08 November 2013

We Are THIS CLOSE to Becoming Known as "That Crazy Family" in Town

This is a warning to all you FaceTime users.  Take note:  it is not a pretty story.

Proceed with caution.
It all began yesterday on a drive home from my son, Alex's, doctor's appointment.  Normally I can't get any kind of information out of him, but I had him trapped in my car (another miracle since he got his driver's license).  And so we had a great chat, discussing world news topics, what's going on at school, things he has seen recently that he thinks are hilarious.  And then he came out with this, which I think is damned hilarious:

"Hey--last weekend Fred* wanted me to answer my phone, so he FaceTimed me.  But Dad answered and he was only wearing a towel.  And Dad was making one of those faces like he was some old guy who had no clue what he was doing.  Fred was so freaked out he hung up.  What's up with that?"

I practically had to pull off the road because  my eyes were filled with tears from laughing so hard.  We needed to get to the bottom of this.  Pronto.

When Jay got home, our son was out, but I couldn't wait until he was back to spring this gem on Jay.  The conversation went like this: 

Me:  "Did you know that you answered a FaceTime last weekend from Fred and you were only wearing a towel?!!!"
Jay:  "HARHARHARHAR *SNORT* GUFFAW!  OMIGOD!!  I thought that was a text from Jason!  My phone rang and I was just getting out of the shower when I answered it--I couldn't figure out what was going on!"  [Apparently he did not wear his readers into the shower]

Mind you, no embarrassment whatsoever. 

He explained that he totally screwed up his phone the last time he downloaded an iOS update, and now occasionally gets things obviously not meant for him sent his way. 

Poor Fred.  That kid will never, ever FaceTime Alex again.  And I warn the rest of you:  shield your eyes partially if you ever try to do the same.  You just never know...

*The subject's name has been changed to protect him from...well, you know.

29 October 2013

Who Needs Enemies When You Have a Morning Like This?!

It has been so many, many moons since I have last written. But this morning was a humdinger and after only two events I realized I needed to share, if only to give a laugh to someone or help another realize that life is good...especially if you're not Joanne.

The day started not that badly.  The dogs let me sleep until my alarm went off, which isn't an all-the-time kind of thing.  The kids got off to school without a hitch and Jay left for work without driving me nuts about why the upstairs office is such a mess, why there is only a 1/2 cup of coffee left in the pot, or how much he loves skiing and he wants to do it RIGHT NOW.  THIS VERY INSTANT.  

It was all good.

[Children take heed: The following is what happens when you: 1) Stop going to the dentist regularly once you are out from under your parents' protective wings and into the big, wide world of adulthood; 2) Ignore the dentist (once you do go) when they tell you that you have a cavity that needs to be taken care of.]
So after an uneventful early morning, my trip to the dentist happened.  I had a toothache.  In my experience, the less a dentist looks at your teeth, the worse the prognosis.  And so it was.  I heard the ominous words (cue the dramatic music), "This tooth cannot be saved."  I knew the end of my business with regular dentistry, at least for now, was nigh.  Onto the oral surgeon!  Implants and bridgework galore!  GroanI left the office feeling humbled, not because they were mean to me--actually the entire staff at my dentist's office is lovely--but that I was such an idiot to ignore one of the most basic things in life:  Teeth!
(By the way, I know my very best friend of all time, Laleh, who is all about going to the dentist regularly, may actually be comatose right now, simply from the sheer trauma of reading this (that is, if she has read this!). 

After such fun (such FUN), I felt the need for some retail therapy, if you count grocery shopping as such.  I did my trip through the store, completely distracted by the fearful daydream of dentures, paid and left.  As I was walking toward my car, I unlocked the doors, not really paying much attention to what I was doing.  Once at my car, I opened the back door, and there you go, Bob's your uncle:  the alarm went off.  Loudly.

My thought process kicked in...finally:

"oh.  wait.  this is not my car."

And then I got my butt out of there before the cops showed up.  This is not the first time I have done something like this, I remind you.  This was me, too:  http://theimperfectionist23.blogspot.com/2012/04/warning-lock-your-car-doors-here-i-come.html

I am now home, waiting for something else just as fun to happen this afternoon.  But in the meantime, even with my morning turning out the way it did, how can I not be happy when today looks like this? 

And so, my long-winded message is this:  find some good in today, even if everything is seemingly awful.  It can help you laugh at the crappy stuff, and who isn't up for that?!

25 April 2013

Yes, I Have Mirrors in My House. What of It?

An old errant habit resurfaced this morning, viz. not checking my look before I leave the house.  After I had dropped the kids off at school, I decided to stop by the grocery store to pick up some noshes to keep book club satisfied tomorrow night, and then on to that Shangri-la we all know as Walmart to get Janie a white t-shirt, which she informed me (last night) she had to have by today. 

Mind you, I am not the type to get all duded-up to drop the kids off at school, so I was less than public-ready when I started my rounds.  This fact only occurred to me as I was walking into Walmart and caught my reflection in the sliding glass door.  My sweater was rumpled and the jeans I was wearing were so baggy that the crotch was hanging out just above my knees, giving my legs a nice, stout, Oompa-loompa look.  The look was finished of by a pair of beat-up Ugg slippers (not even actual shoes/boots), lending a quality of super-sized, gout-ridden feet.  So pretty.

I bee-lined through the store, grabbed what I needed, paid, and booked it the hell out of there.  Back in my car I winced as I caught a glimpse of myself in the rear-view mirror.  No make-up, hair finger-raked at best.  I was (OK, I'll admit it: I still am) rocking an awesome haggard and haggish (i.e. looking like a witch, not to be confused with the Scottish offal delicacy) vibe. 

And to think that as a child I was embarrassed when my mother would wear her around-the-house CVO's in public.  I've got it all over her.

I'll never learn.  It will happen again.  And I bet this makes lots of people feel better about their own look they're rocking today.

24 April 2013

Teeth Brushing Musings

As I was brushing my teeth this morning, I was thinking about lots of things that, for me, have brightened the last couple of weeks.  Even in the darkest moments, it's nice to be able to smile, even if it is for a brief moment.  It helps you realize that there's always a bit of good out there.

Here are a few things that I'm grateful for (to my family and friends--forgive me--you guys are a given):
  • Anything written by P. G. Wodehouse. In addition to every story being light and frivolous, reading his work makes you want to say things like, "Right-ho!" and "Jolly good!"
  • Pansies, forsythia, and anything blooming after such a bleak and snowy winter.

  • How our small community has embraced helping out one of its own, Taylor Sack.  Taylor is a high school student here in our small Massachusetts town and suffered an injury to his spinal cord in a skiing accident back in February.  People here have done everything from organizing fundraisers to helping Taylor's family remodel their house so it will be a better living space for him once he arrives home.  One of Taylor's fellow classmates made a video for him to see how the work is coming along:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1knd-q0Gjw  The outpouring of love is just amazing.  Makes you believe in humanity. [cue me sobbing uncontrollably]  Here's a little more of Taylor's story:  http://www.taylorsack.org/ . 
  • The announcement of a new venture for a great musician, Tim Shiel.  He has begun recording with another talented artist, Ben Abraham, and together they are named Telling.  Here is their first creation made available for our ears:  https://soundcloud.com/#tellingmusic/stella  Love it.  I can't tire of it, and I'm looking forward to hearing lots more. 
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly as the flavor trend of the moment.  Salted caramel is so yesterday.  And what a great excuse to indulge in my all-time favorite combo, while staying in vogue.
Maybe one of these things will bring smiles to others, too.   Maybe not.  I just hope everyone can find something, anything to bring on a little joy.  Good luck to all finding your own bit of sunshine.

16 April 2013

How Sloshed Paint Became My Madeleines (à la Proust)

After getting a dose of today's morning news, I, like so many other people in the Boston area as well as nationwide needed an escape.  I did not want to minimize the horrifying course of events that happened at yesterday's Boston Marathon, but was in dire need of a mental escape if only for a few hours. 

What to do?  Exercise?  Yard work?  Bake?  Binge stress eat?  While the thought of a chimichanga washed down with a pint of Ben & Jerry's at 9:00 AM sounded quite appealing, I turned to the mindless and yet cathartic task of repainting all of the white trim in the main downstairs section of our house. 

Supplies gathered, I began to prep the paint.  As I was stirring it, some sloshed over the side of the can.  Automatically, I grabbed my paintbrush and brushed the excess paint up the side and over the rim back into the can.  And voilà, a Proustian moment emerged.  I was transported back in time to my early teens, on a bleak Saturday in late winter/early spring.  I was helping my dad paint a room.  I was often dragged into such projects when he was forced to take on menial chores during the winter months that did not permit him to be out in his gardens, puttering endlessly.  My present-day self clearly remembered him showing me how to hold the brush and drag any excess paint back up into the can, just as I had done not a few seconds ago. 

Back in my kitchen as I worked on the trim, my brush strokes brought back different memories of other techniques he had taught me, though now I take them for granted as if they were an innate part of me.  Things like giving the brush a wiggle when the bristles aren't moving where you want them to.  Or how to remove a lone bristle from a wet painted surface with the tip of your brush.  Or how to fan your fingers across the ferrule to get better control.  How to paint with confidence.

And he was suddenly here with me, giving me comfort on a day when we all could use some.

Cleaning up, I mused at how, when teaching me his painting tricks, he probably never thought they'd resurface in my adult mind some thirty-odd years later.  I'm sure to him, they were just ways to make the job easier.  But for me they resulted in a fond and nostalgic memory. 

He's been gone from this life now for twenty-two years, and yet because of a rainy afternoon of painting so long ago, he was here today.  The small, insignificant things we do can touch lives just as much as the eventful, grandiose ones.  Let's hope we all give a warm memory to someone when we don't even realize we're doing it.  You never know.  You may have already done it many times.

And finally, on a lighter note:

Guess who helped paint today?


My heart cries for all of those who were affected by yesterday's atrocities. 

You will always be a beautiful city, Boston. No single act will change that. 

10 April 2013

Confessions of a Hair Spaz

I am a hair abuser.  I have subjected myself to more home color treatments and hair "trims" than I'd care to admit.  You'd think I'd learn.  But I committed another no-no just this week.

Turn the clocks back in time:

It all started when I was eight with a full-on epidemic of hair loathing.  My towheaded curls had darkened into a mass of thick, unruly, mouse-brown frizz in the course of a winter.  No amount of sun during the next summer could ever lighten that sad color.  I was fated to have hair of mediocrity for what seemed like the rest of my existence.

Cut to the summer I turned seventeen.  My sister, Sharon, convinced me that it would look awesome if I frosted my hair (this was the early 80's, mind you).  If I remember correctly, she had never tried this on anybody else, not even herself.  I was her maiden voyage into the world of DIY hair alteration.  She was a nurse, after all, so who better to trust?  The result was not quite what either of us expected, as she went kind of heavy on the strands at my temples and I looked like a frosted version of the Bride of Frankenstein:  The Teen Years.  I think the span of time after that debacle has been psychologically buried in a post-traumatic amnesia kind of way, since I can't remember how we dealt with the results.  I think I may have just resorted to looking stripey for a long time. 

Oddly, even with the results of my first hair-altering experience, I kept experimenting.  And through my late teens to early twenties, lots of different colors sprouted from my scalp, none ever close to my natural color.  And all done in the confines of my own bathroom-salon. 

I went through a good, long span of time after that when I would only have my hair colored/highlighted professionally.  That was good.  My follicles needed time to regroup after being abused by ammonia every six weeks.  But then with pregnancy and babies came very little time spent doing anything for myself, and also the definite banning of all hair coloring.  My mouse-brown came back with vengeance.  Oh, the glory of blah-ness.  Eventually I welcomed L'Oreal back into my routine because there was no time to get to the hair salon.  The worst was when our son was only a year old and I decided to give my look a boost.  I was going to go platinum.  As I was rinsing my hair in the shower after keeping the bleach on for what seemed like five hours, images of gorgeous blond locks played in my head.  Jay walked in, caught a glimpse of me and started laughing uncontrollably. 

"WHAT?!!" I bellowed. 
"You look like a clown!" he spat out, in between choked-back tears of laughter.

It was true, my hair had turned bright orange.  That was a baseball cap day until I could get to the drugstore for some emergency supplies.  Ironically, that wouldn't be until later, because we were meeting my hair-frosting sister and her husband for brunch in only a couple of hours.

I could go on with tales of mortifying hair blunders, but I will stop for surely the reader has gotten the idea that I would have learned by now that such enterprises should be left to the professionals.  Deep down, I know this.  But there are moments when the anti-social me really needs a root touch-up and has no desire to spend two hours making chit-chat with a person with whom I am only fairly acquainted.  That was me earlier this week.  And so this was guiltily purchased:

When will I learn?

"It's only for a quick touch-up," I reasoned to myself.

As I was applying the stuff to my scalp, I caught myself wondering when the day was going to be when I go to rinse this goop out and all of my hair falls off with it.  Coincidentally, as I was rinsing my hair, a rather large hunk of blond was left in my hand after running it through.  Uh oh.  I am now waiting to see if more keeps coming out.  Hopefully not.  But if you happen to see me looking rather stylish in the latest millinery, you'll know why.  And maybe I will have learned my lesson.  Finally.

07 April 2013

Who's Been Writing On My Calendar?

In our house, we all know that the calendar on our fridge is my domain.  My life source.  I am the chief writer and recorder of all upcoming events and obligations, and the only one who really uses it to check what's on the weekly docket.  I've even got fine-point Sharpies in every color imaginable to make such dull work tolerable (I just reread this sentence and realize now how sad my life sounds...and, at times, is).  That is, if they aren't dried up, or stolen from their "secret" hiding place.

I'm always befuddled by the fact that nobody else has the capacity to go straight to the calendar when enquiring about a date or time of a game/meet/appointment until I direct them to said organizational instrument.  Probably my fault for being up-to-date with the answers to every one's questions rather than answering with a vapid, "Dunno.  Go check the calendar."  Consequently, there is the drawback of me being the first-blamed if any game/meet/appointment is missed, if it happens to not be written down.

Sometimes Jay or one of the kids will write something down if it is of great importance to them, usually without letting me know about the event (unless it's a birthday or other deal, where I'm expected to deliver in a big way).  Today I noticed such a thing, though I don't think anything is expected of me...hopefully.  It was this, written in Green Sharpie:

First:  I didn't have my bulgy-eyed-look-inducing readers on, so I couldn't quite make out what these apparent hieroglyphs meant.  I could decipher that Janie's name was involved, but what evidently was a time looked to me like a chef's hat or sideways muffin.  Seriously.  My eyes are that bad.  What I did know was that this was Jay's writing.  What I didn't know was why he was writing down that Janie was doing some sort of cooking thing on Thursday.  And since when did he start getting creative and using rebuses to get his message out there?  I finally realized what it meant after rooting around the kitchen for ten minutes, looking for my readers. 

As I write, I don't really know what my point of this post is today, other than sometimes the littlest things can throw you off and ultimately give you a good chortle (love that word, chortle).  And I'm still not sure what Janie is supposed to be doing on Thursday at 6:30.  Here's hoping you have a good week, and get to where you need to be without too many mysteries.

26 March 2013

Move Over, Shirtless Running Guy!

I've been trying to get some new shots of Shirtless Running Guy for the spring season.  I think he's got new shorts and running shoes to show off.  Unfortunately, he's being elusive.  Nothing surprising, and I will prevail.

In the meantime, somebody new has emerged, piquing my interest.  It is Purple-Hooded-Cape Dude.  I have seen him walking down my street a total of three times now.  I have to say, for small-town Massachusetts, donning what appears to be a velvet purple hooded cape is making a pretty bold fashion statement.  Good for him (I'm pretty sure this person's male--if not, sorry lady, I thought I saw a beard).

Today he walked past my house and drove the dogs into a manic, foaming-at-the-mouth frenzy. Immediately I jumped into action.  With camera (well, actually phone, as my camera battery is deader than dead) in hand, I furtively moved through my back yard, pretending to search for dog bits to scoop.  He had stopped and was crouched, his back to me, searching through a bag in front of my neighbor's house.  I stood behind the cover our shed, peeking around the corner, waiting for him to be on his way so I could get a full shot of him in all his purple glory.  As he got up and headed off, I ran to the other side of the shed, rushing toward our fence and the mass of sharp brambles ensconcing it.  I got as close as possible, shoving my camera through the thicket while simultaneously shredding my arms (because shirt makers don't make sleeves long enough or I have freakishly long arms).  And all I got was this:

Curses!  A big, fat nothing.  Makes him all the more intriguing, no?  So now I have a new subject for my covert photography.  If you're from my town and know this mystery person, let me know.  I'll say hi and introduce myself.  Maybe he'll let me take a proper picture to post.  Otherwise, the pursuit

20 March 2013

Nasty Stuff!

I have to warn all gentle readers that my post today is going to be gross.  Some may label the following as TMI, and with good reason,  but some things are too nasty to keep to one's self.  Best to get that out of the way right now rather than have folks ticked off at the stuff I am about to write.   


You know that side of us we all have, the one where we are secretly (for me not so secret after writing today) intrigued by super-gross stuff?  Like how I couldn't stop scrutinizing the humongous hunk of earwax that unexpectedly fell from the depths of my ear canal the other night.  It was like nothing I had ever seen before.  Freak show stature.  And I have no idea where it came from (besides the vicinity of my inner ear).  Remember, I warned you.  Anyway, even if it is the remotest bit of our personalities, there is a bit of us that is attracted to the grotesque like moths to a porch light. 

So...now on to the true subject of today's musings.  We have had a big mystery going on in our house.  Our ski gear basket has had a funky odor emanating from it.  Looks pretty innocent, doesn't it?

The smell, which kept getting worse daily, was heinous.  I try to keep up on things, and believed the odor couldn't possibly be due to something slipping by me.  And so, every time Jay reached for a hat,  gloves, or anything else looming deep down in there, he would make a face like he was going to lose his lunch and exclaim with increasing vehemence, "SOMETHING DIED IN THERE!"  To which I would reply with equal gusto, "NO, THE SMELL IS BECAUSE YOU KEEP PUTTING WET STUFF IN THERE!"  Which even he could not dispute, because he is totally guilty of said act, as are our kids.  I thought I had found the culprit, a hat which reeked of the telltale odor: 

Alas, even after removing the hat, the smell remained.  

Finally, last night, our daughter, Janie, was getting ready for a soccer game and pulled from the basket her very well-hidden string bag: 

(I need to mention that this basket is deeeeep.)  Lo and behold, joy of joys, the gut-wrenching mystery odor bloomed to its full, head-on, knock-your-socks-off, beastly stench-of-all-stenches!    BUT!  The mystery was not completely solved, for, what was inside the string bag that caused it to erupt such a foul stink?  Aha!!  It was THIS:

Pretty.  Neoprene lunch bags may hold in liquids quite well, but grandly let polluted air escape.  The end of the mystery?  No, for the best was still to come.  Janie, with much repugnance thrust the lunch bag at me.  Gingerly, I unzipped the wretched thing, to discover THIS (hold on to your hats, and other things):

Ah, the culprit.  A liquefied one-time solid, festering in the dark, warm innards of many layers of synthetic fabrics.  I do believe it was once a sandwich.  And I know for a fact that it had been thriving in there since she brought the bag home from a day-long soccer reffing class which she attended back on February 16th.  That's a over a full month of break-down time.  Scrumptious. 

Mystery finally solved.  And it is not Jay's fault for dumping wet ski accessories, nor a dead something-or-other.  Simply the fact that our daughter refuses (like any teen kid) to empty her gear bags out at the end of the day.   

As for the gross factor, the liquid-filled baggie is up there on the "It's Like Watching a Train Wreck" list of stuff I have to take pictures of and marvel at (be happy I didn't take a pic of my ear wax clump).  And kudos to the makers of zip-lock bags.  If it weren't for them, this could have been a lot worse.

In memory of Dana Fields.  You touched our lives in so many lovely ways, you wonderful woman, you.



30 January 2013

A Canine Take on the Family Bed Theory

I am running on nothing more than fumes and lots of caffeine today.  And in this compromised state, I am officially admitting defeat to my husband, Jay.  Yes, Jay, I now agree that it was not a good idea to allow our puppy of seven months full access to our bed at night.  There you have it.  You win, I give.  And that's in writing.

Backtrack to the beginning of last week and the beginning of this whole debacle.  Jay left for a week long business trip on Tuesday.  Now, until that very day he left, our über-cuddly and therefore irresistible puppy, Willa, slept downstairs with Pippet, our other less-than-cuddly dog who normally wants nothing to do with us at night.  The night Jay left, Willa was unusually, shall I say, "spirited" (read:  spazzy) at her normal bedtime.  She refused to stay downstairs, repeatedly climbing past the gate we had blocking off the bottom of the staircase.  And of course, Pippet was close behind, not wanting to miss out on anything.  The end result was both dogs on our bed, which I allowed because Jay was gone, and because I'm spineless when it comes to dogs being cute (which of course they were).  Pippet eventually realized that nothing interesting was going on, that being upstairs was a waste of her precious canine time, and she removed herself to back downstairs.  Willa remained sleeping near me the entire night, being all cute and cuddly, even when she had pushed me to within inches of falling straight to the floor.  Repeat this scenario for the next five nights.  And thus, a monster (albeit an outrageously charming one) was born. 

Enter Jay back into the story.  Oy.  The first night he was back home was full of grumbling and exasperated sighs, due to the fact that his side of our bed was shanghaied by a warm ball of white and brown fur, snoring and snorting away happily within inches of his pillow.  I made out his under-the-breath grousings such as, "This is not going to work," and "This is ri-dic-u-lous."  I moved Willa to her bed that I had supplied on the floor near my side of our bed, and after a couple of attempts by her to get back onto our bed without success, she fell asleep on her new digs and remained there for the night.

The new sleeping plan worked for a couple of nights, and then Jay left for another trip last night.  Back up on our bed came Willa, ready for sleep, this time sans Pippet.  She went right to sleep, so I thought things would be copacetic if she slept there just for the night.  I would get her back to her floor bed when Jay got back the next night.  Well....Willa had different plans.  At 3:00 AM she decided it was the perfect time to start pacing the bed and chewing one of her bones.  She then jumped off the bed and went downstairs.  Shortly thereafter I heard the sleigh bells ring on the back door, which she uses to inform us of her desire to go outside.  Fine.  I went downstairs and let her out.  At this point, Pippet thought it was time to wake up for the day, and was found standing bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the closet door where her food is kept, waiting for breakfast.  Letting her know aloud that no such thing was happening at that hour, I headed back upstairs, leaving both dogs staring at me expectantly from the kitchen.  They were on my heels by the time I got to my bedroom, (only after trying to wake both of our sleeping kids by crashing open their bedroom doors) and were both on the bed before I was even close to getting back in.  What ensued was like a circus in a two-person tent; elephants, trapeze artists, you name it.  Around four o'clock, after a WWF-worthy wrestling match, they finally fell back to sleep, Willa lying on my back, one of her toys in my face.  I don't think I ever fully got back to sleep.  Which is why I feel as I do, and why this is what my two dogs look like at this hour:

I will not post a picture of what I look like after our rough night, as I don't want to induce nausea on any kind readers hearty enough to have gotten this far in this long, drawn-out story.

And there you have it:  my tale that would make any dog trainer cringe, and will make Jay just about as smug as he can get.   My wrist is slapped, I know I did not make good choices (wow...I feel like I'm in kindergarten).  I am now accepting my sentence of biting the bullet and making sure both pooches sleep where they are supposed to sleep, and everyone is happy.  I'm thinking I may need some dumb luck.