Tuesday, November 30, 2010

All Aboard Germs!

It was ridiculous. Laughable, really. But not at the time.

My family and I went on a 7-day cruise last week. We boarded the ship at noon on Saturday and were immediately met by a woman from the health department handing out health forms. The form was quite simple; it asked us if we had experienced any of the following symptoms in the previous 7 days: stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, etc.

Since Linda and Dave were both too weak from their stomach aches, vomiting, diarrhea and fevers to hold a pencil, I took the liberty of completing their forms for them.

Let me step back....It all started with my daughter Kimmy, who just returned from Europe with a not so sweet souvenir: one extremely nasty intestinal bug, which bit her on Thursday.

In retrospect, we probably should have stayed at a hotel on Friday night, but instead we brought our germ infested daughter to my unsuspecting friend Sue’s home in Jacksonville. Sue prepared a marvelous feast for my home-cooking-deprived family which was consumed without abandon. At 2 a.m. Linda woke me up to tell me she was sick.

For some reason, Linda likes company when she throws up. So I sat with her at the foot of the toilet, with one eye open and both nostrils closed. After several rounds, I felt a toothbrush was in order. It was when I went to the other bathroom to grab toothpaste that I noticed Dave was simultaneously tossing his cookies. (Thankfully, Dave prefers privacy while puking.)

It was a long night for the 3 of us.  But I was full of empathy. 

“Come on, guys! Get it out of your system! We’ve got a ship to board in 10 hours!!”

Sue and her family slept through the excitement. But she warned us, through her protective face mask, that we would have to fill out a health form at the port. “You have to lie about being sick, or they won’t let you board the ship,” she warned. Left unspoken, “because you can’t come back here…

 So I drove the debilitated duo and the convalescing Kimmy 2 ½ hours to the port and led the sickly bunch into the terminal for check in. 

“Pull it together! Stop looking so sick! And, whatever you do, don’t barf!”

We decided to find a spot for Dave and Linda to rest while Kimmy and I waited in line.

When we got to the front of the line we handed the health forms to the lady. “Where’s the rest of you?”

“Oh...you need to see David and Linda? They’re over there, lying on the floor. They’re just tired. Didn’t get enough sleep last night”

“Oh yes! They always have that slight green tint to their faces. It’s comes from my husband’s side of the family.”

They somehow stumbled their way to the counter, and with some subtle encouragement from me (an elbow to the side and a kick in the shin) they gave the required feeble grunts. The woman shook her head pathetically and allowed us to board the ship.

By Monday they were all feeling well enough to enjoy the cruise. Then it was my turn. But it was payback.

"Linda....I need some company".

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Introducing The Little Nipper Napper

Oh, how I laughed at the Snuggie.  But the Snuggie laughed back.  In fact, it laughed all the way to the bank, selling over 20 million in year one. They've since released the Snuggie for Kids, Snuggie for dogs (no, Kevin does not have one) and even Electric Snuggies. 

Why didn't I think of it first???

Considering how wrong I was about the Snuggie, I decided to give the Snazzy Napper the benefit of the doubt. For those of you who have never seen the latest product in the 'consumer polar fleece novelty blanket' category, here's a picture of it:

Yes, you are right. It's like polar fleece meets burka. Users basically strap a blanket onto their faces and nap (the blanket is complete with nose hole.)

The advertising claims are inspiring: It's the snazzy way to travel. Ideal for travel in a car, on a bus, train or airplane.

That is, if you don't mind looking like a moron.

Being the visionary nerd that I am, I decided that if the Snazzy Napper was going to become the next Snuggie, it needed some enhancements to help overcome some its obvious shortcomings (such as looking like a complete wacko while utilizing the product).

My first idea was Snazzy Napper with built in Gel Mask for Tired Eyes. That was definitely an enhancement. But I was skeptical that it would overcome the permanent psychological scar that might result from being seen in public with Snazzy Napper on one's face.

And then I had my scathingly brilliant million dollar idea.

I purchased a fleece blanket from the baby department of Walmart (for only $4.00), re-purposed the Polyurethane bladder from my Wine Rack (see June 27 post "Test Driving the Wine Rack"), and...

Voila!!! (drum roll please...)

The Little Nipper Napper

So simple. So ingenious.

As a service to my readers I test drove my Little Nipper Napper. I filled my wine rack bladder with wine, inserted it into a pocket I sewed into my Walmart blanket. The plastic straw fits right into the nose hole on my Napper, proceeding directly to my mouth (bi-passing my nose). It works!

The Little Nipper Napper has several benefits in addition to those of the Snazzy Napper.

1. The wine bladder works like a gel mask, soothing tired eyes.
2. The wine (or other beverage) facilitates your slumber.
3. But most importantly, after a while you no longer care about how stupid you look in public, sporting your Snazzy Napper.

 Look out Snuggie!  Here I come!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shear Madness: Drama in the Hair Salon

I went to get my hair cut today. While I was sitting in the hair-chair I had a flashback.....

to Kip (alias).

A couple years ago I was looking for someone to do highlights on my hair and a neighbor recommended Kip. He did a pretty good job, although I thought he was pricey. I never had him do anything more than highlight my hair. ( I feared that a cut/highlight combination would require me taking a second mortgage on my home.)

Let me describe Kip. He had a perpetual tan, short spiky highlighted hair, and always seemed to be a bit...how should I say it...flighty. His prices always varied from visit to visit, and were never below $100.

Over time, Kip started getting a little 'blond happy' with my highlights. When someone referred to me as a blond, I looked in the mirror and had to agree. I'd been a red head since birth and all of a sudden I was starting to resemble Carol Channing. I scheduled an appointment with Kip.

I didn't notice anything unusual about Kip that day. He was perhaps a bit more animated than usual, but, he was Kip. What did I expect?

When I asked him if he could use a little less blond in the highlight formula Kip took it very personally. His reaction seemed way out of line with my request. I mean, it wasn't like I was telling him his bike shorts looked bad on him or something.

Kip introduced me to Susan, the shop owner and asked if I'd rather have her do my highlights.

"No, Kip. You do a great job," I said, feeling bad about hurting his feelings.
"I'm going to have Susan approve my color mix, so I know it's just what you want," he said.
"Kip, that's fine! Don't worry about it."
"I'd trust Susan with my own Mom's hair," Kip said.
"What?" I thought.
"Susan has been doing color for 20 years," Kip insisted.
"That's good. I'm fine, Kip"
"In fact, I'd trust Susan with my own Mom's hair," Kip said.

I plugged in my I-Pod buds, hoping to end the discussion. It worked.

When my hair was ready to be rinsed out, Kip was nowhere to be found and Susan took over. I laid back in the chair, rested my head on the lip of the sink and closed my eyes as she sprayed water onto my hair.

I heard a faint voice in my ear.
My eyes popped open. "Did somebody say something?" I said
I saw Susan's lips move.
"What?  Are you talking to me?"
"Don't let him cut your hair"
"Don't let him cut your hair," she repeated. "The doctor is playing with his meds and they're not quite right yet."
"Am I on Candid Camera?"

You may think this rather insensitive of me, but I completely enjoyed the rest of my appointment. Kip's weirdness took on more meaning. And it was way more entertaining than anything I'd seen on Jerry Springer.

When Kip began to style my hair in what can best be described as "Cave Woman with Excessive Mouse", I decided to call it quits. "Kip, I think I'll let my hair air dry today."

The most interesting part of the appointment was yet to come.  Kip looked at me and said, "I forget...how much do I charge you for highlights?"

I considered several options, but decided to play it conservatively.
"I don't remember! Why don't you ask Susan?"  When Susan said, "$60" I almost shouted, "I knew you were over charging me!"

But I'm a glass half full kind of gal. Me and my slightly less blond Cave Woman hair walked out of the salon feeling pretty darn good. We saved at least $40 on that visit.

And the entertainment was priceless.