I’m getting too old for this

In this corner, weighing in at 175 pounds, a Great Dane with droopy jowls, astigmatism, and absolutely no killer instinct … and in this corner, weighing in at 130 pounds, an English Mastiff with an unholy hatred for Great Danes. At the bell, come out fighting!

As you might expect, the Mastiff was all over the unresisting Dane, like flies on poop. What followed was three interminable minutes of two strong young men and two past-their-prime arthritic ladies trying to pry the Mastiff off the Dane.

After the first 20 seconds of hauling on the Mastiff, I was spent and sucking wind. I tag-teamed in a couple times, but it may as well have been a kitten bitch-slapping Godzilla for all the strength I could muster. My friend was spraying the hose to break up the fight, so we staggered into the veterinarian’s office wearing our jammies and eau de wet dog.

Maybe I’m too old to deal with pets of any kind. I spent the week house-sitting for my daughter, with her two Rottweilers, one chameleon, and one snake. The chameleon had a badly swollen and inflamed eye, and the snake was a baby who hadn’t eaten his first meal yet—a recipe for disaster.

The kids left last Saturday, and on Sunday, I found the chameleon in the bottom of her tank stiff as a board. I said some bad words as I chopped through laurel roots to dig the grave. After the admittedly underwhelming funeral service, I had to haul a heavy glass tank down a flight of stairs for the cricket catch and release program.

The dog fight was at my friend’s house, where I had gone at 4:00 in the morning to have coffee and commiserate. It wasn’t until the adrenaline wore off that I realized I had more aches than I did joints.

I went home the next morning to look in on my own dog, and found five diarrhea messes on the carpet. That was 90 minutes and a dozen attempts to drag myself up from my hands and knees to refill the portable steam cleaner.

By Thursday, I still hadn’t seen the snake, who was presumably somewhere under the pine mulch bedding in the bottom of her tank. I envisioned my kids coming home to two side-by-side reptile resting places in the front garden. That would have been hard to explain. I finally found her alive (hooray) and got her to eat her first pinky (baby mouse).

At least I managed to keep the Rotties away from horses, dogs, people, cars, electric mixers, brooms, balloons, lime jello, and bikes. They have issues. I made it through the week with only one dog fight, two trips to the vets, five diarrhea messes, one lost snake, and one burial. I’m looking forward to a long nap, preferably in jammies that don’t smell like wet dog.

Things that go bump in the night

My skin is getting fascinating—like “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” fascinating. Used to be, the only big fat dermal deal was a breakout or a boo-boo. Medically speaking, qualifications for boo-boo status include but are not limited to: arterial bleeding, gaping chest wounds, exposed bones, and severed limbs.

Lately, I’ve been treated to mystery bumps, blotches, and general discoloration. I’ll look down at my knee one day and see a bump big enough to qualify as Real Estate, and wonder, “How did that get there?” New blotches could be age spots, fungal infections, or yesterdays’ hamburger gravy. WebMD refers to the latter as gastric bypass eating, characterized by an acute lack of motor coordination when shoveling food into your mouth.

My feet and elbows have been especially entertaining of late. When working at the computer, I’ll often rest my elbows on the desk while forming my thoughts. I’ve found that laying my head on my arms improves the cognitive process. Frequently, drooling is involved.

This has given rise to a brown patch on my right elbow. I’ve seen this before on my neighbor and Abe Vigoda. Not wishing to look like a 90 year-old man with skin that is transparent on a sunny day, I pick at it. Picking has worked well for me in the past, and is now an automatic response to scabs, boogers, and crusty skin. Don’t hate me because I’m classy. As my skin in these bony areas begins to take on the structural integrity of cobwebs, I may need to rethink the picking thing.

No discussion of epidural deformities would be complete without the feet. Sure, I’ve done the walk of shame from the Dr. Scholl’s display to the checkout stand at the supermarket. At least I’ve never had to have a price check on corn pads announced to all and sundry in the store.

I’m talking about a new game—Which foot will be swollen today? The rules are simple. Count the tendons, and if the answer is zero, you win! Extra points are awarded for discoloration of the toes, and indentations from your shoes that last more than a half hour after you take them off.

I had lousy skin in my teen years, and had to make regular acne pilgrimages to the dermatologist. Now my 6 month check-ups are all about moles. The dermatologist will fuss over a pin-size blue dot on my skin, while I’m worrying about the ugly brown splotch in the shape of Honduras.

I guess I can deal with my aging skin, so long as the zits are done before the hairy moles begin.

What’s under the hood?

I’m relatively sure I’m not delusional, but the chirping noise that my car was making was, according to my husband, a figment of my imagination. In his defense, he listened to a lot of heavy metal in his youth, which can rupture an eardrum more effectively than using an ice pick to clean out ear wax.

My son heard the noise and made dire predictions of broken CV joints, ripped up spider gears, busted pumpkins, and total self-destruction of the transmission. In South Carolina, that would make my car a two-ton lawn ornament. When hurricane Irene came through, many cars were blown off their blocks.

Since I didn’t want that fate for my beloved, and totally paid-for car, I flew into action, and told my husband I was taking it to the dealer. That’s how we ended up in Jedburg, with one of his work buddies taking my car apart in front of his backyard auto repair garage.

“Put it in neutral,” he shouted from somewhere under the jacked up car. First of all, there were no blocks behind the wheels, the car had already drifted close to the garage door as it was jacked up, and this guy was trusting his life to gravity and my husband’s eye-hand coordination.

To remove my car from “Park” you must first start the engine and bypass “Reverse” with the gear shift on the way to “Neutral”. This proved difficult for my sweetheart. I watched in horror as he toggled it back and forth between reverse and neutral, before he was confident that he had it right. By some divine intervention, the car did not jump off the jack, pinning our friend’s skull to the ground, and totally screwing up the wheel bearings. Hooray!

In the end, our friend came through, and discovered that the only problem was a loose clip-on weight thingy used for balancing the tires. He removed it, the chirping stopped, and my faith in backwoods mechanics was restored. He didn’t ask a penny for his time, and neither did Gerald’s Tire and Auto when they rebalanced the tire. Gerald’s even left a long stem rose on the dashboard.

This morning my computer crashed. At least, when the computer tech jacks it up and looks under the hood, he won’t be putting his life in immediate peril, but I’m not letting my husband put it in neutral.

Think on these things

The Bible says, “Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever doesn’t involve an emergency room visit, think on these things.” (NIV). My mind doesn’t really know the meaning of discipline, (Training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character) so the things I’m thinking on don’t really make the biblical cut.

Recently my mind has been occupied with trying to find three-inch rubber chickens, and an upcoming podcast. Will I be able to figure out the camera thingy? Should I have a bookcase behind me? Should I remove my Cootie bug and Gumby and Pokey from said bookcase and stock it with leather bound editions of National Geographic? If the camera only sees me from the waist up, do I really need pants?

I haven’t heard a recording of my voice in years. Is it still going to sound dorky, or will it now just be old and dorky? Can you edit out any loud farts during the podcast? These are important considerations, people.

My son decided that I needed help preparing for the interview, so he made up some sample questions:

How many nuns can you fit in a phone booth … and why?

If you were a lamp, what kind of lamp would you be … and why?

Have you ever been in a Turkish prison … and why?

Eight, gooseneck, and it was actually a Finnish bathhouse, where I had to watch my grandma scrub out her belly button. Close enough.

Thus, properly prepared for my interview, I can move on to other considerations, like a cover story for my daughter, who slipped in a puddle of dog urine while getting out of the shower Saturday, and knocked herself out cold. We’re thinking of going with bathroom ninjas. Now if I can just come up with a cover story for the UPS man, as to why I’m getting a box full of mini-rubber chickens, I’ll be golden.

This person is annoying me

Understatement. It’s amazing how easy it is in the information age to just cut somebody out of your life. This morning I blocked a person from my facebook fan page. That was a first. The block allows you to give a number of different reasons. I had to laugh when I saw “this person is annoying me.” I didn’t see one for “this person hurt me and my children and deserves to rot in hell.” Too bad.

I guess I’m at the age where I just don’t have the patience to put up with unacceptable behavior. I was just trying to think of some ways to delicately let people know that you’d rather chew on razor blades than see them again.

Twitter:

@scumbag Sending you a virtual crazed wolverine and a leaky squirt gun. #biteme 🙂

#MM @whackadoodle Hope you find the giant cockroach I left in your panty drawer. You’re welcome.

@guttertramp I’m OK. You’re a mess. The subpoena is in the mail. #getalawyer

@snarkqueen When you find yourself bleeding on the side of the highway, remember, I could give a rat’s ass. #wearaseatbelt

Hallmark:

Missing you

I need to adjust the sights on my rifle

 

Hoping to see you again

So I can sic the dogs on you

 

You get the idea. They say we’re getting old and crotchety, and that may be true. I think that people who spend their lives thinking up ways to hurt others are a waste of oxygen. Does that mean I’m getting intolerant? It’s about freakin’ time.

Famous author can write without moving her lips

OK, so I’m not famous, but I only had to sound out the long words as I wrote, so the title of this blog is half true. Yesterday was my first book signing. I was thrilled to be able to introduce Box of Rocks in Summerville, which is the town in which it was set. We had a good turnout, and I made a lot of new friends.

One of the things I enjoyed most about writing the book was the dialogues between the two main characters. At the signing, I was able to pull off normal conversation pretty well, but get me with friends and family and the conversation starts to read like my book.

For example: Last night I was telling my daughter about the signing, and talk naturally turned to the use of a loved one’s articles of clothing as emergency toilet paper. Her argument was that if your significant other is incapable of changing an empty toilet paper roll, he should not leave his dirty socks on the bathroom floor. Her logic was flawless, so I couldn’t help but agree. Her husband was the lone dissenting vote in the conversation.

But I digress.

As I went through my mental checklist before leaving for the signing, uppermost on my mind was whether or not to wear my Spanx and enjoy the benefits of tummy-tucking underwear. Uncharacteristically, I thought this one through before acting. Let’s see, the store is small, so I’ll be spending some time outside. I wonder how many firemen it would take to peel my heat prostrated butt out of industrial strength Lycra?

Getting to the event involved nearly getting impaled by a folding chair that came flying into the front seat at a stop light, and nine unruly balloons reminded me of what it was like to have small children in the backseat. In the end, my carefully coiffed curly hair went flat, my mascara was grating across my eyeballs, and I had a wonderful time.

I want to thank my friend, Katie for keeping me organized and helping with the event (and so much more). Thanks also to Beverly and Kathy at the Trade-a-Book store for having us. If you’re ever in Summerville, South Carolina, look them up. They’ll take your used books for store credit and make you feel at home, even if you’re not wearing Spanx.

If you’d like a signed copy of Box of Rocks, you can purchase a book at the Adoro Books website, then drop me a note at info@restaurant-e-guide.com to let me know how you’d like it inscribed.

Now it’s personal

Maggie: Whose asinine idea was this anyway?

Cher: Calm down, darling. I think it could be fun.

Maggie: Says the lady who doesn’t have to shop in the “husky” department of Victoria’s Secret. Ah, hell, let’s get it over with.

Cher: Maybe some introductions would be in order.

Maggie: *sigh* You may know us from Karla Telega’s mystery book, Box of Rocks, although I think Karla took a few liberties in describing us. At no time did I ever yell “shark” at the beach. Although, in my defense, I had been drinking heavily, and that pelican did look like a dorsal fin. I thought I said it rather calmly.

Cher: Ummm, that really didn’t come up in the book.

Maggie: Oh … moving on. Well, Cher and I are what you might call mature.

Cher: I think the politically correct term is Youth Challenged.

Maggie: The point is, at our age, underwear is kind of a delicate topic.

Cher: Quit stalling, darling.

Maggie: *sigh*

1.    What do you call your underwear / undergarments?

Maggie: I just go with panties.

Cher: My naughty things.

Maggie: *snickers*

2.    Have you ever had that supposedly common dream of being in a crowded place in only your underwear?

Cher: Frequently.

Maggie: Once I dreamt that I was at the gynecologist’s. I looked down and realized that I hadn’t shaved my legs in a couple of months.

3.    What is the worst thing you can think of to make underwear out of?

Maggie: Sandpaper.

Cher: Bubble wrap. Sitting down would be embarrassing.

Maggie: Ooh, good one. Can I change my answer?

4. If you were a pair of panties, what color would you be?

Cher: Black.

 

 

 

Maggie: Beige … Fluffy! Bad doggy!!

 

 

5. Have you ever thrown your underwear at a rock star or other celebrity? If so, which one(s)? If not, which one(s) would you throw your underwear at, given the opportunity?

Cher: Sammy Davis, Jr. I was six, and Rosie Jenkins dared me to do it.

Maggie: Wasn’t he a friend of your mom’s?

Cher: Yeah. He told mom about it, and I wasn’t allowed to go backstage again for years.

Maggie: That’s harsh. My luck, I’d get arrested if I tried.

6. You’re out of clean underwear. What do you do?

Maggie: Hypothetically, not to say that it’s ever happened, I suppose I’d wear a pair of Ted’s boxers.

Cher: But two weeks ago, you said …

Maggie: Moving on!

7. Are you old enough to remember Underroos? If so, did you have any? Which ones?

Maggie: Honey, I’m old enough to remember rotary dial phones.

Cher: And flour sifters.

Maggie: And penny candy.

Cher: Oof! I need a nap.

8. If you could have any message printed on your underwear, what would it be?

Maggie: Inspected by number two.

Cher: *giggles*

9. How many bloggers does it take to put panties on a goat?

Cher: Well, Karla’s a blogger.

Maggie: I could see her trying to put panties on a goat.

Cher: I see her more as a cow tipper.

Karla: You’re making me look bad.

Maggie: Says the woman who forced us to take this challenge.

Cher: No sympathy. We need to choose some other poor saps to challenge.

Maggie: You really want to put someone else through this?

Cher: I want to get roaring drunk and forget this ever happened.

Maggie: I have a box of cheap white wine in the fridge.

Cher: Sold!

Karla: But you’re supposed to … Damn!

Games of the living dead

 

Synchronized dangling with a 3.4 degree of difficulty.

Synchronized dangling with a 3.4 degree of difficulty.

I think I’m turning into a zombie. Each time I stand up, my knees lock, I drag one leg behind me, and an inhuman groan rises out of my throat. After a few staggering steps, the stiffness goes away and order is restored. I think, in honor of this new decrepitude, AARPers should band together and form the Zombie Olympics.

Games would include the La-Z-boy Lunge. It would involve those new recliners that lift up to help you stand. Strategically placed booster rockets would propel the couch potatoes across a twenty foot sand pit. Athletes will be judged on grace and distance. The East German judges will mark you down if you don’t stick the landing.

My personal favorite is the Clean and Jerk. Contestants must get on their hands and knees to scrub dog vomit off the carpet. The first one that can push himself back up into a vertical position wins. Extra points are awarded to those who don’t need Ben Gay and an ice pack afterwards.

The Lavatory Dash is a crowd pleaser. Contestants must sit in an airplane seat for two hours, drinking diet soft drinks and/or cheap wine. They must then drag themselves over the lap of their neighbor, stagger down the aisle, and leap the beverage cart to get to the lavatory. Few seniors have succeeded.

The games will end on a high note with the Rise and Whine. The Americans have dominated this event for years. The rules are simple. The first one to climb out of bed and stumble down the hall to the bathroom wins. Points are deducted for careening off the walls, stepping on the dog, and not checking to make sure the toilet seat is down.

The Zombie Olympics would be sponsored by Metamucil, Viagra, and Depends. Instead of gold medals, pain meds and a date with Harrison Ford are awarded. Silver medallists get Clint Eastwood and a bottle of Tylenol.

I’m starting to train now for the Clean and Jerk in the 2012 games. This involves sitting cross-legged for ten minutes, then feeding the dog leftover pizza. My rugs are not too happy about it, but Harrison Ford is totally worth it.

What are you wearing, baby?

You know the drill. Pick on some poor hapless blogger, and challenge them to answer the following nine questions about their underwear. Boy, William, did you pick the wrong blogger!

1.    What do you call your underwear / undergarments?

It’s usually pretty dark when I’m rooting around in my drawer in the mornings. When I pull one out to examine it, I usually call it “too small”, “too ratty”, or “instant wedgie”.

2.    Have you ever had that supposedly common dream of being in a crowded place in only your underwear?

Nope. I’ve frequently dreamt that I was naked in a class or at a party. My overriding thought is, “just act natural and nobody will notice.”

3.    What is the worst thing you can think of to make underwear out of?

Duct tape. You’ll never want to take them off.

4. If you were a pair of panties, what color would you be?

White. Hey, I’m old.

5. Have you ever thrown your underwear at a rock star or other celebrity? If so, which one(s)? If not, which one(s) would you throw your underwear at, given the opportunity?

No. If I could, I’d throw them at Carrot Top. He’s annoying enough that he deserves a good dose of E Coli.

6. You’re out of clean underwear. What do you do?

In the back of my drawer I have a black silk loincloth. It takes a mechanical engineering degree to figure out all the straps and buckles. I reserve it only for dire laundry emergencies.

7. Are you old enough to remember Underroos? If so, did you have any? Which ones?

Underroos were after my time. I’m old enough that all underwear came in plain vanilla.

8. If you could have any message printed on your underwear, what would it be?

Wide load.

9. How many bloggers does it take to put panties on a goat?

One, as long as it’s William. He could sweet-talk a goat into anything. I still have the pictures to prove it.

I have a short list of victims.

Terri Sonoda

What are you wearing, baby?

No, I’m not wearing a turtleneck

“Look, they have figs!” I exclaimed as we were checking out at the Farmer’s Market. My friend looked at the shriveled up fruit dubiously and flatly refused to try one. The thing about figs, is that they’re not ripe until they look like the gum you stepped on in the Wal-Mart parking lot. These figs were at their mushy peak of perfection.

Now, whenever I open the refrigerator door, the figs seem to be attempting to break out of their plastic basket by oozing through the cracks. I know they’re sweet and delicious, but I just can’t bring myself to pick one up. They remind me too much of the time I tried to wear sandals that laced up my ankles. Doughy mounds of ankle fat were straining the structural integrity of the leather thong.

Maybe I had figs on my mind, but last night I dreamt that I was on a TV game show. As I was cheering wildly about winning an Amana Radarange, I looked up to see mirrors on the ceiling. To my horror, I realized that I had a wattle. I’m talking full on neck cleavage. Skin was bouncing in multiple directions as I clapped. I woke up in a cold sweat, relieved to find that my neck was not laying on the pillow next to me.

This is a source of concern for me, because I love it when my husband nibbles on my neck. I don’t really want him to have pieces of it stuck between his teeth. You’d think I’d be worrying about the frown line that doesn’t go away when I stop frowning, or the age spots engaged in continental drift, merging into one huge Pangea of olditude. No, I’m concerned that one of these days, I’m going to jump and my neck will give a wicked left hook to my chin. Try explaining that when you come to.

I know that people are starving in Outer Slobonia, but the figs had to go. I’ll just stick to firm fruits in the future. Is that cauliflower looking at my thighs?