Monthly Archives: July 2012

And Then There Was The Time I Was Witness To Spontaneous Combustion, But That Was After I’d Ruined The New Carpet

 My baby girl and her husband have finally bought their first home.  It took them eight long years, but come August 3rd , they’ll be homeowners.

August 5th, they’ve organized an army of friends and family to descend upon the house and paint every room.  After years of being a rental property, let’s just say it really, really needs some TLC in the paint department.

My hubby and I are part of the army, so this naturally brought up discussions of our first time.

Not that first time.

Our first time painting a room.

My hubby, who as a child learned to paint from his construction-worker grandfather, talked about the beautiful finishes, the satin sheen on the walls and the small amount of clean-up involved – which in those days was a big deal because paint was often oil-based and damn-near impossible to clean off without industrial-grade solvents.

I talked about the fire.

All eyes turned to me in surprise when I said paint and fire in the same sentence.

What?

I was 14 and my bestie was the same age.  She and her little brother and mom had moved into our townhome complex the previous fall and by springtime her mother had promised she could paint a  red and black checkerboard pattern on her wall…after the white carpet was installed.

What was the woman thinking?

Naturally my bestie enlisted my help and when I arrived that morning I found the checkerboard pattern had been neatly penciled all along one wall and all the furniture neatly stacked and covered on the other.

I took off my shoes, but in retrospect leaving my socks on was probably a bad idea.

Bestie poured black paint in one tray and red in the other.  I took the red and proceeded to paint squares marked with an “R” in the middle, and bestie painted the ones marked “B” with her black paint.

After a little while we decided to stop and get something to eat.  We set our trays on the floor and I stepped back to admire the work…right into a tray of red paint.

Hopping around on one foot only made the paint splatter so part of the room looked like a crime scene in a matter of minutes.

Covering up the walls was no biggie since we were painting anyway, but the carpet…

Red paint on white carpet.

Yeah, no amount of Resolve is gonna get that shit out.

In the end, we wound up strategically placing her bed at an odd angle in the center-ish part of the room and telling her mom that’s the way she wanted it.

Thank heavens her mother bought that story, and apparently never cleaned under the bed.

When we were done the checkerboard pattern looked pretty cool to a teenager, and we dutifully cleaned up all the paint brushes and disposed of the paint cans..and when I say we disposed of the paint cans I mean we put them on the back porch and covered them with the canvas drop cloth we’d been using  to protect the carpet – unsuccessfully as it turns out.

About a week later I went back to bestie’s house and immediately upon entering the front door I noticed a smoky haze. 

At first, I thought it was the pasta she was making for her baby brother, but closer inspection revealed the drop cloth on the back porch was on fire for no apparent reason.

An hour later and I’d had my first lesson on spontaneous combustion from a hunky firefighter in full gear.

That was just one of many adventures that she and I had and managed to keep from her mother and mine none involving fire…at least not that I remember…

It’s a Bear

No, really it’s a bear..or part of a bear anyway and it’s in my freezer at home.

Here’s how these things happen to me.

I walked in the door from work late last week and hubby was looking like a little boy who’d just scored the Topps package with an extra bubble gum accidentally stuck inside.

“C’mere”, he said excitedly waving me towards the garage.

“What?”, I replied as I followed him.

“Look!” he said, as he opened the freezer

*yes, we’ve been married so long we have entire conversations that consist of one-word exchanges – communication-schmumunication*

“What?”

“Look what the boss gave me.”, he said as he placed a clear plastic bag of a frozen meat-like substance in my hand

“And this is….?”

“Bear meat! Ground bear meat!”

He looked so giddy I didn’t have the heart to say what I couldn’t stop my mouth from saying anyway.

“What am I going to do with ground bear meat?”

*this is the part where I watch hubby’s happy balloon totally deflate*

“I dunno…make chili or stew with it, I guess.”

He snatched the bag from my hand and shoved it back in the freezer.

“I’m sorry,” I said, trying to make up for my obvious insensitivity over the excitement of ground teddy bear, “I’ll use it in the chili, okay?”

“I guess, but boss-man says it tastes kinda gamey so be sure to add a lot of spices.”

“Great. No, really that’s great. I’ve never had bear chili before.” (shocking, I know given that I am a Texan and we are known to be a bit crazy and adventurous when it comes to food)

I hugged hubby and told him to thank boss-man for the bear.

And, now I’m back to my original question – what the hell am I gonna do with several pounds of ground gamey-tasting teddy bear?  I’m not sure there’s enough chili powder and cumin on the planet to cover that taste, and I’m not sure I can get past the thought of the doe-eyed look of every cute li’l cartoon bear I’ve ever seen on television and around the Intertubes for as long as I can remember to eat it.

That’s it, Grumpy Bear, I’m turning your bitchy ass into chili! MUWAHAHAHAHA!

Next year, boss-man, why don’t you try trout fishing instead?

It’s A Test, Isn’t It?

A test of my tenacity and patience, that is.

Bugsy, the Insane is my cat.  Here’s a picture of him having a moment with my shoes. This evidence of his fetish will, I trust, explain his name.

I have no idea why it’s sideways, and I’m too stupid to figure out how to fix it. Just tilt your head.

Bugsy regards me as his personal responsibility, and he never lets me out of his sight. 

Frankly, I don’t know how I performed a variety of tasks before I had him around to offer his own brand of help and running commentary.

Normally I am able to wrap Christmas gifts when Bugsy has sufficiently exhausted himself supervising my every move, and has settled somewhere for a long nap.

The easiest method, for me to wrap gifts, is on the floor.  Standing and bending over a table would keep Bugsy from helping, but the pain it causes my back is just not worth it.

Which brings me to my point.

Someone had written a humorous article the other day about how to wrap a present with a cat.  I laughed, long and loudly, at it as I could really relate.

Yeah, when you’re living it…….not so funny…..

I have my wrapping paper, ribbon, bows, tags, tape, scissors, pen, and gifts all spread out in the den.

I sit on the floor amidst the colorful piles and start the job.

Bugsy enters and promptly flattens his big, fat, carcass on top of the wrapping paper I’ve just unrolled and spread on the floor.

I sigh…and shoo him off.

He moves, but only until he sees the ribbon – an aside, and in all fairness..it’s just not right to dangle ribbon in front of a cat and not let him/her play with it.

I take the ribbon, and shoo him out of the room.

He exits, complaining the entire time.  Stopping at the door’s threshold, he lies down to watch.

I proceed to wrap a gift, and after getting all taped up I go to pick up the pen and write on the gift tag.

I can’t find the pen, anywhere!  I spend about three minutes looking under, around, and through, everything before  I notice Bugsy has it perched between his paws.  He’s not chewing on it or doing anything.  He’s just holding it. 

I take the pen from Bugsy, fill out the tag and affix it to the package.

Then, I reach into the bow bag and discover I’m not alone.  There’s a distinctly furry paw already in there.

I pull the paw out, amidst much protest, and once again shoo him out of the room.

He takes up his post, at the door’s threshold, and gives me one of his patented “huffs”.  Yes, he does a “harumph” kinda sound when he’s truly perturbed with me.  I’m telling you he’s an alien in a cat suit.

Lather, rinse, repeat….at least a dozen times.  Sometimes he makes off with the ribbon, and I have to follow the trail to find him…usually under the Christmas tree.

So, a once-pleasant experience has now become an incessant battle of wills and the sum total of my actual wrapped presents?  About half of what it should be for the time and energy expended.

Weebles Wobble, Right?

The definition of “road trip” includes a good deal of time viewing the world through a windshield.

Amiright?

So, during the Epic Road Trip of 2012 we did just that covering some 2600 miles in the process.

We missed a couple of things, but we did get creeped out in Arkansas, crossed off one of hubby’s bucket list items, got some laughs at the snooty’s expense, and spent some quality time with baffling coffee dispensers and stale donuts.

One more thing we were witness to was a Weeble car.

Remember Weebles?

Wobbling Weebles wobble weebly. Also, the drive wobbly cars.

Remember how they wobble, but don’t fall down?

Yeah, pretty sure we saw a weeble-car on the highway somewhere near Birmingham, Alabama one night about 11:00. 

This beater of a car was in the left lane and ahead of us a short distance.  He changed lanes and was now in front of us in the right lane.  His car moved over, then wobbled…a LOT…for a LONG time.

He accelerated, and when he did the wobbling got more pronounced. 

He changed lanes again and the wobbling got to the point where it really looked like the tires on either side of the car were leaving the pavement with each successive wobble.

I turned to hubby, “What is wrong with that car?”

“Nothing,” he replied, “I’m pretty sure that guy is drunk.”

“No wa-” I said, but then I looked.

The weeble-car was being driven by a weeble-driver with the distinctive Weeble wobble to his entire body going on.

“I think I should call the Highway Patrol, don’t you?” I asked.

“Yes” said hubby as he skillfully managed to keep a safe distance between us and the Weeble; which was difficult given the driver’s erratic speeds and constant lane changing.

I looked down to rummage through my bag for my phone and when I looked up the weeble-car was gone.

“Wha-?”

“He exited back there.” hubby said, the relief in his voice obvious.

“Damn. I didn’t get the car’s make or the license plate or anything.”  I said, worried now for all the other drivers in the weeble-car’s path on the farm road he’d just turned on to.

I don’t know what happened to that guy, but I do know that as far as I could tell the ads were true – Weebles Wobble, But They Don’t Fall Down.

Dropping the Bimm…

Know how I keep this site free from the dreaded “F” word?

I use feck instead.

Or, I will use feck instead.

As often as is fecking warranted.

You’re welcome.

Here, look at a kitty as a sort of palate cleanser for the brain.

Merry Christmas-in-July!

Is Johnny Depp Going to Be There?

I’m what you might consider a robust woman.

I’m not ginormous, but I’m not optimum size.

I’m somewhere in between.

Like all women (and men!) who avoid mirrors and cringe at the doctor’s office weight scales (did you know they add like 10 lbs, consistently?) I’ve struggled with my weight pretty much all my life.

Except for that brief time in high school when I was on the swim team and could eat a whole pizza AND a carton of ice cream and Twinkies and anything else I wanted, and still struggled to keep the weight on.

The trade-off was I spent 2 ½ hours a day in a pool, swimming back and forth, forth and back. 

Apparently, that dedication to maintaining a slim body went away with the birth of the first child.

So did my svelte figure.

Over the years, I’d laughingly refer to my lard-ass as “baby fat”.

Yeah, when your ‘baby’ is 20 years old that excuse no longer works.

I briefly bought into the whole idea that eating fat made me fat.

Wrong.

Or that my metabolism was soooooooo slow I couldn’t lose weight.

Wrong, again.

Then my ‘baby’ girl got serious about losing weight and started on a strict calorie-counting and exercise regime after the birth of her first child.   In eight months she lost nearly 70 lbs.

I was in awe, and a bit jealous, but I maintained she was way younger than me and I couldn’t achieve results like hers because I was eating too much fat and my metabolism was a mighty warrior battling against me.

Bullshit.

I finally had to admit I lacked motivation and dedication the day that baby girl told me something:

“Mom, if you were dropped on a deserted island and given 1500 calories’ worth of food to eat every day you would lose weight.”

To which I retorted:

“Depends.  Would  said island also house Johnny Depp?  Because, I could be persuaded…”

Standing there in her skin-tight jeans she just stared at me and shook her head.

It was then I truly understood that eating less and moving more was the only way to achieve success.

Forget the Atkins Diet, the Hollywood Diet, the Cabbage Diet (no-shit, there is a cabbage diet..one word – ewwwww), the Dr. Whomever’s Surefire Weight Loss plan.

Forget all of them.

If you are struggling with your weight, I can tell you that each of the fad diets you read about and every one of the supplements you hear being hawked on the airways is all about one simple concept.

Eat fewer calories than you burn.

It’s that simple, and that incredibly hard.

It works, though.

I’m living proof.

After baby girl said that I shut up and put up, so to speak.

And six months later I had lost nearly 40 lbs.

The thing is I stopped doing the right things, for the wrong reasons.  Life intervened, my Dad’s health was declining and stresses at work, and so on.  The same things that all of us deal with.

The difference is, I may have stopped the diet, but I didn’t gain back the weight.

Why?

Because even though I stopped measuring every morsel that went into my mouth, I had permanently learned to eat less.

So, now that my life seems to have settled into a routine of manageable chaos once more I am going to begin the diet/exercise regimen once more.

The point of this whole post is this, if you are struggling with weight loss – and this is something you are wanting to focus on – don’t waste your money on over-the-counter magic beans or self-help guru books, just go with the simplicity of physics.

Burn more calories than you consume, and even better, if you can burn or cut 500 calories per day from your life you will lose an average of one pound per week.

I should write a weight-loss book, right?  Trouble is it would only be two pages long.

And, of course, if you’re happy the way you are ignore all of the above.  I salute you.

Hey Rangers, Are You Paying Attention?

Not only did my beloved St. Louis Cardinals kick the ass of my adopted hometown Texas Rangers in the World Series last year, now they offer this:

For $30 you can sample a *bajillion different beers by Anheuser-Busch before the game, and then get to watch the Cards kick some Pirate ass.

Too bad I’m over 600 miles away from Busch Stadium, because I’d be all over this.

I just hope someone in the promotions department for the Rangers sees this.

It’s 350 degrees in Texas in August. 

Why don’t we have a beer-sampling? 

I’m betting there’s a connection between all that beer influence and the Cardinals’ success over the years.

Prove me wrong, Rangers.

 

*bajillion may just translate to six, but I like to think I’d be allowed some journalistic license here

 

Tripplehorn?

If you haven’t seen the movie “Date Night”, this post will not make any sense.

Come to think of it, this post may not make any sense anyway.

I blame the heat – it’s 153 degrees here in Texas – you can blame my natural tendencies towards mental leapfrog.

Toe-may-toe, Toe-mah-toe

On the Epic Road Trip of 2012 we ate like royalty.  I mean we went to every kind of restaurant, with every kind of pricing, you could imagine.  The only rule we had was to not eat at a place we could go to back home – so no Chili’s or TGIF’s.

One restaurant was an extremely expensive and high-class mecca to the seafood gods in Florida.  There was a ginormous saltwater tank in the lobby that wrapped around the bar area, and a piano player added to the ambience.  He’d of added more if he hadn’t attempted to sing, too.  As it was, though, his singing just gave us more to snark about.

The first thing I noticed was how seriously under-dressed we were for the occasion.  As women glided by on gossamer cocktail-wear and the men sauntered behind looking like they’d just stepped off the pages of GQ – The Caribbean Edition,  I looked first at me and then at hubby, both wearing flip-flops with him in a t-shirt and shorts and me in a sundress.

Undaunted I approached the hostess stand and the fact that the hostess’ face showed her disdain was not lost on me.  It was also the reason for the following conversation:

ME:  How long is the wait for two people?

HOSTESS:  1 – ½ to 2 hours.

ME:  Whoa…um okay.

HOSTESS: *picks up one of those pager-thingys and starts to write down the number as she asks my name* Name?

ME:  Tripplehorn, and please don’t hand me that bacteria-laden device.  Can you just call our name when it comes time to seat us?  We’ll be at the bar.

HOSTESS: *looking down her nose at me, but nonetheless now grasping the pager-thingy in her thumb and forefinger and holding it away from her*  Umm…sure.

Hubby and I were barely able to withhold the giggle-fest as we sat at the bar and expectantly awaited a snooty hostess to come by and say “Tripplehorn?” repeatedly when it came our time to be seated.

I wish I could say we had an epic night, ala “Date Night”, but after seriously considering jumping into the tank to snag a clown fish (don’t look Nemo!) for dinner we were so hungry, we decided to eat at the bar.

We did not, however, remove our name from the list, so two hours later as we finished dessert a second snooty hostess walked through the bar and lobby repeatedly saying, “Tripplehorn? Tripplehorn, party of two?”.

We weren’t the only ones laughing.

Okay, add a foot to Steve and a gozillion pounds to Tina, make Steve look more like Tom Selleck when he was Magnum, PI and Tina more like Roseanne Barr and you get a better idea of what we look like…and a complete understanding of why I don’t post pictures here.

Time For A Shout Out

First, let me say I am not a paid spokesperson.

I’m also not an armadillo, you know… just in case…

I’ve been bitching about the US Postal Service a lot lately, so in the interest of fair and balanced reporting I thought it high time I give a shout out to my favorite hotel chain.

Ever hear of Drury Inn and Suites?

Let me tell you that from experience these are hands down the cleanest, most well-appointed, hotels I’ve ever seen.  And, they are beautiful to look at and reasonably priced – how’s an average of $119/night sound?  We stayed at three Drury’s during the Epic Road Trip of 2012, and consistency was a mainstay.

My oldest daughter, an absolute cleanliness-nazi, had told us about the Drury’s she and her family stayed in last summer.  She was so impressed with the staff, the rooms, and most of all the free stuff.

They give away free alcohol.

Free. Alcohol.

Oh yes, there’s free food as well.  Twice a day, for breakfast and dinner, they have a real buffet.   Eggs, biscuits and gravy, sausage and homemade waffles for breakfast are paired with cereal (hot or cold), fruit, yogurt, and various pastries and donuts.  For dinner, the menu rotates but at one point you will sample pasta with meatballs, a baked potato bar, soup, nachos, hot dogs and chicken nuggets. 

Now, back to the alcohol.

When you check in you get a card that entitles you to three free drinks at their full service bar every night of your stay.  Even the beer is draught.  The only thing they don’t offer is call liquor, but when it’s free who cares?

If I were a drinker…..as it is I’m not really, but did have a glass of wine the one night we ate dinner there.  And, then promptly fell asleep the minute we got back to the room.  Like I said, not much of a drinker.

So, if you’re keeping score…you get breakfast, dinner, alcohol, and I swear-you-could-eat-off-the-floor clean rooms for about $119/night at any Drury in the country. 

This is a franchise that knows what it’s doing.   Maybe I could get the Drury CEO to call the Postmaster General…….

 

Me and The US Postal Service Need to Have a Come to Jesus Meetin’

In the span of TEN short minutes today I was witness to the following:

1.  After standing in a looooooooooooooong line – due to the fact that there was only ONE clerk working the busy post office – for what seemed like an eternity, the gentleman in front of me presented a package that clearly didn’t meet the postal regs.  He kept being told he needed a “bigger box”…no, I don’t know why…to which he would look over his shoulder at the box display and say, “This is all you have here.”   This happened like three times and the clerk finally said that making sure the proper supplies were provided to the postal customer in the post office lobby was “…not part of my job.”    Yes, Mr. Clerk, it’s not your job – as the only person in the building we could see who could possibly have access to the supplies we need.  Of course it’s not.    Frustrated, the gentleman gave up and walked away.

2.  The next gentleman in line had a poorly constructed and poorly packaged shipment and the clerk had no issue with that part, but when they guy clearly said “Parcel” the clerk heard “Priority” and when he quoted a $26 price and the customer nearly fainted and asked why “Parcel Post” cost so much, the clerk began to argue with the customer that he said “Priority” when even the woman behind me was muttering, “No, he said parcel post”.  This exchange ended with the customer getting it changed to ‘Parcel Post” as the clerk said, and I quote, “I don’t care what you do, just don’t say “priority” when you mean ‘parcel'”.  

3.  Another customer approached another clerk at a now-opened second counter, but only for inquiries and pick-ups, and asked about the location of her new PO box.   After going to the back for some moments, he came back and told her that everyone with access to that information on the computer was gone for the day.  So, tough lady, I don’t care that you came here when it was convenient for you, you are now being introduced to the USPS version of “convenience” and it translates to – “Service – When We Absolutely Have No Other Choice, We Will Begrudgingly Put You Off Till Tomorrow”   I think t-shirts should be made.

My transaction went fine, but I did have to wait while the clerk fumbled with putting new tape into the machine and then loudly bitch about how he had to do “everything around here”.  

Yeah, right…just don’t ask any questions, expect any supplies to be stocked in the lobby, or have time constraints that make coming to the post office inconvenient for a postal worker, and we’ll get along just fine.