Thursday, November 16, 2017

The DIY Project

I usually outsource my do-it-yourself projects.

I'm not proud of that.  But when God blessed me with my extra pogo-sticking/jump rope gene he had to sacrifice another.  There went my DIY gene.  (And perhaps my cooking gene.)

Last night I had a huge project looming in front of me.  And it had to be finished by Friday.

Which left no time to farm it out.  If it was going to get done, I would have to do it myself.

The project required a screwdriver and a screw.

I checked in my garage workshop to see if I had the necessary tools.

Of course, I didn't.

I asked Dave if he thought Food Lion would have the tools I needed to complete my project.  He told me probably not.

Damn.  I'd have to drive to Walmart.  

I pictured myself looking for the tools in Walmart.  All those aisles.  It was overwhelming.

I was about to give up when Dave reminded me of my roots.  Blaine Clyde.  My Dad.  Who changed his own oil.  Who took things apart just to put them back together.  Whose genes I did not inherit. 

Was I adopted??

I decided to go to CVS.  I knew it would cost more, but time is money.  And I became fast friends with the salesclerk who helped me search all over the store and finally find the tools I needed.

When I got home I opened the package and pulled out the miniature screwdriver and the minuscule 5 screws.   I picked up my favorite one-armed pair of sunglasses, its amputated arm, and went to work.

It was the most challenging project I've faced since I stripped wallpaper in 2015.

Unfortunately, the eyeglass repair kit did not include an electron microscope. The itsy-bitsy notch atop the teeny-tiny screw that the $#&%# screwdriver fits into was invisible to the naked eye.    

And I had to turn that stupid screw to reattach the amputated arm!!

Now, I have very small hands.  But it was near impossible to grip the Barbie Doll screwdriver and hold it in place in the notch while turning the damn-nappid screw.  

(I may have made up that last word.  It's my prerogative.)

The screwdriver kept slipping and stabbing my thumb.  I needed 6 stitches.

(Okay, I'm exaggerating.  Again, it's my prerogative.)

However, I am pleased (and proud) to announce that after 29 attempts and just 2 band aids, I was successful. 

I'm pretty sure I wasn't adopted.  And Blaine Clyde would be proud.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Here's the deal with retirement.  I'm around Dave.  A lot.

Truth be told, that is the one thing I was a wee bit worried about.

Yes, we've been married for um... let's see... 2017-1985=32 years.

OMG!  That's almost 1/3 of a century!

But I've never been around him so many hours at at time. 

The first few weeks of retirement went fine.  We coexisted quite well.

That is, until 4:36 PM on Monday, November 6, 2017.

I decided to work on a jigsaw puzzle.  And I turned on the Hamilton soundtrack.  Because I LOVE THAT MUSIC.

Dave was upstairs on the computer.

Admittedly, I had cranked up the volume.  And I was singing along.

"What is that????," my irritable, uncultured husband bellowed from upstairs.

"Hamilton," I declared.  Although, honestly....  Who does not recognize that amazing music?  

"That is horrendous.  It hurts my ears.  Turn it off, please."

Now.... you can insult my clothing.  And my haircut.  And certainly, my cooking.  But you have crossed the line when you insult Hamilton.

We engaged in a passionate argument about the merits of Hamilton vs. his taste in music.  Which is not good.

I even pulled my trump card.  

"When we were dating you told me you liked plays."  (I remind him of this ever few years when he complains about me dragging him to a play.)

After a few minutes I got tired of arguing so we made up.  I agreed that I would use head phones when I listen to Hamilton in the house.

But I've got news for him.  

I will certainly listen to Hamilton with my head phones on.  

But if he thought Hamilton was bad, wait until he hears me singing along.

Friday, October 27, 2017


My daughter and her soon to be husband have decided that their next adventure should be teaching English in South Korea.

I stand in awe of their bravery.  

They could give a hoot about the fact that South Korea is within spitting distance of North Korea.  With that annoying leader Kim Jong Un and his hobby of firing missiles in an attempt to perfect his country's nuclear missile technology.

Kimmy called to share the news that she and Luke have an upcoming SKYPE interview for teaching positions at a South Korean school.

I offered to help them prepare for the interviews, but she declined my help.  I reminded her that I've been interviewing job candidates for decades and that I could be of great assistance.

But she and Luke don't need my help.  

(I always turned off the beater.)

Just in case they change their minds, I've pulled together some recommended answers to a few potential interview questions.

Q. How do you handle a disruptive child?
A. I would spank the brat and hang him from the ceiling by his shoelaces.  If he had been exceptionally naughty, we would play pinata.

Q. What is your approach for a classroom of children with different abilities?
A. I would make the smarter kids teach the dumb ones while I snort cocaine.

Q. What are your strengths as a teacher?
A. Yes.

Q. What are your weaknesses?
A. I have no weaknesses.  Except my fingers are too short.

Q. Can you prepare your own curriculum?
A. Yes.  I am actually a very good cook.  And curry is one of my favorite ingredients.  Curry and vodka.

Q. What challenge have you faced in the past and how did you overcome it?
A. OMG!  One time I was doing laundry and I accidentally let a Kleenex in the pocket of my jeans and it got all over my expensive Old Navy t-shirt.  There was white fuzz everywhere!  I had to use packing tape to get it off.

Although Kimmy was not interested in my recommended interview responses, I was able to provide one interview tip before she hung up.

"What is it, Mom?" she asked.

"Since you insist," I said.  "Remember to have a few drinks before the interview.  Or more than a few.  It will relax you."

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

X Marks the Spot

I was just about done packing when I heard Dave shouting.

"What the heck is this?" he bellowed from the kitchen.

"What the heck is what?" I responded helpfully.

I was double checking my list in the bedroom.  Toothpaste.  Check.  Toothbrush.  Check.

"This," he repeated, at an even louder decibel.  Which I thought impossible.

"I don't know," I said.  Deodorant.  Check.  Corkscrew.  Check.

"What the hell????" he said.

Which, in my opinion, did not require an answer.  Puzzle book.  Check.

Dave entered the bedroom, holing up his golf shirt.  It had a big white X on it.

I recognized that big white X.

"What is this?" he repeated.

"An X," I said, stating the obvious.  Then, taking an aggressive stance, "Did you put your golf shirt on top of my Bills shirt?"

"I put it on the kitchen counter," he said.

"And apparently, right on top of my Bills shirt!!!!!"  I ran into the kitchen to assess the damage. My Bills shirt was relatively intact.  

Thank God.

I explained to Dave that the X came from white fabric paint.   I had crossed out the "Rex" on my End the Hex Rex Bills shirt with white fabric paint, since Rex Ryan was no longer the Buffalo Bills coach.

It made perfect sense.

But Dave thought it was MY fault that he put his golf shirt atop my Bills shirt.

We had a healthy debate in terms of who was more irresponsible: me for putting my Bills shirt with wet fabric paint on top of the kitchen counter to dry, or him for putting his golf shirt on top of the Bills shirt with the wet fabric paint.

I hadn't planned on taking my Bills shirt to Arizona because the paint was too wet.  Which was no longer the case.  

Bills shirt.  Check.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Toss, Give Away, or Keep

I took my time packing up my office.  Just like on that Hoarders TV show, I put stuff into 1 of 3 piles: toss, give away, or keep.

I had a lot of stuff.  I'd been working full-time since 1980. 

That's 37 years.

Of stuff.

Of course, most of the stuff was work related.  Books.  Reports.  Project files.  Toss, toss, toss.

But I also uncovered treasure.  Reminding me of my life outside of work.  Like this letter:

How funny that the same little girl who was terrified of the Easter Bunny became a U.S. Marine.

Then there's this, from a visit Kimmy made to my office with her stuffed bear, Amelia.  We may or may not have been playing with the copy machine that day.

Okay.  We were playing.  We did not get got carried away.

I had to shut my door to compose myself when I came upon the drawing 3-year old Kimmy made after I experienced a painful pregnancy loss.  Talk about a stairway to heaven.

  Linda had some awesome artwork,too.

I got a chuckle out the the fact that 2 1/2 year old Kimmy was not quite there in terms of looking for a lost shoe instead of crying.

When I uncovered that letter to the Easter Bunny I texted a photo of it to Linda.  Her response was immediate.

"That's not my handwriting."

It made me laugh.  How could she deny it?   But then I took another look at it and realized that it wasn't her handwriting.  I forwarded the photo to Kimmy who admitted that it did, in fact, look like her handwriting. 

Apparently Linda dictated the now infamous Easter Bunny letter to her big sister.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Wax On. Wax Off.

Dave looked at me like I was nuts when I asked him if my nose hair was heavy or sparse.

"Whaddya mean?"
"Do I have a lot of nose hair?"
"I don't know."
"Look," I instructed, doing my best ballet move so that he could effortlessly look into my nose.

He asked for his reading glasses.

Rather than getting Dave his reading glasses, I sat down at the computer.  Besides, my back hurt from all that bending.

I was trying to decide whether or not to test drive a Nose Hair Waxing product.

But I'm a good consumer, and I never invest in a product, especially something as cutting edge as a nose hair waxing system, without first reading reviews.

Should I go for it?
I was nearly convinced after reviewing the first several reviews on AMAZON.COM:
- These nostrils are clean as a whistle!
- Excellent product that can be used as ear hair removal as well.
- This is simultaneously disgusting and amazing!

But then I happened upon a review written by man who called himself "Lost Out".

Mr. Out, who apparently has massive thickets of hair in his nostrils,  was clearly disappointed with his Yoffee Nose Wax Removal system.

He had previously used spinning trimmers, tiny scissors, as well as very thin disposable razors to trim his pesky nose hair.  But he was looking for a more permanent method for deforestation.  He considered plucking the hairs, but lacked the time, given his humongous hordes of hair.

Mr. Out did his homework before using his nose hair waxing product.  He read the instructions thoroughly and even watched some YouTube videos.  He chose to ignore the guy who cried in one video, labeling him a wuss. 

Mr. Out himself claimed to have a "decent tolerance for pain."

Mr. Out put the waxing compound in his microwave to melt it, and inserted the applicator stick into the melted wax.  He then stuck it into his nostril, clamped down on said nostril, and set the timer for 90 seconds.  When the timer went off, he yanked on the stick.  He whole head bobbed, but when "he gave it a good pull", the stick came out.  

Only a few nostril hairs were attached.  Leaving an entire forest behind.

Mr. Out, feeling more confident and even more determined, reheated the wax, re-inserted the stick, changing the angle, in an attempt to harvest more hair.

According to Mr. Out, his second attempt felt as if he was turning his nostril inside out.

I believe the words he used were "Holy Hell."

Mr. Out was able to remove the stick, and, upon inspection, realized that he had scored.  Big.

He was downright cocky as he moved on to his next, and final nostril.

Mr. Out reheated the wax and inserted the stick.  He decided to use a bigger blog of wax so he could clean out his nostril in one pass.

He inserted the stick into the second nostril and clasped it closed.  After 90 seconds, Mr. Out gave the stick a tug.  When he saw stars, he realized that he must have gotten a lot more hairs than in his previous two attempts.

He tugged again and felt his nose attempt to separate from his face.

And the clock was ticking.  The stick had to be removed within 30 seconds or it would never come out.  Without medical attention. 

Images of the Jaws of Life danced in his head.

I cannot possibly do justice to Mr. Out's description of his harvest from the Yoffee Nose Wax Removal system.  I'll let him tell it:

I finally pulled up my big boy panties and with about 3 or 4 eye-watering-profane-laden-pain-inducing yanks pulled that ball of malevolent compound out of my nose.  I was sure there would be a gush of blood following it out as I had surely removed actual skin and veins and other stuff with it.  But I hadn't and there wasn't.  What there was though was this villainous blob of compound that now looked like it had a full head of hair.  It looked like some bizarre circus sideshow freak or something out of a horror movie.  I could hear the barker now..."Come see the smallest full head of human hair, you won't believe it when you feast your eyes on this miniature coiffure!"

After reading Mr. Out's review I ambled over to the mirror.  I really didn't have any nasty nose hairs to speak of.  

A Nose Wax Removal System would be a complete waste of my time.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Disease

I am diseased.

I have a fatal disorder that is slowly killing me.  My prognosis is guarded.

The symptoms of this disease are many.  The most serious of which is loss of control of bodily parts.

It started with the skipping.  Down halls.  Into conference rooms.

And then it spread to my mouth.  Word hemorrhaging.  Things I wouldn't have said, say, six months ago.

Like when I said, "Oh, good!  We're finally forced to read a book that I actually like!" In a staff meeting.  In front of my boss.  Who I love.

Who used to like me.  Before I became afflicted with Short Timers' Disease.

I've been especially atrocious to my team.  I say things like, "I'm assigning this project to you because (uncontrolled laughter) I don't want to do it!"

And, "We'll do a follow-up analysis in October.  I mean YOU'LL do a follow-up analysis in October."  Followed by unconstrained giggling.

Short Timers' Disease.

I bring brownies to my staff meeting, put my feet up on the table and share my infamous Multicollinearity Rap on YouTube.  I hadn't intended to share.  It just happened.

Only a Short Timer would be so reckless.

Another symptom of STD is Adrenalin rushes.  They manifest themselves as I carry folders and notes to co-workers who will pick up my work.  I explain the importance of each and cross my fingers that they will find the project as intriguing as I did.

I throw away files.  Reports.  Binders.  Stuff.  And more stuff.

I dance my way to the shredding bin.

I carefully decide who gets the good stuff from my office.

Christine wants my Alien Abduction Lamp.  And the binoculars, so she can watch the Canada Goose nest next spring.  (I will miss that.)

Jeff will get my Official Tom Brady Deflategate Whoopie Cushion.  

I'll give Bettye my red blanket so she can survive the air conditioned induced winters that last 365 1/4 days a year at our campus.

Elle will receive my Barbie Doll pens and Cathy will get my "I'm silently correcting your grammar" placard.

Salem gets my fake hand because I know she will use it to scare small children.

Matthew and Max will each receive a pair of my Meat Locker Mitts.  Since neither of them is ever cold they can use the Mitts as cube artwork.

My last day is September 29, and I fear that my STD may worsen by then.  I'm thinking of bringing my unicycle to work, and finally mastering the damn bike by maneuvering through the maze of cubes with my arms outstretched.  

On my last day, when the only items remaining in my office are my Barbie Roller Blades I will probably begin to dance.  On top of said desk.

Security will likely be called to my office.

"Lou.  Get down.  It's time for you to leave," the guard will say.

I will invite the guard to dance with me.  When he says no, I will reluctantly step down, miraculously maintaining my composure.  I'll throw my purse strap over my shoulder and head out to my car, holding my head high.

Until I scream, "Wait!!!!!"

The Security Guard, who by this point will likely be annoyed with me, will say, "What, now?"

As I run back to my office I will shout over my shoulder, "I'm not going anywhere without my Barbie Roller Blades."