You need to change the air in your tires

It generally takes me about twenty minutes to open the hood of my car. The operation requires fingers the size of Slim Jims, a flashlight, and the ability to bench press half your body weight. Once you accomplish that, you need to find the coat hanger size rod that will prevent the hood from crushing your head like a walnut. Continue reading

I don’t do toilets

The grocery section of Wal-Mart is riddled with little cardboard booths, manned by bored looking representatives passing out free samples of mini-pizzas and lime Jello. Yesterday I was taken aback when I saw a booth hawking toilet clip-ons.

The young man at the booth looked understandably embarrassed. He had obviously drawn the short straw on product demonstrations that day. I couldn’t think of anything that would entice me to stop in a busy supermarket and sniff urinal cakes. Did the manufacturers really think that toilet bowl cleaners were an impulse purchase?

My housekeeping skills are a hot topic at the Center for Disease Control. I confess that I generally don’t clean my toilets until I can actually see the E coli. Consequently, I don’t get a lot of houseguests. Those hardy souls who are willing to use my bathroom have to pick up a key at the kitchen counter. They also have to cough up fifty cents if they want to use the condom dispenser (quarters only).

Women tend to be all business when they use the bathroom. My husband takes the crossword puzzle and makes a day of it. I’ve read that when flushing, tiny droplets spray up and out of the toilet. This is why I hate spending long periods in the bathroom. It generally involves doing a courtesy flush. Who wants to be sitting at ground zero when Old Faithful goes off?

But I digress.

Basically, I only want to see blue water if I’m standing on a hotel balcony in Cancun. If it’s in my toilet and I add the contents of a full bladder, I’ll never again be able to sample the lime Jello.

Lord of the pants

Denim is one of the most forgiving fabrics on the planet. What other cloth will regularly put up with fannies that test the limits of double stitching? So last December when I bent over and got a sudden draft on my backside, I knew that it was time for a diet. Yes, the fabric that can support 642 pounds of cellulite per square inch ripped.

Back in the day when I used to dance around my living room just for the fun of it, my pants fit perfectly. Never mind that pre-menopause I had a metabolism that required me to eat twice my body weight daily to gain a pound. Now when I dance vigorously around the house, those excess pounds go flying every which direction. The neighbors close their blinds and the dog hides and whimpers.

I used to belly dance in college and still have the costume. I tried it on and decided that if the size of the belly determines the skill of the dancer, I’ve still got it. Yesterday I tried a kneeling back bend and, to my surprise, I was actually able to get down and back up without fracturing my hip. But when I stood up, I was reeling around the room as if I had just huffed a whole can of spray paint (gold). Apparently, my blood doesn’t return to the vertical position as fast as my head does.

Just for the hell of it, I’ve tried River Dancing in the privacy of my own garage. As far as I can tell, it’s just a matter of moving your feet as fast as you can and not slouching. I’m sure that if I were in a basement full of spiders, I would be a natural. I have a secret fantasy that one day I will tune into the Jerry Springer Show, and suddenly the whole audience will jump up and start River Dancing to show their appreciation of the blood-letting de jour. It would be an obvious ploy to boost ratings among the two people who actually enjoy Lord of the Dance.

I’m kind of disappointed that I won’t be able to go to the annual Grits Festival this weekend. Last year they had the local chapter of the Women’s Auxiliary doing precision line dancing in the middle of the street. There wasn’t one of them under 60. I wouldn’t mind learning a couple of their moves to add to my living room repertoire.

I figure that by summer I will have danced my way to be able to zip up my jeans and have the excess girth squished out the top instead of bursting through the bottom. If nothing else, since the neighbors have their curtains closed anyway, I might just forgo the jeans altogether. I’m already used to the draft.

The friendly skies

More and more I hate flying. It’s not that I have anything against being packed in next to someone who invariably hogs the armrest, or in front of the kid who entertains himself for four hours by kicking the back of my seat. It’s the damn beverage carts. Continue reading

How to write funny

I’m preparing my notes in advance for when I become a rich and famous author and am asked to travel about giving lectures for big fat consulting fees. At the end of this blog you will be asked to complete a survey, ranking me on a scale of one to five. Please feel free to fill out twenty or so. You can get creative with the names you use, although I. M. Hurling has already been taken.

For those of you who would prefer to take a nap during this blog, you can move to the back of the lecture hall now. We’ll wait.

Let’s break down how to add some humor to your writing:

  1. We laugh at what surprises us. Lists are particularly good for this. I like to use “the rule of three.” You can do this by using two perfectly reasonable things to illustrate your point, then throw in something totally off the wall for the third.
    1. I think that all seniors with their original hips should take up ballroom dancing. You’ll learn the box-step, the dip, and the fastest route to the emergency room.
  2. Irony should be in every humor writer’s grab bag. The Hitchhicker’s guide to the Galaxy is all about the quest for “the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.” After seemingly endless searching, they come up with the rather disappointing answer: “forty-two.”
  3. Exaggeration and understatement are valuable tools.
    1. Dave Barry is a master of exaggeration. … the taxi has some kind of problem with the steering, probably dead pedestrians lodged in the mechanism, …
    2. In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, there is an epic battle between King Arthur and the black knight. When Arthur cuts off both of the knight’s arms, he answers, “Tis but a scratch.”
  4. Developing a strong sense of humor starts with examining what is funny in yourself. Our flaws make us laughable.
    1. I find that it’s important to keep a positive outlook whenever I’m climbing behind the wheel of a couple tons of steel. In all my years of driving a motorhome, I’ve only ripped the tailpipe off once, and those traffic cones had it coming.
  5. Circle the wagons.

One of my favorite techniques is to end a blog by sneaking in something from … Mr. Hurling, if you continue that, I’ll have to ask you to leave!

Luck of the Irish

Finally, a holiday celebrating corned beef and cabbage, green beer, leprechauns and herpetophobia (fear of snakes). While most of us have waited all year in anticipation of this special day, I face it with a certain dread. It was on St. Patrick’s day of 1989 that I was fired from my job as a bank teller in Florida.

It seems that this particular bank frowned on starting the day with an Irish Coffee, then giving away $14,000 too much to one of its customers. Where’s their holiday spirit? I mean, they recovered the money. No harm, no foul, right?

For three years afterward I refused to wear green and turned down every invitation to go see Lord of the Dance. The fact that the show didn’t come out until 1996 was of little consequence. More importantly, I swore off Irish whiskey and Baileys. There may or may not have been an intervention involved in the latter, but it still totally counts.

I finally made my peace with the Irish, and decided to once again celebrate their lame holiday. I’ve got my Weight Watchers recipe for corned beef and cabbage, and I’ll serve it with green apple juice (see “intervention” above). I’d dress my garden gnomes as leprechauns if I didn’t know that the homeowner’s association would be all over me like white on rice. Damn gnome Nazis!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day y’all!

Erin go Braugh!

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall softly on your fields and, until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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.

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.

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.