Friday, May 27, 2011

Arachnophobia

I think wine makes me braver.

I got home at about 11:15 last night to find everyone asleep. Dave and Linda were in bed, and Kevin was resting under the bar stools in the kitchen.

What? That was an odd place for him to rest. He's typically perched on top of the couch keeping a keen eye on the street, ready to bark at anyone who dares walk past the house. I'd never seen him under the stools.

"Hey Kevin...aren't you even going to say hi?" 

Guess the honeymoon's over, I thought feeling melancholy.  (It was kind of like when the girls stopped wanting to hold my hand, or were embarrassed when I walked them into school.)  I poured myself a glass of wine and turned on the TV. Then I pulled him out from under the stool and brought him to the couch. "Want to hear about Hairspray?" I asked pathetically.

A couple minutes later I realized that he had returned to his spot under the bar stools.

"Come on, Kevin. Keep me company!"  I fluffed up a pillow and made myself comfortable on the couch.  Kevin didn't join me.

"Wait a minute. What are you doing under there?  Are you eating something?"  With great effort I pulled myself off the couch.

Did I ever mention how blind I am without reading glasses? Seriously, I have 20-20 vision unless something's six inches from my eyes. I pulled Kevin out from under the stools and saw something fuzzy.  It wasn't fuzzy because it was fuzzy. It was fuzzy because it was within six inches of my eyes.

So I touched it.

It didn't feel fuzzy.

My stomach turned.

With great anxiety I turned on the light and grabbed my reading glasses. And I also grabbed some toilet paper to pick up the insect (that I was suspected was sitting on the floor under the stool).

But it wasn't an insect. It was a zodiac sign. And a reptile..or maybe a mammal?

I've since found out that scorpions are actually arachnids.

And I didn't know what I was going to do with that particular arachnid on my kitchen floor. 

Of course my first priority was to take it's picture.

I quickly abandoned the toilet paper. It may have been my imagination, but the arachnid (let's call him Guido) was laughing at my toilet paper.

I thought about other ways of "getting rid of it."  For a nano-second I considered waking up Dave or Linda, but quickly dismissed the idea, for I would never have lived it down ("you wouldn't believe what a wimp Lou was").

Then I remembered Maureen and the dead squirrel in her living room (see Squirrel Envy post 2/4/11). How had my brave brother gotten it out of the house? In a dust pan.

A dust pan it was.

When I returned to the bar stool, Guido was attempting to make a get-away. And I believe Kevin was aiding and abetting his escape.

But was too fast for them.  I whisked Guido into the dust pan, extending my arm as far as it could possibly go saying, "Stand back, everyone....I've got a poisonous zodiac sign in this dust pan!"   Of course, nobody but Kevin was listening.

I released Guido into the overgrown jungle of my back yard. I told him to get the heck out of town and that I didn't want to see his cephalothorax in my house again.

Not everybody is happy about Guido's exile from Irmo.

Kevin misses his little buddy.

He really needs to get a life.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pitter Patter Petits Fours

What was I thinking?  I haven’t even been to a bridal shower in decades.  And now I'm throwing one for my friend Becca.

Plus, I’m from Buffalo. Buffalo bridal showers are held in fire halls. We serve potato chips with French onion dip and Labatt's Blue. Sometimes you'll find a vegetable plate at a shower, but only if wings are served, and the vegetables are all celery sticks. If there’s a cake, it ain’t very fancy, because it’s home made.

Becca deserves a bridal shower like the one in the movie Bridesmaids: classy, stylish, and chic. (Except she probably wouldn’t want us giving away golden retriever puppies as party favors).

With me in charge, this shower is more likely to resemble The Wedding Singer.  








The last shower I was involved in was actually a baby shower for my sister-in-law, Wendy. I volunteered to bring Pitter Patter Petits Fours. Here's what they were supposed to look like.

Maybe I would have had more success if it weren't so damn hot.   It was about 100 degrees out and we had no air conditioning in our little house in Wisconsin. And the oven added another 15 degrees.  My kitchen was the size of an elevator and had no circulation.

Picture a summer day in hell. Only hotter.

My sister Jannie was visiting from Denver that weekend with her dog Sebastian. I put her to work. Sebastian and Bluie (my dog) joined us in the kitchen, in the pathetic hope that food would drop. Jannie and I were literally dripping in sweat.  And Sebastian kept circling my feet with his big hairy dog body.

"Sebastian, beat it!" I screamed.  "Now I've got dog hair stuck to my legs."

Somehow the kitchen grew even hotter.

We made the frosting and attempted to frost the Petits Fours. It was a race against time, getting the baby feet frosted and into the fridge before they melted. And time was winning.

I stated the obvious. "That doesn't even look like a baby foot!"
Jannie, ever the optimist, disagreed. "Sure it does. If you squint your eyes."

In what appeared to be a suspiciously purposeful maneuver, Jannie stepped over to the counter to get the next Pitter Patter Petis Four to frost, and tripped over Sebastian's paw. 

Poor Sebastian lost a toe nail.

I know. It was wrong of us. But we couldn't resist. 

Once the Pitter Patter Petits Four was enhanced with Sebastian's toe nail, it actually resembled a foot. (Albeit, not a baby's foot. Rather it looked like the foot of some kind of alien creature.)  But it was no longer as pathetic a Pitter Patter Petis Four as it had been sans Sabastian's toe nail.

Rest assured, we did not leave Sebastian's toe nail on the Pitter Patter Petits Four. However,  it did give us an idea. We frosted some blue and pink toe nails on the remaining Pitter Patter Petits Fours. I think they bore a slight resemblance to baby feet.  Just in case, I labeled  the serving dish: "Delicious Pitter Patter Petits Fours".  

We had left-overs.

I know Becca reads this blog and is probably about ready to pass out right now. But don't worry, Becca.  I am not making Pitter Patter Petit Fours, or even Pitter Patter Penis Petit Fours for your shower.

And furthermore, don't worry one little bit about my Buffalo upbringing. Jamie's in charge of the food! She won't let me serve Labatt's Blue.

But I'm in charge of games and one of my favorite Buffalo Bridal shower games involves making a wedding dress out of toilet paper.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Cake Behind the Mirror

I think I was looking for Tylenol.  I opened the medicine cabinet and there it was. 

It was molded into a ball that resembled a Hostess Snowball (without the pink coconut). And it was an open invitation to ants, roaches, and any other Florida livestock with a sweet tooth.

But, who put it there? Obviously, one of the kids, who were about 3 and 8 at the time. But which one?

My first inclination was Linda. She had recently been exhibiting some very odd behavior. Case in point: the mysterious odor in the bathroom.  Of course, one would expect to smell poop in a bathroom, but the smell usually goes away with a flush.  This smell was quite persistent.

It had been driving me nuts for days. I’d walk into the girls' bathroom several times a day, searching for the source, flushing to no avail.

Then I noticed the unzipped sandwich baggie in the trash can next to the toilet. It contained somebody's poop (probably Linda's, although one can never be sure in these matters). Linda had watched me clean up after our dog Bluie using plastic bags. She thought she’d clean up after herself the same way. Apparently, she went fishing. You get the picture.

(Good thing Bluie didn't have a PooTrap. God only knows what she would have tried.)

So I figured Linda was the culprit. But then again, Kimmy had been going through this weird “potions” phase at the time. She fancied herself a mad scientist of sorts and had started creating “potions” made of a wide variety of ingredients (ketchup, soda, dirt, sun block). I was constantly finding bowls of fermenting potions under beds, in tubs, and in closets.

"Hey Frankenstein, clean up this potion. If someone kicks it over on the carpet, no TV for a year!" 

My threats fell on deaf ears.

So it was a toss-up. Could have been either.

Or perhaps it was a conspiracy.

The following is a condensed version of the 30 minute interrogation that transpired:

Me: “Girls, come here! Who put this balled up piece of cake in the Medicine Cabinet”

Kimmy: “Not me!”

Linda “Not me!”

Me: “OK, tell the truth. I just want to know. Which one of you did this?”

Kimmy: “Mom! I would never do that!!”

Me: “OK, Linda did you do this?”

Linda: “No.”

Me: “Then how did it get there? It couldn’t have grown feet and walked there by itself” (I learned that one from my own Mom.)

Kimmy: ”Daddy must have put it there.”

Me: “Daddy wouldn’t have put a piece of cake in the medicine cabinet in your bathroom. Why would he do that?”

Linda: “I think Bluie did it”.

Me: “Bluie doesn’t have thumbs.” (It’s exhausting trying to reason with a 3-year old).

After about 20 minutes I decided to call for reinforcements. “Oh Yeah? Well, let’s let Daddy figure it out! DAVE!!!!  WE NEED YOU!”

Dave wandered in.
Dave: “What?”
I was shaking with frustration. Completely worn down.

Me: “Look what I found in the medicine cabinet in the girls’ bathroom. This balled up piece of cake sitting right next to the toothpaste. And both girls deny doing it.”

Dave looked at Linda. “Linda, why’d you do it?”

Linda: “Because I’m sorry.”



 I was stunned.  How did he do that?

That's my husband: Sherlock Stinkin' Holmes.  Nothing gets past him.  Not even a balled up piece of cake behind a mirror.




Friday, May 13, 2011

Announcing the Nerdling Noggin Visor

I’d been thinking about getting Dave a Flair Hair Visor for Father's Day.  But, I just couldn't bring myself to spend $19.99, when I could make my own.  It sure looked simple enough.

I found a very nice, high quality visor at the Everything’s a Dollar (I believe it cost $1.00) and I utilized resources from around my home to complete the design.  

I'm proud to announce the long awaited roll-out of the Nerdling Noggin Visor, available in 4 distinct styles.

(Please allow me to me give props to my lovely model and co-worker Paul, for his willingness to risk his dignity for the benefit of my readers.)

The first version, is called “The Kevin”. Notice how “big and fluffy” Paul’s noggin looks with a visor enhanced with some of Kevin’s hair. 

I must confess that "The Kevin" was not my first choice. My original intent was to get a variety of dog hair...from PetSmart’s grooming salon.

Who wants to go with me and Kevin to PetSmart tonight?” I asked my daughters after work yesterday.
Linda and Kimmy both said they would come.
“I’m going to get some dog hair from their grooming salon for my blog.”
Linda and Kimmy (in unison): “Forget it!”

I walked into the PetSmart grooming center and there were piles of dog hair on the floor. I smiled as I envisioned "The Fido" version of the Nerdling Noggin.

I asked if they had any extra dog hair they weren't using. I was going to make up something about my dog going through chemo if they asked questions, but no questions were asked. The girl at the counter said they weren’t allowed to give dog hair away because it might have bacteria...blah.blah.blah.

So I went to the fabric center and got a lovely boa. And here’s version 2: “The Marilyn”. It’s much fuller and softer than “The Kevin”, yet understated. I think it makes Paul look younger, don't you?


The third in my Nerdling Noggin Visor collection leverages my vast collection of dryer lint. Introducing “The Heloise”. Although I love the look, I fear that this design might have its challenges. Considering the combination of flammable rubber cement and dryer lint, it is likely that Consumer Protection Agency might put the kabosh on "The Heloise"(We wouldn't want another Michael Jackson/Pepsi misfortune, would we?)

And last, but not least is my favorite Nerdling Noggin Visor: "The Blagojevich" (And I would like to thank a certain doll that I found in the attic for donating her locks of love.)  Don't you agree that this visor just screams sex appeal?  Paul looks like he could run for office!

Now, not everybody is thrilled with"The Blagojevich". In fact, I think someone is unhappy with her haircut.

And check out those eyebrows! She's starting to remind me of Chucky.  I may be wrong, but I think she was giving me the finger!

Wait a minute!  Those eyebrows and bad haircut just gave me a scathingly brilliant idea!

I just added another Drunken Mexican Toothpick Holder to my collection!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fannie Mayhem

We were like a class full of Pavlovian dogs.

My 4th grade teacher had set a large plate of lifesavers on her desk while we were at recess. It was part of a lesson plan illustrating the concept of "mouth watering".  And it worked.  Those 15 mouths could have generated enough hydro-electricity to run a BMW plant for 7 days.

That’s how I felt when I saw the Fannie May candy bag.  


Because I love Fannie May candy.

There was a Fannie May candy store in my local Wisconsin mall that sold the richest, most delicious, heavenly chocolates known to mankind. When I was feeling extravagant, I would treat myself  to 1 or 2 pieces. The Fannie May lady would put them into a  miniature white box and place the box in a white paper bag.  (And they would be gone before I got halfway to my car.)

Yes, Fannie May candy made me salivate.

One time when I was flying from Milwaukee to Buffalo I noticed a Fannie May candy bag sitting on the floor in front of the empty seat next to me. I looked around for its owner, assuming somebody would return for the stash. I mean, I’ve left stuff on planes before, but nothing as valuable as a bag of Fannie May candy. Who would do such a thing? (That would NEVER happen to me.)

After a few minutes, the flight attendant began her announcements and a little immature voice inside my head started chanting: "finders keepers, losers weepers."

I smiled my most guilty smile.

Then I realized with disappointment that the candy probably belonged to the person sitting behind me. I looked over my shoulder. Yep. She looked like she enjoyed chocolate. She probably didn't realize that it had slid under the seat.

I looked back at the bag. I wondered what kind of candy it held. Fannie May Peanut Butter Smoothies make Reese's peanut butter cups taste like spam. Green Mint Melt-Aways would also be good.

My lips were watering. Just like in my 4th grade class.

Why is it when you're trying to take your mind off something, it's impossible to do so? I glanced at the bag again. I guessed that it contained 6 individual pieces. Wait a minute, I thought! There could be fudge in that bag- maybe peanut butter fudge!

Then I began to have my unclean thoughts. I began hoping that, if it did belong to that lady, she would forget about it. She was overweight and she probably had border line diabetes. Chocolate was the last thing she needed.

I would be doing her a favor by taking her Fannie May candy.

We finally landed. I was on pins and needles, waiting for the owner of the candy to claim it. I pretended to be packing up my backpack when it was my turn to get up. The woman behind me lumbered by without a sideways glance.

Why do I always feel guilty? I mean, nobody was claiming this candy. I found it. It was mine.

It must be my Catholic roots.

When the only people left on the plane were me, 2 unaccompanied minors, and the flight attendants, I nonchalantly bent down to pick up the loot.

That's when I noticed that it was full of a liquid.

Reality struck hard, like a two-ton brick. That was no candy bag.

It was a very full air sickness bag.

After an involuntary gag I realized it would be okay.  I wasn't really hungry any more, anyway.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wake Me Up Before I GoGirl

Speaking of PooTraps, I've been meaning to order myself a GoGirl.

What?  You don't know what a GoGirl is?  GoGirl is the great gender equalizer! GoGirl allows women to pee standing up. And, according to the advertising: It’s neat. It’s discreet. It’s hygienic. Now THAT'S a brand promise.

GoGirl looks to me like a cross between a rubber funnel and a tuba.  (Or some kind of sex toy.)  Apparently, you just hold it up next to your...well the place from which pee originates...and go..girl. And the pee is magically directed away from your feet. 

Evidently, when you get good at it, you can just unzip your pants, pull out your GoGirl, and go.  According to the ads, "you won't be like a man, you'll just pee like one."

Look closely at this picture. Note that the top portion of the GoGirl is labeled 'UP'. Good thing. I suspect if you put the 'up' side down the pee would be directed at your knees.

They suggest you practice in the shower. 

Good call.

Think about it, ladies. How many times have been forced to use filthy, disgusting toilets in emergency situations? Until the GoGirl our options were limited: squat, toilet paper origami, or just plain holding it.

I admit it. I am a terrible squatter. Why?  First, it hurts. Contrary to popular belief, I am not, nor have ever been a ballerina. Secondly, my aim is not good. My on-base percentage, so to speak, is about 20%. The other 80% of the time pee either rebounds off the seat onto my legs or takes the short-cut route directly down one (or both) legs.

I prefer the toilet paper origami option, although I'm not much better at that. I do an adequate job of covering the seat, but IT NEVER STAYS PUT!  No matter how gingerly I move, in an attempt to minimize potential gusts of wind generated by turning toward the door and pulling down my pants, inevitably, half the paper is in the toilet by the time I sit.

Yes. The GoGirl would really come in handy in those situations.

It would also come in very handy when hiking. It's bad enough squatting over a filthy, germ infested toilet, but I'd rather not expose my va-jay-jay to poison ivy, black widow spiders, copperheads and grizzly bears (not to mention other hikers).

One time when Kimmy was about 4 years old we went on a hike.  We were about 1/2 hour into it when she told me she had to go potty. 

We tried the squat.

"OK, honey. Pee"
"I can't"
"Then let's keep walking"
"I have to go potty!!!!!"
"Then go"
"It won't come out. I can't stand like this and go. I have to be on a toilet"

So I made my arms into a toilet, holding her body so she was suspended above the ground, her legs swinging freely. I looked ridiculous (and it hurt), but desperate situations call for drastic measures.

And it worked.

She peed.

All over my jeans.

Oh, yes.  A GoGirl would have really come in handy  that day.

But one of the best things about GoGirl is that it's reusable.  Please don't accuse me of making this up.

It's dishwasher safe.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

No poops! No oops!

I’m beginning to think I’m the only one in my family with a sense of humor.

I was so excited I literally ran into the house after work yesterday, shouting the news about my discovery of the PooTrap.

“Guys! You have GOT to see what I found today! The Chinese have developed a contraption that you strap onto your dog to collect their poop! It’s like the opposite of a feed bag!”

Nobody even looked up. So I went on.

“But they cost around $40, so I’m going to make my own for Kevin. All I need is some magnets and a couple leashes"

That got Kevin’s attention. He ran under the bed.

Dave said, "Dinner's on the table, Lou. Eat."

"Wait!" I said, "I printed off the PooTrap FAQ's. You won't believe them! They're written by a Chinese PooTrap employee who doesn't know English"

Everyone else began to eat as I ran to the car to get the FAQs.

"Listen to THIS!" I said, as I read the first frequently asked question:

Q: What if my dog doesn't like the PooTrap?
A: There are many things that dog don't like, such as shower, home alone, or even dog food. However, once they are used to all these things, they will be excited.

I could hardly get the last sentence out I was laughing so hard: "PooTrap will become their favorite activity."


My A.D.D. kicked in. "PooTraps come in 8 sizes. I think I'll use sandwich bags for Kevin's." 

Kimmy looked at me with disgust, dropping her turkey sandwich on the plate. 

"Sorry! But listen to this one!"


Q: When to take off PooTrap?
A: Don't rush to take off PooTrap. Wait until your dogs finish all his routenes"

"Why aren't you guys laughing? This is the funniest thing I've ever read!"

Dave shook his head.

Q: Would dogs look funny wearing PooTrap?
A: Our design renders the positive discreet outlook for dogs wearing PooTrap. The looks will attract curious questions and on-lookers, but your dogs will become the focus of attention in a positive way.

That got Linda's attention, "Mom, you better not take Kevin out in this neighborhood wearing one of those. I'll kill you."

"Linda, wait! I wasn't finished with their answer"

A: If you really feel uncomfortable about your dogs wearing them, feel free to take it off when your dogs finished and show a relieved smile at you."

I could hardly read out loud any longer. (I just kept picturing Kevin giving me a relieved smile.)  "Wait! There's more FAQs!"  I was bent over, and could only get about 3 words out at a time.

Q. Can I use..... PooTrap..... when my dogs....suffer from.....diarrhea?"

It took literally 3 minutes before I could compose myself to read the answer.

A: Of course, you would benefit the most from situation like this.

At this point, Kimmy and Linda moved their plates to the sink and thanked me for ruining their dinner.

Dave wasn't phased.

And, of course, I haven't seen Kevin since. 

I wonder if they sell magnets at the Dollar Store.