About Karla Telega

I'm a middle aged maven, winner of a Reader Views Award for my humorous mystery, Box of Rocks, and a five year survivor of Southern living. Seriously, you should see the size of some of these spiders!

Every kiss begins with Crest

It’s not just for cavities anymore! According to a couples’ counselor who appeared on Deal or no Deal, the most important element in a successful relationship is personal hygiene. I know! If I hadn’t heard it on a game show, I wouldn’t believe it myself. To think, all that time I wasted trying to save my first marriage with honest communication and compromise, and all I needed to do was floss.

Back in the second grade, I would pick up my best friend at her house each morning to walk to school together. The last thing her mom would do before my friend left the house was to clean under her nails. I generally still had yesterday’s mud pies under my nails. Obviously, I was doomed to a life of spinsterhood.

Let’s be brutally honest, if little girls were made of sugar and spice and everything nice, there would be no need for mouth wash, panty liners, or exfolliants. So what did they do before deodorant to keep a marriage alive? Is there any hope for a woman who likes garlic bread and a man whose shoes smell like old cheese?

I’d like to make a case for mutual respect over shiny teeth for strengthening a marriage. A few weeks ago, my husband asked me to examine his butt to see if the bump on said backside was a boil or a pimple. If I hadn’t had the highest respect for his good character and flawless skills with power tools, this might have been grounds for a trial separation.

I worked with a girl who would just turn on the water and pretend that she was washing her hands after using the toilet. I never figured out the reasoning behind this deception, but it certainly is an obvious breach of the trust necessary for a lasting marriage. How can love survive if you can’t trust your partner to keep the boudoir free of dysentery?

My husband is meticulous in warning me when he finishes in the bathroom, if the area should be declared a hazardous waste area for the next 30 minutes. Let me assure you, Mr. Couples’ Counselor, good communication skills should not be discounted.

There will always be an ick factor in any relationship where the sloughing off of dead skin cells is concerned. Our human condition makes that an unavoidable reality. So by all means, brush your teeth and wash your hair, but make sure that your relationship can weather the storms of physical indignities that Mother Nature dishes out.

Dammit! I think I’m getting a zit on my chin.

Turkey tax

My husband is the family tax preparer, by which I mean that he does the taxes for our children, friends, neighbors, and one unfortunate homeless man who made more on the street corner last year than he could conveniently hide in his offshore accounts.

Last night was my daughter’s turn to go under the careful scrutiny of Captain Turbo Tax.

“Babe,” he called from the den, “what was your charitable giving this year?”

“I don’t know. My dog ate the printout.”

“I’ll just put $5,000. That should cover your used underwear donation to Goodwill.”

First, let me assure any IRS agents reading this, that he did a thorough and accurate job on her taxes. The underwear was actually $22 dollars and change. Considering that it was from Victoria’s Secret, I think that’s a very generous rate of depreciation.

In exchange for doing her taxes, my husband wanted her to bring a turkey for dinner, complete with mushroom dressing. Since she couldn’t claim the turkey as a business expense, he got a roast chicken from Wal-Mart, complete with a quart of potato salad and a quart of beans.

While he worked on her taxes, she read my book. One expects a certain amount of feedback from a beta reader. When she didn’t enthuse and gush about it and therefore crushed my spirit as a writer, he deducted $50 from her refund. She also gave him a free haircut, so that seems a little harsh.

Still, our family deeply appreciates his valuable services.

Google images

Wherever there is injustice in the Internal Revenue Code, whenever there is a cry for help from the oppressed middle income working class, he will be there. Captain Turbo Tax will save the day with his software of righteousness. The cape and tights are optional, as long as you understand that you can’t deduct the dry cleaning cost on your expenses.

If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong

“Get off my bumper, jerk!” I said to the car behind me. My friend told me to flash my lights to make him think I was putting on the brakes. I promptly reached over and turned on the windshield wipers. We both laughed until we cried.

It’s a burden being right about pretty much everything, one I’ve borne most of my life. They say with age comes wisdom, so how come I’m suddenly wrong more often than ever before? I used to know how to do about anything other than Quantum Physics, gene splicing, and pushing the right button on my pone to take it off speaker. Some things are better left to the experts.

Over the years, I’ve had to bend a little on some things, like folding towels and which way to hang the toilet paper roll (under). I never caved on important things like child rearing and breaking spaghetti in half before cooking (yes, you should break it).

Now I let pots boil dry, cook plank roasted salmon briquettes, and leave clothes in the washer for days. I can’t count the number of times I’ve mistaken baking powder for baking soda, and I don’t think I could do long division even if the fate of the free world was in the balance.

What happened?

Could it be that I’ve been wrong about things all along and am only just now gaining the wisdom and maturity to recognize it? Nah.

I figure that the brain cells that govern spatial concepts, like the distance from wherever I am to the bathroom have taken a little break. The tip of my tongue is overloaded with words I can’t think of, and my eye hand coordination can’t handle complex systems like picking a dime out from the other coins in my coin purse. Yes, I’m that annoying lady who has a separate coin purse and has to dump the contents on the counter to pick out the exact change. Until they outlaw coin purses in the quick check out line, you’ll just have to suck it up.

I no longer feel the need to say “I meant to do that.” When I squirt toothpaste all over the bathroom mirror. I can laugh about the embarrassing moments and chalk it up to being human. I’m pretty sure that’s the right thing to do. If you disagree, I’ll concede that you have the right to be wrong.

Freudian Slip

I’m a person of few words most of the time, but when I start talking, there seems to be no barrier between my brain and my mouth. Most people have a mental filter that keeps them from blurting out whatever is on their minds (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups). This impulse control is what makes civil discourse possible.

According to Freud, sometimes we speak without conscious thought. Somewhere in the deep recesses of our subconscious is the truth (What was she thinking when she left the house looking like that?). We can try to repress these urges (my neighbor’s an idiot) but they will eventually show themselves (skinny dipping).

Perhaps writers have an especially difficult time controlling this verbal diarrhea. We are constantly poking at the subconscious mind, which gets understandably annoyed. In retaliation, it leaks at the most inappropriate times. Never ask a writer to deliver a eulogy.

“We are gathered here to remember Ralph, livid husband, loud father, good fiend. Ralph lived his life with gay abandon, revealing himself each day to those around him. His legacy will live on in his children, wherever they may be. His generous lecher and kind deposition will remain behind in the hearts of those who lewd him.”

Friends and family have grown immune to our gaffs, and are able to laugh it off when we complain about the customer disservice representative who wouldn’t let us return the adult sex toy last week. I mean, how are we supposed to know that the bells and whistles are broken without a test drive?

But I digress.

There is no cure for the proximity of brain to mouth. If you find yourself slipping, best to cut your losses and shut your mouth for awhile. You don’t need to advertise everything on your mind (raspberry sherbet).

Transcendental medication

For centuries religious groups have extolled the virtues of meditation. Now the medical community has gotten onboard with the value of emptying your mind for twenty minutes a day. Unfortunately, as I get older, I tend to sleep through eighteen minutes and think of inane stuff for the other two.

“Ohm, Did I remember to take the clothes out of the dryer?”

“Ohm, why do they even make B vitamins, then stock them on the shelf next to Super B Complex? Doesn’t everyone want to get more B for their buck?”

And so it goes. Increasingly, my mind chooses to go blank in the middle of a conversation, or when I’m driving the same route that I take every day. This can make for some interesting discussions.

Daughter: My favorite is maple donuts.

Son: I wonder if they use real maple or artificial flavoring.

Daughter: Real maple is probably too expensive.

Son: I hear that artificial flavoring has been known to cause tumors in lab rats.

Daughter: That’s awful! They should do away with animal testing completely.

Me: I like maple donuts.

I have seven books on my shelf that give daily meditation subjects to give a kick start on things to ponder while I’m searching for that elusive alpha state. My alpha state is reserved for when I pass out while watching TV or working on the computer. Right now my mind is slipping into picturing fish ladders at hydroelectric dams. I challenge you to find the hidden meaning in that.

I think there’s some sort of irony in the fact that I can only seem to meditate when I’m not trying. I’m hoping that this is a common condition of aging and not  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz just happening to me.

There are always gray areas

Seldom are the answers to life’s difficult questions black or white. We’ve come to know that “in between” as gray areas. We could go into important stuff like social issues, but if you’ve read my blogs for any length of time, you’ll have already guessed that I’m talking about my hair.

I’ve been coloring my roots for years now, but recently, the number of brown hairs in the grow-out zone are vastly outnumbered by the gray hairs. Add to this the tendency of women in my family to go bald after menopause, and you can understand why concern for my hair eclipses … say, government subsidized health care, or stem cell research.

My grandma had a styrofoam head on her dresser. At night, when she put her hair away, the head took on the look of a chia pet from hell. I’ve tried to avoid the fake hair route by using minoxidil. A funny thing happens when you use Rogaine before going to bed. I spend a lot of the night sleeping on my left side. When you bury the left side of your face in a pillow case coated in Rogaine, you tend to develop mutton chops on one cheek.

This leaves you with two choices: spend equal time sleeping on your right side so you can enjoy exchanging morning breath with your spouse, and at least have a bilateral beard; or give up on the Rogaine and regularly snake out the drain in your bathtub. It’s never a pretty sight when the plumber’s snake pulls approximately four wet hamsters out of your pipes. Oh, the humanity!

My hair has been various shades of brown and auburn over the years. Once, when my daughter was taking her State Boards for beauty school, I was her “subject” and my hair came out very lustrous, and shiny, and bubble gum pink. She didn’t get marked down for this, because my hair looked like strawberry frosted donuts, and apparently the Examiner was hungry.

Now without enough brown hair in the grow-out zone, I’ve forgotten the original color. I could always go bleached blonde to help hide the grow out, but that would obviously clash with my sideburns.

I suppose I should just let the gray grow out and be done with it. Then I would be free to blog about more important things, like my middle-age mustache.

No salt, no fat, no taste

Short term memory loss is one of the first indications of impaired brain function due to aging. Recent studies have linked belly fat in your 40’s to a higher rate of dementia as early as your 60’s. My grandmother lived to be 92 and was sharp as a tack to the end. My great grandmother spent her final years in restraints, screaming non-stop. The difference: before great-grandma shrank down to skin and bones, she did her clothes shopping in the “husky” section of the dry goods store. On the other hand, my grandmother was always average size. Since my anecdotal evidence totally supports the scientific findings, I think we can agree that overweight Americans are mentally doomed.

Since the introduction of margarine in 1910 the death rate from heart attack in the U.S. has increased from 3,000 in 1930 to half a million in 1960. Since free radicals are also swimming in trans-fat (they prefer the breast stroke), anti-aging experts agree that if you eat chocolate éclairs or cheesecake and survive to old age, your heart may be beating the odds, but the free radicals will leave you looking like Chloris Leachman on a good day.

At a relatively early age, my blood pressure started going up. I had followed in my mother’s footsteps when cooking, which necessitated buying a salt mine to make one meatloaf. Since salt was destined to melt my neurons down faster than Chernobyl, I faced the choice between flavor and both halves of my brain functioning. My family is already questioning my brain function, so I can’t afford to lose any more gray matter. It would be pretty embarrassing to have a stroke and nobody notices a difference.

Breakfast cereal

Going from a high salt diet to a low salt diet was quite a shock to my taste buds. I decided that it was definitely a good time for some self-pity. Low fat dieters have fat-free foods available that increase their salt content to masquerade as real food. Low sodium dieters have a choice of bland or blander. Most prepared foods are high in salt, so forget about my specialty: boxed macaroni and cheese.

For those who have both high blood pressure and high cholesterol, prepare for a diet of plain oatmeal and styrofoam packing peanuts. You’ll live longer, but why would you want to?

I heart you

I don’t trust online dating services. It’s human nature to exaggerate our good qualities, and downplay the fact that we occasionally urinate in the closet. Would you really move in with someone if you knew that your shoes were going to be in the splash zone? With your future happiness in mind, I’ve compiled a list of first date warning signs.

She thinks the moon landing was a hoax

A popular theory among paranoid schizophrenics and residents of New Jersey. With proper treatment and heavy medication, both conditions can be managed. Common signs include suggesting a neo-nazi rally as the venue for your first date.

He has made multiple appearances on Jerry Springer

His ex-girlfriend accused him of dating her dog behind her back. If he is served with a summons for a paternity test during the appetizer, don’t stick around for dessert. RUN!!!

Her purse weighs more than she does

She took the designer dog fad to an extreme and adopted a designer Rottweiller. She obviously has trouble with spatial relationships. Don’t under any circumstances allow her to park your Porsche.

He walks his cat

Single men who own cats are immediately suspect for deep emotional problems. They thrive on rejection and indifference. If he puts his cat on a leash, he has obviously lost touch with reality.

Her last boyfriend was a mime

She has serious communication issues. She also has a high tolerance for annoyance, and will put up with any stupid shit you do. Trying to break up through normal means (never calling her back) holds little meaning for her. She will get you a collection of black and white striped shirts for Christmas, and keep you in an invisible box.

He wears his pants backwards

He Is anatomically confused and will not know which end of the hose goes in the spigot. Draw him a map and break out the hand puppets.

She wants you as a partner on a reality show

She will do anything for her 15 minutes of fame. If this involves setting any of your body parts on fire, she will not hesitate. Make sure you have a good supply of Aloe Vera on hand.

Hopefully, you won’t encounter any of the above dating train wrecks. If you already have that significant other, cherish her or him. You don’t want to be thrown back into the deep end of the dating pool. It’s full of sharks.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Six sentences

A challenge has been issued to choose six random sentences from your writing and put them together. Following are mine, taken from my current work in progress, Box of Rocks.

She and Ted had wanted a small, one-story bungalow in the old section of Summerville, and she was very happy with her ditch.

” … phosphate, I don’t suppose that’s code for Emeralds.”

“I’m going to want to see that note from your chiropractor, darling.”

Maggie was distracted, watching the EMTs struggle to stuff the limp body under the fence.

She shouted through the door, “We’ll just be over at the Inn when you’re, you know, done.”

“Between my holding onto the lantern and your comfortable yet stylish footwear, we may as well have left a sign with our motel room and cell phone numbers.”