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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

January 28, 2012 Leave a comment

I am a fearless woman, spiders, snakes and mice, notwithstanding.  There’s not a lot in life that scares me and I’m pretty darn sure that I can do any old thing that I choose to do.  I have a pretty good handle on life and I am a good judge of the times we should be afraid and avoid danger and the times we’re just being silly.  If you’ll allow me to toot my own horn a bit more, I daresay that I’m rarely silly.  (About fear, anyway.  I’m almost always silly about everything else.)

Enter the roller coaster. (cue the Psycho music)

In recent years,  we finally deemed the kids old enough to have a good time at an amusement park.  I know we’re pretty late in the game for this kind of thing, because I know for a fact that people routinely take small children and toddlers to, Disney World, for example, and have a lovely vacation.  That’s not our bag.  Amusement parks are for one thing and one thing only.  Roller coasters.  (Also, I’m fairly certain I have the only children on earth who turn up their noses at all things Disney.  We passed this along on the DNA with my bad temper and hubby’s blue eyes.)  So, we held off on the amusement parks until the kiddos were old enough to ride some good rides.  Once we hit that magical time, we packed it up and carted our young’uns off to the amusement park, where I was in for a horrible discovery.

These people have a death wish.

Friends and faithful readers, I don’t like roller coasters anymore.  In fact, they SCARE me.  GASP!!!

I have an analytical mind and I simply can’t let something like this pass without a period of painstaking and methodical self-assessment.  Here’s what I learned about myself.  Some bizarre marriage of cynicism and the awareness of widespread poor work ethics has convinced me that roller coasters are not safe and anyone who rides them will end up dead or maimed, thanks to a lazy engineer or a safety inspector who was late for lunch.  I am a mother!  I can’t take those kinds of risks!  And while my children aren’t having any part of the roller coasters, either, I rode one with my nephew (I believe he was nine at the time) and it was more stress than my poor heart can take.  I didn’t show it, I swear, but I held his hand in a vice grip the entire time, convinced that, in the inevitable event that someone’s safety harness failed, I had damn well better have a hand on that child.  Just in case.

I know this is not logical or rational but what it really comes down to is trust.  Do I trust the people who design, build and maintain the roller coasters to keep me safe?  No, not really.  Why on earth not?  I trust airplanes and cars (to a certain degree).  The only conclusion I can draw is that somewhere in the recesses of my twisty little mind I assume that because these things are built purely for fun, they must not be as serious about safely.  Shhhhh!  I know that’s not true!  I KNOW.   But knowing in my head isn’t the same as knowing in my gut and my gut tells me NO. NO ROLLER COASTERS.

It’s been sad, this reluctant goodbye with those twisty turns and sudden drops.  It’s also been difficult for me to come to terms with my new fraidy-cat status.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think I actually have come to terms with it.  I have had some vague and unformed plan of avoiding amusement parks until…forever, but it now occurs to me that that’s stupid and cowardly and any fearless and badass girl such as me would go back and show those roller coasters WHAT’S UP.  Soooo, who’s up for a trip to Busch Gardens this spring?  I have a score to settle.

(If you don’t get the title, you need to know that The Big Bad Wolf was THE roller coaster in my day. Sonny.)

Photo swiped from www.ultimaterollercoasters.com. Thanks, Google!

Better late than… unshaven?

January 26, 2012 3 comments

I am chronically late to work.  Not hugely late, but it’s always 6 or 7 minutes after the hour, at best, when I make my grand entrance.  No one seems to care very much, but it bugs me.  The thing is, I should be able to get there on time.  I plan to get there on time.  But despite my best efforts, I find myself racing out of the house every morning, screeching, “I gotta go, I’m late!”

So what happens?  I’m certainly not primping.  My work style falls into the “good enough” category.  Better than my Walmart good enough, but nowhere near my “HR is taking pictures for the directory today” good enough.  (I was super late that day.)  I’m not browsing through my work wardrobe.  If it’s in the back of the closet, then I haven’t worn it this week, so it’s good enough.  I’m not doing housework.  Anything that doesn’t get done by the time I stumble off to bed will have to wait.  I’m not watching the morning news, cause who needs that kind of downer to start the day.

I’ve narrowed down the culprits.  The things that slow me down and conspire to make me late every single morning.  And in this case, knowing is not half the battle, since they will certainly rise up to wreak havoc in new ways.

#1 My cell phone.

Some time ago, I seized upon my cell phone as my alarm clock.  It’s far more reliable, it’s unaffected by the occasional power outage, and, best of all, it offers THREE ALARMS.  Three alarms is critical for a coma sleeper such as myself.  I set one for when I want to get up, one for when I should get up and the last one for “get your hinder out of bed NOW and race to the shower!”  Nice set up, right?  Yes, all except for one thing, the snooze option.  Here’s how you operate the snooze on my phone.  You touch the screen.  That’s all.  There’s not a button, no slider, you can just touch it any old place and back off to sleepytime you go.  This is dangerous.  Any coma sleeper worth her salt can slam a hand down on a cell phone without missing a snore.  I would never make it to work before lunch if I didn’t have a husband to ask me at some point each morning, “Are you going to work today?”  Uh, yes, of course I am, I have tons of time. (slight panic)

#2 My exercise schedule

I’m not talking about my early morning, before work 30 Day Shred project.  I’m starting that on Monday, I swear it.  I’m talking about my much more realistic twice-weekly cardio class in the evenings.  How does this affect my mornings, you ask?  Well, because I feel obligated to shave my legs on those mornings.  Even though every morning-minute counts, legs without streams of blood, gashes and long-lasting scabbing are slightly more critical in my life.  Despite the fact that these classes fall on Monday and Wednesday, every single week, I fail to remember this chore until I turn on the shower water.  These things tend to get neither safer nor more efficient when you’re in a blue-eyed-late-for-work panic.

#3 Twist ties

If you missed my earlier post, What’s for Lunch, you don’t know that I’m the self-appointed Lunch Nazi of our house.  My kids are not permitted to buy lunch at school, so it falls to me to make sure they have a healthy and interesting lunch every day.  I’m generally pretty prepared for this, with a couple of options and a quick plan for implementation.  However, the bread twist ties!  They get me every time!  I have pretty good hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills (if I do say so), but those little suckers are not meant for grown-up sized human hands.  It actually takes longer to tie the bread back up than to make the entire sandwich.  And you can double that heartache, since I’m in the midst of a whole wheat project and the kids get two different kinds of bread.  I propose that bread manufacturers extend their bags by about six inches, so you can immediately discard that twisty little devil and tie a knot in the bag.

#4 My cat

Anyone who read My Cat’s Pet needs no further explanation.  If Squeaky had her way, I’d be bedridden for the remainder of my days, unable to do anything but pet her and clean litter boxes.  She puts on her sweet snuggly kitty face every morning and if that doesn’t work, she will yell at me and tell me to get my bleepity-bleep back to bed.  It’s more temptation than your average crazy cat lady can stand.

These are my morning Waterloos.  They taunt, torment and triple dog dare me to get to work on time.  One day, as God as my witness, I will be at my desk at seven on the dot.  That will also be the day I have hairy legs, a broken cell phone, hungry kids and a pissed off feline at home. But I shall persist, knowing I’m not alone in my morning struggles.  Still, I can’t help but wonder if my time would be better spent convincing my company to adopt a Napoleonic timeliness policy.

“Let Him Sleep…For When He Wakes, He Will Move Mountains.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

Photo courtesy of bloggermoms.com

Four things that Make me Laugh like a Donkey

January 22, 2012 Leave a comment

I don’t have a very refined sense of humor and while I don’t hee-haw at just any old thing, there are some things that will make me laugh every single time.  Here’s the short list of some of the silly things I’ve found that make me laugh like a lunatic without fail.  Not delicate, lady like giggles, but full-on cackles with snorting and fervent prayers that I won’t wet myself.  Join me on my journey of hysteria…

The Geico Piggy

Does this need explanation?  Comic genius.  I’m okay with the zip-line piggy update, but the original lives forever in my heart.  Every time I see it, it’s as funny as the very first time.  WHEEEE WHEE WHEEEEEEEEEE!!!

That’s what She Said

 and other 12 year old boy humor

Okay, so I’m not all that mature.  Fart jokes, ball jokes and “That’s what she said” never get old.  I crack myself up around the house.  Christmas time is the best time for me, what with Christmas balls, sausage balls, peanut butter balls… come on, you know it’s funny.  Channel your inner middle-schooler and laugh with me.

 

LolCats

If you’re not familiar with LolCats, let me be the first to welcome you to the internet.  Where have you been?!  You must get yourself to www.icanhascheezburger.com  PDQ, because you are missing out on some of the funniest stuff out there.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a cat lover to appreciate this.

 

Naked Mohawk Baby Carrot Jockeys

Once again, if you’ve never heard of this, you’re missing out.  www.cakewrecks.com I wandered over there some time ago, when I happened upon it while googling a cake idea for something.  But trust me, you need check out this site even if you’ve never eaten a cake, let alone baked one (also, eat a cake).  The pictures of cake disasters are, in themselves, hysterical, but the commentary will have you laughing so hard you can’t breathe.

That’s it, my friends.  I’ve either just revealed myself as a complete fool, or I’ve shared some really funny stuff with you.  I feel I should also give honorable mention to Jimmy Fallon’s Tebowie (check it out on YouTube), since it’s the most recent thing to make me guffaw.  Did I miss something?  Please share your laughs with me!

 

 

No One Likes a Smart Ass

January 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Disclaimer:  This post contains repeated use of the word “ass”.  If you find this offensive, you may want to take a pass on this one.

All my life, I’ve been told “No one likes a smart ass.” (looking at you, Mom)  LIES!!  This couldn’t be further from the truth!  In my experience, EVERYONE loves a smart ass!  They love us so much that they try to be like us!  And so the smart asses of the world go forth and multiply…

Maybe it’s my twisted sense of humor, but there’s really nothing funnier than some witty, dry comment that comes out of left field.  And it’s really all in the delivery.  It’s the funniest when no one is sure if you’re serious.  There are mad bonus points if you’re mocking someone.  (I know that’s not nice.  Whatever.  I can laugh at myself, can you?)

I realize that I am biased.  I have been a smart ass for as long as I can remember.  I was raised among smart asses.  I married one.  I am now raising a couple of kids who are so fluent in smart assery that I couldn’t do anything but laugh at the irony when they first asked the definition of the word “sarcasm.”  It probably says something about me that I find it so hysterical.  Again, whatever.  What makes me laugh, makes me laugh.  It’s fun and harmless.  It’s also a challenge to watch what you say before your innocent words elicit a smart ass remark.  It’s good for you, too, because there’s nothing like living with smart asses to keep you from taking yourself too seriously.  (And heaven forbid you actually TRY to be serious, because someone’s gonna drop a Joker-style “Why so SERIOUS” on you before you finish talking.)

So, if you’re a smart ass hater, chill out.  Laugh at yourself.  We’re just having fun, because Lord knows, if I can’t laugh at the stuff around me every day, I’d never get to laugh at anything.  And always remember, it’s better to be a smart ass than a dumb ass.

The Oxymoron that is Common Sense

January 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Common sense.  One of the rarest commodities of today’s society.  As products of the Information Age, people in our society have become very dumb.

So, what’s the deal with common sense? (Sorry for the Seinfeld homage, but my husband has been mocking me with it all morning.  He apparently believes I’m abandoning my blog for a cheesy standup routine.)  People have more access to more information than ever before.  We should be super smart!  But we’re incredibly dumb!!  We have to be told that our plastic Walmart bags are not toys.  We need our coffee cups to tell us that the coffee is hot.  Our ham had damn well better have a note that reminds us to refrigerate it.  Come on, people!  Darwin is turning over in his grave.  If you don’t know your coffee is hot, then maybe you deserve to get burned, dumbass.

Here’s the key thing we lack.  Accountability.  Also, we seem to have misplaced manners.  It’s rude to call someone a dumbass, even if it’s true.  And those of us who do occasionally drop a “what is wrong with you, moron?” look get called out as mean and unreasonable.  So I’m putting it out there for all of us who request, nay, DEMAND, a return of common sense.  USE YOUR HEAD!  Get your face out of your smart phone for a minute and pay attention to what’s actually happening around you.  Your ability to use Google does not make you smart or a useful member of society.  Understanding basic cause and effect will accomplish that for you.  It’s not okay to not have common sense.  I’ll say it again…it’s NOT OKAY.  We don’t forgive you!  Stop being lazy and figure it out!  I will hold each and every one of you accountable for your stupid, stupid actions. 

I’m not talking about those blonde moments or senior moments or the little dumb things we all do from time to time.  That’s not stupidity, that’s just being human.  I don’t demand or expect perfection.  What I’m talking about is the absolute epidemic of people refusing to think for themselves and draw somewhat intelligent conclusions.  It pains and saddens me that our society needs to be told that they shouldn’t text while driving.  I admit, I have occasionally taken a phone call while driving, but I’m completely incapable of even reading a text, let alone typing one, while operating a vehicle.  The thing is, and maybe I’m weird, but I can’t look at the phone and the road at the same time.  The word you’re searching for here is priorities.

I have recently discovered a useful tool for dealing with people who approach me with a common sense problem.  When they ask me stupid questions, I don’t respond.  I just look at them for a minute (I do try not to get the ‘moron’ look, but it’s a challenge.)  You know what I find?  After a minute of being on the receiving end of a blank stare, most people come up with the answer.  So here’s my conclusion.  It’s not that people lack common sense, it’s just that they’re too lazy to use it.  Dumb, lazy Americans!!  Shame on you!!  Turn off the interwebs for a sec and figure out how to function in daily life.  Then we’ll give you Google back. 

(All this talk of dumbasses has turned my mind to the topic of smartasses.  Stay tuned…)

Busting up the Boys’ Club

January 20, 2012 1 comment

In my youth, I believed all the glittery, sunshine-y lies about women’s equality and the death of sexism and all that jazz.  Consequently, I never bought into any of the absurd and outdated ideas that women are in any way inferior to men.  Imagine my surprise when I first encountered the boys’ club.

I have spent the vast majority of my adult life working in the trucking industry.  A bigger boys’ club, I’ve never seen.  It took me an embarrassingly long time to recognize it for what it was, so ingrained in me was the belief of equality.  Once I got passed up for a couple of opportunities, I began to see what was happening.  It wasn’t really a question of equality, per se.  No one ever intimated that I was not capable, worthy or willing to do the work.  But I’m a GIRL!!  How is a girl going to deal with the rude and crude crowd we often encounter in our work?  (Please don’t write.  I’ve been working with truck drivers for over ten years and they are some truly wonderful, hardworking people.  But it is what it is sometimes.)    It’s frustrating and infuriating and subtle enough that you really can’t do much about it.  Except bust into the club without invitation.

It’s taken me years to do it, but I think I am (mostly) just one of the boys now.  (The guy who excused himself for saying “screwed” in my presence notwithstanding.)  It turns out that it took a lot of work, the occasional angry outburst and a lifetime of disillusionment to get there.  It took me twice as long as it should have to get where I am now, and I firmly believe that the delay had a lot to do with my female-ness and my eventual arrival is the result of a stupid amount of work, but maybe more due to the relationships I’ve formed with the right people.  The boys’ club taught me to be pushy, mouthy, annoying and loud.  It taught me to speak up and take what I want, because no one will ever even think of giving it to me.  For that, I suppose I owe the club some small debt.

It saddens me, though, that the boys’ club still exists and I feel that I’ve paid far more than I could ever owe.  Anyone reading this who happens to know where I work – please know that this is in no way meant to reflect on my company.  It’s just the way of the world sometimes and it makes me sad for me, for my daughter, and for all the little girls in the world.  You can break it, but it’s so much harder than it needs to be.  The girls have to scream when the boys can whisper.  You have to be the bitch to be heard.  You will learn to balance your ruthless work persona with your feminine charms.  You’re going to have to fight twice as hard to get the same rewards.

The moral of the story?  Life’s not fair.  I mean, it’s REALLY not.  Especially when you’re not invited in the club.  There’s hope for the girls, though, until our stunted society catches up with what we already know.  Just never, ever give up.  If you can’t sneak in the back door, bust down the front door and show those boys how to fight like a girl.

My cat’s pet

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Meet Squeaky.  She thinks she owns me.  She has been my cat since she was a teeny little four-week old baby with ear mites, fleas, worms and a nasty respiratory infection when we rescued her from the side of the road somewhere.  For a great many years, she behaved like a normal cat, but in recent years, there’s been a significant shift in our roles.  It may be due to her advanced age (excuse me, she is 16 years young), but my family advises me that it’s far more likely that I’ve finally become a crazy cat lady.  Whatever, man.  Squeaky loves me more than they do.

Squeaky knows what’s best for me.  She knows that during daylight hours, I should recline on the couch and provide a squishy, warm body pillow for her.  She knows that during the night, I should be lying in bed with her nestled under my arm, gazing adoringly at me as her precious little head rests on my shoulder.  I am terribly remiss about gazing adoringly back at her, but she is good enough to remind me by tapping my face with her furry little hand.  I am required to keep an eye on food, water and litter boxes, but Squeaky would never deign to speak of such things.  She employs her underling cats to remind me, should I become neglectful.

Squeaky allows me to rub her belly and almost never digs her claws into my legs when she walks laps on my …lap (weird).  Squeaky keeps my diet on track by demanding  any leftover milk in my cereal bowl.  She never, ever, allows me to sleep on my stomach, because it’s bad for my back (and also because it’s hard for her to nestle that way).  She understands that when I say “kitty, kitty,” that I am talking to her, not either of the other cats that she allows to live here.  She also threatens said cat interlopers from interacting with me, since it’s well-known among felines that humans only contain enough love for one cat.  Squeaky’s love is boundless and unconditional, provided I don’t move around too much while sitting on the couch.  Squeaky will protect me from my husband, should he have the unbelievable nerve to try to hug me or lie beside me in bed.   If I happen to forget that she doesn’t want to move, she delicately screeches at me (English translation is not suitable for all audiences.  She talks like a sailor.)

Squeaky has dedicated her entire existence to making me the perfect pet…owner.  I insist that I’m really not a crazy cat lady, but it now occurs to me that I did spend about half an hour trying to sleep with back spasms last night because Squeaky didn’t want me to move.  Perhaps it’s time for an intervention.

(Squeaky approves this blog.  Because I’m typing it on a laptop.  On the couch.)