Check the expiration date

My couch smells like floral pickled urine with a side of mouthwash. It’s not really conducive to inviting company over for drinks. We’ve tried every cleaner known to man, we’ve had the windows open for days, and you still get dizzy just walking in the door. Bad kitty! That’s why we can’t have nice things.

Actually, my couch passed “nice” a couple years ago. It was closely followed by my comforter, my stove, and my big screen TV. My jeep just hit 50,000 miles. I’m expecting to wake up one morning to find it looking wistfully through repair shops in the yellow pages. Older cars like to get regularly pampered at the dealership day spa.

It kind of took me by surprise that my house, my appliances, and furniture are no longer new. I miss the new house smell, but I can live with that. More ominous is the fact that my term life insurance policy ran out last year. It can’t be good when your personal warranty expires.

All the signs were there. The shoebox full of pills, the post-menopausal panty liners from Depends, and a shiny new handlebar in the tub. My insurance agent assured me that for pennies a day, I could switch to their whole life policy. I had visions of Alex Trebec telling me that my loved ones would be able to afford a funeral that didn’t involve an old pickup truck, a cliff, and a gallon of lighter fluid.

I hate buying an appliance and the store wants to sell me their special warranty plan. Just build it right in the first place and I won’t need your stinkin’ peace of mind. Nevertheless, I decided to go with the new policy. It can’t be canceled and the rates won’t go up. Now if they would throw in a repair or replacement provision, I’d be golden.

I may not be shiny and new anymore, but I figure I’m more like a favorite pair of jeans – well worn and comfortable. I won’t worry about being put out on the curb until I start to smell like my couch.

Moms, you had your chance

In a few weeks we’ll be honoring the men who put up with our curses while we were in labor. Sure, we wished them all to go to hell and die (in that order) while they were telling us to pant and blow, but what they do after the umbilical cord is cut is the true measure of a father.

My ex wanted to take part in all the baby chores. Not realizing that at a certain age, babies can roll over, he stepped away from the changing table TWICE in the same diapering, with the same result. Babies hitting terrazzo (glorified concrete) floors make a sound something like smashing melons.

He was a Navy man, so I went with a group of wives to visit him in Perth, Australia when the ship was in port there. The ship’s doctor was so delighted to see his baby that he threw said bundle of joy in the air, forgetting that the wardroom had low ceilings. “Merely a glancing blow,” he said, as his wife yelled at him and the other moms looked on in horror.

There are some jobs that seem to be specific to fatherhood. Teaching kids to ride a bike, tossing a baseball, bailing his daughter out of jail when she’s caught on the street at 4:00 AM with a pill from Mom’s medicine cabinet in her pocket. We didn’t mention that one in the annual Christmas letter.

When I remarried, my husband had no children of his own. My kids were grown and out of the house, so he thought he was off the hook. Hahahahahaha! My kids latched onto him like a boil on your butt.

Fathers generally get the short end of the stick. On TV they are portrayed as dufuses, and fatherhood doesn’t get the good press that motherhood receives. They take the joke cards, t-shirts, and singing fish with good humor.

Men, once your swimmers hit the egg, the real work has just begun. Remember to thank God for the burned toast and runny eggs, and be sure to check the ceiling height before tossing your kids in the air.

You’re not too old to spank

Today is my mom’s birthday. Let’s see, that makes her 55 + 22 carry the two = getting up there. Mom was an innovator—her punishments fit the crime. I once ate a booger and she washed my mouth out with soap. This was a bar of Ivory that had been sitting on the bathroom sink for weeks and used by everyone in my family after wiping their butts. I never ate a booger again. Continue reading

I’m okay, you’re just so-so

I must have some kind of “not okay” demeanor, because my friends often feel compelled to ask “what’s wrong?” My mind will immediately race through all the possibilities. Well, my bananas are overripe, my stretched-out underwear has taken up permanent residence in my butt-crack, and when the hell are they going to let Josh drive the boat on Deadliest Catch? Continue reading

Say it with sanitation

I just sat down when I heard the announcement, “Gentlemen, start your engines.” Suddenly, there was a roar that filled the air and shook my port-a-potty like a magic fingers mattress at a cheap motel. It was majestic! It will go down as one of my most memorable visits to the laminate loo … ever. Continue reading

It’s the little things

A thirteen hour drive and three rolls of toilet paper later, we’re counting down to the memorial service for my brother-in-law. A friend of the family sent over toilet paper, paper towels, and Kleenex to handle the extra traffic of visits from family and friends. Only someone who’s been through it would think of those things. Continue reading

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

When irony bites you in the butt

My husband is one of the worst gift receivers that I know. He’ll open a present, look at it appraisingly, then tell you why it’s not good enough. He got his NASCAR tickets yesterday, but they were just E tickets printed off the computer. “Gee, they’re not slick and glossy and commemorative.” What? Did he want to frame them? Continue reading

Romance under the floodlights

My husband is a huge NASCAR fan. Every weekend from February to when hell freezes over I’m treated to the roar of overpriced Chevys in my living room. His birthday is coming up this week, so my kids decided to get him tickets to a race. Problem is, he wants me to go with him. And they say romance is dead.

NASCAR racing holds all the fascination for me of waiting in the gynecologist’s examination room, wearing nothing but a paper dress and goosebumps. I’ll be sitting in the same position until all my butt fat oozes into the grooves in the aluminum bleachers. (At the racetrack, not the gynecologist’s.)

They say that NASCAR is a national pastime. Take that, Ireland. You may have your soccer hooligans, but we’ve got Billy Bob and Lureen getting drunk, picking fights, and urinating in the infield. There just aren’t that many sports in Europe that you watch from the top of your motor home.

The thrill of watching cars make approximately 1,052 left turns, can only be matched by the Canadian pastime of curling. The object in curling is to slide “stones” across the ice and try to knock your competition’s stones out of the goal area. Curling has sweepers who try to melt the ice enough in front of the stone, so it will keep moving at the speed of slug in the right direction. Here you have the gentle slapping noise of the brooms, and three other people in the stands. After all, these athletes have mothers.

But I digress.

I can just be thankful that this is a night race. The only other race I’ve been to, I got heat stroke and passed out on the man one row down. This was a major NASCAR offense, since I made him spill his beer. But to show my love, I will be sitting next to my sweetie, rooting against Jimmy Johnson and Kyle Busch for his sake. If my boy, Carl Edwards wins, there will be a back-flip and a totally inappropriate show of affection from his mother in the winner’s circle. It’s the redneck way.

If my husband thinks that a race would be a romantic evening out with me, he better at least be willing to fight his way through line to get me a funnel cake. That’s when you know it’s love.