Category Archives: Just for Fun

DARK DAY MUSINGS

Occasionally, I look at Dan when he appears to be deep in thought,  and I ask, “What are you thinking?”

As often as not, he says something like, “I don’t know. Nothing.”

But that can’t be true.

We’re never not thinking. (Forgive my double negative.)

I know this because I’ve tried not to think.

I can’t do it.

The best I can do is think: I don’t want to think this thing I’m thinking.

On a recent dark and rainy Saturday, my cooped-up-in-the-house-too-long mind wandered to these places.

I thought:

 

 

What is that one tiny germ or group of germs (0.1% of all known germs) that no household cleanser in the world can kill?

 

 

 

Why do they make a sleeping bag bag ALMOST big enough to get the  re-rolled sleeping bag back inside it?

 

 

 

 

 

Why don’t they make trash bags out of the same strong plastic they use to hold Happy Meal toys? You know, that plastic that requires gardening shears to open?

 

 

 

 

 

Why do I always have more lids than storage bowls?

 

 

 

Why do I fret about the grandkids mixing Play-Doh colors? There’s no way for a kid to make a reasonable facsimile of a salad or a representation of worms climbing up a Neptunian mountain without using multiple colors of this cheap artistic medium.

 

 

Why do I painstakingly put Legos, Lincoln Logs, Peppa Pig figures, toy jewelry, and My Little Ponies into assigned and labeled totes when, after the grandkids have been here for five minutes, each tote contains what look like the leavings of a four-day yard sale?

 

 

 

If I would spend less time trying to get sleeping bags back inside their bags, putting trash into new bags because the original bags burst, matching lids to bowls, putting Play-Doh into the right cans, and sorting puzzle pieces from Lincoln Logs and toy jewelry, I might discover and destroy that tiny germ that thwarts every effort by household cleansers to kill it.

The world would then be a better place and I would be a happier person.

Or, maybe I should give that trying to think about nothing business another try.

 

OKAY, OKAY

Dan and I are in Hawaii.

Allow me to get this out of the way first: Hawaii is beautiful. The colors, scents, and waters are all magnificent. People are friendly.

Here is the problem.

Road/street names are impossible to pronounce, much less remember.

This has led to some one-of-a-kind conversations between Dan and me.

Dan:  What was the name of that road we took to Rainbow Falls?

Debbie:          Hmmmm. Did it rhyme with bikini?

Dan:               No, not that one.

Debbie:          Was it a long name?

Dan:               No. Only about 12 letters, as I recall.

Debbie:          Was it the name of a queen or king?

Dan:               No, I don’t think so.

Debbie:          Was it that Kamahamahamahamaha-something road?

Dan:               Could have been.

Debbie:          Then that was a queen or king road, Dan.

Dan:               It had kiki in it somewhere, I think.

Debbie:          Did it have those upside-down apostrophes in it?

Dan:               Yes, and a hyphen, I believe.

Debbie:          Something, something, something poo-poo?

Dan:               No, it had a k in it.

Debbie:          They all have k’s in them.

Dan:               It might have been Kaholo.

 Debbie:          No, Dan. That’s the name of the boy at the airport.

Dan:               Kapa-kapa?

Debbie:          No. That’s a kind of grape.

Dan:               Koali Li?

Debbie:          The flower we said looks like a morning glory.

Dan:               There’s a sign: Lio Hadway Pikonia Loop. Could that be it?

Debbie:          Looks to me like that just goes into a neighborhood.

Dan:               Wait! There it is! Waianuenue Avenue.

Debbie:          Where’s the k in that, the hyphen, the upside-down apostrophe?

Dan:               Well, I thought it had those things in it.

Debbie:         I can’t help you if you give me bad information. Let’s eat.

Dan:               Okay. What is the name of that restaurant we like?

Debbie:          I can’t remember. I think the name starts with a k.

IN DEFENSE OF PRETENSE

I want people to like and respect me. To that end, I employ a bit of  pretense. I profess to endorse habits I don’t practice.

For example, I claim I can’t tolerate driving or riding in messy vehicles. This is a lie. I ride in nothing but messy vehicles.

 

I tell people their bad grammar doesn’t bother me. It drives me insane. That doesn’t mean I don’t like people who say things like “just between you and I.” I like some of these people quite a bit, and even love a few of them.

 

I claim I like growing geraniums. I don’t. Growing geraniums is messy and requires work. But I do like having pretty geraniums on my patio each summer.

 

I say I want to learn to play the piano and to create artful flower arrangements. It’s true that I want to play the piano and arrange flowers. I just don’t want to learn to do either one of them.

 

I tell people I exercise regularly. In truth, I walk outside or on a track once or twice a week.

 

I also claim to be five feet, six inches tall when I am five feet, five inches tall, so my weight and height are more proportionate. I say I don’t know how much I weigh because my scale is broken (and I hope to goodness it is).

 

I tell people I don’t watch much TV. This is true only if you don’t count mini series like Downton Abbey, The Crown, Victoria, Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders, Sherlock, Death in Paradise and Dr. Blake Mysteries;  or true crime shows like Dateline, 48 Hours and 20/20.

 

I claim I don’t like candy corn, jelly beans, sour balls or gummy worms. This claim is true. I don’t like these treats unless they are the only sugary items in the house. Then I like them well enough to eat them.

 

I have managed to attain some goals legitimately, without pretense. I am an involved grandmother; I keep a reasonably clean house, read good books, practice rigid oral hygiene, and change the bed sheets once a week.

But my real pursuit in life is to be liked and respected because I am a woman who drives a clean car and who is tolerant of people who dangle modifiers; a woman who enjoys growing geraniums and likes the challenge of learning new things; a woman who exercises regularly, and whose height and weight are proportionate; one who doesn’t watch much television and who is selective and uses moderation when she occasionally eats junk food.

How am I doing?

Conversations Between Two Old Fogies

(THIS MORNING, AT HOME)

Debbie:          Dan, I’m washing a load of whites with bleach.

Dan:               Okay.

Debbie:          Do you have anything you want to toss in?

(Dan tosses in a white t-shirt.)

Dan:               I thought you said you were washing whites.

Debbie:          I am.

Dan:               Whites with bleach.

Debbie:          I am.

Dan:               Then why is a brown towel in the washer?

Debbie:          The bleach won’t hurt it.

Dan:               But why is a brown towel in the washer with the whites?

Debbie:          Because it’s dirty??

Dan:               Will you please just answer my question?

Debbie:          I did answer your question.

Dan:               No, you didn’t.

Debbie:          The brown towel is dirty. The bleach won’t hurt it.

Dan:               But why are you washing it in bleach water with whites?

Debbie:          I wash all our towels in bleach water with whites.

Dan:               Okay. Thank you. Geesh.

————————————————————————————

(LAST WEEK, IN GATLINBURG)

Dan:               Why didn’t you bring your other shoes to Gatlinburg?

Debbie:          What other shoes?

Dan:               The ones you bought before we went to Alaska.

Debbie:          Oh, I just brought these instead.

Dan:               I know. Why?

Debbie:          Because the ones I bought to wear in Alaska are clunky.

Dan:               You bought them to wear in Alaska if we hiked.

Debbie:          I know.

Dan:               Didn’t you think we might hike in Gatlinburg?

Debbie:          Not on icy tundra.

Dan:               They’re good hiking shoes for anywhere.

Debbie:          Maybe so, but they’re still clunky.

Dan:               They’re waterproof and have gripping soles.

Debbie:          That’s what I said. They’re clunky.

Dan:               Perfect shoes for Gatlinburg.

Debbie:          I brought these instead.

THERE. THAT’S THE DEFINITION OF RETIREMENT.

WHO SAID THAT?

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF CLASSIC CHRISTMAS MOVIES AND TELEVISION SPECIALS. CAN YOU NAME THAT SHOW?

“Is there a thermometer around here?”

“Aaah! “Fra-GEE-leh!” It must be Italian!”

“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps… means a little bit more!”

“Rats. Nobody sent me a Christmas card today. I almost wish there weren’t a holiday season. I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it?

“This fog’s as thick as peanut butter!”

“And may all your Christmases be white. Merry Christmas!”

“Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!”

“Yes! Yes I do! I like Christmas! I love Christmas!”

“The four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup.”

“And we’re gonna to have the hap-hap-happiest Christmas!”

“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”

“This is extremely important. Will you please tell Santa that instead of presents this year, I just want my family back. No toys. Nothing but Peter, Kate, Buzz, Megan, Linnie, and Jeff. And my aunt and my cousins. And if he has time, my Uncle Frank. Okay?”

Would you please tell her that you’re not really Santa Claus, that actually is no such person?

KIDS, CAMERAS, AND COATED ASPIRIN

Occasionally, I drop an allergy pill or a low-dose aspirin while filling my weekly medicine boxes.

Like any responsible grandparent of young grandchildren, I assiduously search for the renegade pill.  I sweep the area, use a flashlight to look under furniture and appliances, and vacuum the whole room, even going so far as to dig through the disgusting crud inside the sweeper bag in search of that tiny, round object. No pill.

But, let my adorable, angelic, toddling granddaughter enter the house, and before I can even pick her up and cover her face with kisses,  she spots that lost pill and makes a beeline for it, her mouth already open to eat it.

The same is true of a missing sewing needle, earring, or dried up green pea hiding behind a kitchen table leg.

How does this happen? Do kids have an as-yet undiscovered magnetic aptitude that pulls them to things they aren’t supposed to have?

In 1986 Dan and I were given a “free” (ha) trip to Hawaii. Lara was 7 at the time and Ryan was 4.

Shortly before we were to leave, Dan and I had strewn our house with suitcases, camera equipment, shoes, and clothes we would take on our trip.

Which of those things attracted our kids?

Dan’s brand new, $400 Canon AE-1 camera, of course.

In a feat requiring mechanical ability neither of them should have had, they unattached (broke off) the little metal doohickey (a technical term) on top of the camera that the flash apparatus was supposed to slide into.

On another occasion, Lara opened a bottle of Wite-Out (remember that stuff?) and painted her doll’s face with it. I don’t know where that doll is today, but I guarantee you those white stripes are still on her face.

She also got into my jewelry box, selected, and thoroughly chewed up (yes, with her teeth) the only nice gold necklace I owned.

Her brother opened a bottle of red nail polish and painted our bedroom wallpaper with it. He also broke the windshield in his dad’s truck as he sat inside it one particularly boring, sunny day, and popped open a spring-loaded umbrella he found under the seat.

Dan and I had bought the most popular toys of the day for those kids.

But what kid wants to play with toys when there are expensive cameras, bottles of Wite-Out, and spring-loaded umbrellas to play with?

Perhaps parents should hide toys inside jewelry boxes and camera cases, underneath the seats of their automobiles, and behind refrigerators and couches.

Those parents could then showcase forbidden things like cameras, nail polish, and gold necklaces, inviting kids to investigate them.

Maybe the kids would push past those oh-so-obvious non-kid items to search out the toys secreted away in unlikely places.

But, probably not.

Reverse psychology rarely works with kids.

I tried it more than once.

“One of these days,” I said to my seven-year-old, “you’ll be big enough to help Mommy pick green beans, but you’re still too little for such an important job. I guess I’ll have to pick the beans by myself.”

The named seven-year-old, of course, ignored me and continued fashioning a laser sword out of a hot dog roasting skewer and a full roll of aluminum foil.

Kid experiences like these are what cause old parents to sit in rocking chairs on their front porches, drooling, and picking fuzz balls off old, holey sweaters.

The Great Brush Off

Many nights I delay going to bed because I don’t want to brush my teeth.

I have my pajamas on, the house is locked up, I’m finished reading or watching television or playing Letter Garden on my tablet, and Dan has been snoring for half an hour. But I look around for something else to do so I can put off brushing my teeth.

I’ve never grown out of a childlike hatred of teeth brushing. I am a diligent brusher and flosser. Twice a day, every day. But I don’t like it.

I even bought a new electric toothbrush. It is a Quip brush, and I love it. Well, I love it as much as I can love a toothbrush. It’s kind of like loving a certain kind of scouring pad. I wish I had no need for one, but since I do, this is the one I want.

The minute I turn this toothbrush on, it starts tracking my brushing time. It beeps at 30-second intervals. After the fourth beep, I have brushed for a full two minutes, the brush turns itself off, and I am finished.

My teeth feel cleaner since I’ve been using this brush. The company sends me a new toothbrush head every three months, so I don’t need to remember to buy one. Everything about this brush is good.

Still, when the only thing left for me to do before going to bed is brush my teeth, I dawdle.

Going to bed without brushing is not an option.

Sometimes I persuade myself to brush BEFORE I put on my pajamas, lock the doors, finish watching TV, and tell Dan goodnight. When I follow this plan, going to bed is easy. I press the off button on the remote or the tablet, or close the book, and I’m done.

But when I follow that plan, I delay putting on my pajamas, locking the doors, finishing my TV watching, and telling Dan goodnight because, again, that toothbrushing step stands in my way.

Some nights Dan gets up to go to the bathroom or to get a drink and sees me wearing my pajamas and sitting idly in my recliner at midnight.

“What are you doing?” he asks.

“Nothing,” I say.

“Then why don’t you go to bed?” he asks.

“I’m not ready yet,” I say.

He shrugs his shoulders, the same way he does when I tell him all the bills in my wallet must be turned the same way, in ascending value order, with all the Presidents’ heads facing up.

I see commercials claiming that chewing Orbit gum strengthens the teeth, chewing Trident gum helps prevent cavities, and chewing Mentos Pure White Sweet Mint gum whitens the teeth. Maybe I could just pop a threesome of these chewing gums into my mouth twice a day and make toothbrushing redundant.

But, I cringe at the thought of answering my dentist’s question: “Have you been brushing twice a day?” with “No, but I’ve been chewing lots of gum.”

It is getting late. Now that I’ve finished writing this blog post for the week, there really is nothing else for me to do.

I will give up, brush my teeth, and head for bed.

I won’t go to sleep though. I’ll lie awake, looking at the ceiling and dreading the coming of morning when, once again, I must brush my teeth.