardrobe, but dug way in the back and found something suitable.  All I needed was the right pair of dress shoes.

I dug and dug and dug for my dress shoes to no avail.  Oh sure, I found the beauty shoes, but I'm not wearing 5 inch stilettos for a whole evening.  Sorry, my limit on those shoes is two hours on Christmas Eve.  Because nothing says, "Celebrate the Birth of our Savior" like some really sexy shoes.  I found my backless boots, but since I'm wearing slacks the allure of either of those is lost.  Where were my flats?  Where are my pumps?  Where are my solid slacks shoes?

What I did find were three pairs of running shoes.  (I know...)  I found my pair of pink clogs, that I love.  I found my blue suede slip on shoes with the hiker sole.  I located a pair of red mary janes...with the hiker sole.  I found my steel toed hikers  (Just in case I ever go hiking in a steel mill) and I found three pairs of flip flop sandals, all in varying (but low) degrees of fanciness.

Apparently, while I wasn't looking, the shoe fairy came to my closet and replaced all my pretty shoes with athletic, comfortable, and wildly colorful casual footwear.  Either the shoe fairy wants me to exercise more, of she thinks I'm an 80 year old with bad feet and a whimsical love of color.

Okay, I do have bad feet and a bad knee.  When I left the corporate office world behind to raise Skippy and Peaches, I lost my need for fashionable footwear.  When you babysit, you need shoes that are going to get you from point A to point B many, many, many times quickly.  When you clean office buildings for 12 years, running shoes with good support are vital.  When you unload trucks full of retails wares, a steel toed boot is the difference between having toes and...not.  Then of course there was that car accident where I messed up my knee. (More on that another day.  It's a funny story.)

The pink clogs I won on a radio contest.  Not directly, but I did.  True story.  Two years ago I won a trivia contest called, "You Still Can't Win."  (It's on the Bob and Brian morning show on 102.9 The Hog in Milwaukee.  Brilliant show.  I still play from time to time.)  One of the prizes was a $300 gift card to Rogan's shoes.  Rogan's specializes in athletic and outdoor shoes.  And they have a buy one, get the second half off sale all the time.  So when I went in there, everyone got shoes.  And I found these beautiful Merrell clogs.  I loved them.  I tried on all the different colors.  I didn't want to love the pink ones, but I did.  (I have a thing about pink.  More on that another day.) 

The blue and red shoes, also Merrells, I got on eBay.  See, I love Merrell Shoes, I don't love their daunting prices.

Okay, so I haven't needed a pair of fancy shoes in a long time, but come on...I'm a shoe hoarder! Where are my shoes? 

I had a Winnie the Pooh moment where I sat amongst my piles of sensible shoes and thought and thought and thought.  And then I realized something:


Think, think, think...where are my pretty shoes?  And while we're at it, where are my pants?



I don't have any dresses, either.  I stopped wearing them when I had to wrangle kids in church and I realized that the easiest way to crawl under a pew to retrieve a book or toy thrown by a child was to wear something that was NOT a skirt.

On a side note, since I don't wear dresses, I don't wear pantyhose.  And I don't have to shave my legs nearly as often.  Like from September to May, not at all.  That's a big time savings right there.

No dresses, no need for dress shoes.  The dresses and the shoes went to Goodwill. My solid slacks shoes wore out and I simply didn't replace them.  My pumps, gone.  Can't wear them, I have circulation problems in my toes, and I'd rather be able to feel my toes than have stylish footwear.  My super high heels: I can only wear once a year.  Flats:  Can't wear them...bone spurs in my heels, and flats don't offer enough cushion.  My slouchy boots, so cute?  Stinky...so cute at concerts, but so cheap in material.  Gone.

So I'm faced with a dilemma.  I can either wear the blue suede shoes, which aren't that dressy, but match the outfit sort of.  I can wear the backless boots, and suffer through numb toes and sore feet, and bad heels for minimal effect.

Or...

I can go shoe shopping! 

I believe I feel a quick lunchtime shopping trip coming on!

















Friday, September 24, 2010

Sarah takes a sick day the mom way!

Good afternoon everyone!

I don't know if it was the return of Bossman from his two week European vaca, or the hellacious cold I managed to contract a couple of days ago, but I have not been feeling my normal perky self this week.  Apparently, I was so useless at work yesterday that New Girl informed me I MUST take a sick day today.

"Why?"  I ask from my office.

"Because all I can hear coming from your office is you choking on your own snot."

Goofy idea, or the best invention EVER?
I wanted to point out that for the last four years I've shown up to work feeling way worse than I did yesterday.  That's been well documented in past blogs.  But, since I have more than 50 hours of vacation saved up and more than 9 hours of comp time...why not take a day?

But here's the thing:  Moms don't get sick days.  We get sick.  And we get days.  But sick days?  Days where we lie in bed and eat soup that someone else brings us?  Never happens.

The last sick day I had, the last real sick day I had, I was in college.  The nurse gave me the "soda and crackers" slip and I spent the day in bed.  If memory serves, because that was a Looooooooong time ago, I must have really been sick because, under school rules, you were deemed "well" at 5 Pm, and on that day I didn't bounce out of bed and goof off with friends.  Nope, that was my last sick day.  Some 20 years or more ago.

When the kids were little, they'd get sick and we'd make a bed in the living room and snuggle and watch movies.  When they got older, I liked sick days better because then I would use that as an excuse to watch movies I liked.  "Master and Commander" was a big sick day movie at our house.  And it became a litmus test for just how sick the kids were. 

"I'm sick."

"Okay, you can stay home.  But we're watching 'Master and Commander.'"

"It's okay...I'll go to school."

Since the kids are grown, though,and they no longer need me, the only sick days I get to take are the days I take myself.  And I work for a man who figures if I'm not dead, since I generally work alone, I may as well just be at work. 

Yesterday, however, under the command of New Girl, I informed Bossman that I was taking a sick day.  So I planned for it.  I was going to sleep in, watch movies, stay in my jammies all day, and eat soup.

Today, I did manage to sleep in.  All the way to 6:45.  Now this might not seem like a big deal, but by 6:45 Skippy is at school, so I missed his morning routine.  (Hubby goes down to his room 4 times from 5:20 to 6 am to wake him up.  Skippy takes a long shower, and spends more time in the bathroom than I did in the 80's when we had to DO our hair. Then I make him a breakfast he may, or may not eat based on how happy he is with me.  This week he hasn't eaten breakfast.) But I got up just in time to help Hubby get the cat out of the garage.   There's nothing more fun than trying to get a cat out of a place he wants to be.

The I got Peaches out of bed.  She normally walks to school or rides her bike.  But not today.  Today, my sick day, she needed a ride to school.  So, I don clothing, and since it was steam warm and muggy from yesterday, I donned summer clothes.  I dropped her off at school and then tried to decide if I should go grocery shopping or home.  I mean, we were sadly out of food, so as long as I was home, I probably should pick up groceries.

I went home, mostly because I wanted to shop at Sam's club, and they don't open for normal customers until 10.  I couldn't very well go back to bed for just two hours.  That made no sense.

What to do, what to do?

Ah, a shot of Dayquil, a couple decongestant tabs, and some nasal spray.  The breakfast of champions! 

Then...well, the office is a mess.  And of course i have to sort out the candles from my last partylite party.

Two hours later...the office is great, the candles are sorted, and I'm off to Sam's!

By noon I'd accomplished more than I generally do in an entire day.  I even got some laundry done. 

Then my body reminded me of something very important.

I'M SICK!  Oh, and I haven't eaten anything that isn't an over the counter cold med in a couple of days.

So I did manage to squeeze in a nap.  Well, it wasn't really a nap because the cat wanted attention, but wasn't interested in lying next to me while I slept.  So after I kicked the beast out of the room, I took a nap.  But now I'm up.  Skippy is bowling tonight...I won't see him until midnight.  But Peaches will be home soon...and here's the best part:

I have to help my brother move today!

You read that right. 

So let's recap my sick day:

Slept in an extra 90 minutes. 

Helped hubby chase cat out of the garage.

Drove Peaches to school.

Cleaned the office.

Sorted Candles.

Did laundry.

Grocery shopped.

Took a short nap.

Going to help brother move.

  Maybe it's in my mom DNA that I don't know how to do sick days. But I think what we've learned here is that I  am far more productive on a sick day than I am when I have to work.
Let's not share that with Bossman, okay?


Monday, September 20, 2010

Candle ladies have the best stories...

Good afternoon!

 It's that time of year again when more and more of us host direct sales parties because we promised a friend six months ago that we would.  It's a night out!  It's a reason to see your friends!  It's time to pamper yourself!  Get a jump on the holiday shopping!

Sound familiar?

Admittedly, I am addicted to Partylite candles.  I sold them for more than four years.  I had to stop because I couldn't NOT sell them.  I had to win every sales contest, I had to book the most parties, I had to have the most in sales.  Every month.  The end result was, of course, a house full of more candles than I'll ever burn, more candle holders than most big box stores, and enough Styrofoam packing material to send even the most moderate environmentalist into a convulsion.  Oh, and I have stories.  Boy do I have the stories.

Now, more than two years after quitting, I still host the parties.  Oh I host other parties, but there's just something about candle parties that bring out the best and the weirdest, in people.  Candles seem to go hand in hand with alcohol,  (Fire, alcohol and a roomful of crazed middle aged women who want to pretty up their lives.  What could possibly go wrong?) so maybe candle ladies do have the best stories. After all, when was the last time you heard of a fist fight breaking out at a Pampered Chef brunch?

The story I have today, as I promised last week, involves working out mother issues at a party.  This is something you just shouldn't do.  Period.  To that end, if you HAVE mother or mother in law issues, you should not EVER EVER EVER host a party with the object of your issues. 

It started out completely innocently.  It always does.  I was the unsuspecting candle lady, in my first year of sales, going to the home of a friend of a friend of one of my mom's neighbors.  See, that's how these parties work.  You start with people you know, people you love, homes in which you know where the bathroom is.  A few weeks later, you're walking a block down a dark street, lugging $800 worth of candles and glass, convinced you're going to be the headline on the late news.  "A forty year old candle lady was crushed to death early this morning...witnesses say she wouldn't stop trying to convince everyone at the party to start their own business selling candles, so party goers dropped her plastic crates on her head." 

In this case, I wasn't nervous about the neighborhood and the woman who booked the party with her mother in law seemed completely free of mental hang ups.  I wildly incorrect of my assessment, as we shall later see.

When I got there, hostess number one, let's call her Jane, told me to set up in the front room while she and hostess number two, we'll call her Bindi, because it amuses me, put together the food.  I rolled my two carts into the front room and started setting up.  Meanwhile Jane's four year old son, the ever so precious genius we'll call Dexter, decided it was a good time to "help" the candle lady.  Jane said, "Oh, isn't he so precious.  He's a genius, you know.  Now, Dexter, you be a good helper and help the candle lady."

Yeah, the candle lady doesn't need a four year old's help, thanks.

But even early in my career I'd learned that children, like pets, were something to be worked around.  So I handed Dexter my box of scent samples and said, "Here Dexter, you sniff each of these for me, okay?"

Who's the genius now?

Oh, that would still be Dexter, who decided the scent samples weren't arranged properly.  Instead of being in their cubbies by NAME as the candle company intended, he sorted them by color.  And then, for good measure, he dropped everything on the floor, adding complete randomness to everything else.

I don't know if you're familiar with Partylite candles, but there are times of the year when most of the candles are different shades of maybe three colors.  As I stared at the pile of white candles ranging in color difference from pure white to a subtle dark beige, I realized that I hadnt' even sniffed all the candles, this being a new scent box.  So I stood there, staring, as Dexter danced his little dance around the pile of candles.  Then that little cretin looked at me and said, "I made a mess.  You have to clean it up."

Jane looked up from her food making and said, "Dexter, sweetie, are you helping the candle lady?"

Dexter said, "Oggyy booooog mama."

I decided I was just going to put the candles in the box and if I sold a vanilla candle that was actually a french vanilla candle or a vanilla bean candle, the world was just going to have to deal.

Now it's time for the party!  The woman who introduced me to Jane showed up....and no one else.

Yes, there I was.  Two hostesses, a woman who had just earned $500 worth of free product at her own magnificent party a week ago, and Dexter, boy genius.

Still, I was certain, mostly because Jane promised me, that there would be plenty of outside orders and this would be my BEST PARTY EVER.

So I did my sales pitch.  Mentally I figured out how to make it work for Jane and Bindi  (It should be noted, Bindi did not open her mouth once, not even when I was introduced to her.  I had no idea if she could talk.) provided they had the bare minimum in orders.

So I get done with the sales deal in record time, given that Bindi didn't speak and Dexter didn't read.  And no one was going to order anything.  Now was the time when I sit down with the hostesses and look at the orders they gathered prior to the party.

Jane handed me a stack of...

Two orders.

Two.

Grand total for the party:  $75.60.

Not to fear, I told myself, we can keep this party open.  They can get more orders.  It will still be fine.

I explain this to Jane and Bindi.  Jane is nodding.  Yes, she knows the drill.  She wants the gigantic candle stand.  She needs to sell roughly $924 more to get it.  Gee, I could have done that for her, had she actually had people show up.

Bindi, however, chooses this moment to speak.  "I did not invite people to my house to buy things.  I said I would have the party and get the free items and that was it."

So if just one of you books a party tonight, Mary here is going to earn an extra $100 in free candles!
Apparently no one explained to Bindi how this worked.

What ensued, for the next hour, was a shouting match between Bindi and Jane.  I didn't catch all of it, while I packed up my candle crap, as  I always referred to my display items.  I think at one point they slipped into a different language.  What I did catch was the fact that Jane thought her husband, Bindi's son, was a no good deadbeat keeping them living in his mother's house.  Bindi, on the other hand, was not impressed with Jane's credentials as a human person and questioned whether or not Dexter was even her sons' kid.  Jane questioned that as well, since, as she put it so daintily, "Nothin' smart was ever gonna come from anything related to your stupid a++."

The other lady, the former hostess, sipped her glass of wine  (It was her fourth.  See, they opened a bunch of wine bottles in anticipation of a huge party.  And you know once that bottle is opened....)  "They do this all the time, " she tells me, pouring herself another glass. "I probably should have warned you."

Oddly enough, the party eventually turned out okay.  Like three weeks later, after Jane gathered enough orders to get to the minimum and she emailed saying she was done.   As for the candle mix up, I never did figure it out, and I never did tell any of my other customers.  They just all thought they really liked Vanilla way better than they liked French Vanilla or Vanilla Bean.

So that's just one of my candle lady stories.  Happy Birthday to Skippy, who is 17 today, and to Julie, who is younger than I am, so she should be happy about that!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fact: Your teen is going to hate you no matter what you do.

Good morning!

Hubs and I have always sort of thought of ourselves as cool parents.  Hey, we watched the Video Music Awards on MTV the other night!  Granted, I was waiting for Rick Springfield to perform, and okay, I watched until Mad Men came on...but still, that counts!

We've spent a lot of time and money, during our kids' growing up years, building the image of cool.  So, Monday, when Skippy turns 17, we will be celebrating another year of blissful parent/kid exchanges in a cool and loving atmosphere.

Only if that little dink eats his veggies.  And would it kill him to just once, JUST ONCE put his clean laundry in, oh, I don't know, his DRESSER so I can have the laundry baskets back?

Crap....there's my mom taking over my brain again!

Yep, it's rebellion season here as anyone with teens will tell you.  Teens don't care that you took them to Great America fifteen times one summer.  Teens don't care that you're paying for their car insurance and most of their gas.  Teens don't care that, given the cost of housing and feeding them is almost high enough that their threats to LEAVE FOREVER really sounds appealing.

Nope, teens do not care because no matter how cool we parents think we are, we are horrible, out of touch, dinosaurs in the eyes of our teen offspring.

Don't fool yourselves, parents.  You think this won't happen to you?  Hah! 

My parents didn't spend a dime on me beyond the basics.  I paid for clothes, I never got the car, and if I wanted to do something or eat something cool, I had to pay for it AND Get permission from them to do or eat or wear or listen to whatever.  So, in an effort to do things a bit differently and hopefully getting a different result  (I had an resentful relationship with my mother for about ten years, and my dad for about four.  Why the difference in the time frames?  Let's call it proportional to the amount of involvement.  LOL!)  Hubs and I have tried to do everything we could for the kids.

Yeah, a lot of good that did us.


Come on...I'm cooler than this guy...right??????

We were watching "Modern Family" the other night and Peaches and I were laughing at Phil, the dad who thinks he's super cool with his kids.  "He's such a dork," says I.  "He reminds me of you and dad," says Peaches.

Why don't you just shoot me now....please? 


The thing about teens is...well, they're teens.  They want to be independent.  They think they know everything because they've seen "Teen Mom" and "Tosh 2.0.  They think that just because I can't retrieve a voicemail message from my phone or update my face book from my phone, I don't know anything.  And, since Skippy's started driving, he's announced that I am the WORST DRIVER IN THE WORLD.  (Funny, my driving was just fine for the first 16 years of his life.)

It's completely normal, my friends.  Teens are supposed to hate us, I guess. It's part of the process of moving them out of the house so that we can return to the carefree, have sex in any room we want, days before the kids arrived.  (A direct result of having sex in any room we wanted, I'm sure!)


As parents, I guess we have to just take it day by day.  This week I can break the relationship down with Skippy this way:

Sunday:  Likes us
Sunday night:  Hates us  (Cable went out.)
Monday: hates us  (Not over the cable being out)
Tuesday :  Hates us less  (just filled his gas tank on his own and realized that he might need some $$)
Wednesday:  We're not bad  (Homecoming week...needs his curfew extended.)
Thursday:  We're okay enough to talk to for five minutes.  (Got his curfew extended.)
Friday:  Grunted at me three times on his way out the door.  HE LOVES ME

No, your kid is not going to want to be your friend on Face book.  (Would you want your mom as your friend?  Seriously, think about that.)  No, your kid is not going to take a phone call from you when he's with his friends.  (Send a text.  Learn to text.  Get your younger kid to text for you.)  And No, your teen is NOT going to WALK OR RIDE HIS BIKE when he can drive.  (don't even fight about it. Sell the bike.  Use it for gas money.)

Teens are going to hate their parents.  Cain and Abel, I'm sure, had issues with Adam and Eve.  Sure, they didn't have Face book or texting, but come on...if we can get through the teen years without one actually killing the other...we've done better than the original parents, right?

That's what I'm telling myself, and what I'll keep telling myself as I stay up late this weekend waiting for Skippy.




Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sarah dishes out some practical advice.

Good morning!

I was reminded recently, (this morning, via a message on Face book, from a former student my my husband's), that I always told people, "When in doubt, say 'thank you' or 'I'm  sorry.'"

Obviously I've gotten way more rude in the 19 years since I said that.  Of course I say, Thank you, all the time.  That's just normal manners.  And I still say "I'm Sorry," frequently, but it's usually in a sentence such as this:  I'm sorry you're too clueless to understand that what you're telling me is completely without merit.

Probably not what I had in mind when, at the ripe age of 23, I was in charge of molding young female minds.  What was anyone thinking, putting me in charge of 7th and 8th grade girls?

I have, in the past 20 plus years, amassed other bits of wisdom that I try and pass on to those young people who ask me.  (Even if they don't ask...aren't I nice?) I don't pretend to have the answer to life  (unless the question is: why do we suffer so much pain?  In which case I'll say, "Oh because you obviously have a membership at Gold's Gym.") but I have discovered that following some of this advice will help you avoid some of life's biggest pitfalls.

First, the list I repeat to my children every day:

1)  Don't Drink.
2)  Don't Smoke
3)  Don't do drugs
4)  Keep your clothes on

Hey, I watch Maury Povich.  I know that if people would follow these four points there would be no Maury Povich show.  Or Jerry Springer.  Or Steve Wilkos.  And maybe then CBS wouldn't be cancelling the greatest show of all:  As The World Turns.  (Yes, in my circular logic, everyone who doesn't follow my four points is guilty of cancelling a 54 year old soap opera.)

Then there's the dating advice I give out:

Girls:  Date low brass players.

These are the guys who are used to carrying heavy loads, so they are ready for your baggage.  Also, they aren't the alpha males of the band, the trumpet players, so they are already used to taking a back seat role.  Which means they can step back and let you be the star.  Chances are, they can walk and carry heavy things, so shopping endlessly is no problem with them.  And, since they aren't trumpet players, they don't come with that rock star mentality.  They try harder.  (Did I date one, or did I date trumpet players...you be the judge.)

Guys:  avoid the pretty girls.

The old song used to be "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife."  There is a certain amount of truth to that.  Everyone wants to date the "Pretty girl."  Well, guys, I'm here to tell you there's a big dif between a "pretty girl" and a "Beautiful girl."  The difference between the two is simple:  One frets over her fingernails in every situation.  The other does not.  On a side note:  Glasses do not make a woman smarter.  I was watching the news today and the hot traffic chick got "smarted up" with glasses and a severe pony tail.  They can ugly her up...she's still the dimwitted traffic chick. 

My Marriage advice:

Ladies:  Learn to like football.

Just do it.  Trust me, it's well worth it.  First of all, the times are predictable.  Unlike baseball, basketball, hockey, and any other sport, football is mostly Sunday.  Saturday is college football.  Monday is one game.  That's it.  Even the playoffs are pretty much Sunday.  Also, the season is only 18 weeks long.  Other sports are up to six months.  Hey, basketball starts in October and isn't over until JUNE.  Also, you can learn the rules of football easily.  They explain the rules pretty much after every play.  You'll be a rock star in your husband's eyes.

Men:  Figure skating and gymnastics are sports.  Period.

So when the wife asks you to watch a little figure skating after she's sat through 9 hours of football, DO IT.

Now, some rules of etiquette that are sort of vital to a happy life in general.

1)  Please and thank you and I'm sorry.

It gets noticed, if you say them and if you don't.  It will affect how much money Grandma puts in your next birthday card.

2)  Hold the door

I don't care if you're in a hurry.  Hold the door for the person behind you.  Open the door and step aside for someone older than you are, for someone with small children, for a soldier, for a person with a cane, walker, or wheelchair. 

3)  Do not discuss politics, religion, or your general dissatisfaction with your mother at a Partylite Party.

I'll talk about this more in a later post.  Trust me...

4)  Keep promises and return phone calls.
We are a society with a dozen ways to keep in touch.  And a dozen ways to ignore people.

Finally:

5)  Flush, look back, and flush again.

Oh you knew this was going to end up in the bathroom, didn't you?

Yes, hello, Mumsy?  I am calling to thank you for the delightful dinner last evening.  Yes, Beatrice and I thoroughly enjoyed the Beef Wellington, and the wine you chose was ever so charming...
I can't tell you how many public bathrooms I've been in where I walk into a stall and the bowl is still...full....COME ON!  Flush, and make sure what you put in there is flushed down.  If it takes three flushes, so what?  Do you really want people to know all your business?  Because when you walk out of a stall, especially in a busy restroom, like at a movie theater, and someone else walks in and sees what you left...they are going to know EVERYTHING and they are going to give you the STINK EYE.

Now, go forth and follow these guidelines.  I'm not promising a perfect life, but at least you'll avoid getting the stink eye.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The many uses for TP (Funny, none of these make the commercials!)

Good afternoon:

I've been informed, by some very reliable readers, that I'm not blogging enough, that my blogs are hilarious, that the print size is too small, and that my blog is a good cure for insomnia.  (That last one came from my good friend Shay, again, not her real name, who read every post in one sitting one long night and enjoyed it.)

Today my friends, I'm getting back to the most basic of basics, that one thing you should never be without, the one product we all know, need, and love.  It's the one thing, I don't care how hard certain environmental groups push, that should NEVER BE REUSED.  I am referring, of course, to Toilet Paper.  More importantly, commercials about toilet paper.

I loathe commercials.  My children will tell you that watching TV with me is horrible because I can, and will, watch no fewer than four shows at the same time for no other reason than I cannot abide watching commercials.  I know what products I need and I know where to find them in the stores.  So unless that maxi pad is lined with gold, that toothpaste can double as a frosting in a pinch, or that hairspray is suddenly a magic weight loss treatment, there's really no need to advertise.  I, like about 99.999% of everyone I know shops more by PRICE than anything else.  I don't care if that paper towel comes in 50 different sizes.  If it's $1 more for fewer sheets, Homey ain't gonna by that.  (Oh yes, I've started referring to myself as "Homey."  I think it's cute.)

Toilet paper is one of those items that really, REALLY doesn't need to spend a dime on advertising.  I don't care how cute that stupid puppy is.  And I don't care how much dust is on a Bear's rear.  It's toilet paper.  It does quite possibly the nastiest job on the planet.  (Mike Rowe should walk a day in the shoes of a roll of TP for his "Dirty Jobs.")  It's paper we use to clean waste off ourselves and then we flush it. 

My aunt used to decorate with toilet paper.  "Go get me a roll of green" she'd tell my cousins.  I always wished we could get colored toilet paper.  Alas, the rolls were smaller and the price was larger and therefore we had colored toilet paper only once.  (Hang on to your hats, my friends, this story takes a turn for the weirdly gross.)

See, when I was in high school, not only was I transfer student who liked to read and write poetry, but my father was the English teacher who was tough when it came to grading.  Can you say, "SUPER POPULAR?"  (No, I can't either.)  So every time there were doings at the school, which was pretty much every weekend, my classmates and other students with an artistic bend and no curfew, would troll out into the night and TP our house.  (I'm told this practice is now illegal in many places, which is stupid because TP doesn't do any real damage.  One good rain and it's pretty much gone.  Oh yes, I ache to go back to my old hometown and exact some tissue laden revenge, but I'm not willing to pay the fine.)  Anyway, one night, some extra creative juvenile delinquents hit our house with several rolls of Northern's finest pastel paper.  Pinks, blues, greens, and the rare yellows fluttered in the late October breeze one Saturday morning.

My mother, so impressed, took pictures.  And then, because not only was she impressed, but she was practical...she collected what she could, rerolled it  (Because no one EVER takes the cardboard shell casings... I mean rolls, with them!) and yes, we used it.

It wasn't bad.  A couple of random bits of twig here and there, but it was the one time we had colored TP, so that made up for the fact that it was...you know...used.

My mother now uses a TP that is so thin, not only isn't it absorbent, as so many others are, it's actually translucent.  I'm not kidding.  Oh, sure, there are like 3000 sheets on each roll.  But ya have to use 90 at a time before you get even close to a "clean" feeling.  And forget about blowing your nose in it.  I actually gave myself a paper cut on the face trying to blow my nose in some at my mom's house.

TP, they tell me, has many uses.  Okay, I knew TP had one use, and some preschool teachers would ask for the cardboard rolls, so that's two, right?  And then there's the nose blowing thing.  But recently I saw something that opened my eyes to a new world of uses for the beloved product.

Boys, we're gonna need the two ply on this one.
Some people claim to make dresses out of TP, as seen in the pic above.  Yeah, I have my doubts.  I tried doing that once for a fashion show in our youth group.  All I'm going to say is that thank goodness I had no trust in the strength of my garment.  Making clothing out of something that's designed to dissolve is just not...right.  Call me crazy, but I always like to end an evening with at least the same amount of clothing as I started it.

I watched a road crew patch  crack in the road with toilet paper.

Now, this is a point that will start an argument at our house.  Hubby says it wasn't TP.  I say, it looked like it, it fluttered in the breeze like it  (Who would know better than I?) and it was ROLLED LIKE IT.  Road crew Dude had three rolls of the stuff on a plunger handle.  He'd unroll several squares, then stuff it into the crack of the street, and tear it off with his foot.  I was so amazed, watching him, I didn't move in my car, which backed up those trying to get out of the grade school parking lot.  I ignored the honks.  I was watching SCIENCE!  (Or, at the very least, I was watching the sad state of our city budget at work.)

All the way to work I was thinking, How strong it that toilet paper and why haven't they advertised this?

"SO STRONG WE CAN PATCH A ROAD WITH IT.  NOW PUT THAT ON YOUR DELICATE PARTS AND RUB."

Okay, I'm not a pitchman. 

"IF IT'S STRONG ENOUGH TO STAND UP TO SUBURBAN TRAFFIC, IT'S STRONG ENOUGH TO STAND UP TO ANYTHING YOU CAN PUSH OUT."

Hmmmm, that's a little icky.

"THE STIMULUS PACKAGE GAVE US MORE MONEY TO PATCH ROADS WITH THAN WE KNOW HOW TO SPEND AND WE'VE DECIDED WE'RE GOING TO STRETCH THIS MONEY FOR AS LONG AS WE CAN BY DOING THE LEAST AMOUNT OF WORK POSSIBLE. TODAY, WE PATCH WITH TP.  TOMORROW IT RAINS.  THE NEXT DAY WE PATCH WITH TP.  WE LIKE THIS BLOCK AND WE WANT TO WORK ON IT FOREVER.  YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK."

That one might be a little wordy.

"FORGET THE BEAR AND THE PUPPY.  THIS TP IS MANLY ENOUGH TO PATCH ROADS!"

That's the one we'll go with!  Yes!

Well, I think if we've learned anything today it's that toilet paper can be useful in ways we have not considered.

And, Sarah's childhood was pretty messed up.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Water Aerobics Instructor vs. Newton's First Law of Physics.

Good morning!

I know it's been a week. Believe me, Dee has been on my case about not blogging!  But with the holiday weekend in there, oddly enough, nothing terribly hilarious happened to me.

And then I went to water aerobics again.

Let me just start off by saying that I owe Dee a HUGE thank you.  Had she not sacrificed her body to get my fat fanny into the pool yesterday, 1)  I would not have this blog this morning, and 2)  I would not be so ridiculously sore, that I know I must be making headway toward my goal of losing 70 pounds before May 1.

Now, to refresh everyone's high school or college Physics course  (Which I passed my freshman year in college only because of a great convergence of 1) a physics prof who gave points for any answer involving the word "beer," 2) my friend Todd, who is brilliant and changing pop song lyrics to involve the word "beer" and 3)  my friend Lee, without whose help I would never have managed a passing grade in Physics.)  let's discuss Newton's first Law of Motion:

Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

Apparently the water aerobics instructor from last night, I'll call her Fran, because she wasn't Nan, is not familiar with Newton's first law of motion.  I say this because, as a warm up, she had us jogging and swinging our arms,  (underwater, of course) and just when we were getting a full head of steam, she'd yell, "STOP AND REVERSE RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!"

To illustrate just how hopeless this was, let me rephrase Newton's First Law of Motion:

Every fat woman moving in one direction in a swimming pool is going to keep going in that direction in the pool because the instructor's yelling is not enough of an external force to stop the motion of the floating fat.

Had a water aerobics instructor's shout been enough force to stop and reverse and massive floating body, James Cameron would never have gotten his Oscar.  (Think about it for a minute, you'll get it.)

I think my favorite instruction of the night, however, came at one of the many moments when we were jogging in place.  (Instead of suspended jumping jacks, this instructor had us jog.)  Here we are, jogging in place, and then Fran shouts, "GO FASTER! FAST! FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAST!  At your own pace."

Sometimes blogs just write themselves.

We did work with the dumbbells of death.  I really could do without those things.  And I felt bad for Dee, who had already done an hour with her stalker/personal trainer.  (Their relationship is a whole blog itself.) Her arms were already sore.  But, to her credit, she didn't bring the class to a HALT because Fran was concerned for her well being.

That honor, my friends, belongs to me.

Yes, in a pool full of the aging, I was the one who, in a moment of pause, caught Fran's eye and got the, "Oh wait, are you okay?"

Then it was noodle time.  My previous experience with the noodle  (you know, that one other class I attended) was positive.  Hey, it's not the dumbbells of death.  Score a big point for the noodle.

Except Fran is no Nan and her noodle workout did not involve floating and Esther Williams dance moves.  No, Fran instructed us to SURF ON OUR NOODLES.

Let me see if I can paint a picture for you:  We were to push the noodle down far enough so we could stand on it.  THEN, we were to bring our knees up enough so that the noodle was off the bottom of the pool.  THEN, using our arms, we were to surf around the pool.

I am proud to say I was not the only one who FELL OFF THE NOODLE.

I was just the first one. 

Everyone else fell off because they were laughing so hard at me they lost their concentration.  Hey, it's not everyone who can get a water aerobics instructor to belly laugh.

The darling old man next to me in the lane caught my noodle and handed it to me. 
The water aerobics prayer circle, praying Sarah recovers from her noodle crash.

At the very end, Fran asked us what were three things we were thankful for.  The girl behind me said, "I'm just happy I made it through this class."

SOUL SISTER!

My thing was I was thankful that Dee showed up because I was really hoping to skip out last night, and then I would have missed the comedic gold that is me in the pool with foam floaty things.

In closing, I should say this: It has not been my intention to blog exclusively about my trials at the gym.  However, it does seem that's where the funny has been lately.

Now, I have some aspirin to mainline before I get to my workout after work.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Girls, we're going to be Rockettes when we finish this class!

Good morning!

It isn't often that a blog topic is so completely clear in my head that it practically writes itself.  Yesterday, however, not only was the topic oh-so-clear, but the title hit me like lightning.

Dee has been a member over at Gold's Gym for about two weeks.  I've been a member for 14 months.  She's taken more classes in her span of time at the gym than I have.  And, she's been on me to do a class.  I tend to be a tiny bit disruptive during exercise classes.  I'm awkward, and when I'm awkward, I get goofy, loud, and...disruptive.  (I used to take step aerobic classes through the local park and rec department.  After several sessions of what I like to call "trip aerobics" it was suggested I find a different way to exercise.)

So anyway, after a week of schedule shuffling, I managed to get to a water aerobics class with Dee last night. I love the water.  I'm a good swimmer, not as strong as I used to be, but I do just fine.  So water aerobics sounded great. I asked my personal trainer, KRAM, about this class.  He looked at me with his 20 something eyes and said, "You don't want that class.  It's full of large 80 year old women."

Sounds perfect.

First of all, I'm not saying I'm self conscious about being in my swim suit, but there's a massive, self esteem crushing  mirror in the locker room at Gold's everyone has to walk past to get to the pool.  Apparently the design team for Gold's wanted to really push home the point that WE ARE FAT.

Next, I did the class without my glasses.  I'm not blind, but I have found, as I get older, that not only is my sense of site impaired without the glasses, but so is my sense of hearing.  I used to laugh at my mother who would say, "Just a minute, let me put on my glasses so I can hear you."

I'm not laughing anymore.

So there I am, half blind, half deaf, awkward, and FAT and in the pool with half a dozen lovely older ladies, who were all shapes and sizes, thank you KRAM.  Dee showed me all the flotation devices we would need.  I thought this was pointless.  We were in four feet deep water.  How many aerobic drownings have there been?

Then the instructor showed up.  I will call her Nan for no other reason than my hands are too sore to call her a longer name.

Tiny, young, and ready to kill us all.  This I sensed without use of my ears or eyes.  She sent us through a series of warm ups.  These were moves I like to call "Churning the butter."  Easy enough.  Swish to the left, swish to the right, churn the butter.

Then Nan said, "Now do suspended jumping jacks."

Everyone else, including Dee, who SWEARS she'd only been to one other class, began to do expert looking underwater jumping jacks without touching the bottom of the pool.

I'm normally far more graceful in the water than on land, but suspended jumping jacks had me stumped.  I'm either too fatly buoyant or to fatly fat to do suspended jumping jacks in 4 feet of water.  I wound up doing a sort of injured walrus motion.

Warm ups over, Nan instructed us to get our dumbbells.  Now, dumbbells for water are different than free weight dumbbells.  These puppies are made of foam and FLOAT, so there's a resistance when you have to move them up and down in the water.

For me, the dumbbells made me more buoyant.  Seven women moved those foam death tools up and down in the water like a well oiled machine.  Woman number eight, me, was struggling to move the dumbbells without floating to the far end of the pool.  Woman number eight failed.

So there I was, at the far end of the pool, unable to control my foam dumbbells.  Meanwhile, the very sweet lady in the lane behind me, was trying to give me words of encouragement.  Unfortunately, I didn't have my glasses on, so I couldn't hear her.

After tearing our arm muscles to shreds, Nan told us to put the dumbbells on the desk and do more suspended jumping jacks.  This time I managed a couple of motions that felt like a suspended under water jumping jack, except for the part where, in the effort to move my hands and legs without touching the bottom, my head missed the message to stay out of the water. (Note:  When someone takes you to a water class and tells you you're not going to get your hair wet, they are lying to you.) Surfacing with a snootful of water, it was now time to get the noodles and do some work on the abs.

I like foam noodles.  I've lazed on some of the best pools and rivers on a noodle.  Nan called out commands such as "gleeb woosh laff" and "gleeb woodle ram."  Looking around, I realized that this meant I was to pull my knees up to my chin while floating on the noodle.  First, pull the legs up, then twist hips to the left and pull the knees up, then twist to the right and pull the knees up.  I was feeling very Esther Williams at that moment.  It was lovely and graceful and fun.
WWED?  What would Esther do? 
And then it was over.  Nan informed us that it was time for more suspended jumping jacks.  I tried.  I really, really tried this time.  I did succeed in a motion that probably would have been a jumping jack...in upside down land. 

Then it was time for the final foam tool.  This was two foam cylinders held together by a canvas strap.  Nan said, "Puh fonna kankle weee."

Watching Dee, I realized was to put the toy on my foot.

This is when the real fun started.  Nan had us doing knee flexes and high kicks.  My foot, buoyed by foam, developed a mind all its own.  I was doing groin crippling high kicks mostly because I couldn't stop my foot from floating away!

After each series of leg exercises, Nan gave us a break.  We removed the float from our feet and did...yes you guessed it, suspended jumping jacks.

I gave up.  I treaded water until it was time to stop. I know I wasn't doing the right thing, but at least I wasn't choking on pool water or looking like a complete spaz.  I do, after all, have the need to maintain my dignity!

At some point, while trying to wrangle my foam encased foot, I realized that the high kicks I was doing were actually really, really impressive.  Oh, I knew I would pay for them later.  I knew my hamstrings were shredded and mundane things like putting on pants would be painful for a long time, but darn it all, I was high kicking like a pro!  "GIRLS!"  I shouted to the blurred faces on the other side of the pool,"  WE'RE GOING TO BE ROCKETTES WHEN WE FINISH THIS CLASS!"

Inspired, I was really, really ready to work! 

Unfortunately, the class was over, and it was time for cool downs.

Cool downs?  Um, we're in a pool?

Never mind...I swished and I churned the butter with energy and excitement!  I'm a ROCKETTE!  I RULE!

And then I got out of the pool.  And got reacquainted with my friend, gravity.  Gravity was not interested in my new found grace.  Gravity had missed me and wanted to hug me tightly.  Gravity made me feel like I weighed about 400 pounds. 

Still, I'm undeterred.  I'm going to lose those 70 pounds before Rick Springfield shows up in Milwaukee again.  (There, that's my goal, I said it.  Now you know.)  I'm going to be the most graceful person in the class for older ladies.  I'm GOING TO BE A ROCKETTE!

At least in the water.


BTW, kids, I'm guest blogging at Susie Kline's delightful site tomorrow.  I'm discussing how Miley Cyrus made me late for work.  Catch me after 8 AM tomorrow, Friday at http://www.motherhoot.com/

The difference between a Meijer employee and a heart attack? Not much.

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