Saturday, April 30, 2011

Triangle Turning Troubles

It’s official. I’ve lost my job. I am no longer the “Stage Left Triangle Turner” in High School Musical. 

But the thing is, I love triangles

I love all triangles regardless of shape or size, be they isosceles, equilateral, right, or scalene.

But I hate that damn High School Musical triangle (HSMT).

I guess, technically, the HSMT is really a ‘Triangular Prism’. (And if you really want to get specific, it’s an ‘Equilateral Triangular Prism’.) But to me it’s just a big, bulky, unruly monster that takes pleasure in messing with my head.

The 3 sides of the HSMT depict 3 settings.  With every scene change, the HSMT is turned so the audience is looking at the appropriate set. Given that there are about 39 scene changes in HSM, that stinkin’ HSMT has to be turned around so often it resembles a slot machine in a casino.

And, try as I might, I could never get it exactly right, as Samantha, the 17-Year-Old-Know-It-All-Stage-Left-Stage-Manager was quick to remind me.

     “Ms. Darbus. You forgot to turn the triangle to the Chem Lab side,”  Samantha would say, in a voice that was a fascinating blend of annoyance, condescension and pity.

     “Oh yeah?,” I'd mutter under my breath. “Well, I can do 5-star sodukus in under 4 minutes. So there.”

 And when I did manage to remember to turn the 12 foot HSMT at the right time, in the right direction, it would typically become tangled up in the stage left curtain.  It was  like wrestling with an alligator on cocaine.

Personally, I thought it was rather entertaining to watch. Especially when I would trip over my costume.  But I guess my slapstick (and my giggling) distracted from the show.

     “Ms. Darbus! You turned the triangle the wrong way. It’s supposed to say Wild Cats!”  Samantha scolded, rolling her eyes.

     “Oh yeah? Well, I can jump rope and pogo stick at the same time.”

As a result of my incompetence, Tiffany (the director) "relieved me of my HSMT duties". And you know how I feel about that?

Like celebrating! All I have to worry about now is my acting.

Except Tiffany gave me a another job. I’m supposed to bring on 2 chairs during one of the science lab scenes.

I wonder where I'm supposed to put them?  I'm not going to worry, though. 

I'm sure Samantha will tell me where to go.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Prosthetic Resourcefulness

I know. You're probably sick to death of reading about prosthetic resourcefulness. But these are important stories that must be told and retold. They are stories of brave, determined, enterprising individuals capitalizing on their prosthetic appendages.

Take for example the courageous amputee who saw a thug pointing a gun at the cashier in a convenience store in Massachusetts earlier this year. What did he do? Tackle the guy? Call the police? Run (or try to run) away?

No. He used his prosthetic leg to trip the thief.   Who'd have thought that a prosthetic leg would be such a good weapon?

Yep. That amputee was using his resources. 

Kind of like the lady in Rock Hill...except she wasn't exactly using her resources. She was using her husband's resources. The Rock Hill woman stole her husband's prosthetic leg and attacked him with it.

I mean, she didn't have her own, so she grabbed the closest prosthetic leg that she could find. It just so happened to be attached to her husband at the time. But she discovered that she could run a lot faster than he could with his leg in her hand.

Another excellent example of prosthetic resourcefulness.

But my favorite example of prosthetic resourcefulness is the California guy who wanted to smuggle three endangered iguanas from Fiji into the U.S.  Where did this amputee attempt to hide the loot?

You guessed it. In his prosthetic leg.

But he got caught.

Perhaps he should have given his iguanas some Ambien prior to going through airport security.

TSR: "Excuse me sir, but is there any medical reason for the movement inside your leg?"
Smuggler: "I have varicose veins."
TSR: "Sir, your varicose veins are chirping."

I said he was resourceful.  But he was a terrible liar.

On second thought, perhaps this is an example of Pathetic Prosthetic Resourcefulness. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Peep Plagiarism Prohibited

I had the best blog idea EVER: Cooking with Peeps.  This is my 100th blog and I wanted it to be special.  Can you think of anything more special on Easter weekend than cooking with Peeps?  Me, neither!

I was very excited about my "Cooking with Peeps" theme. It was a perfect idea for me, considering my prowess in the kitchen, right?   In fact, I had already developed some potential recipe ideas: macaroni and peeps, peeps pizza ("Peepza") and peep burgers.

Imagine my disappointment to find that my idea was already taken!  Although I didn't see any mac 'n peeps, I saw plenty of other delicious dishes. Check out this mouth-watering recipe I found on for Crunchy Peeps Salad:

15 Assorted Peeps
1/2 head of cabbage
1 package ramen noodles
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1. Coarsely chop the cabbage and crush the noodles
2. Toss together Peeps, cabbage, and noodles
3. Mix the ramen season packet, oil, sugar and vinegar together
4. Pour liquid mixture into salad, toss evenly, and serve

They even had a recipe for tofu peeps.

But I have very high blog standards. I did not want to risk accusations of Peep Plagiarism, so I reluctantly moved to Plan B.

When I happened upon the web site which documented the surgical procedure where quintuplet Peep siblings, conjoined at birth, were separated through a daring application of modern medicine I came down with a severe case of Blog envy. 

This certainly would have been an outstanding Plan B. Oh why hadn't I thought of this?

At the researchers documented the surgery, cauterization of the wound, and stapling the incision. Unfortunately one of the Peeps coded on the table and CPR was in order.  (I don't think he made it.)

Moving on to Plan C.

Don't worry readers, I have the best, most original Peep concept ever!

I have decided to supplement my Drunken Mexican toothpick holder collection with a couple of Drunken Peeps. I know the Venture Capitalists will be lining up to get a piece of this action!

It's a great concept. These guys are functional. They're colorful. And they're edible.  Well, some people think so (especially if they're drunk). 

And the best part?  Nobody else has thought of it.  (They don't call me a Marketing Genius for nothin'.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oblivious Foot in Mouth Disease

She made me so mad. 

She was the check-out girl at Stein Mart and she had a real bad case of "Oblivious Foot in Mouth Disease" 

Let's call her "Stella".

It's taken a few years but I've finally recovered from that detestable shopping trip. My friend Becca and I had just finished a long walk on a very hot summer morning, and we decided to make quick stop at Stein Mart on the way home. 

Now in Stella's defense, I did not look my best.

And in my defense, Stella didn't look overly bright.

I was wearing a t-shirt, shorts and a baseball cap. I was not wearing make-up. I was sweaty. But Stella's comment was completely unwarranted.

Stella was running the cash register. I very politely asked her, "Do you have any extra coupons? I left mine at home."

Stella gave me her most patronizing smile and said, "I'll give you some coupons, because you're wearing your Grandchild's art work on your shirt."

I looked down at my t-shirt, the one that my daughter Linda had made when she was in 1st grade, which was NOT THAT LONG AGO, and said incredulously,

"My Grandchild?" I added, under my breath "I'm going to kill myself."

But I decided to give Stella the benefit of the doubt, since she looked like she didn't get out of her corn field often enough to recognize that she'd insulted a customer.

I said, "My daughter made that for me when she was in kindergarten".

But poor, uncouth Stella shoved her foot one step deeper into her cavity filled mouth. She looked at Becca and said, "Did you make that?"

At this point I said, "Now I really am going to kill myself."  And poor Becca didn't know what to say.

Yet, Stella was completely oblivious. She looked at Becca and said, "You're good at drawing. I like coloring, too".  (OK, maybe I made that part up, but I'll bet she has more than a few coloring books at home.)

When we got in the car I told Becca if she ever told anybody this story I would kill her. And she never did. 

Because Becca is the nicest person I know.

In contrast, 26 years ago I was registering for my wedding at a Milwaukee department store. My friend Debbie (of Green Stamp fame) was with me and she asked a store employee where the bridal registry was. The woman smiled at us and said, "You can register your daughter in Housewares." 

I about cracked a rib I laughed so hard. I had to stop at the ladies' room for Kleenex to dry my eyes and pull myself together.  I called Debbie "Mom" for the next 4 hours.  And I told everyone I knew about the incident.  

I guess what goes around comes around.

And I'm really lucky that Becca's nicer than I am.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Infamous Green Stamp Incident

For me, Green Stamps evoke a plethora of warm memories from my childhood.  

That is NOT the case for my friend Debbie.

Every Thursday my Mom would come home from the A & P with about a dozen brown paper bags of groceries. After we put away the food, she'd let me put the Green Stamps in the books. I loved it!

Green stamps came in denominations of 1, 10, and 50. Each page took 50 stamps. You could put 50 1's on one page, 10 5's, or 1 50. Or you could paste any combination adding to 50 points. 

In fact, I believe my entry into nerditude began with adhering Green Stamps on those pages. For example, I learned at a very early age that:
  • 5 X 10=50 and
  • (30 X 1) + (2 X 10) = 50

It wasn't just grocery stores that gave out Green Stamps. You could get them at other retailers such as drug stores and gas stations. My friend Debbie probably got hers at a gas station. That would explain why she had the Green Stamps in her purse that day- the day of the "Infamous Green Stamp Incident" .

The Infamous Green Stamp Incident happened years before I met Debbie. She was living in St. Louis at the time. She and her husband were dirt poor, raising two kids under the age of 2 1/2 while going to college.  

It was August. In St. Louis. August in St. Louis is very hot and very humid.

Debbie was visiting her Gynecologist for her annual exam and was quite nervous at the time, for she suspected she was pregnant (again). She was sitting on the exam table, wearing one of those flimsy paper gowns, waiting anxiously for the doctor.

Did I mention that the air conditioning wasn't working at her doctor's office that day? Well, according to Debbie, the paper gown was completely sweat soaked within minutes, as was the paper covering the exam table.  And she was a bit embarrassed about the puddle she was leaving, so she decided to dry herself off 'down there' with some Kleenex from her purse.

Need I say more?  

Debbie had no idea that the Green Stamps had hitch-hiked along with the Kleenex and remained in place 'down there'. The doctor and nurse came in and Debbie scooted down into pap position. The doctor picked up the speculum, lifted the sheet, gasped,  and collapsed into hysterics.

Debbie didn't understand why, when the doctor asked the nurse to take a look at her crotch, the nurse joined in the laughter.  In fact, Debbie was starting to get a bit defensive.

"Hey, I don't think it's very polite for you to laugh at a patient's.... um...private parts!"

That made them both laugh harder.  With great effort the doctor was able to spit out (between laughs), "I'm sorry, we don't take Green Stamps"

I suppose that Debbie's attitude toward Green Stamps changed forever that hot summer day.  She told me she could never bring herself to lick a Green Stamp again.

I guess I can't blame her.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Bad Habit

I promise you I don't do it on purpose. It happens just once every 2 or 3 years, usually when I am myopically concentrating on something, leaving me completely oblivious to my environment.

The first time it happened was about 10 year ago while I was on vacation in Milwaukee. I volunteered to take my daughters and their 4 cousins to see a matinee movie. I didn't want to see the movie that the kids were seeing, so we split up. My movie was down the hall and just around the corner from theirs.

Linda was about 5 at the time and her cousin Anna was the oldest (12). I told the kids exactly where I was going to be.

"I'll be in theater # 5, which is right down the hall and around the corner. What theater number will I be I in?"
12 eyes rolled in perfect choreography, "Theater five".
"And where are we going to meet after the movie?"
"In front of the Pac Man machine"
Kimmy, enjoying her independence, tried to reassure me. "Mom!!! We'll be fine!"

I was half way down the hall when I started worrying about what would happen if Linda had to go to the bathroom during the show. She was only 5 and really shouldn't be wandering around by herself. What if she was kidnapped? But who would take her to the bathroom if she has to go?

And speaking of going to the bathroom, I had to go. So I stopped at the Ladies' room, engrossed in my conundrum.

As I walked into the bathroom I noticed a few people standing up along the wall. Maybe I should go back to the kids' movie and assign Kimmy to be bathroom monitor. But Anna's a year older and more responsible, so I maybe it should be her.

I made my decision. It would be Anna. She could be trusted and was less likely to ignore Linda's request to go to the bathroom, especially if I asked her to take her. I flushed the toilet, walked to the sink and washed my hands. I glanced in the mirror and the nice man who had just joined me from the urinal said "Did you know you are in the Mens' room?".

I always run at this point.

And I giggle... to the point of having to pee my pants. In this case, it wasn't a problem...since I'd just gone to the bathroom (in the Mens' room).

That was NOT the case in the Indianapolis Taco Bell a couple years later. 

I was trying to figure out who was going to sit where in the car for the next 4-hour shift and was working through potential scenarios and the advantages and disadvantages of moving to the back seat and who I should switch with, Linda or Kimmy... or should I offer to take the wheel?  If I'm driving I shouldn't have to be forced to listen to a baseball game, right? 

All those thoughts were running through my head as I opened the Mens' room door. I snapped out of it only after the man standing at the urinal looked over his shoulder at me, winked, and said hello.

And I ran (of course).

But there was no place to hide. I just knew he was going to come out of the bathroom and see me. I was trapped like a rat.

I ran back to our table, bent over in laughter, with my legs crossed. Dave said, "What is wrong with you, Lou?"
I gasped, "We have to leave! He'll see me!"
"The guy at the urinal. OMG - I'm going to pee my pants!"
"But you just got back from the bathroom."
"No- I went to the Mens' room"
He raised an eyebrow. "Again?"

Thankfully the man at the urinal walked past our table and right out the door.

Yes. Going in Men's bathrooms has become somewhat habit forming for me. Every couple of years I end up running out of a Mens' room, mortified, looking for some place to hide and compose myself.

I'm not proud of it. And men, beware!  I'm due.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Oldest Old?

In this day and age of political correctness, how can this happen?

Yesterday I was researching age pyramids in the U.S. on the Census web site (yes, I am a nerd) and I read a statistic: “One of Every Three Nursing Home Residents is an Oldest Old Woman.”


I read it again and wondered if it was a typo. Then I turned the page and read "Baby Boom Generation to Accelerate Elderly and Oldest Old Growth".

I stopped in my tracks. I've been studying demographics for decades and have never heard of this term. I Googled it and learned that 'Oldest Old' is a label for people aged 85 or older.

Is it just me or is this term derogatory?   I think it's way worse than Old Fart and Geezer!  And it's almost as offensive as this advertisement.

In today’s world where deaf people are called ‘hearing impaired’, trash collectors are called ‘sanitation engineers', and fat people are called ‘horizontally challenged’, how does the Census department get away with calling our most senior of seniors ‘Oldest Old’?

And what does that make me? Am I the 'Oldest Middle' or the 'Youngest Old'?  Maybe I'm the 'Oldest Young'.  (Okay, maybe not.)

I think the Oldest Old segment should be re-positioned, the way used cars became 'pre-owned vehicles' and prisoners became 'clients of the penal system'.

I've got some ideas!  How about 'Chronologically Gifted'?  Or 'Youth Deficient'?  'Post-Graduate Senior'?

Anything but Oldest Old. 

We should sic Betty White on the Census department.  Or this woman.

And I'll be supporting them all the way. 

After all, I am the nerdiest nerd.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Not by the Hair on my Chinny Chin Chin

I've never had my eyebrows waxed. Nor have I had any other part of my anatomy waxed. The concept of allowing someone to rip hairs off my body en masse seems cruel and sadistic.

Actually, I take it back. I have had my arm waxed, but not by a professional. It happened when I was testing my new bacon band aids, which I recently purchased online. I absolutely loved the look of the bacon band aid on my arm, but removing it brought tears to my eyes.

It was not unlike that scene in The Forty Year Old Virgin, when Steve Carrell got his chest waxed- well partially waxed.

I have a friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) who regularly gets her eyebrows waxed.  And she is extremely (and in my opinion irrationally) loyal to her eyebrow waxer. 

Let's call my friend who wishes to remain anonymous "Becca".

About a month ago, "Becca" and I were on a walk when I noticed she had an abrasion under her eyebrow that looked very raw.

"What happened to your eye?" I asked, showing great empathy and concern. "Oh, I'm not sure what happened. I got my eyebrows waxed today and it really hurt!"
"I think she missed!", I said, stating the obvious. "You need to find a new waxer!"
"Oh, No!" " she said, "I love Ging Lee!  She's so sweet!"
"That's what James Caan thought about Kathleen Bates in Misery", I warned.
Becca just laughed.

Well, yesterday, Becca and I went for another walk and she asked me to take a look at her chin. She had a large red abrasion right under her chin. "Is that a hickey?" I asked, astounded, and trying hard not to imagine the scene that resulted in said hickey.

"Oh, no", Becca replied. "I got my eyebrows waxed yesterday."
"I think Ging Lee needs glasses," I concluded.

Becca explained that Ging Lee had finished her eyebrows and the next thing she knew her sweet waxer was tearing the skin off her chin. But Ging Lee was very apologetic when Becca told her she didn't have to wax her chin, since she doesn't have any hair on her chin.

"You don't have any skin on your chin either," I added alertly.

I know Becca is loyal to Ging Lee, but I really think she needs to make a change.  I'm no expert (yet), but I still have those downloaded instructions for eyebrow threading.  I've been waiting for months for the right guinea pig.

And I think I found her.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Lost Keys

I should have just stayed home tonight.

I had the house all to myself. Dave was going to the baseball game. Linda was going to her flag twirling team practice.

As I was considering my options, Dave returned from dropping Linda off at practice. He ran in the house to make a pit stop before leaving for the game.

30 seconds later he came out of the bathroom and said, "What did I do with my keys?"

I said something really innocuous, like "Where did you leave them?"   I mean, he went from his car (point A) to the bathroom (point B) and somehow he lost them on the way. (But who am I to judge? )

"Lou, help me find them! I have to leave for the game!!" He was beginning to get frantic. (Wouldn't want to miss the first pitch.)

I got up and looked in his car and along the path to the bathroom. "Did you flush them down the toilet?" I asked helpfully.

"Where the #$##$@# can they be?," he asked rhetorically, since neither he nor I could figure out where they'd disappeared to.

I looked at Kevin. He shook his head.

Dave ended up using his back-up car keys to drive to the game.

And I should have stayed home.  

But Steinmart was having a sale. So I picked up my coupons and drove the 14 miles to Steinmart. I had plenty of time to shop and save money. Linda didn't have to be picked up until 8:30.

As I unbuckled my seat belt I noticed my GPS sitting on the passenger seat.  And what do you think was under the GPS?  I called Dave.

"Dave, did you put my GPS back in my car?"
"YES!  That's where my keys are!"
"Yep- I'll put them in my glove compartment for you," I said, feeling a bit smug.

Then I shopped. And I scored (way more than the Gamecocks scored.)  I walked to the car feeling very good about my purchases and how much money I'd saved by spending. And I still had plenty of time to pick up Linda!  Life was good.

I removed my keys from my purse.  Except they weren't my keys. They were Dave's keys. 

My keys were locked safely in my glove compartment for Dave.

I called Dave to tell him about my conundrum and remind him that it was all his fault. But, not to worry. He and his buddy (who was at the game with him) came up with a solution to my problem. I could borrow Scott's daughter's car.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't want to bite the gift horse that feeds me, or kick it in the mouth, either. But Scott lives on the Tallahassee side of the lake.

So Scott's wife was nice enough to pick me up and drive me 8 miles to their house. I got in their daughter's car and drove 23 miles to pick up Linda 30 minutes late, and then the 8 miles back home. 

By then the game was ending. I got back in the borrowed car (did I mention it had a skull hanging from the rear view mirror?) and drove 14 miles back to the Steinmart parking lot, where I met Dave and Scott with my backup set of keys. We drove the 8 miles to Scott's house to drop off the car and 19 miles home.

14+8+23+8+14+8+19=85 miles.  All because Dave couldn't find his keys.

I should have just stayed home.  

But I got the cutest skirt ever!  And I saved way more than I spent.