Friday, October 28, 2011

Improper Intervals

I have never had a root canal.  I imagine such a procedure could be a wee bit more painful than a musical audition.  But, not by much.

There's something about standing on a stage with a number straight-pinned to my chest, singing 16 bars of a song to a room full of humanity that makes me want to crawl into my stinkin' armpit.  "Hello my name is Lou Clyde and I'm going to be singing 'Sponge Bob Square Pants', from…. Sponge Bob Square Pants." 

I actually just thought of something less enjoyable than musical auditions: cleaning vomit out of the side pocket of my car when my sick daughter doesn't have the where-with-all to tell me to pull the car over when she's about to puke.

Yeah.  That's worse than musical auditions.  But, not much worse.

Thank God  I will NEVER have to worry about musical auditions again! 

No, don't worry!  I haven't given up auditioning!  I'm getting my very own Beauty Voice Trainer.  And it's going to give me the dulcet voice I've always wanted.

In just 5 minutes a day.

I know what you're thinking.  Is this a Japanese product? 

Of course it is.

The Beauty Voice Trainer is a cutting-edge innovation.  According to the advertising materials, the system works in three ways: First, the specially designed mouthpiece positions the tongue to open the voice passage, allowing a much stronger sound. 

Secondly, it helps with abdominal breathing, a necessity for proper singing. Finally, the included tuning fork guides you to the notes you want, and trains you to hear the proper intervals between pitches.

I cannot wait to test out that stainless steel tuning fork so I can learn the proper intervals between pitches.  It's no wonder I wasn't cast as Belle in Beauty and the Beast!  

My intervals were improper!

The only thing that bothers me is the specially designed mouthpiece.  It only comes in 2 colors: orange and purple.  I'm a Carolina fan, for crying out loud!

Plus it looks like a damn pacifier.  If I'm going to put a pacifier in my mouth, I want a good looking one.

In fact, if that specially designed mouthpiece looked like this,  I would use my Beauty Voice Trainer for way more than 5 minutes a day!

Can you imagine my vocal transformation? 

I'd be the next Susan Boyle!

No more chorus line for me.  I'm destined for the top, thanks to my Beauty Voice Trainer!

Now, if they would only come out with a Beauty Dance Trainer.

 I could head straight to Broadway.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teenage Wadder!

I stared blankly.  Certainly, I must have misheard Linda.

"I'm sorry, what did you say you did on your first day of work?"  Linda had just returned home after her new job at a certain unnamed retail establishment at the mall.

"I said, I folded clothes."

"Holy stinkin' cow!" I said to my daughter who has never folded a piece of clothing in her 17 years of life"Did they provide on the job training?"

She rolled her eyes (for the 47th time that day.)

You may wonder how someone can make it 17 years without ever folding a piece of clothing.  It's simple.  Linda's a "wadder".

Linda basically takes clean clothes from the laundry basket, wads them up and shoves them into her drawers.  Those that don't fit remain in the laundry basket. 

Linda typically tries on several outfits before choosing the "right one."  The wrong ones end up in the discard pile on her floor.   

When she runs out of clean clothes, or can no longer find something to wear, she brings in a bulldozer and hauls the garments to the laundry room, where the cycle begins anew.

So you can imagine my shock when Wadder Linda announced that she is now folding clothes for a living (well, at least 12 hours or so a week through the holidays). 

Truth be told, after the initial shock, and once I was assured that she wasn't fired for incompetence, I began to giggle.

You see, Linda can't even fold a towel.  I mean, HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO FOLD A TOWEL?  

I know what you're thinking.  

 I am a gifted towel origamist.  I should not expect my daughter to be able to display the same level of achievement.  

Not everybody can create a...I can't recall exactly what the creature was that I created in this picture, but he is impressive. (see posting Refusing to Throw in the Towel: Dec. 18, 2010).

Trust me.  I am not trying to get Linda to replicate my works of art.  Is it too much to hope for some sort of quadrilateral?  Something that will fit in the linen closet?

But NO!  Linda can't even fold a towel parallelogram! 

I'd even accept a towel rhombus.

OMG.  The answer is right in front of my nose.

Linda is working at the wrong store!

She needs a job at Bed Bath and Beyond! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stuck on You

Earle Dickenson is probably rolling in his grave. 

Who is Earle Dickenson?  I'll give you a hint.  He was a cotton buyer who worked for Johnson & Johnson company in 1921.  His wife, like me, was not very good in the kitchen.  (Although, I am an excellent cake decorator, having graduated summa cum laude from Michael's cake decorating class.)

Anyhow,  Josephine was a bit of a klutz.  Apparently, she was always cutting herself in the kitchen. 

Kind of like that Sunday in 1995 when Dave almost cut his thumb off while slicing a sandwich in half.  Pardon my detour, but I'm drinking a glass of wine.  And sometimes wine takes me down memory lane. 
Not only did Dave have bad aim with his cleaver, he had exceptionally bad timing.  I had just started my new job at Barnett Bank 89 days earlier.  My health insurance began 90 days after my start date. 

Being the devoted and loving wife that I was (, I applied first aid to the very deep cut. 

And I told him to hold the towel around it very tightly for the next 23 hours because we were uninsured until the next day.  Unfortunately, applying pressure did not stop the gushing and he was forced to visit the E.R. for stitches. 

Damn him.

But, back to Earle Dickenson.  You got it!  Earle invented the band aid. 

I'm not certain how Earle would feel about the band aids I've been looking at online.  I recently purchased a box of bacon bandages, thinking that they would be fun and entertaining.  And I wasn't disappointed!

But now I see that I could have purchased pickle band aids.  They look like a lot of fun, too!  So do the Macaroni and Cheese band aids.  They even sell Sushi and toast band aids.  How to choose?!!

But I'm not so sure about those scab band aids. I mean isn't the whole point of band aids to cover and protect the wound, and subsequent scabs?

I can only imagine Earle attempting to put one of these on poor, clumsy Josephine's sliced finger.  

He probably wouldn't have dared.   

At least if she was still holding that knife.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Prodigious PABilities

When Becca asked me to be her PAB ("Personal Assistant to the Bride"), I envisioned my role as somewhat of a "figurehead". Kind of like Queen Elizabeth.

Or Andre Bauer.

Or a combination of them.

But when push came to shove, I was actually more like the Road Runner than either.

My first mission: The Getaway Car. The day before the wedding, Becca's sister Robin "deputized me" (her exact words). "You know... make a Just Married sign, and hang tin cans off the back of the car. Something vintage."  Then she added..."Not tacky."

I got right to work, strategically making tuna fish sandwiches and cranberry sauce for lunch.   The resulting 3-can arrangement looked stark, so I threw in a Diet Coke can and a couple of orphan sneakers I’d found in the garage.

Just to be safe I took a whiff. (Wouldn't want it to be "tacky", right Robin?)

It was a work of art. In fact just looking at it brought a tear to my eye. 

I was one Proficient PAB.

Next I found the Wedding Director, gave a salute and said, "PAB Lou, reporting for duty."

Geesh.  Did she ever put me to work.  Heavy duty.

"Lou, take the handkerchiefs to the groomsmen."
"Lou, find Becca's Dad"
"Lou, why is that flower girl in her bare feet?"

About 30 minutes before the wedding started it got even crazier. 

"Lou get the ushers and put them to work"
"Lou, bring the parents. STAT!" 

My adrenaline was pumping. This was more exciting than a 5-star soduku!

(I took a breather during the most excellent wedding ceremony ever!)

Then it was the photographer who took command.

"Lou, bring me the flower girls."
"Lou, find Becca's Aunt Janet"

Then came the ultimate challenge: my own, personal Mount Everest, nearly impossible to achieve.

"Lou, round up the Kelly's"
"All of them?"
I gulped. "Crap!   I mean, Aye Aye M'aam."

Seriously? There were scores of Kelly's around. And they were elusive. When the ceremony ended they had scattered like a bunch of kids playing freeze tag. 

I regret to say that I could only find 43 of the 44 Kelly's.  (The MIA brother apparently had left church in search of the marriage license.)

But you know what?  I'm okay with that.  Thomas Edison failed more than 1,000 times when trying the create the light bulb.  Heck, I scored 97.7% on my first attempt!

And overall, I was quite proud of my Prodigious PABilities. 

Seriously, I don't think Queen Elizabeth would last 5 minutes as a PAB.  She's not nearly nimble enough.

But you know what?  Andre probably would make a good PAB.  Rumor has it he can move pretty fast.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Where Have They Gone?

You know what gets on my nerves?  When a piece of dental floss breaks off between my teeth. And the string is too short and/or slippery to grab.

So I use another piece of dental floss to try and pull the broken-off piece out, but there's no room for the second piece because of the helpless, immobilized original piece of floss. 

So the second piece breaks off.  

You get the picture.

Yep.  That bothers me.

But you know what's even more irritating than un-dislodgable dental floss?

Orphan Socks.

I don't know if you knew this, but I'm very anal. And the fact that my orphan socks would beat my nice, orderly, paired socks at a game of basketball completely unnerves me.

I wanted to get to the bottom of this problem, so I conducted a root cause analysis on my orphan sock problem. And there are 3 root causes: Kimmy, Linda and Kevin.

First let me address Kimmy and Linda. Somehow, my sock drawer has become "our" sock draw.

And Kimmy and Linda do not practice my "Post Sock-Wear Safety Pin" process.

Oh, how I've tried to train them.  It's been fruitless. I've held plenty of training classes.

"Girls!  If you safety pin the socks together when you take them off, they return safely to 'our' sock drawer together!" 

4 eyes roll.  Nobody passed Orphan Sock Avoidance 101.

And then there's Kevin.  Need I say more?

And these root causes are interrelated. The other day I caught Linda taking off a sock and throwing it at Kevin to play with!

The thing is, I'm not even picky. I'll wear two different colored socks if necessary. I do, however, have to draw the line somewhere. 

Although this look may work well in theatre, it does not bode well in my day job.

Out of desperation I googled "orphaned socks" and found the following suggested uses for lonely sock orphans:

1.  Slip a pair over the hands of a nail biter, or a kid with a rash or hives.  

Were they not listening?  They are not a pair!!!  If I had a PAIR of orphan socks they would not be ORPHAN SOCKS.

 2. Make a chew toy.  

Hello!!  That's why we have so many orphans!

3. Sew a sock bed for your pet.  

Are you kidding?!!! 

Talk about rewarding bad behavior!

I guess I have to wait for the Japanese to come up with a solution for me.

Or perhaps I should sew them together with dental floss.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I know you find this difficult to believe, but I have occasionally yelled at my children. I try not to raise my voice, but there have been times when I have been pushed to the point of no return.

A few times the explosion was stimulated by the discovery of a major school project due…the next day...requiring poster board…at 10:00 pm at night…when our printer was out of ink.

Or discovering an entire dumpster’s worth of garbage, moldy food, and dirty clothing wedged underneath furniture in a child’s bedroom.

(I could go on and on, but it's too early for a glass of wine.)

But, you know what? It feels good to yell in these situations. Damn good! The louder the better.

But, the funny thing is that my kids do not respond well to yelling.  What gets there attention is when I get intensely quiet.  In fact the softer (and more sinister) my voice gets the more seriously they take me.

“Are you skinkin’ kidding me!! Your WW-II trench project is due tomorrow?"

This would be the more effective way to continue this conversation:  “And how long have you known about this? “And what the heck do you plan on using for poster board?”

Do you know how difficult it is to pull this off?  

It is so much easier to say "Why did you wait until now to remember?” "You need to make a paper mache what?" “GIVE ME YOUR CELL PHONE- NOW!  YOU CAN HAVE IT BACK WHEN YOU'RE 21!"

But guess what!  Thanks to Japanese technology, I no longer have to control my shouting!  In fact, my irrepressible rants can will come across as gentle whispers when I use my new Japanese Shouting Vase.

According to the advertising:
Turn your loudest, most urgent frustrations into mere whispers with the Shouting Vase. The plastic jug is designed to fit over the contours of your mouth and absorb your screams and shouts, “storing” them in the vase and emitting a softer version of your angry cries through the tiny hole at the base.

Believe me. I have many "most urgent frustrations" that I'd like to turn to mere whispers.

I can see it now.

Linda comes to me at 10:00 and tells me she just remembered she has a Chemistry test in the morning and she left her study sheet and her Chemistry book at school.

I pick up my Japanese Shouting Vase.

Just the sight of it terrifies Linda: "I'm so sorry, Mom!"

I put it to my lips and scream, "I hate Chemistry!" 

It comes out in a mere whisper.

Linda starts to whimper. "That's OK, Mom. I can get the study sheet online"

I scream, "I got a C in Chemistry decades ago. The only thing I remember about the class is that H20 is water

Another mere whisper.

Linda pales. "Don't worry Mom. The teacher has a web site with a study guide. I can review it myself."

And the best part?  Linda adds, "Can I get you a glass of wine?"

Those Japanese are stinkin' geniuses.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Making Martha Proud

Martha Stewart would be so proud. 

It has always my goal to make my guests comfortable and entertained in every stinkin' room of my house. Even the bathrooms.

Sure, I do have that fancy toilet, with its Q.C.S. (quiet close seat) technology. Bathroom guests can entertain themselves for hours, lifting the seat, nudging it, and then watching it s-l-o-w-l-y drop down without making a sound. Lift-nudge-drop...lift-nudge-drop. 

Now that's entertainment.

The problem is, when you need to be entertained the most in the bathroom, you cannot (or should not) be in lift-nudge-drop mode. It could get a bit messy if you're playing lift-nudge-drop while you're pardon my crass language) going number 2.

I needed to find a pastime for prolonged perchers.

I considered the Potty Putter game, but I kind of agree with Mark Twain: "Golf is a good walk spoiled".  And if golf ruins a great walk, imagine what it would do to a 2

Especially if you were incapable of making a 3-inch putt.
I also thought about supplying Sodoku toilet paper. Although I would find that incredibly entertaining, not everybody is a nerdling.  (And, between you and me, the thought of flushing an unused Sodoku puzzle down the toilet makes me break out in hives.)

It's a moot point, anyhow.  For, you see, I have discovered the ultimate product for bathroom entertainment: Doo Doo Darts

I know what you're thinking.  What the heck are Doo Doo Darts, Lou?

It's a dart game!!  The toilet shaped dart board is made of felt.  And the Doo Doo Darts are...doo doo darts!  But, relax; they're not real.  They're made of plastic, and are wrapped in Velco so they stick to the toilet bowl when tossed.

The rules are simple: you throw the poo at the dart board. Toss it is the middle and get 100 points!

(I don't know about you, but I wouldn't award any points for hitting the seat.)

And, being the marketing genius that I am, I am considering turning this recreational entertainment complex into a profit center, by adding:
The Poop Bank!

(I have yet to work through my pricing scenarios.)

You see?  This goes way beyond Martha.  I mean, Donald Trump would be amazed at my stinkin' entrepreneurial genius.


Monday, October 3, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is a Biri Biri Kaze Hiki Wanko

It’s never too early to start working on your Christmas list.  And you know what’s at the top mine?  A Biri Biri Kaze Hiki Wanko.

I know what you're thinking.  What the heck is a Biri Biri Kaze Hiki Wanko and where can I get one for Lou?

A Biri Biri Kaze Hiki Wanko  is a game: a cross between the game Operation and an Easy Bake Oven.

For those of you who have never played the highly intellectual game of Operation, let me describe it.  Imagine a toy operating table on which lies a naked patient, Cavity Sam (who looks suspiciously like stooge Moe).  Sam's body has numerous cavities from which the player is to remove organs and other ailments with tweezers.   

You must have a very steady hand or your tweezers will bump into the wrong organ and cause internal bleeding and/or death to poor Sam.  If that happens, a buzzer goes off, Sam's light bulb nose will turn on and, worst of all, you will lose your turn.

I was never really good at Operation, which is why I gave up my childhood dreams of becoming a surgeon.  I figured if I couldn't remove a Charley Horse from Cavity Sam without buzzing, I'd be better off as a statistician.  (And I wouldn't be risking any lives, either.)

But wait until you hear about this Biri Biri Kaze Hiki Wanko.  It is way cooler than Operation! 

The patient in the Biri Biri Kaze Hiki Wanko is a sick dog. (Isn't that sweet?)

To play, you first mix the multi-colored germs with the slime.  Then you then lift up he pup's head and pour the germ-infested slime into the his brain cavity.  Then just close the head, pull out the stopper and watch the ooze begin to drip from Fido's mouth! 

Your goal?  Catch more germs with your tweezers than your opponent can.

But it's way more exciting than that lame Operation game.  If the metal part of your tweezers touches the slime, the buzzer goes off and you get an electrical shock!    (Which explains why the translation of Biri Biri Kaze Hiki Wanko is "Shocking Sick Puppy".)

You are probably wondering why someone who requires nitrous oxide and a Margarita when getting her teeth cleaned would want her own Biri Biri Kaze Hiki Wanko. 

It's simple.  I haven't yet given up on that dream to be a doctor.  

True, I may not be surgeon material.  

But with a little training, I could be an awesome ENT.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Nearly Perfect Babysitter

When we lived in Florida we had a fabulous 13-year old baby sitter who lived across the street from us. Emily was responsible, mature, and fun.  The girls adored her.

Emily was nearly perfect.

Her flaw? She liked to roller blade barefooted. In Florida.

We were on our way to Publix when Kimmy noticed Emily roller blading down the sidewalk. “Stop the car, Mom!” she ordered. “Emily can come with us!” Being the obedient parent that I, was, I pulled over so Emily could join us on our shopping trip. 

Emily got in the back seat with Linda.

About 2 minutes later the most revolting, repugnant, odor wafted its way to the front seat.

Oh my GOD! What is that?” I asked as the fumes engulfed me.
Linda started crying. “Emily took her skates off!” she wailed.
“Mom, roll down the windows…quick!!” Kimmy ordered.

I rolled down all 4 windows at once (which is difficult to do while driving with one hand and holding your nose closed with the other).

“Emily, honey, would you please stick your feet out the window!”  I begged. We aborted our shopping trip. Nobody was in the mood. I parked my car in the driveway for the next few days with the windows down. 

The smell was barely noticeable after about a week. 

(Note: It would be a lie to suggest that Emily's feet looked anything like this.  I've included this photo just for the shock value.)

I had a sort of P.T.S.S. flashback to that infamous Publix trip a couple days ago.  Dave had taken Kevin outside to pee.  Upon his return, Kevin didn’t smell quite as bad as Emily’s feet had 14 years earlier.

But it was pretty damn close.

The first thing I noticed was that Kevin’s neck looked dirty. I got closer and saw that it was covered in some kind of gray sludge...very foul smelling gray sludge.

“Dave, what the heck did Kevin get into?” I asked incredulously.

Nothing,” replied Mr. Oblivious.

“You guys were outside for 2 minutes. How did you have time to go to the morgue?” Kevin smelled like he’d stuck his neck into the torso of a decaying corpse.

I began wretching.

"Or did he accidentally slip into a septic system?"

I threw Kevin in the sink and turned the nozzle up to fire hose pressure.  

We never could figure out what Kevin had gotten in to.  

Dave swears he barely ventured off the front sidewalk.  

If I didn't know better, I'd suspect that Kevin had encountered one of Emily's old roller blades.

Nah.  He couldn't have.

He smelled way better than that.