Tag Archives: humor

A World of My Own

Photo by Tuppus via Flickr (cc)

Today, my daughter accused me of living in my own little world. I tried explaining that I don’t get my own ROOM, much less my own WORLD, but she just rolled her eyes. For those of you without teens, this is secret code for ‘Where are the men in the little white coats and what have I done with my butterfly net?’.

It really bugs me. Oh, not that she rolled her eyes. She does that all the time. I’m bugged by the fact that she thinks this world I’m living in is of my own devising. Like I would PICK this. Face it, if I lived in my own little world, things would certainly be different.

For starters, clothing would be more compatible with my wants and needs. I would never (and I mean ever) have to wear pointy-toed or pointy-heeled shoes to look professional. In my own little world, I would pay the underwear designers triple to create a panty design that covers both halves of the great divide, AT THE SAME TIME. Stains would be en vogue and unbuttoning the slacks to breathe would be an accepted fashion statement. And don’t even get me started about pantyhose.

If I had my own little world, I’d proudly display all the awards I’ve won for inventing the four-wheel drive vacuum, the childproof parental bathroom, and the self-cleaning laundry. I’d also show off the Nobel Prize I won for curing the neurological disorder that compels a single child to dirty twelve glasses in a two-hour period. As a result, my happy, well-adjusted children would be proud of me instead of pretending I’m an odd acquaintance they haven’t figured out how to ditch.

I wouldn’t constantly be required to be in two places at once. I’d live in Soap Opera Time where one day can stretch to last a whole week. Not only that, but my newly discovered twin sister, Cynthia, who had been thought lost at sea, but only suffered from amnesia, would return and give me a much-needed week off. AND nobody in my family would notice the difference between the two of us.

I’m reasonably certain that in my own little world, the bedroom doorknob wouldn’t rattle during intimate moments. Small voices wouldn’t call through the door, “Are you okay in there?” and they definitely WOULD NOT CALL 911 if they didn’t get an immediate answer.

Telephone calls? All for me. Plus, the person on the other end would not use words like “siding,” “refinancing,” or “Do you know what your child just did?”

Grocery shopping? A snap! I would be able to identify the food I need to buy because the empty containers? They’d be missing from the shelves! Or, even better, the Corn Puffs Fairy that my children believe in would turn out to be REAL and it will be her job to magically refill the boxes the kids carefully replace in the cabinet.

I would be best friends with Mary Poppins, the New Battery Fairy, and the Elf in Charge of Hanging Up Wet Towels.

I could have my own room… my own room!

I think my daughter may have just said something. I’m not sure, though. I was off in my own little world.

This originally appeared (in slightly different form) in Today’s Woman Magazine. September 2004.

Conversation

“Mom, I smashed my finger at work twice. Right across the nail.”

“Ouch. Did you sing the #$%#%@ song?”

“Yes, both times, while hopping on one foot!”

One day we’ll take this act on the road…

Smart Time

Alarm clock

Image via Wikipedia

I currently own an alarm clock that is smarter than the average human. It automatically sets itself to the right time, has an alarm that can tell the difference between weekdays and weekends, and knows the day of the week without any input from me. Any day now, I suspect it will take control of the DVR — microwave and laser printer to follow.

This latest item in the inventory of intelligent appliances is supposed to make my life better. It joins the ranks of answering machines that arbitrarily delete messages, a computer that cheats at solitaire, and a talking refrigerator. Okay, technically I’m the only one who hears the refrigerator speak, but trust me when I tell you it sounds like an Italian grandmother and says things like: “Look at this cold pizza just sitting here. You are too skinny! Eat!”

Who am I to argue?

While I can’t blame my husband for the fridge, I can blame him for the clock. He bought it and gave it to me as a gift. The jury is still out regarding his motivation. I’m leaning toward self-defense.

See, before the arrival of Mr. Smarty Clock, I used to set my alarm clock precisely nine minutes fast. In a perfect world, this would make sense to people other than me. In this world, all it does is make my husband’s eye twitch and causes him to mutter things I never quite catch.

Obviously, the world is flawed, so I will explain. Math is not my thing. Let’s just say I view math the same way I view handling live insects or piercing my navel with a knitting needle. I can pull it off, but I’d rather not if it’s all the same to you. Ditto for mornings.  See, when I set the clock fast, it forces me to do math. In the morning. Math in the morning. Understand? Just nod. It’s okay.

After two or three snoozes, I either A: get up in order to avoid more early morning calculations, or B: turn the blasted thing off in order to avoid more early morning calculations. The options, albeit limited, are still options. At least they used to be. Now my clock knows exactly what time it is, whether I want it to or not. When I set it nine minutes fast, it corrects itself. If I tell it today is Wednesday instead of Friday, it calls me a liar. Does this make my life easier?

On one hand, I never have to reset the clock if the power goes out, and I have to admit the separate alarm feature is nice. On the other hand, I have now spent countless hours trying to outwit an inanimate object. For the record, this also makes my husband’s eye twitch. Serves him right, I think.

To  simplify my life, this clock would require other special features. Lots of special features. Like something from the Jetsons. I’m compiling a checklist to send to the appliance geeks to help them invent the clock I really need. So far, the system requirements list includes:

  • An alarm with a thunderous, drill-sergeant voice that blasts teens out of bed: WAKE UP, NOW! AND WHILE YOU ARE AT IT CLEAN UP THIS ROOM! IT IS A PIG STY! MOVE! MOVE! MOVE!
  • A microchip allowing me to set an alarm and send the clock into toilet-scrubbing, dog-bathing action. Though not, now that I think about it, at the same time as this could complicate my life more than it simplifies it.
  • A translator diode-thingy to help the clock communicate with the refrigerator and make it quit talking so I can lose a few pounds.

I hope the appliance geeks are listening.

 

This originally appeared (in slightly different form) in Today’s Woman.

O Christmas… Box?

A closed cardboard box

Image via Wikipedia

It is official. It is T-minus 7 days until Christmas and my house is tree-impaired. This is thanks in part to a nasty stomach flu that kicked me and my husband in the collective gut and robbed us of one entire December weekend.

“I really thought we’d have a tree somewhere by now,” I told my husband. “In the living room, family room–somewhere.

“We do have a tree somewhere,” he replied. “Two of them, in fact. They are both in the basement.”

“Ha-ha, very funny. I suppose I’ll just move all the wrapped packages down there. We can arrange them neatly around a big cardboard box. What’s next? Hanging the stockings on the furnace?”

Later on as I pondered this, it didn’t seem such a bad idea. I mean, it would be easy to wrap the lights around a box. Plus I could skip the family tradition known as the Great Tree Skirt Search. This tradition started when we decided it would be a smart idea to label the box that held the tree skirt to make it easier to find. Sounds wise, doesn’t it? I thought so, too. The only trouble is, that while I was adept at labeling the box, I had definite impairment in the field of “Stowing the Skirt Inside.” Do not ask me how this happened. It did. To make matters worse, I have repeated this exercise during more than one post-holiday dismantling ritual. The result is that roughly three-fourths of the boxes in the basement have the words “tree skirt” helpfully inscribed upon their sides. None of them actually contain the tree skirt, mind you. They just say they do. Boxes, it turns out, lie.

There is no such thing as a “box skirt” so already the idea of spending Christmas gathered around a large, dusty cardboard box in the basement is starting to sound sane and rational.

The box doesn’t have a pointed top, so no tree-topper with it’s skittish lights is necessary. Instead, I’ll just draw on a star using a yellow highlighter. Or an orange one if I can’t find the yellow one. Pink in a pinch. In fact, we can draw ALL the decorations on. When we’re done, I can have holiday cheer in the basement every time I toss in a load of laundry.

And I’ll never have to take it down. Talk about keeping Christmas with you, all through the year.

The stockings were hung round the furnace with care,
mom hoped that a spider would not hide in there.

Yeah. Spiders. Hmm… definite drawback. And it’s cold in the basement. And there’s not a lot of room for maneuvering.

Oh well, the idea was fun while it lasted. Now we’re back to reality. This weekend the tree will go up. Lights will get strung and ornaments hung. The stockings will hang in their rightful places.

But I’m making no promises about the tree skirt.

Snow Daze

Snowflake. Small microscope kept outdoors. Sna...

Image via Wikipedia

Snow Season is upon us. This means school closures are imminent. Snow days will happen. Yet, with preparation, I’m certain our family will weather the storm, uh, so to speak. As usual, I’m meeting the challenge head on by making a list of family guidelines.

GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR MY CHILDREN DURING THE COMING CRISIS:

1. Despite my best efforts (it turns out that phoning the superintendent of schools at 5 a.m. to plead my case is not a good idea. Who knew?) we are having a snow day. Repeat after me: SNOW DAY. If it was Shave-The-Dog-And-Set-The-Microwave-On-Fire day, we would call it that, okay?

2. For entertainment, why don’t you go make something? When I say, “go make something” I am picturing your little hands at work building a model or drawing a picture. I would prefer you choose to make something more specific than “a mess.”

3. In case of emergency, do NOT break: Glass, dishes, windows, your little brother’s favorite toy, nose or teeth.

4. Do not play with fire. It should go without saying that this rule has not changed. Yes, it IS an electric stove, but it is still considered playing with fire if you use it to turn marshmallows on forks into flaming torches.

5. If you look into the hall closet, you will find several puzzles, books and other activities purchased specifically for your fighting pleasure. Please note that the TV remote is not one of them. Put it down. On the table where you found it. Now.

6. As I just mentioned (You are reading all of this, right?) the closet contains many pastimes and amusements. Use them. Yes, I know you possess creative souls. I do not require a demonstration. No. Really. I mean it. It is not necessary for you to invent your own entertainment while I attempt to work. This means I would appreciate it if you do not invent games. Despite what you think, the adults in this house have finely-tuned powers of observation. We are likely to notice small children hanging helplessly from doorknobs by their teeth. Likewise, we can identify the sound of small butts surfing down the stairs on the lid from the toy box. And trust me, even I, with my limited intelligence, am able to deduce that the stream of water running under your bedroom door probably does not belong there.

7. Before you don hats and coats and head outside, plan ahead. At some time during the day, there will be a question and answer period. You will be responsible for the answer portion. I’ll give you a hint. Past questions have included such gems as: “Who put the yellow snowball in the freezer?” and  “How did the snow shovel get on the roof?” Start planning now. Keep in mind “Not me” and “I don’t know” are not the types of answers I will be looking for. Nor is it acceptable to answer questions with new questions, for example: “”What anatomically correct snowman?”

8. If at some time during the day, you interrupt my work with the words, “Mom, I’m bored,” I will be happy to assist you with your predicament. I am your mother. I love you. And I am currently making a list of toilets to be scrubbed, socks to be sorted, and other fun activities. Just in case.

9. One final note worth mentioning. If at some time during the day you notice that any adult in your presence has lost the ability to speak in complete sentences, run. This is never a good sign.

Let the snow days do their worst. I am ready. Now, if I could just convince the superintendent to take my calls…

 

 

This originally appeared in Today’s Woman magazine

Killer Workouts

Hatha Yoga Video Tree Pose - Vrksasana

Image by myyogaonline via Flickr

The Yoga People want me dead. This really shouldn’t surprise me, since I’ve suspected something similar about all the other Fitness People.

The Aerobics People started it. Their plot revolved around making me think Spandex = Good Idea. Never mind that in reality Spandex = Torture. Of course all the hopping and wriggling and squeezing burned a lot of calories. Hasn’t anyone besides me reached the conclusion that getting dressed for a workout shouldn’t BE a workout?

When I swore off aerobics, the Pilates People stepped in and tricked me. I see that now. They had a simple three-step plan.

1. Get me on the floor.

2. Make me move my body in ways that would maximize muscle strain and fatigue.

3. Invite friends over to laugh at me while I starve to death because I’m too sore to get up and all the food in the house is stored above knee level.

Big meanies.

The People with Giant Exercise Balls (which sounds so much better than calling them the Big Ball People) thought to distract me with a fancy toy. The sole purpose was to prevent my noticing that I spent the entire workout wobbling around like a defective Weeble in search of blunt objects to pound with my head. Or maybe they just wanted to show that the Pilates  People weren’t the only ones who knew how to have a good time.

Then there were the Kickboxing People. The Kickboxing people didn’t have anything against me personally. They just hated my furnishings and accessories.

You are probably wondering by now, if the Fitness People are trying to kill me, why do I keep working out? Two things. I call them my thighs. Just the thought of swimsuit season makes them cower in fear. Which, now that I think about it, makes no sense. Thighs this big should fear nothing. They should be super bully thighs, the toughest thighs in the dressing room, ready to kick butt and take names. Except, that might be too much like exercise.

Enter yoga. The first thing I noticed about yoga is that it doesn’t look like exercise. This is how the Yoga People trick you. They lure you in by making it look easy. They can make it look easy because Yoga People have no skeletons.

The lack of a skeleton means the Yoga People also come with a complete set of strange ideas about how my body should move. Just this morning I was instructed to “stretch through the crown of my head.” What the huh? First, my head isn’t exactly what I am trying to tone up. I don’t wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and say: “Wow,  the muscles in my head have really gone to seed. I should do some lip-ups.” I have never purchased a Foreheads of Steel video. Second, I checked, and guess what? My head? Not all that stretchy. If it was, I probably wouldn’t have time to workout. I’d be too busy signing autographs as my famous alter-ego: The Amazing Elasti-Head.

Don’t get the wrong idea. I like yoga. I think it is especially cool that all the poses have names. They don’t even call the poses, poses. Instead they are called, aptly enough, asanas. If you add the syllable “ow” to the end of the word, you get the sound I make while trying to contort my body into position. It’s sort of like a sneeze caught in slow motion: “aaah…saaa…nnnaaa… OW!” I’ve also decided that asana, loosely translated, means: Help, my leg is cutting off my oxygen supply and I am starting to hallucinate.

So if sometime soon I turn up dead, just know the Yoga People got me. They did it while talking in quiet voices and taking deep cleansing breaths. Or possibly they just snuck in and smothered me with a pillow because I couldn’t master stretching my head.

The Pilates People will be so jealous.

This piece originally appeared in Today’s Woman magazine.

What’s in a Name?

This blog came into being because, more than a decade ago, I suffered a bout of temporary insanity and became a humor columnist. For several years I wrote a monthly piece for Today’s Woman magazine, won a few awards, took some humor gigs at Family Circle and amused myself to no end. Now I want to give some of those pieces (and my new fun stuff) an online home. You, my friend, are looking at it. No, don’t avert your eyes and pretend you weren’t looking. I saw you. Yes. I did.

Because every blog needs a name (it’s in the rule book and everything) I was determined to give this one a name with meaning. But what to call it? Thus began days of head-pounding frustration as various names occurred to me and were immediately discarded for various reasons.

A Nutter Fine Mess – implied mental instability.
The Mad Chatter – Ditto.
Bubba – Do you see a pattern yet?

In the end I settled for an old standby. What better name to use than the handle given to me by a trusted friend? Plus, I’m already using it as my Twitter name. Two birds, one stone. (Which, now that I think of it, would have been a fantastic blog name. DRAT! Maybe for my next project.)

Oh well…

Welcome!