Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas and Bah Humbug!

I do enjoy Christmas, I really do. I also get pretty crabby because real trees can be messy and sometimes smelly and not everyone can agree on one all the time. And no matter how small it looks out on the tree farm, it usually covers half of my living room. 

Gift-giving can be a little stressful, too. I don’t know what to tell people I want, and unless I’m given a list, I usually don’t know what to get others. I think you should be grateful for what you’re given, no matter what it is. I don’t think you should post pictures of horrible presents or call in to a radio show with what the worst-ever Christmas present was you received. Because you know what? The worst present you could get is nothing. And if what I have given is considered your worst, then it might just get worse next year. 

I don’t even mind the shopping, because I really do enjoy shopping. No matter the time of year. Rude people are rude people no matter what time of year it is. 

Here’s what really gripes my ass: Christmas music playing at the stores and malls. First, they start playing it in September or October when they start putting out the Christmas items to sell, and that is just wrong. Back to school items and Christmas items should not pass each other in the retail aisles. Second, there are very few Christmas songs that don’t sound like nails on a chalkboard to me. Really.

I was shopping with my daughter earlier this week and I heard a song and I commented that I hated that song. Later, I heard another that I hated just as much. She gave me a look and I said, “Yes. There are a lot of Christmas songs I hate. I think I will let you know when there is one that I like, okay?”

I will attempt to run down a few for you, citing reasons. Feel free to discuss or refute.

“Santa, Baby” – Eartha Kitt is the only human being in the history of the world who can pull off this song. It’s whiney and greedy. Eartha Kitt can pull it off because she’s Eartha Kitt. Nobody else is, so don’t try. Okay?

“Last Christmas” – Do I even need to explain why this song is inane? It’s been a year. Quit pining. It wasn’t meant to be so let it go. Move on and take that damn song with you when you go.

NOTHING sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks belongs anywhere outside of a preschool or elementary school. I know my 18 year old daughter will disagree, but it is nothing that should be played on an adult radio station. How do they even know what chipmunks sound like, anyway?  

“Little Saint Nick” – Let’s just start off by saying that nobody in the last four decades has been a “cool cat.” And there is no lyric out there that is more stupid than "Christmas comes this time each year." Really? Duh. Too many drugs, I'd say. And obviously not good ones if that's all the better you can come up with, Boys. 

"Carol of the Bells" - As an instrumental, strictly a large orchestra instrumental, this is a wonderful piece. When you put words to it, it sounds like either an unmedicated child with ADHD or someone on crack. 

"Feliz Navidad" - Sorry. Taco John's ruined this for me. Jose Feliciano should sue them. 

"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - This WAS a cute song. It should never be sung by an adult. And I think the Jackson 5 should have been fined millions of dollars for singing this song. Don't add stupid lyrics. "I did! I did see mommy kissing Santa Claus!" Don't be ignorant. It didn't make the song any better. Less is more, Michael. 

"Jingle Bell Rock" - oh. my. goodness. Very cute in 1957, I'm sure. There should be no song, about Christmas or otherwise, that includes the word "swell." 

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Very sweet song. Unfortunately, too many people have turned it into a dirge. I CAN'T have a merry anything after I hear this song! It depresses me!

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" - This has the potential for being a very nice song. Sadly, Andy Williams confused Halloween and Christmas in this song. I do not, and have never, on any of my 43 Christmases, told a scary ghost story. Never. Not once. 

"Winter Wonderland" - No song that contains lyrics about conspiring by the fire can be a good one. And why would you include in your song that the other kids are going to knock down your snowman/circus clown? And I think it's pretty racist, too. Just how exactly DO Eskimos frolic and play? Is it different than how other people frolic and play?

"I'll Be Home for Christmas" - My apologies to Mr. Bing Crosby, but this song is pretty damn sad. If someone sang it to me like that, I wouldn't be there when he got there. It would just make me depressed! Speed it up!

"Little Drummer Boy" - this has got to be the most overrated Christmas song ever. Too slow. Too sad. Too pa-rum-pa-pum-pummy. 

All that being said, there are Christmas songs I do like. 

"The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts Roasting) is my favorite. As long as it's not sung too slow and sappy. Except the whole thing about Eskimos. I just think it's racist to lump all people who live in cold climates together as Eskimos.

"Holly Jolly Christmas" is a good one. I would have a cup of cheer if it were offered to me. I like that song.

"Sleigh Ride" is a good one, too. Nobody covered it as well as Whitney Houston and Mary Katherine Gallagher on SNL, but I do like the song. It's fast-paced and peppy. But not the instrumental-only version. Then it just sounds like a horse on crack.

I could listen to the entire album of John Denver and the Muppets, A Christmas Together. "The Peace Carol" is probably the most beautiful song I can think of. And "Christmas is Coming" is fun to hear anyone sing, but it's the best when it's led by Miss Piggy. I'm sorry, but it can't get much better than Kermit and Miss Piggy. "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is only enhanced by Miss Piggy interrupting the song because she thinks they are calling for "piggy pudding" and not "figgy pudding." I don't think I'd eat either, but it makes me laugh, every time.

I know there are other songs I like. I know there are other songs I hate. If I think of them, I'll add to this. But all I have to say is THANK GOODNESS it is December 23. I don't think I could handle much more of the Christmas songs on the radio and in the stores.

Friday, December 2, 2011

How Lipitor and Dr. RW Killed my Dad

I've never been known to mince words. I say it like it is. If Dr. RW were standing in front of me, I'd tell him that I think he, with a combination of medicines and his own ineptitude killed my dad. If there were a way for me to sue him for every penny he has, I would. It wouldn't bring my dad back, but maybe it would stop him from "practicing" medicine on anyone else.

The guy was seriously a joke. You know the joke: "what do you call a doctor that finishes last in his class? Doctor." That's him. And besides that, he looks like Beaker from the Muppets. Beady eyes, long neck, red hair, skinny pointy head. Yep, that's Dr. RW.

He put my dad on some medicine for his arthritis many years ago. Didn't do any of the monitoring of bodily organs that he should have, but one day just told my dad that he couldn't take the drug anymore. No explanation, nothing. Come to find out, one of the serious side effects of this drug was that it destroyed his kidneys. It could have been stopped sooner if Dr. Inept had monitored it more closely. But he didn't. Dad found out from another doctor the reason why he couldn't take the arthritis medication any longer and what effect it had on his body.

Later he put Dad on Lipitor to lower his cholesterol. You know in the commercials where it says "Lipitor can have rare, but serious side effects. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience one of these side effects." If you ever do suspect or experience one of them, don't stop contacting your doctor until they have researched it and conducted enough tests to completely rule that out.

From that point on, Dr. RW kept prescribing more medications to counteract the side effects of the previous medication. He prescribed Neurontin (gabapentin) to alleviate the leg cramps and muscle fatigue in his lower leg, which was actually a side effect of the Lipitor (atorvistatin). Abrupt withdrawl from Neurontin nearly killed him in May of 2009. That was another doctor, though. He was not nearly as inept, but had an ego the size of Texas and did not appreciate being questioned over his medical practices.

But back to Dr. RW/Beaker/Inept/Idiot. He had a way of raising my dad's blood pressure. It was always "one more test" or "one more night in the hospital" or something. Finally we'd had enough. Dad was scheduled to have open heart surgery in March of 2005. We took that time to contact Dr. RW's office and let them know that Dr. RW was not to visit Dad in the hospital because he would no longer be Dad's doctor. But true to Dr. RW, he showed up in intensive care anyway. Less than 24 hours after his surgery, he came to the ICU to review Dad's chart with the excuse that he had to sign off on his progress.

Well this is what happened: One of my brothers and I were in with Dad and a nurse, and suddenly the blood pressure monitor started making sounds like it was going to take off or something. Another nurse rushed in the room and asked what was wrong, that his blood pressure was through the roof. Dad just pointed through the window to the desk, to the back of a tall, gangly, red-headed man in a long white coat. I told the nurse, "that's his FORMER doctor. We released him today. He tends to get Dad's ire up." The nurse pulled the curtain and Dad's blood pressure started going back down. The other nurse went to the desk to ensure Dr. RW would not try to go in and see Dad or speak to him.

That was the last we saw of Beaker. To the best of my knowledge, he did not ever try to make contact with my dad again. It seems so simple and seems like that would be it and things would get better. Unfortunately, there was 19 years worth of incompetence and ineptitude from Dr. RW building up inside Dad's body. 19 years of damage that could not be undone. I'm not blaming all of my dad's health issues on Dr. RW. There were things Dad could have done differently that would not have put his body in the condition it was in. Like 45 years of smoking, for starters. 

I guess I have two points I'd like anyone who reads this to take away from here. 

1) You are your own best medical advocate. You are the best medical advocate for your family members. Ask questions. Do research. No, do informative, intelligent research. Know what you're taking and what the side effects are. Question your doctor if he or she tries to put you on additional medication to alleviate the side effects of a current medication. Know the difference between generic and name brand medications. Know the consequences of abruptly stopping a medication. Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions. Doctors DON'T know everything. My brother says there is a reason they call it "practicing" medicine. Everybody is different. Just because your doctor has 12 patients who take this medicine or that medicine and they tolerate it quite well doesn't mean you will tolerate it well. Know your body and know what things your body is trying to tell you. Speak up for yourself and don't ever hesitate to tell your doctor no. If you refuse a medication or a test and they say they have to put in your chart that you refused something, make damn sure they put your reasons for refusing in the chart as well. 

2) Love your family. Love your dad, love your mom, love your siblings, love your spouse, love your children. Love them all because you never know when will be the last time you are able to tell them you love them. And if you have a family member who is taking medication or having medical tests done, ask them how they are and how they are feeling. Don't accept "fine" as an answer. We all know that F.I.N.E. stands for "f*ed up, insecure, neurotic and emotional." Ask specific questions and ask what you can do to help them. 

Just because someone has a medical degree (or a juris doctorate or a higher degree of any sort!) does not mean that they know more than you do. Some knowledge does not come from a book. Some knowledge comes from your heart.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"How I spent my Memorial Day Vacation" or "Why does Wisconsin hate Me?"

I am all about recycling. So here are some recycled thoughts of mine:

(censored for family-friendly reading)

My mom and I went to Pembine Wisconsin for Memorial Day weekend to a high school graduation open house and to visit relatives on my mom's side. It was a great weekend until we started driving home. Here is what happened:

We started out, driving down highway 8 west and had been driving about 45 minutes when my mom reached across into the garbage bag and got a used tissue or napkin or something. I asked her what she was doing and she said, "Nothing." I said "Then why are you digging in the garbage? I have other napkins." She said, "You have something on your shirt." I said, "WHAT?" Then she said, "You don't need to know." That's all it took. I knew it was a wood tick. I hate those little sexual intercoursers. So I totally freaked out while driving 60mph down highway 8. I said, "Get him off of me! Oh fecal matter! Male offspring of a female dog! Cursed by the Diety! Get the sexual intercourser off of me!" She was trying to but then started laughing at my hysterics. She got ahold of him and pulled but he was stuck. I felt my shirt move, but she was going after it again, so I said, "Fecal matter! Male offspring of a female dog! Cursed by the Diety! Is that little sexual intercourser stuck on me?" Mom said, "No, he's not on your skin, just on your shirt." I said, "Fecal matter! Male offspring of a female dog! Cursed by the Diety! Did that little sexual intercourser already burrow his head into my shirt?!?" She said, "No, just his legs are caught on your shirt." I said, "Fecal matter!Male offspring of a female dog!Cursed by the Diety! Get that little sexual intercourser and kill him!" At this point she had him off of my shirt in the napkin. I said, "I wanna see it!" So she opened the napkin, and sure enough, it was a wood tick! I said, "Fecal matter! Male offspring of a female dog! Cursed by the Diety! kill that little child born of unmarried parents!" Then she started to open her window. I said, "Don't do that! he won't go out! He will either stay stuck to the napkin or the wind will take that sexual intercourser  right back in the car into the backseat! Probably on MY jacket!" She told me that she was going to hold it outside the window back farther than her window and not let go of him until she was sure it was out of range of the car. I said, "That little male offspring of a female dog  better not get back in here on me! Fecal matter! Male offspring of a female dog! Cursed by the Diety! I hate those little sexual intercoursers!" And then she proceeded to do what she said she was going to do. She showed me the napkin, that it was gone, then she threw the napkin away again. Then for the next half hour or 45 minutes I was digging through my hair, looking in my shirt, scratching my legs, totally a case of the creepy-crawlies. Well, my mother, being the compassionate person she is, sat there and laughed so hard that tears rolled down her cheeks and her sides hurt. Yeah. I felt the love. Then before we got home, she had called Sheri and Todd and told them, called Audrey and told her, and called my brother Tom and told him. Then after I got her dropped off and got home, she called my family and had Rob put the phone on speaker phone so both of the girls could hear it too. 

So, there you go. Cursed  Wisconsin. First mauled by a bear then swarmed by ticks. Why does Wisconsin hate me?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Those Who Can

Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives. ~Andy Rooney

I think this quote by Andy Rooney is a much more intelligent quote than the one by George Bernard Shaw; "He who can, does; He who cannot, teaches." It just makes no sense to me. Someone had to teach you how to do what you do, so you can't just "do," you first have to be taught how to "do." 

Teachers have made a huge impact on my life. I mean, I'm married to a teacher, so I guess that shows how much I love and support teachers. I was a preschool teacher then later a preschool music teacher for a while. I hope I made an impact on the lives of those children. Or if nothing else, I hope I didn't screw them up too badly. Time will tell.

My mother wanted to be a teacher. Instead she became a teacher to her children. So in a sense, she did become a teacher. She was my first teacher. I can't explain the impact my mother has had on my life. Who would I be without her?

My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Hope, was a very kind, soft-spoken woman. I don't remember much from kindergarten, but I do remember her kind eyes and gentle voice. For first grade I had Mrs. Oberbillig, for second grade Miss Hallbrook, for third grade Mrs. Ryun, for fourth grade Miss Grabill, for fifth grade Mrs. Wheeler and for sixth grade Mr. Reeves. 

I remember Miss Grabill being a wonderful person. She encouraged me and made me love school. She helped me find a place where I felt welcomed. I'd have to say she was my favorite in elementary school. There were others of whom I have fond memories, but none the likes of Loah Grabill. 

On the other side of the coin, I was never sure what to think of Mrs. Wheeler. She scared the crap out of me while smiling the entire time. I can't think of a thing negative to say about her, just that she instilled a general feeling of fear in me. I can think of many negative things to say about Mr. Wright, but I won't. I had him for science, I think. I just know he gave me the creeps and he was a horribly unfair teacher. I received my first bad grade in his class in 5th grade, and it all stemmed from a confrontation I had with him that today may have cost him his teaching license. He was well dressed, yes. But it doesn't matter what he wore, he was a dirty old man.    

Junior high was liberating for me. Very few kids I went to elementary school with attended the same junior high that I did. I needed that. They all saw me as a skinny, gangly pre-adolescent with horrible acne and the inability to sit still.  I matured some over 7th grade and when I was forced back into a school with them in 8th grade, it was a little better. I won't say it was great, but it was a little better. 

Apart from the generally horrible social issues, I had some teachers who were incredible. Mr. Hansen in 8th grade was both my home room teacher as well as my science teacher. He was a down to earth person who treated everyone equally and had an incredibly deadpan sense of humor. Mr. J. Wilson was my 9th grade Algebra teacher, who helped me realize that I could understand math after two years of teachers who had made me feel like I couldn't. (He was the one and only, because my high school math teachers kicked me right back into that gutter again.)

Mr. Atkinson was our business teacher. One of the things he taught us was typing (no kids, not computers, but actual typing!) It was a valuable skill to learn and I feel sorry for the kids who did not take it seriously. He was a very unique individual who didn't allow nonsense, but instilled in you the importance of what he was teaching you. (He also made us cut our fingernails so we could type better, and told us the only fingernail that needed to be long was our pinky nail, and that was only if we were snorting coke.)

Mrs. Pratt and Mr. Eller were my English teachers in 8th and 9th grade and I had long understood that I enjoyed English more than any other subject. They both made an impact on me as a young person, each in their own way. I never have had the opportunity to diagram sentences, despite the numerous times these two forced us to do so. I'm still waiting. 

High school brought me a plethora of teachers who made a positive impact on my life. Thank goodness the ones that did were there, because if I had to base my high school career on Mr. Wickam, Mr. Martin and Mr. Cebuhar, I'd probably have a very negative remembrance of those days. 

Thankfully I was blessed with Mrs. White, Mr. Hendricks, Ms. Kauffman, Mr. Ortale, Mrs. Fisher, Mr. Blenderman, Mrs. Weir and Mr. Kent to fill me with wonderful memories and a plethora of knowledge. 

Most importantly, they made me believe in me. I think that's what I miss most about being in school. Some teachers have a way of knowing when a child needs built up inside. Not all teachers, mind you. Teachers are just like the general population; some have the ability to know what a child needs beyond the lesson plans, and some do not. 

Who will I remember more: Andy Rooney or George Bernard Shaw? Andy Rooney, of course. Who will I remember fondly for being much more than a teacher? Mrs. Hope, Mrs. Oberbillig, Miss Hallbrook, Mrs. Ryun, Miss Grabill, Mr. Hansen, Mr. Eller, Mrs. White, Mr. Hendricks, Ms. Kauffman, Mr. Ortale, Mrs. Fisher, Mr. Blenderman, Mrs. Weir and Mr. Kent

Who do YOU remember? 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Missing My Dad

I've been missing my dad lately. Not that it is any more or less than usual, but I guess I've noticed it more the past week. Maybe it was Halloween. Maybe it's the sumac changing color. Maybe it's because it's football season and that was his favorite sport. I don't know.

Dad liked decorating for holidays. He was the outside decorator. He had pumpkin masks he put over the lights in front, he had big orange pumpkin bags he filled with leaves. He had lights and a creepy skeleton head. But he was best known for his "people" in the front yard. 

It started with one guy. He had a Frankenstein monster-like head. He wore a bucket hat. He had on flannel and jeans and boots. He sat on a bucket and his arm rested on a "Dorian for Mayor" yard sign. Dad called him "the old cement finisher." Later he expanded to get the old cement finisher a wife, and eventually kids. Three to be exact. 

He would always make my mom guess before beggar's night started how many trick-or-treaters they would have. And he would keep a tally. He had a pen and paper next to his chair and he'd make a hash mark for each little ghoul or goblin or princess or power ranger that came to his door. 

He would decorate for Easter, too. He used all of my mom's plastic eggs and put a hole in the top and threaded string through so he could hang them up on a bush or tree. After he ran out of hers, he bought them at garage sales and second-hand stores. I have a big tin of them downstairs for our trees. 

But his favorite holiday to decorate for was Christmas. They had three evergreens in the front yard and he would cover them with lights until they got too tall for him to put lights on. He didn't give up on the trees until they finally were taller than his combined reach and the eight foot long board he used to hook them up over a branch. 

The lights usually went along the peak of the house and along the front of the garage, too. And there were the lighted reindeer, too. Bucks and does and fawns. Santa and Mrs. Claus as well as Frosty the Snowman were always present, too. If it lit up, Dad liked it. 

He usually put the Christmas tree up inside, too. The day after Thanksgiving he's put it up, string the lights, put on the tinsel and either Santa or a star on top. Then he'd let Mom do the rest. He usually let Mom take care of the inside decorations, too. Mainly because what Dad really liked were decorations that made noise. Lots of noise. Singing a song, playing a tune, you name it. Occasionally he would walk through the house and turn each item on and then sit back down. 

I miss hearing him talk about football with my husband. I miss how mad he'd get at the coaches and the players and the officials. So mad he'd have to leave the room. 

There are so many thing I miss. I was a very lucky girl to have a dad like mine. He was one in a million. But forty one years was not enough.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Becoming Part of the Collective

I grew up a city girl. Right in Des Moines, Iowa. South side. Lincoln High School, 1986. Imagine my surprise when I started dating Rob, a country boy, through and through. He only lived 20 miles from my house in Des Moines, but parts of the culture were thousands of miles away. 

I have to say that the biggest adjustment was the "one finger wave." You know the wave, when you're driving down a country road and someone passes you and they lift one finger off of the steering wheel and wave it at you, like some sort of secret farmer greeting? Well when someone would wave at Rob and me as we were driving near his house and Rob would wave back, I'd ask, "who was that?" To which his response, 95% of the time, was "I don't know. A neighbor." So being the suspicious city girl I was, I'd ask, "If you don't know who it is for sure, why are you waving at them? Don't they teach you in the country that you're not supposed to talk to strangers?"

Usually he would laugh at me and not answer, but apparently one day he had enough of my questioning, and he said, "Geez, Barb! He was just being friendly! Just waving! It's just ONE finger! That's all! Why do you have a problem with that?" 

To which I answered as honestly as any true south side girl would answer; "Because, Rob! I grew up on the south side of Des Moines and THIS (showing my index finger) isn't the finger we waved at people when we were driving!"

Oh, yeah. Giving the finger. Flipping the bird. South side salute. Flipping someone off. Iowa State Bird. 

Rob found the humor it it, and I realized that I should stop asking him who these "friendly" strangers were. We reached an unspoken agreement. That was the first phase of my journey into becoming part of the collective. 

That was in 1989 and it wasn't until 1995 that we moved to rural Altoona, just a quarter mile east of where Rob grew up. It's still mostly the same neighbors who wave one finger. The ones who don't are usually the ones who thought it would be "fun" to live in the country, but were then surprised when large farm implements would occasionally knock over your mailbox and sometimes you would wake up to wayward livestock in your yard eating your beautifully manicured grass. They are the ones who almost run off of the road when they see a little girl walking her calf down the path from her grandpa's house to her house, getting the calf used to walking on a halter. The ones who only stop ONCE to talk to you when they see you returning home after a day of working in the hog barn. The ones who need to move back to town.

I've slowly adjusted to country living after living in town for over 25 years. If I have to stay overnight at my parents' house for some reason, I am up all night wondering what all those noises are. I took to country living much easier than Lisa Douglas (Eva Gabor on Green Acres), but I'd like to think I'm not as countrified as Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies. (okay, maybe sometimes I am.)

I still lock the doors when I'm home alone, and I make sure the doors are all locked at night. I mean seriously, didn't you read "In Cold Blood?" That all took place in the country, on a farm! On the other hand, I get the mail in my pajamas, sit on the patio and have coffee in my robe, and mow the yard in my bikini top; all things I would NEVER do in town. Not even when I looked good when I DID live in town. 

I've learned to drive the tractor, I've mucked out pig pens, I've helped build fence. I've ear-tagged cattle and pigs, helped give shots and clip needle teeth on piglets, and I've handed piglets and the scalpel to Rob when he's castrated the boars. (as piglets, of course) 

Our girls have done all of these things, too. They have grown up doing these things, they don't know any different. But we also dress up and go to the Civic Center for a show, we've dined out at 801 Grand, we've rubbed elbows at the governor's inaugural ball, and we've even shopped at fancier stores than Target or Wal-Mart. I DO know how to act in public, it's just that most times, I choose not to.

So I guess if you asked me today if I was a city girl or a country girl I'd tell you I was a country girl. So far I haven't live in the country as long as I lived in town, but slowly I've become a farmer's wife and prefer living here to the hub-bub of the city. I've got a long way to go before I am truly a farm girl or a country girl, but slowly I am becoming a part of the collective.

I've even been known to raise my index finger while driving to greet a passing motorist or neighbor. But sometimes, depending on the neighbor and depending on how slowly they were driving their farm implement in front of me, as soon as they can't see me, I switch back and wave another finger in their direction. Some habits die hard.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

You're HOW Old?

Today I was at my mom's house doing some odd jobs around the yard while the guys from S & H Gutter replaced four sections of gutter and downspout on mom's house and garage. One guy I knew was several years younger than I, but the other one was harder to figure. He could be older than I am. He could be younger than I am. My mom thought he looked like a guy who went to school with my older brother, who is 6 years older than I am. So I figured I have to ask. Here's how that conversation went:

Me: "So did you guys graduate from Lincoln?"
Matt: "Yeah, in 1995."
Gary: "Yeah, a long, long, LONG time ago. I'm pretty old."
Me: "Okay, but what year did you graduate?"
Gary: "1987."
(dead silence as I fold my arms across my chest) 
Me: "So what you're saying, Gary, is that anyone who graduated in 1987 is pretty old, so anyone who graduated prior to 1987 is REALLY old?"
(Gary looking petrified because I think it hit him that maybe I might be at LEAST that old, if not older)
Me: "So I must be REALLY old then, because I graduated in 1986."

It was absolutely amazing how quickly someone can get back to work even though he has just stuck his foot in his mouth.

It's all good though, they were nice guys, so I didn't give them the hairy eyeball or anything. I was out there working my ass off, at least, if not harder, than they were, so I felt pretty good about myself.

Now, several hours later, as I sit with the heating pad to my back and I've washed down some ibuprofen with my prune juice, I am thinking maybe I am REALLY old. Actually it was cranberry juice, but that didn't sound nearly as cool.

But seriously, it hit me yesterday that the two guys I hired to work Wednesdays and Saturdays are young enough to be my children. Really? They are very nice young men, so are they being polite because they were raised that way or because I'm considered their "elder?" Hm. It had better be that they were raised that way, because if they are treating me nice because I'm old I plan on beating them both with my cane.

I've had several "awakening" moments like this. There was the time when I suddenly realized that NOBODY was EVER again going to ask to see my driver's license when I bought alcohol. Although last year I was buying some cold medicine and the guy at Wal-Mart asked for my I.D. I handed it to him and said, "Yeah, I'm over 21. As a matter of fact, I'm as good as TWO 21 year olds!" He thought it was funny but not as funny as the woman in line behind me, who actually caught the joke. She asked how many months I had been 42. 

Then there was the time I walked past the bathroom mirror and wondered why in the hell my mother was in the bathroom with me. Seriously! When did I turn into my mother? 

Actually the most earth shattering came earlier this week as I read a friend's Facebook status. It was one of the funny ones where you use the first 10 friends on your friends list. This one was "In 5 Years." It was what jobs your friends would have in 5 years, most likely meant for someone in high school or college. 

My name fell under "drug dealer." One of the other options was "stripper." I jokingly said I didn't look like a drug dealer, then it hit me; at age 43, as I look in the mirror, I honest to goodness look more like a drug dealer than a stripper! 

Getting older sucks, but I guess it's better than the alternative.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A New Kind of Man

I have to say I was very sad to see Chaz go home from DWTS tonight, but it's not because I am going to miss his dancing. There were times he was atrocious. There were times he was awkward. There were times he looked scared to death. But in the end, he was always likeable. 

Everyone knows that is what brought him through this far in the competition. But Chaz wasn't in it for the competition. He put it well tonight by saying that he wanted to show America a new kind of man. He said if there had been someone like him on television when he was younger, his life would have been totally different. Well said, Chaz. 

I have to say that in his trepidation, his naturally humble attitude was able to shine through. I think there are a few male professional dancers on DWTS that could learn a lesson from Chaz. Just because you're good at something doesn't mean everything about you is perfect. A little bit of humble goes a long way. 

That being said, I don't think I've ever seen the rest of the couples swarm the dance floor and rally around the star who was going home quite like I watched tonight. I think Chaz opened the eyes of a lot of people during his time on DWTS. Some that might not have had the chance to meet someone who was transgendered in any other situation.

I hope Chaz's appearance on DWTS does change someone's life. I hope it validates someone's life. I hope it opens someone's eyes. Lord knows we all could use a little eye opening.

Everyone Needs an Outlet

I could not come up with anything clever for my blog title. All that came to mind was "I wonder what is the biggest voltage outlet?" You know, because this is going to be MY outlet. My outlet for spouting off, venting, ranting, raving and whatever else I need to do. So from what I could decipher online, a 240v outlet is the biggest outlet for a home. It's for bigger appliances. So I figure I need the biggest outlet there is, because, well, you understand. 

Today my biggest rant is that I have a co-worker who apparently couldn't find her ass with both hands. I got to work and there was a note asking if I had ordered windowed envelopes or if I had them stored elsewhere. So here's the deal. For the past two months, these envelopes have been stored in the bathroom, on top of a cabinet which is about eye level. And the box? Well I labeled it "windowed envelopes." Yeah, my bad. I should have done more. 

Work isn't the only place where I have issues with folks not finding things I've stored in plain sight. It happens at home, too. I am not even going to get into that part of it, because apparently I've blocked those specific memories out of my head so I can't give you a good one. But I promise when one happens, I will post it so everyone knows I'm telling the truth.

Speaking of looking for things, Roseanne Barr used to include in her stand-up routine that her husband and kids thought she knew where everything was. They'd ask her where this was or that was, like the uterus was a tracking device. I can't help but laugh when I hear this, because more than once that thought has gone through my mind. "Why would I know where THAT is? Do you think that the uterus is a tracking device?" I guess it isn't so much that I'm asked where things are that irritates me, it's when it is suddenly MY fault that said person does not know where said item is and cannot find it. Yep, that's what I do, I think up what you might look for next and I hide it from you. Or I sort the laundry and find your favorite item, and I drop it between the washer and dryer so it can't easily be seen. 

All that being said, last night I cleaned off the top of a cabinet where I keep photos and scrapbook items looking for the CD labels I printed last week. I must have worked for an hour before I walked through the living room and saw them in a shoebox where I had placed everything else having to do with those CDs. Oh well, I needed to clean and straighten up that cabinet anyway. And I found a project I've been working on for so many years and I can't even begin to tell you when I started it. They are foam Christmas ornaments with a space for school photos. I was going to do one for each of the school photos the girls have. Maybe I will get them finished in time to give to their children.  

I'm not perfect. Don't get me wrong. As a matter of fact, the least perfect thing about me is my fuse. It's too damn short.