Saturday, August 28, 2010

Remote Anxiety

I'm currently in rehearsals for Gypsy. I play Electra, one of the worn out strippers whose gimmick is blinking lights on inappropriately appropriate parts of her body.

And I'm starting to get a bit nervous.

First there's the song, which is about an octave higher than I can sing. When I get to the part where I sing (and I use that term loosely) "I'm electrifying and I'm not even trying", the music director looks at me with pity. My cast mates have their hands over their ears.

Then there's the costume. Janet Jackson showed less skin in her infamous Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction. Add a pair of Barbie/stripper shoes to the mix and it's the perfect storm. The 4 inch heels cause me to angle precariously toward the audience, further precluding my propriety.

But my biggest fears surround the technical aspect of turning on the lights. And why? Because I will be using a remote control. Well...make that two remote controls.

Let me back up. My husband makes fun of my remote control prowess (or lack there-of). I don't understand why. Perhaps it's because I have to use reading glasses to change a channel. Or maybe he remembers the time that I brought a calculator on vacation so I could do some work, and how the calculator turned out to be a remote. "How can you possibly confuse a remote for calculator?" he asked. I made a quick comeback. "They're both rectangular and have numbers?"

Guess I told him. Besides, he's had a lot more experience with remotes than I have.

But I truly am a pathetic remote controller.

So when I found out that I have to not only use one but two remotes during my number I began to panic. I told the director that, sure, I'm an excellent multi-tasker, but asking me to work two remotes concurrent with singing, dancing, bumping and grinding may be beyond my abilities.

You know what she said? She said it might be funny if I pulled out the remote, looked at it and pushed the button.... in the middle of the song.


Well, how about if I pull out the remote, take my reading glasses out of my cleavage, and then push the button?

Or, why don't they further challenge me by asking me to enter a password, or maybe use a keypad like on my garage door? That might get a laugh!

I'll steal the show.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Baby Shower

Earlier this year I went to a baby shower for my friend Kelly and was amazed at how things had changed since my kids were born 22 and 15 years ago. I didn't know anyone at the shower, except for the mom-to-be, and I was trying very hard to make a good impression (and not embarrass myself).

I first started giggling when Kelly opened the Baby Boppy. Perhaps it was the fact that I was the only person in the room who didn't know what a Baby Boppy was, or maybe it was the name 'Baby Boppy' that stimulated my snorting. I noticed I was the only shower guest who was laughing, so I politely pulled myself together.

I began to lose it again when she opened the next package and pulled out what looked like a miniature version of leg warmers Jennifer Beals wore in the movie Flash Dance. Kelly started gushing, "Oh, I love Baby Legs!" There was uniform agreement in the room "Oh, those Baby Legs are so cute!" "They'll keep his legs so warm!" "Adorable!!"

Call me practical, but I'm thinking those Baby Legs are going to slide down to Baby Ankles when baby begins to crawl. I started to chuckle again.

Then came the Swaddle Me, which is basically a straight-jacket for a newborn. I'm no marketing genius, but I think a Toddler version would be much more valuable. And come to think of it, I'd take out a second mortgage on my home for Teen Swaddle Me. The vision of my teenage daughter trying to text while wrapped in a straight jacked stimulated more snickering.

Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of gifts that made me join in the gushing: adorable outfits, blankets that I wanted to curl up into, the stuffed animals. And I behaved myself completely during the majority of the baby shower.

But It's a darn good thing that nobody got Kelly a Pee-Pee Teepee. Here's how it's advertised.

Why is it that the act of diaper changing always seems to inspire an extra "contribution" from the little one? Parents of baby boys have been particularly vulnerable - until now. Just place a pee-pee teepee on his wee-wee during diaper changes, and the hazard is averted.

That may just have pushed me over the edge.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just Like Oprah

When Oprah Winfrey was in her twenties she knew she was going to be a millionaire by age 32. And look at her now! She's the world's first Female African-American Billionaire. And how did she make her fortune? She set clear and ambitious goals on both the professional and personal levels. “Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”

Oprah was my inspiration when I set that stretch goal of making my own Alien Abduction Lamp this week. I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

Do you see the similarities? Oprah was born to an unwed mother and survived an unimaginable childhood to achieve her fame and fortune. I, too, had roadblocks to success. You see, I was born with no 'handy' genes. Although never officially tested, experts believe my mechanical IQ to somewhere between 20 and 24.

I've tried. How I've tried!

Who could forget the (so called) "easy to assemble" patio rocking chair I assembled back in 1986? It looked great when I finally finished, about 8 hours after I started the project. It wasn't until my neighbor rocked a bit too enthusiastically, toppling backwards and hitting her head on the cement that I had the epiphany. The long ends of the rockers should be on the back, not the front. (Thankfully no stitches were required.)

One could argue that making an Alien Abduction Lamp was too big of a project for someone like me. Sure, there were only "9 easy" steps and 5 ingredients, but my history did not support the  attempt such an endeavor and the odds of success were infinitesimal. But, like Oprah, I refused to listen to skeptics.  What do they know?  I had a goal. 

Oprah had to overcome many hurdles to reach her goals. I, too, had many hurdles. My first was that I needed a Dremel. Since I had no idea what a Dremel was, I posted the question on my Facebook status update and within a couple hours my friend Tiffany told me I could borrow her Dremel. Hurdle # 1 eliminated. Oprah would be proud.

Next hurdle was finding a Touch Light. My question stumped 3 employees at Lowes before I found it on my own sitting near the light bulbs. Hurdle # 2 eliminated. But if I thought finding the Touch Light was difficult, disassembling it was even harder. I took a deep breath, thought of Oprah, persevered, and hurdle #3 was over-come.

At the risk of boring my readers, let's just say that the hurdles outnumbered the "9 easy steps" by a factor of 3 to 1.

But just like Oprah, I set my goal, followed the plan, overcame obstacles and achieved success.

It's a lot like the movie Hoosiers, which is based on a true story, where a high school coach and the town drunk lead a small-town basketball team on an improbable run to the Indiana high school championship game, despite all the odds.

I'm thinking someone should make a movie about my Alien Abduction Lamp project. The true story of a small-town geek with limited abilities tackling a project of unimaginable scope and magnitude. And succeeding.

Despite all the obstacles I encountered, my Alien Abduction Lamp shines brightly on the suspended cow. 

Now If I could only get Kevin to stop barking at it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Trump it with a Bumpit

Sometimes when I'm looking for blog inspiration I visit my local Infomercial store. I hit pay dirt today with the Bumpit. It was on the shelf right between to the breast separators and the electric eyebrow tweezers. 

For those of you not familiar with the Bumpit, it is a beauty apparatus that magically transforms boring, flat hair into voluminous pageant hair.

I couldn't resist. It was tax free weekend for back-to-school necessities, and what would be more necessary for back-to-school than a Bumpit?!!  (Ignoring the fact that I've been out of school for decades.)

My Bumpit kit included 4 plastic devices that look like ramps for Hot Wheels cars.  Although it included instructions, they left me with an unsettling sense of foreboding. Sure, there was a page of step-by-step directions and accompanying photos on the back, but after my wine rack test drive, words like 'simply place' and 'give hair a gentle tug' heightened my suspicions and made me doubt my Bumpit abilities.

So, being the Nerdling that I am, I watched several how-to Bump It videos on You Tube  prior to my first attempt.

And it's a good thing that I did!  Nowhere in the instructions did it mention that you had to tease your hair first and coat it heavily with hairspray before installing the Bumpit!   In fact, when I tried to install my first Bumpit without the teased sprayed hair, it stayed put for less than a nano-second before sliding south.

So I teased, sprayed, placed, tugged and...voila! I look like a princess. See?

Especially from the back.

But those instructions did come in very handy.

I almost missed it.  It was written at the very bottom of the right hand column, in small print, with an asterisk:

                          *Bumpits are not edible.

And to think how close I came to eating that Bumpit sandwich. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mourning My Toaster

I used to be the best toast maker ever. Not the kind of toast you give at a wedding. The kind you make in a toaster. But after about 15 years my toaster died. And my life changed.

Seriously, my Mom made the best potato salad ever. My siblings and I try to reproduce it, but nobody can ever make it the way she did. That's the way it was with my toast.

My kids used to be able to brag about my toast making skills. Morning conversations like this were common: "Mom, will you make my toast? It never is as good when I make it.",  "Mom, you make the best toast!", and "Dad, let Mom make my toast."

My toast was always toasted to perfection: golden brown, not too dark, never crunchy but toasted just enough to melt butter. Yes.

Then our toaster died.

I went to Target to get a new toaster and was completely overwhelmed at the selection. There were probably 20 different toaster types in stock, ranging in price from $8.99 to over $100.

Foolish me, I thought there were 2 features to a toaster: number of slices of bread it can hold and the color. Oh no, you can get toasters with variable controls, automatic shut-offs, even an adjustable rear foot. What?

Being the sharp consumer that I am, I decided to overlook the least expensive toaster, and instead go for quality. I selected the best looking 2-slice toaster I could find in the $20 range. I took it home, and have been using it ever since.

And I soon had pathetic realization that perhaps my late toaster (rest in peace) was a better toast maker than I was.

So when I saw the Mercedes Benz of all toasters in the 50% off display at the back of the Snoboma Williams store yesterday I stopped in my tracks. It was amazing. I'm not sure, but I believe it even had an adjustable rear foot. I picked it up carefully, looking for a price tag. My pulse began racing at the thought of regaining my reputation as ace toast maker.

When I asked an employee the cost, she told me that it was reduced to from $250 to $125. I laughed. "Wow," I said. "That's a lot of money for a toaster."

She paused, looked me up and down, and informed me that it was a very high quality toaster, made by hand in England and personally signed by the individual assemblers.

"Did Paul McCartney assemble that one?" I asked. "Or Elton John? If so, I'll take it."

She did not answer me. And I did not buy the toaster. And my toast making skills remain just average.

How I miss my late toaster.