The Dead Sea Underwear

You hear stories of people finding a stash of Aztec Gold buried in their backyard, or finding Aunt Lettie’s Diamond broach in a shoebox in the attic (street value: one mortgage and putting two kids through college at Dubuque State University and Auto Repair). I kept this in mind as I rallied myself to clean the garage yesterday.

We’ve only lived in our house for ten years, so I wasn’t prepared for the archaeological treasures I was about to unearth. Brushing away cobwebs that would test the fortitude of Indiana Jones, I found an innocent looking white kitchen trash bag sitting on the floor.

I don’t know how many times I stepped over this bag or kicked it aside as I navigated the narrow passage between exercise equipment (with little to no chance of ever being used) and empty cardboard boxes. But there next to my Rubbermaid tub of old National Geographic magazines lay an inestimable treasure. I’m speaking, of course, of dirty underwear.

It’s bad enough finding your own used granny panties in a bag, but I also had my daughter’s Wonder Woman panties. She’s a 36 year old toddler when it comes to underwear. I concluded that this was from a trip we made to Wilmington together three years ago … when my oldest grandson was negative zero years old.

I further concluded that it found a home in the garage after I removed the bag from my suitcase before putting my nondescript luggage on the shelf three feet away. It literally took me one second to forget that the bag was on the garage floor instead of the laundry room floor (also three feet away).

I’m sure my panties were delighted to avoid three extra years of washing, and fifteen extra pounds of me. They came from an ultra-mega pack of panties most of which have seen those extra fifteen pounds come and go (aside from the five pounds that accumulate over your lifetime each time you lose weight).

I buy the dowdy style that the manufacturer won’t even dignify with the name “panties.” My “cotton briefs” may be a bit boring, but I just can’t get my fat ass into the Wonder Woman panties.

Consciousness: the new sexy

I can’t remember when I last slept for eight hours straight. Five hours of sleep means I spent the day playing spider solitaire and watching reruns of the X-Files. Six hours follows running a marathon, cleaning the garage, and drinking a quart of warm milk with a handful of aspirin.

Napping always puts me in mind of my Grandpa Matti. When we visited our grandparents, Matti would retire to the Sauna each afternoon to sleep on a hard wooden bench. He found splinters in his butt preferable to listening to pounding on the piano and the constant clink of the glass lid on the candy dish. Weird.

I’m way too proud to lie on the bed (or rest my head on a 2” by 4”) in the middle of the day. This means that my napping is done on the couch, while watching said reruns of the X-Files. Shortly after the opening theme song, my eyes slam shut, my mouth hangs open, and drooling commences. I am not a sexy sleeper.

Movies tend to romanticize sleeping. When the heroine wakes up, she doesn’t have hair smooshed down on one side of her head, her false eyelashes are not migrating towards her ears, and nobody has morning breath.

This morning my husband said he woke up during the night. He went into a mild panic when I stopped snoring. Apparently, my temporary lack of a sinus serenade was cause to check my pulse and call for the coroner. There is nothing sexy about being mistaken for dead if I’m not snoring.

I haven’t worked since my neck surgery a year ago, so at least I’m not drooling on a computer keyboard for the entertainment of coworkers. That’s not a starring role I want posted on YouTube.

My husband has seen me sleeping and still thinks I’m sexy … when I’m conscious. I could be decked out in the Victoria’s Secret wet dream ensemble and he still would not wake me for sex in the middle of the night. Every man has his limits.

Surviving the sixties

For my 60th birthday, my husband wanted to surprise me with some romantic bedroom action. I was all excited, so I trotted into the kitchen to check out my over-the-counter pharmacy.

I shot him flirty looks as I began. “Let’s see. Anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants … that should do it. Give it a little time to work, and in one half hour let the spontaneity begin!”

Nobody wants to admit that they are more fragile than they used to be. In the old days if I fell on my butt, it would be an occasion for snorts of laughter. That was before my bone density scans showed that I was calcium challenged. Now when I fall, I freeze for a moment, take a full medical inventory, and (barring a splinter of pelvis jabbing out of my Levis) snort.

I live with two dogs who have been carefully studying football games for new and painful ways to show me their joy at seeing me when I come home. Lately, their favorite is the chop block. One gets behind my legs while the other jumps up against my chest. Unable to step back to brace myself, my only recourse is to yell, “Timber!” At times like these, I wish I had shoulder pads and a helmet.

Rather than call the 800 number to order a wrist band that will have somebody remotely monitoring my blood pressure while I poop (operators are standing by), I watch survival shows. You may wonder how watching “Survivor-Guy” or “Nude and Screwed” can prepare one for spending all day alone with ninja canines. Don’t make me come over there and smack you!

Survival shows are about using the materials at hand to (as the title would suggest) not die. I can now make a splint out of old National Geographic magazines and stale bread. In a pinch, I’ll just drag myself over to the pantry where I can live indefinitely off of dog kibble and cooking oil.

In the spirit of idiotic independence and misplaced pride, you won’t find me calling an ambulance when I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. I’m the moron who drove herself to the emergency room while in shock, with a shoulder broken in three places.

So with the help of reality TV I can easily take care of myself in an emergency. And on the odd chance that I break a hip while having sex, at least I will have loaded up on anti-inflammatories in advance.

Down on the farm

I am proud to say that I have gone 59 years without ever having tasted an eggplant. The very name conjures up a purple morning scramble of slime topped with parmesan. Today that all ends. I recently bought a share in a CSA Farm (Community Supported Aggravation) so I could enjoy the healthful benefits of fresh produce free of GMO’s, DDT, herbicides, and anything else they can think of to dump on my food.

produce I envisioned myself eating my weight in raw sweet peas, strawberries, sweet potatoes, green beans, and corn. I didn’t envision my refrigerator being invaded by unidentifiable squash, cayenne peppers, eggplant, and (still to come) kale. I’m obviously going to have to go outside my cooking comfort zone of fish sticks and box macaroni and cheese.

I’ve known parents who cook three different meals each night to please everybody. Fortunately, my husband grew up in a low income family of eight children, so there was always some degree of rejoicing if little Johnny was late to dinner. Dave would eat cedar mulch if I fried it in bacon grease. I am also no stranger to poor people cuisine, but my mother simply dumped enough salt on every meal to mask any undesirable flavors. We’re talking oatmeal with a salt content high enough to fry every neuron in your body (and those of your unborn children).

Before my first delivery, I went right out and bought a pressure cooker and canning jars. What I couldn’t foresee was a half-bushel box filled with two pickling cucumbers, a handful of wax beans, six tomatoes, an ear of corn, both green and yellow zucchini (more than I could count), six spring onions, and eight red potatoes. Not enough of any one thing to can, and what the hell are you supposed to do with two pickling cucumbers?

Yesterday, I spent about six hours turning five tomatoes and two plastic boxes of cherry tomatoes into tomato sauce. It yielded exactly one half pint. Did you know that when you remove the seeds from cherry tomatoes you are left with a slice of tomato meat the size of a quarter and the thickness of the gold the Franklin Mint uses to clad commemorative coins?

Fortunately, I can eat almost anything that is breaded and deep fat fried. Tonight I will be enjoying the healthful benefits of salt laced with a little eggplant, coated in bread crumbs and fried in enough boiling oil to mount a credible defense of a castle wall. Dave will be eating fried mulch.

It’s one dam thing after another

One doesn’t generally expect to find giant mutant rodents in their backyard. It’s the stuff of B horror movies with really bad special effects. We live in a big cookie cutter community where your neighbors are close enough to hear you fart on the back porch. But one nice feature: our house backs onto a lake and a pond separated by an earthen levee. A gap in the levee has been bridged by what appears to be a beaver dam. Any actual beavers, however, remain as elusive as the Loch Ness Monster. Statistics show that on any given day of the week, there are more UFO sightings than beaver sightings.

The only time I had seen a beaver was at a location so remote that a run to the store for diapers involved a 50 mile round trip over potholes big enough to swallow a Mini Cooper whole. Don’t think I didn’t consider making a loincloth out of moss and tree bark for my toddler.

033116 beaver Recently we’ve had a lot of rain, so the pond has backed up across the nature trail and into the neighbors’ back yards. My husband, Dave took it upon himself to go knock down the top of one end of the dam to allow for some drainage. Every day Dave knocked it down, and every night it would magically get repaired. We attributed this to the elusive rodents, since an Army corp of engineers on night maneuvers seemed unlikely.

Last night, I was sitting on my porch when I witnessed something doing a cannonball off the dam. I grabbed the binoculars, and sure enough, I saw a furry looking head swimming back and forth near the dam. Dave and I decided to walk out on the levee for a closer look through the dusky gloom.

We reached a break in the bushes surrounding the pond and saw three beavers swimming a scant 20 to 30 feet from us. As one of them started swimming straight toward us, a story problem started to form in my head. If a beaver can swim the length of a semi in 6.2 seconds, and I am standing the length of two Volkswagon Beetles away, how long will it take him to gnaw my leg off.

Four things occurred to me: 1) It was now too dark to see the trail 3 feet away from me; 2) I was standing next to the dam buster and probable cause of the ire of paddle-tailed pond residents; 3) beavers can walk on land; 4) beavers can bite through trees. I prepared myself to throw Dave to the ground and run away screaming, “He did it!” … like a grown-up. I love my husband, but it was him or my ankles.

Dave continues to tempt the laws of nature whenever it rains and the pond backs up. I don’t actually know what beavers eat, but if they show up in my backyard with torches and pitchforks, I won’t be serving milk and cookies. I may have to throw Dave out the back door to prevent a riot, but he kind of has it coming.

Yeah, I became that person

It’s been a long time since I’ve had vomit in my hair. Admittedly, it was a regular occurrence back in the days when I would strip naked and butt dance in the car after a wild party. Lately, the gastric juices are coming from a six month-old bundle of bad breath.

My firm resolve never to become a Grandma failed me when my youngest decided to poop out a baby last August. At Michelle’s baby shower, we were asked to write a special message for the baby … you know, for when he learns how to read and set the house on fire and stuff. All my children were of the female gender, so I wasn’t sure what to write for a boy. I’m a writer and I choked. What advice would you give to a testosterone laden adolescent? I finally hit on my Hallmark moment.

Finish your homework

Do your chores

Say your prayers

Don’t pick up whores

My card was carefully placed in a scrapbook, next to all the sappy sentiments of the other guests, who clearly lacked a poetic flair and the foresight to prevent him from getting syphilis.

Once Calvin went from being a blip on the ultrasound to a spitting-up machine, I fell in love. When I come over, he gives me that huge smile, just before he grunts out a poop. There’s just one teensie-weensie problem: I now own a smart phone.

Complete strangers will find my phone shoved in their faces while I carpet bomb them with baby’s first Christmas and forty different angles of baby drooling in his sleep. Whatever you do, don’t get behind me in the Uber-Mart checkout line. If you have twenty items or less, you have just become a target of opportunity.

Don’t think it doesn’t require the self-restraint of Ghandi to only post one photo of my little dude in this blog. So, both of you faithful readers who waited out my blogging dry-spell, may I present Calvin Orrin Coleman: (thanks to Grandma) STD-free for six months and counting.

6 months

Under the hood

Last week as I was doing my regular workout routine … you know, 200 push-ups, bench pressing a VW Bug … something distinctly uncomfortable happened in my arm. OK, I was sitting on the sofa eating popcorn and watching Castle re-runs on TV, but it still totally counts as a sports injury. I had butter and salt on the popcorn, which (as everyone knows) makes the kernels heavier than your average styrofoam packing peanut.

I’ve got a lot of miles on the chassis, and you don’t want to look under the hood. It ain’t pretty. It should come as no surprise that I tore either a tendon or rotator cuff. This means that I’ll need an MRI. Somehow, I have to schedule that in between work, a colonoscopy, and a root canal. At the moment, I have a gaggle of specialists on speed dial.

This morning, I had to break down and start labeling my little brown bottles. These pills are for inflammation; these are for muscle spasms; these are for moderate pain; and these are for weeping and gnashing of teeth pain. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery. Damn! I guess I won’t be able to rent that backhoe this weekend.

Seahawks logo Since I excel at setting the bar low, my weekend plans are laundry, and putting away the Christmas tree. The bright shining star on my weekend is the Super Bowl. I will be cheering on my Seahawks (my apologies to my friend, Terri, who believes that the heavens opened up and God personally pooped out Peyton Manning. Maybe why God invented the colonoscopy.). This year, the official reviews on questionable plays have frequently gone in Seattle’s favor. When a referee looks under the hood, chances are that we’ll get the first down, touchdown, and an all-expenses paid trip to the Bahamas. We’ll take it. We have no shame.

DSC00071 Fortunately, I’m getting back some use of my arm. I just need to take it easy when raising my arms and doing my touchdown dance. If this blog sounds a little bit incoherent, it’s because I’m currently in a no-driving state of intoxication. Maybe the label should include a warning against operating a laptop. As you may have already guessed, the real reason for this blog is procrastination for packing Christmas lights (definition: wadding up the strings and stuffing them in a zip lock bag), and washing Dave’s socks.

Wishing you a happy Ground Hog’s / Super Bowl / Laundry Day.

Go Hawks!

Going viral

flu “Only old people get flu shots!” How many times have I said that to well-meaning doctors and friends? (Answer: I don’t remember BECA– USE I’M OLD!) So Friday, when my stomach shut down, I figured it must be an intestinal blockage. It was, but that’s beside the point that I never considered the flu as a possibility.

Saturday, when the tickle in my throat became a cough; the floor started buckling under my feet as I crossed the room; and I collapsed panting and sweating after tying my shoes, obviously, the blockage had turned into septic shock. I tried to remember if I told Dave the location of my Last Will and Testament.

Sunday I went to the doctor.

His diagnosis: “You should have gotten a flu shot, ya’ putz! Oh, and you need to clear that blockage.”

Since I had spent my first 48 hours in denial, it was too late to start an antiviral medication. That left me with the horrifying prospect of toughing out the flu, and removing twenty pounds of impacted poo from my colon. Honestly, if untreated this can be a life-threatening situation. There was no way in hell that I was going to let my death certificate read: cause of death – constipation.

Now you must understand that lesser men have cracked under the pressure of the kind of torture I was facing. The process involved drinking some gacky tasting concoction, then becoming intimately acquainted with lubricated tips. Lather, rinse, repeat until either the blockage is cleared, or you’ve given away the position of the U.S. nuclear submarine fleet.

I’m happy to say that I’m starting out the new year with a sparkling clean colon, without compromising national security. I’ll be out of work until next week. My coworkers didn’t want me touching their stuff with my influenza-riddled paws. Way to use up my 2014 sick leave before the ball finishes dropping!

This year I resolve to blog more, get plenty of fiber in my diet, and swallow my pride and get a flu shot. Just in case, I’m still well stocked with lubricated tips.

A good day to Twihard

As many of you know, I’ve been in the job market. For the last month I’ve been posting my resume on job boards, and avoiding all the openings for Pizza Hut delivery persons. When you need a job to continue your lavish diet of beans, rice, and the occasional Big Mac, being without one raises a certain level of anxiety.

I’ve chosen to combat fear with compulsive behavior. Doesn’t everybody? I naturally rented Bruce Willis reprising his role as John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard, but chiefly, I’ve been watching the entire Twilight Saga, again, and again, and again. In some karmic twist of fate, I’ve fallen victim to another type of vampire.

While walking our dogs in the woods, my daughter and I have been attacked repeatedly by mosquitos. We don our OFF clip-ons, and tiny fans ablaze, we confidently cross enemy lines. Since I was wearing shorts, the OFF resistant buggers decided to attack me in intimate places. This is why I’m not currently wearing panties.

The little bloodsuckers left a trail of destruction along my panty lines, causing further unsightly bulges when I wear tight pants. These are places that have heretofore only been seen by my husband and my gynecologist. OK, there was that one time that I went in for a Brazilian. I wouldn’t recommend it for the faint of heart, which I’m sure is what the esthetician was also telling herself just before she announced, “I’m going in!” But I digress.

thong Miss Manners would have an aneurysm if she knew that I’ve been scratching at my yoo-hoo area in public, especially since this involves contortions that I haven’t attempted since High School. The problem is that panty elastic further irritates welts of a size that would impress a Hollywood monster make-up artist. In total desperation, I went into my panty drawer and excavated a pair of prehistoric thong underwear left over from the Jurassic Period.

Let me first say, that everybody over the age of forty has a moral responsibility not to bare their ass cheeks in public, except in dire emergencies. This definitely qualified. Having a string of dental floss jammed into my lady parts had the desired effect of distracting me from the itching and burning only a few inches away. It was a bittersweet victory. Since I’m not a total masochist, I’ve lately opted instead for going commando.

Next week I’ll be going in for a job interview wearing nothing but hydrocortisone cream on my backside. I’ll be trying to keep my legs crossed under my dress while telling my prospective boss where I’d like to be five years from now. If I slip up, the interviewer will know more about me than just my qualifications and experience. I may have to update my resume.

I’m sure that she’ll be impressed with my ability to multi-task. This morning, I’ll be practicing my skill by watching Breaking Dawn 2 while thinking of interview questions and digging at my privates. I think I’ll soon be in line for a promotion. Yippy-Kay-Yay!

A double espresso to go, please

The winds of fortune shat on me this week (have shitten?) I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to devote all my time to writing and publishing for the last few years, a fiscally foolhardy courageous move on my part. I’ve made some amazing online friends and have published two books and a couple anthologies. That’s something I can hang my hat on.

A financial disaster has struck our family. Since I’m not willing to stand on the street corner with a cardboard sign that says, “Will rite for cheaz,” I’m forced to once more seek employment of the type that provides a regular check, health care, retirement fund, and a major time sink. This means two things: I’m going to have waaaay less time for writing, and I’m going to have to change my underwear every day (well maybe not on weekends).

sleeping on the job Jobs are scarce around here, so I can use all the happy thoughts I can get during my job search. Fortunately, I got my start in fiction when I became the family résumé writer. Advantage: Karla. Unfortunately, self-publishing is not going to be an option. Realistically, I’m not going to have the time to market my books, and energy went out the window about the time I hit hot flashes. (As it is, I’m going to have to start exercising my eyelids so they’ll stay open during staff meetings.)

I plan to keep writing, and look for traditional publishing while slaving away in the salt mines. Am I bitter? Surprisingly not, although I reserve the right to become cranky in the future. I’ll keep in touch as best I can between scribbling on legal pads, hanging post-it notes, and stuffing envelopes.

Humor has been a life-saving necessity, so I’ll keep posting off-color observations on my blog. Wish me luck as I start this new adventure, and don’t be surprised if I become even less coherent (if that’s possible) than my normal babbling self. This is your brain on 5 Hour Energy drinks.