This girl is funny...not skinny.

This girl is funny...not skinny.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Come to think of it, I believe I DID win the bet!

Good morning!

Some time shortly before Christmas Hubby and I were watching TV and a commercial for Duluth Trading Company came on.  It was for their men's "Buck Naked" underwear.  You've probably seen the commercial, a cartoon guy is walking around and the announcer says, "What Buck Naked Underwear feels like" and then the cartoon guy is naked, except there's a black bar over his "nay nay" area and there's banjo music playing.  It's a funny ad, and the banjo music sticks in my brain.  

Anyway, right before Christmas we were watching this commercial and I said, "That's great, but once again, they don't make that for women...because why would women want durable, comfortable underwear?"

Hubby said, "I bet they do make it for women."

We made a bet.  If Duluth Trading Company DID make Buck Naked Underwear for women, then I would have to purchase a couple pair of the pricey underduds for hubby.  I'll be honest...I don't remember what my end was if they DIDN'T because I found women's Buck Naked Underwear on their site and I got a pair.

You may remember the post I wrote a couple months back praising the comfort of said underwear.  And I stand by that.  They are totally comfortable.

And yet, I believe I won the bet.

My contention is that no women's underwear is made to be as comfortable or as durable as men's.  And I believe, upon further review, I've proven my point.

Hubby has two pair of the undies.  He wears them every week. I wash them every week. They look exactly the way they did almost six months ago when I bought them.

I bought one pair.  The first time I wore them, I noticed that the stitching in the crotch was all undone.  That was fresh out of the package.  I returned them, and got a new pair.  Good customer service and hey, anyone can have a dud pair from time to time.

I've had the second pair since February. I don't wear them every week.  Maybe every other.  So in four months I've probably worn them 8 times, give or take. I wash them exactly the same way I wash Hubby's.  And last week I got them out of my drawer (got my drawers out of my drawer, get it?) and the waistband was frayed.  Not just one string, no the whole thing was frayed and falling apart.  It looked like fringe.

I expect this of underwear I get in a six pack for $8.  I DO NOT expect this of a pair for which I paid $24 for the one pair.  

I wrote to Duluth Trading and once again they sent me a new pair. Great customer service.  This time I didn't have to return the faulty pair.  But the greatest customer service on the planet doesn't cover up the fact that I'm on my third pair of these things in less than five months and Hubby is blissfully happy with his worry free pairs.

So you be the judge.  Did I win the bet?  I think I did.

I just wish I could remember what my winning was going to be.  I hope it's not another pair of Buck Naked Underwear for women.  Maybe I'll just wear his.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hubby is probably hoping I've forgotten this!

Good afternoon!

Some of you know two important things about me:  1)  I do not like math and I'm not good at it.  2)  I do not like being outside because again, I'm not good at it.

Over this past Memorial Day weekend, Hubby decided to kick  my 5K training in gear.  See, this coming Saturday I'm going to be walking a 5K...it's not timed or anything, but I sort of want to finish it and not have to be carted off in a faint halfway through.  I'd also like to finish before everyone else cleans up and leaves.  So on Sunday we went for a measured, timed walk. It was to be 3.2 miles  (5K) and we would time it.

Well, it was raining Sunday.  And I don't mean a  little cheery sprinkle.  Nope it was one of those summer rains we get here in Wisconsin:  It was humid, sticky, wet and cold and sweaty all at the same time.

We decided to go anyway because hey, if it's raining at the walk I'm still doing it.  I think.  Probably.

We used hubby's phone as a step counter/measuring tool since my step counter is not at all accurate.  We walk for quite some time when we came to a mile marker (we were on what is known here as the Bug Line, a walking/biking trail between Lisbon and Menomonee Falls)  We then walked to the next miles marker and Hubby said, okay, 1.74 miles.

I did the math. That was going to put us quite close to 3.5 miles, instead of 3.1,  I was okay with it, I felt good. I was wet and really sweaty because I was wearing a windbreaker that was doing nothing to stop me from getting wet, but was holding all the humidity close to me.  Sort of like my own wearable sauna.  We turned around and headed back.

I continued to do the math in my head.  By the time we got to what was the first mile marker, Hubby said, "Almost done. Just .36 miles to go."

Now I'm bad at math.  But I'm not that bad.  We walked 1.74 miles from the car to the second mile marker.  Then we walked back from the second mile marker to the first, leaving us three quarters of a mile to go.  I said, "no, we have nearly a mile left."

That's when it got weird.  He looked at me and said, "No, we walked out and coming back it's half the distance."

We've been together, Hubby and I, a long time.  Really long.  And he's smarter than I am.  I've never made any bones about that. He's always been smarter than I am.  He's a better person, too, although after this little event I'm not so sure.  So I doubted myself. I went over the numbers in my head again.

"No," I said, "We have .74 miles to go."

"No," he insisted, "Going out it's that far so coming back it's about half."

I pulled my hood down and in the pouring rain I looked at him.  "I'm not that dumb," says I.  "We walked one mile from mile marker to mile marker.  The total we walked was 1.74 miles, so from the car to the first mile marker is .74 miles which is what we have left."

He was quiet for a few steps and then said, "I was hoping you wouldn't figure that out."

Is now a good time to mention that for the last 24 years I've been the one managing the household accounts and paying all the bills?  And he figured I couldn't figure that out?  I'm going to hope for his sake that he was just trying to make the walk easier for me, because the alternative explanation for this is NOT ACCEPTABLE and will require him to buy me something shiny that goes into the blu-ray player.

In case you missed it, or in case you haven't heard, I have a new book out on the virtual shelves!  It's called "Love is Eternal" it's the final chapter in my Prequel Trilogy to my Rock Harbor novels. 
It's available in print and e-book any place you buy your e-books, although if you use something other than a Nook or a Kindle, you'll want to get it HERE!

Print copies will be available at Createspace  and on Amazon, although it'll be a day or two for Amazon to have it in print.

Friday, May 22, 2015

I've got a foot...or an ear...in both worlds.

Good afternoon!

First of all, this is Memorial Day Weekend here in the US.  Yes, the official kick off to the Summer, but also a weekend to take a moment to remember and honor those who gave their lives in defense of the idea that is our freedom.  God bless our men and women uniform and God bless those who gave all so we can have a long weekend to kick off a season of grilling, sitting outside, and festivals.

Now then. When I was growing up my mother watched soap operas. She had two she especially loved and she watched them religiously:  As the World Turns and Guiding Light.  Her soap viewing started the way many did back then:  She got pregnant and the doctor told her to rest in the afternoons.  That turned into folding laundry in the afternoons.  And then, when she moved a TV into the kitchen, making dinner in the afternoon.  And taking a break from a day full of piano lessons in the afternoon.  For as long as I can remember, my mother watched these two soaps.  And, when I was old enough...like nine or ten, she stopped yelling at me to get out of the room when they were on.  If I was very, very quiet and asked no questions, I could sit for two solid hours, escaping the summer heat of a Central Wisconsin July, and watched the antics of the Bauers in Springfield or the Hughes family in Oakdale.

I loved soap operas.  I watched Guiding Light and As the World Turns until they were cancelled a few years ago.  I wept when As the World Turns ended because I'd watched that one longest, and most faithfully.  I miss those shows.  Now, in these days of reality TV and game shows and talent shows and 24 hour news channels, it would be nice to slip away into someone else's world:  a world where everyone dresses up and looks good all the time, a world where everyone has a job that's flexible enough to long lunches, trips to Europe, and a perfect manicure.  

My mother, I think, viewed soaps differently.  While I loved the romance of women in high heels and dashing men in suits I think my mother watched and tried to make herself feel better about her life by watching the scripted misery of others.  Her life as a parochial teacher's wife lacked drama and intrigue.  But on the soaps, no one found dead mice behind the couch, no one burned dinner, and if anyone was sick, they didn't throw up, no, they were in a very clean, tidy coma.

I bring all this up because today I did something I never thought I'd do because it's ridiculous.  I'm wearing a pearl necklace and earrings with a hooded sweatshirt.  I've reached a weird age, at 47.  I know I have to dress it up a bit now that I'm not young, but I'm not ready to part with comfortable clothes. So my jeans have no holes in them, and my sweatshirts are tidy and feminine.  And I have jewelry on.  As I was putting the pearl necklace on today I could hear my mother, in one of her weird dinner conversations with my father that made no sense to me at the time, but now makes complete sense.  She said, "And there was Nancy Hughes, baking cookies wearing earrings."

She said that when I was a kid and I thought it was the weirdest thing ever.  First of all, I never heard my mother talk about a TV character like a real person before.  I did it all the time.  Johnny

Gage and Roy DeSoto from my favorite TV show "Emergency" were my very real friends. I talked about them...and yes, I talked to them...all the time.  But I was a dumb kid with a big imagination.  (I often liked to believe I was a dog.  If you went to grade school with me, chances are you remember me as the kid who would crawl around the playground barking. I also pretended to be a horse, but that was a shorter lived phase.  Dogs were more fun to be I guess.)

Anyway, so I'm sitting at the dinner listening to my mother gripe about a woman on a soap opera making cookies and wearing earrings at the same time.  I didn't get it.

I get it now.  My mother was a woman who was always, always overwhelmed and overworked.  I remember her best as always being frazzled by this or that.  Moms can relate.  There's always work to be done, and if you're a working mom (outside the home) then there's that. And this was before the over scheduling of the children, so she didn't have to drive us anyplace, but it was also before microwaves, food delivery to your door, and being able to record TV shows.  Oh, and she used a wringer washing machine until about 2001.  Granted, that's her issue, automatic washing machines have been around for a long time.

Anyway, I get it. There are days, even now that I'm working at home and my life is moving much more slowly, that I put a ton of time into my look because I don't have that kind of time or energy Even working in an office, there were days where I was running so fast I had to just look in the mirror and say, "good enough."  

For my mother's generation, it was even more so like that. The idea of doing something so basic, so homey, like baking cookies, but first taking time to put in earrings was silly in our part of the world. Taking that sort of time for that sort of primping was looked upon as wasteful.  Baking, cooking, cleaning all took time, and wearing earrings took time away from that.  Only women who really, really, REALLY had it together would have the kind of time and togetherness it would take to put on earrings and bake cookies. and Nancy Hughes, in all her soapy glory, was put together. 

Nancy Hughes (helen Wagner)
Still Rocking great earrings!
In that one comment, one I remember all these decades later, I heard my mother's frustration with her life.  There was no glamour in my childhood.  We had no money, my dad worked ridiculous hours, and my mom filled in the gaps teaching piano lessons.  Yet, we always had a roof over our heads and food on the table.  It wasn't always great food, we ate a lot of casseroles, but I was never hungry.

I always wear earrings now.  Simple hoops usually, nothing like Nancy Hughes' glorious clip-ons. (Who didn't envy those wardrobes?)  But looking in the mirror, wearing a sweatshirt and pearls, I had to laugh.  In a weird way I've become that ideal woman my mother envied.  I mean, I have a job that has flexibility for long lunches and drama in the middle of the day. I'm sure. I can bake while wearing earrings. In fact, last week I baked a pie while wearing earrings. 

At the same time, I'm wearing a hooded sweatshirt and jeans. I'll NEVER have a perfect manicure. I'm ready for some sort of work. I'm ready to do what I have to without worrying about getting dirty or puked on or whatever. 

My mother and my mother's soaps. I've got a foot, or an ear, in both worlds.

Now, if I could just get it together enough to go to Europe!






Sunday, May 10, 2015

Best Mother's Day Gift EVER???

Good morning!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms and moms to be out there.  I know Skippy and Peaches are thinking of me today...especially when I open their doors and yell, "GET UP" in a few minutes. It's my favorite time of day, when I communicate with my children on a Sunday morning.  "GET UP AND OUT OF BED!"

Anyway...

Some say making other people laugh is the greatest gift a person can give. If that's true, then my husband is the Santa Claus of Mother's Day because boy howdy did I laugh, thanks to him.  

We were eating dinner in the living room, kids were both at work.  Hubby made beer can chicken, potatoes and asparagus wrapped in bacon on the grill.  Yep, one of my favorite meals EVER.  (Don't know what beer can chicken is?  Well, you take a whole chicken and an open can of beer.  Make the chicken SIT on the can, and then set the whole thing on the grill. Yes, the name is pretty self explanatory.) 

So we're sitting there, eating, and Jude and Tacocat, two of our four cats were sort of standing, front paws on the footstool, watching Hubby eat.  This isn't unusual.  Cats are curious.  They are also always hungry.  And we always eat in the living room. So it's a general rule that at least one or two of the beasts are going to be extremely interested in what we're eating.  This time around, two of them are on their back feet, front paws on the footstool, watching Hubby eat.

Hubby lets out a good, solid belch. Since I turned 40 we've become a family of wildly impolite belchers.  I used to try and hold it in, but there's very little more satisfying than an excellent belch. The Romans had something with that.  Anyway, Hubby lets out a belch and Jude, our very dignified looking cat startles and falls over Tacocat.  Jude recovers his dignity, as cats do, immediately, and hops up on the footstool as if falling on Tacocat had nothing to do with Hubby's belch and everything to do with his plan to get on the footstool and closer to the food.

It's at that point that I lost it.  I started laughing harder than I've laughed in several months. It's just a dumb thing, a cat getting startled and falling over.  My four idiot beasts do it all the time.  But for some reason, this time hit me as the funniest thing I'd seen in ages.

Hubby looked at Jude, and then he set down his plate.  He took Jude's face in his hands and he said, "Well congratulations, Jude.  We just made the blog."

So thank you to my belching husband and my easily startled cat.  Thank you for making me laugh so hard I had to lie down.  Thank you for what might be one of the best Mother's Day gifts even!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dear Walmart Vision Center Employee: Do you really think I'm that dumb...or are you that dumb?

Good afternoon!

People often stop me and comment on this blog.  They say things like, "I don't know if things just happen to you or if you just notice things other people don't notice."

I'm pretty certain things happen to people all the time, but they just chose to ignore it or they're never
Not a clue what the movie was about
I liked the pictures though
.
aware of it. It's sort of like the movie "The Matrix."  No, not the concept of the movie...but rather, some people understood the concept and some people just like to watch Keanu Reeves run around in ripped clothing and black leather. Which group am I in?  Well, if you have to ask, then you're clearly new to this blog.

Anyway, several days ago I had to go to the eye doctor.  I don't like going to any doctor.  It's not that I'm afraid it's that every doctor I've ever met, no matter what their specialty is or what I'm in for, feels the need to weigh me.  I'm sorry, why does my sore throat mean I have to be weighed?  Better yet...why does my kid's sore throat mean I have to be weighed?  What, a fat mother contributed to a kid's sore throat?  And why does the dentist need to know my weight?  Are they planning on shooting me with a dart gun and aren't sure what size to use?  just set it to 'Rhino" and you'll be safe!

Anyway, the eye doctor.  Since my experience at the Target vision center two years ago was so negative (they wouldn't let me pick out the frames I wanted, they made me get progressive lens that wound up aggravating my neck injury from my car accident. I blogged about it, but I'm too lazy to look it up. You go ahead and find it. It's in there.) I decided to go to Walmart's vision center.  We used to go there all the time, and I liked it.  Nice eye doctor, cheap frames, quick everything.  I was delighted to find out that the same eye doctor was still there.  WIN!

Everything at the appointment went really, really well, right down to the eye guy I'll call Todd (because he reminded me EXACTLY of my college friend Todd) who made sure that this time the bifocal reading part of my lens actually was big enough for me to, you know, READ.  Which means I won't have to keep tipping me head up like I'm some kind of chicken trying to digest water when all I want to do is read choir music.  My choir partners will be very excited about this.

Monday I got the call. My new glasses were in!  YAY!

So Tuesday, after work, I went to Walmart to pick up my glasses.  It was shortly after one in the afternoon, and the place wasn't crazy busy, but the two employees, one of whom was "Todd" were both with customers.  No problem.  Todd made eye contact with me, indicating he would help me as soon as he was done.  I stood at the cash register and waited patiently.  No, really, I was behaving.  I really was.

An older woman wearing a vision center white coat came out of the exam area and into the  frames area where I was standing.  She surveyed the room. Then she looked at me.  She looked at me for a long time.  Like fifteen seconds.  Then she sighed and slumped her shoulders, as if she'd just seen the human form of a disease.  Still...yep...still looking right at me.

"He'll be with you in a minute," she says and she turns around and goes back into the exam area,

Okay, that was odd. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe she wasn't equipped to give anyone their glasses. maybe she was new. Maybe she was an eye doctor and couldn't help me because she was too smart to run the cash register. Except that I didn't need the cash register, I was just waiting to pick up my glasses. 

Whatever.

So I wait for another ten minutes. I'm not kidding. Ten minutes. The other two employees are working hard, so I have no harsh feelings for them.

And this is where it gets...I don't know...weird.

No, I don't think you did.  Because you
didn't give me a chance to ask.
The older woman, the same one who came out ten minutes earlier and looked at me like I was a steak dinner and she was a PETA representative, walks out of the exam area. She takes a look around the room and then looks at me.  And then, as if we've never seen each other, never spoken to each other, as if I'M A COMPLETELY NEW CUSTOMER WHO HASN'T BEEN STANDING THERE TEN MINUTES AFTER SHE BLEW ME OFF, she says, "Is there something I can help you with?"

WHAT???????????????????

Am I in the Twilight Zone here?  Did we not just have an exchange ten minutes ago?  You are the same person...and I haven't moved...and you're acting like I'm new to this equation?

DO I LOOK THAT STUPID TO YOU?

Turns out, she knew exactly how to give someone their glasses. Mine actually fit me perfectly right
out of the box, so it's not like it was a challenge.  She was quite pleasant through the process, but I couldn't help wondering...WHAT IS UP WITH THIS CHICK?

I realize that Walmart customers are an odd lot sometimes.  I get it. I just didn't realize that the employees got to treat their customers like we were in some weird game of "peek a boo."  Next time I'll know.


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

Good afternoon everyone and Happy Holidays! When I was little I lived in Michigan, home to a wonderful store called Meijer's Thrif...