Monday, November 21, 2011

Shopping for Jeans

I recently went shopping with my daughter, a 30-something year old.  In keeping with the sister-hood oath of womanhood, I will not reveal her true age.  When she shops, she likes to shop the junior stores because she is a size 0, and there aren’t many stores that stock a size 0.  That is not a typo – you read it correctly – a 0.  I told her not to say that out loud because she would surely be attacked by all the Blimpo Barbies within hearing distance.  Sizes are supposed to be a numerical value, like 10 or 12 – 0 has no numeric value whatsoever.

Anyway, I accompanied my daughter to some junior stores at the mall, because I’m the Mom, and I buy clothes for my kid - even though I feel like a beached whale in the midst of young mermaids.  But, to pass the time, I find a few items to try on too.  Express is having a sale on jeans – buy one and get one for half price.  Such a deal, even though the price of one pair of jeans is the weekly food budget for my husband and me.  But, not wanting to pass up a special sale on jeans, I find the largest size they have and the sweet young clothing associate finds a dressing room for me – I think I heard her chuckle a little as she locked me in the 4 x 4 closet.  While in the little dressing room, I attempted to squeeze one of my thunder thighs into one leg of the jeans – then the next thigh.  The tricky part is snapping and zipping the low rise over my 2 pregnancies-bloated-stretch-marked belly.  The little dressing room is not wide enough for me to lie down, so I do a jumping up and down dance.  Finally, the jeans are painted on my body, the waist sitting about 4 inches below my belly button, but not low enough to tuck under my gut.  My devoting daughter says, “They look great on you, Mom!”  So, if I buy them I will have to make sure I don’t go anywhere where I will have to sit down, or bend over, or walk up stairs.  I’ll just stand there and think, “Look at me everyone, I’ve squeezed my granny-aged body into a pair of teeny-bopper jeans.”  But, hey, a sale is a sale, and we got her size 0 jeans for half price!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Tuesday is a nondescript day. It’s not dreaded Monday, the very beginning of the work week. It doesn’t have a name like “hump” day, and it doesn’t have the distinction of having happy hour associated with it. Maybe that’s why retail stores have sales on Tuesday to bring in customers.

Tuesdays at the lake is men’s day at the golf course 30 miles away where my husband spends the day with his golfing buddies. When I say spend the day, I mean 12 hours of golfing, gambling, eating, and drinking. He leaves at 9:30 am and doesn’t get home until 9:30 at night. As the golfing widow, I can either go “Oh Woe is Me” and feel stranded by a one-vehicle family and stare at the 4 walls all day; or I can go “Woo Hoo” because I get to drink coffee and read my book until noon and watch whatever I want on TV instead of the Fishing Channel or Military Channel.

I made a great discovery a few weeks ago. This small lake town has public transportation in the form of vans that come directly to your door to pick you up and take you wherever you want to go; then deliver you back to your doorstep when you are ready to go home. All this for a mere $1.50 each time you step on the van. This particular Tuesday I made a nail appointment and hair appointment at the town mall – which is a group of stores on Main Street that are enclosed for a block. The van picked me up right on time and since I was the only one in the van I had a lovely conversation with the driver: “How many vans do you have?” “Do you run in the winter?” “Are you handicapped accessible?” What I failed to ask were the hours of operation.

The day at “the mall” was delightful because I pampered myself with a manicure, a new hairdo, and shopping. “Downtown” was even having its “Crazy Days” sales where Main Street was blocked off so the merchants could have a gigantic street sale. I tried on clothes, had a nice conversation with the florist, and even treated myself to a latte. After all, I didn’t have to hurry home to cook dinner for the hubby.

When I was done I called the number for the van to pick me up. No answer. I tried again – same result. I went into the drug store and asked what time the public van stopped running – no one knew. They tried calling for me – no answer. “Would you like me to call a taxi for you?” Sure – there goes my $1.50 bargain. The Taxi number resulted in a similar response – leave a message. In a small town of 8,000, I’m sure there is only one taxi driver, and he probably went home for dinner. Nevertheless, I left my number for a call back saying I was stranded at the Washington Mall.

I thought of my options. Walk home – 6 miles around the lake in flip flops. Hitchhike. Call a neighbor – however, I didn’t have any of their numbers in my phone. So I went back to the florist to see when she was closing for the day – maybe she wouldn’t mind running me home – after all, we sort of bonded talking about greenery and bird cages. She was staying open for another hour or so.

The only option left was to walk, so I started my trek towards the beach a half-mile away. I remember seeing a beach bicycle cart decorated like Margaretaville, so I thought I could rent that for a mile, cutting my hike down to 5 miles. As I approached the water, I thought, if I could only go across the lake - it couldn’t be more than 3 miles as the loon flies. But I ain’t Jesus, and I didn’t think I could swim with my bagged purchases.

Then I noticed a dock with boats and pontoons for rent. Aha, it’s worth a try. I went into the little building and explained the pickle I had gotten myself into and wondered if they ever took people across the lake to the other side in a boat. I pointed out on a map where I lived and where they could drop me off – the Public Access dock - which is only about a half-mile from my house. The nice young man was a little hesitant, but it was a slow day so he called another young man in and asked him to motor me across. As I walked out the door, the young man said, “Let’s not mention this to anyone, ok?” Thumbs up. “Gotcha!” Thumbs up.

So this teenager complete with a nose ring and unusual-looking hair boarded me on a pontoon, and we headed for the south shore of the lake. I felt like Kate Winslet and a blue-haired Leonardo DiCaprio on the bow of the Titanic speeding across the waves, wind blowing through our hair. Twenty minutes later I jumped off the pontoon and tipped junior 20 bucks for the journey.

Tuesdays aren’t so boring anymore. All I have to do is plan an excursion to town.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


1. When you leave the garage door open it means...

a. Small Town...the neighbors come over and visit; you have a beer and catch up on all the neighborhood gossip.

b. Big City...the golf clubs, broken stereo, discarded satellite receiver, and car all disappear.

2. When you make an appointment at the eye doctor, the receptionist says...

a. Small Town..."What time today would you like to come in? 11:00 or 11:30? OK, I'll put you down for 11-ish."

b. Big City..."We don't have an opening until October 27, 2012 at 7:30 am. Be sure to come in 45 minutes before your scheduled time to fill out the paperwork."

3. When postage is due on mail...

a. Small Town...they leave a little envelope in your mailbox for the 15 cents.

b. Big City...they leave a large yellow bill stating they are holding your mail hostage until you drive 8 miles to the nearest post office between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm to give them the 15 cents.

4. When you ask for directions, you get something like this...

a. Small Town..."It's just down the hill across from the fire station."

b. Big City..."Go east on the 101 for 10 miles, it will turn into the Pima Freeway; drive another 15 miles, and take the 202 to Exit 568 to Rural Road, which is Scottsdale Road going north; turn left on Rio Salado, go to the second light, turn right..."

5. When buying bottled beverages...

a. Small can only buy liquor at the one state-run store in town, and it is closed on Sundays.

b. Big City...there are drive-through liquor stores open 24/7.

6. Stores...

a. Small Town...ducks and chickens are sold in the general store and there are only 2 stores where you can buy groceries, Wal Mart and the local grocer. A gallon of milk costs $4.50.

b. Big have to drive 45 miles before you even see a duck or chicken. There is a grocery store on every corner, a Wal Mart every 5 miles, and a gallon of milk costs $1.50.

7. Traffic Lights...

a. Small Town...there are one, maybe two, traffic lights in the entire town.

b. Big City...there are hundreds of traffic lights, all set differently, complete with radar, cameras, left-turn arrows, right-turn arrows, and chirping sounds for the visually impaired.

8. Starbucks

a. Small Town...NONE

b. Big on every corner, in Target, in grocery stores, and shopping malls.

Monday, July 11, 2011



10. I can float all day on the lake and not get sunburned

9. I don’t have to worry about my hair in the rain

8. I don’t need to buy a fishing license

7. I can avoid going through security when I fly south for the winter

6. I can visit New York, North Carolina, and Georgia on my way to Florida

5. It doesn’t take 9 months to pop out an egg

4. My children follow me wherever I go – and they like me

3. Daddy duck doesn’t tell me how to raise the kids

2. The children can find their own apartment when they are 6 months old

And the number 1 reason I want to come back as a duck – I don’t have to find a toilet to take a dump

Monday, June 27, 2011

Man vs Woman

What is it about a man that makes him so contrary? Men and women are like the Ying and Yang – yup and nope – single-celled organism and multi cellular organism – toilet seat up and toilet seat down in life. It’s a miracle a man and woman are even able to coexist under the same roof.

The woman is the decorator – the nest builder. She wants the abode to be a queen’s castle – the envy of Better Homes and Gardens – a stage for Martha Stewart. All the man wants is a place to sit his butt down, and a shelf for his 659 caps.

Our new bathroom is color coordinated with chocolate brown and mocha with a hint of gold. The wastebasket, lotion pump, and tissue holder all match the shower curtain. The soft rug is placed where one steps after enjoying a nice hot shower. The oversized brown towels are soft and fluffy, eager to engulf one in luxury.

The husband has destroyed all this beauty. He has replaced his luxurious brown towels with thread-bare green ones that are 25 years old and have been in the travel trailer for the last 8. “Don’t you like the new brown towels?” “No, they’re too soft.” Say…wha..? Too soft? This makes no sense. And the soft toe-tingling rug has been replaced with a blue scratchy towel circa 1993. Martha has just called for reinforcements.

Husband had to buy a new medicine cabinet – “Need more storage room.” He spent the better part of the afternoon measuring, tapping, drilling, leveling, and securing this HUMONGOUS gun-medal grey box in our new bathroom.

The pictures tell the story better than I.

Man’s Side of the Sink Medicine Cabinet Woman’s Side of the Sink

There are two solutions to this dilemma. Designate one bathroom as a “his” bathroom – preferably in the basement where the Better Homes and Gardens’ camera crew have no chance of finding - or just throw the damn green and blue towels away.

Monday, June 20, 2011


The principal doesn’t know your room number…or your phone number.

You haven’t been evaluated for 2 years.

You haven’t gotten a pay increase in 3 years.

They paint your room mustard yellow.

The average classroom temperature is either 84 or 67 degrees.

The air conditioner stops running…in August…in Phoenix.

The students chase the cockroaches around the room…or is it the cockroaches chase the students around the room.

The cockroach takes up permenant residence in the teachers’ bathroom.

They lock the closest bathroom because of the water main leak on the street.

The sidewalk from your building to the cafeteria is gone and you have to walk across a plank.

Your class discussion is interrupted because of the car crashes at the intersection outside your room.

There are more mothers in your classroom than at the maternity ward.

A student’s mom has placed a restraining order on another student, so they can’t be in the classroom at the same time.

At my age, I could be my students’ great-great-grandmother.

Your students have nicer cell phones than you do.

UPS delivers a ticking box to the front office and the entire school is evacuated.

Administration wants all the teachers to park in the same parking lot instead of the lot that is closest to my room. This is a half-mile walk.

The gates are locked during a fire drill.

Our new schedule gives the CTE teachers less time in the classroom and more time to sub in other teachers’ classrooms.

The dean of students is booked for financial exploitation of her elderly neighbor.

An English teacher goes on “administrative leave” for drawing penises on the board.

And the number 1 reason you know it’s time to retire is when…

Your colleagues in your department have had

Rotator cup surgery

A neurological disorder

A pacemaker

Breast cancer

Brain surgery

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Washing Machine

We are all pretty set in our ways when it comes to washing clothes. Some wash whites first, then darks. Some add bleach and softener at various times during a cycle. Yes, we all have our little quirks when it comes to laundry day.

You don’t? Well, I may have a little more OCD in me than most of you. I like to put the detergent and Oxi Clean in first, then the clothes, then as the machine is filling I feel the water to ensure the proper temperature and make sure there aren’t too many clothes in the machine for the amount of water. That way I can use my own judgment and make any changes before the machine does its miracle of washing my soiled duds.

We bought a new washing machine and dryer recently, and I thought we had made the biggest mistake of our lives. You know how it is when you bring something new home – excitement, anticipation, the new smell – I experienced all of the above, until I started the maiden wash.
First of all, husband and I admired the brand new cleaning machine after it was installed. So, we decided to initiate it with a load of whites – basically because we were all out of underwear. We poured in the detergent, loaded the clothes, and lowered the lid. We placed the dials in the correct mode – cool wash, large load, medium agitation – then we pushed the button and stared at this new marvel – and waited.

This new washing machine certainly had its own way of communicating. First it went through a series of clicking and humming sounds. Back and forth – click, click, humm, humm, click, click, click, hummm. What I was really anticipating was a water sound – as in filling up the tub with water. Nope. We stared at the thing for a good 4 – 5 minutes while it clicked and hummed. Then we heard it starting to fill. Thank God. I had phone in hand to have someone come and pick this washing disaster up.

I started to open the lid to check the water temperature and level, but I’ll be damned – the stupid lid was locked – hence the clicking sound. A locking lid – go figure. Probably because somewhere a toddler climbed up and drowned by opening the lid of an agitating washing machine (where’s the mother???) and a pro-bono lawyer won a million dollar settlement, took his $250,000, and so now every manufacturer has to build locking washing machines so they can charge more for the “new and improved” appliances. But I digress. Now I have no idea if there is enough water or if it is the right temperature.

Then we felt steam coming out of the seams of the lid – steam means hot water, and I selected “cool.” I turned the dial to hot, and the steam stopped. Hmmm, cold must mean hot and hot must mean cold. Another feature not mentioned in the instruction booklet.

After clicking and humming for 5 minutes, it started the wash cycle. The only way to describe this noise is to imagine a goose trying to give birth to several eggs at one time. This poor goose moaned and groaned for a good 30 minutes. I closed the door, I went into the kitchen, I went outside - I could still hear the goose struggling. I prayed the neighbors didn’t come over.

I went back to the store to complain and get a new washer, but after reading the mixed reviews online, all the new washing machines have these locking lids and adjusting tubs. I guess I’ll just have to live with the goose who is locked in jail. On the flip side, the spin cycle is the quietest I’ve ever not heard.