Category Archives: Humor

Married People Conversations

Some of the best and strangest conversations I have ever had have been with my husband. We often find ourselves initially discussing relatively mundane topics that somehow morph through a series of crazy twists, turns and strange lateral leaps of thought, into something much more bizarre. I love it when that happens, and it happened again today.

We were driving back from eating dim sum with friends when my tummy started to rumble. Now, we love dim sum. In fact, we often crave it. But there are two dim sum meal aftereffects that we can always bank on—a trip to the potty exactly 1 hour later followed by a food coma shortly thereafter. This is why we never make definitive plans with anyone for several hours after eating dim sum. (We learned this lesson the hard way.)

This of course lead to an entire discussion around (you guessed it), poop. My husband said that pooping is the great equalizer. I agreed, but said that only works if you can visualize the person “in the act”. There are some people who I just couldn’t imagine on the throne and some that I very easily could. (Which was a little weird even to me.)

We ran through a few names to test this theory and to see if we could determine why we could picture some people on the potty and why other people we couldn’t. Here was our short analysis:

People we can picture on the can:
George Clooney – He’s a jokester and very accessible. Easy to envision. He probably also owned a fart machine or whoopee cushion at some point.

Prince – He always looks a little dirty and unkempt to me so picturing him on the commode isn’t that difficult. Note: Hubby couldn’t (or wouldn’t) picture this one.

Any U.S. President after President Theodore Roosevelt with the exception of Presidents John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. These two great men are icons, and icons do not potty in my mind.

The Presidents that served after Theodore Roosevelt are easy to picture in the bathroom, probably because it is one of the few places they could actually be alone. The exception would be President Lyndon Johnson who rather than interrupt himself mid-speech, would notoriously leave the door open when he went to the toilet so that cabinet members could watch him as he sat “doing his business”, issuing orders and so forth. (Seriously, you can google it.)

Any heavy metal rock singer – Too easy.

Anyone we know personally – Past bosses, friends, grocery store clerks, baristas…we don’t discriminate, we can visualize you all. (Sorry.)

Albert Einstein – He seems like a fun, down to earth genius that had a sense of humor. I bet he wrote formulas down on toilet paper the way some people jot ideas on restaurant napkins.

 

People we can NOT picture on the can:
Ryan Gosling– Did you see him in Crazy, Stupid, Love or The Notebook? I don’t even want to try. Envisioning him on the “john” would require demoting him from the pedestal he stands on in my mind. No way.

Gwyneth Paltrow – She seems so lady-like, squeaky clean and thin. I better she never eats and therefore never poops. (Although, she has published a cookbook, so I may be wrong.)

Any U.S. President before President Theodore Roosevelt. I think I just can’t picture any of our country’s forefathers in an out house or worse yet using a chamber pot. Too unpresidential for me to wrap my head around.

Any religious figure – Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Picturing religious figures having such a biological human experience is off-limits. (And may even be considered sacrilegious, so I’m not going there.)

So, our conclusion is that it’s “mostly” a great equalizer with some very important exceptions. We also determined that there are some discussions that we can only have with each other. (And everyone in the blogosphere.)

Photo Credit: Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

Photo Credit: Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

Where’s My Freakin’ Bonbons?

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The toilet has been running for months. I’m sure our water bill would be 50% less if it was fixed. Not to mention the scare it gives me when it starts to “run“ while I am sitting on it! I’m sure I levitate at least three inches off the seat each time. My urgency to get this fixed has just not seemed to register with my husband, and I know why—neither one of us is very “handy” when it comes to home repairs.

Last night I hit the breaking point. I was sick and tired of the new “toilet flush assembly” (a.k.a. the damn toilet do-dad) sitting on my kitchen counter and mocking me. I mean seriously, it hadn’t even made it to the bathroom and we bought it weeks ago! Rather than wait any longer for my husband to fix it, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I put on an old tee-shirt and grabbed all of the tools required to do the job and headed to the bathroom. After all, the Home Depot man said this was an “easy” plumbing job. I can do this! (Maybe.)

Step 1: Turn off water and flush toilet. Check.

Step 2: Sponge out any remaining water from the back of the tank. Check.

Step 3: Remove old toilet flush assembly parts. (Hmmm…everything? Okay, yank, yank, yank!) Check.

Step 4: Get husband—now! (Where is this water coming from? Oh, crap!)

I admit that my timing wasn’t the best. My husband was watching the last few minutes of the NCAA Tournament, when I trotted into the living room and announced that he had better come help me if he didn’t want the house to flood. He didn’t move. He just looked at me in wide-eyed disbelief. Then he went back to hooting and hollering at the TV and texting his buddies.

I tried again, using more colorful language. “Ummm, I have 4 large bath towels sopping up the water on the bathroom floor. I don’t know where the water is coming from and I can’t get it to stop. Maybe you should hit pause and come help me before the house floods!“

All I got in response was an angry look and a furrowed brow.

And then I said the absolute worst thing I could have possibly said and it hung in the air for what seemed to be an eternity, “This is more important than any stupid basketball game!”

Well, that got a reaction! And I think I may have actually seen a blood vessel burst in his forehead. The good news is that after a lot of expletives being thrown about the bathroom, the toilet finally got fixed. Turns out I just hadn’t turned the water off completely—nothing major. My husband is still speaking to me even though the repairs took several hours to complete and I giggled and smirked during “One Shining Moment”. (That’s just a really cheesy song. I couldn’t help myself.)

The whole incident also brought up some questions about gender roles in modern society. In my parent’s day, the husband was in charge of earning the sole income to provide for the family, doing home and car repairs, cutting the grass, and managing financial investments. The wife was in charge of decorating and running the household, taking care of the kids during the day, cooking the meals (except grilling on the BBQ pit) and planning the social calendar.

Today we have a lot of lifestyle options, which is fantastic, but can also be a bit confusing. The roles and responsibilities within a marriage/partnership aren’t as clearly defined as they were 50 years ago.  In my home, planning social engagements, vacations and doctor visits is my job because it’s easy for me to keep track of such things. I also do all of the grocery shopping and cooking because I don’t mind it and I have the time to do it. My husband is currently the only one working a full-time job, so that’s his big contribution. He also gets to lug heavy items into the attic for storage because he’s stronger, and I’m afraid of ladders.

We are fortunate enough to be able to hire people to cut the grass, fix the car and advise us on our financial investments.

But fixing toilets, clogged drains, and broken garbage disposals—well, that’s definitely a team effort. And nobody is getting to sit on the sofa and eat bonbons until it’s done!

Just Like a “Runny Sack”

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I thought for many years that I might have a slight speech impediment. My fears were compounded when I started frequenting my local Starbucks. When ordering my coffee they would always ask for my name, so they could write it on the cup and call me when my order was ready at the counter. I never heard my name called in a timely manner and would have to always ask them the status of my order. Turns out, my order had been sitting there getting cold all along—it just had the wrong name on it. Instead of “Becky” being written on the cup, it said either Betty, Betsy, Vickie, or my personal favorite—Ecky. (Really? Who has ever heard of someone named Ecky?)

I thought after frequenting the same Starbucks for so many years that they would eventually learn my real name. Just to be sure, I signed up for a Starbucks Rewards Card which I proudly present at every transaction. It earns me free coffees, but even better, it has my first and last name printed in bold, all caps so they can clearly see it. I haven’t had my name misspelled or misinterpreted since.

Now, I think I may have traded my speech impediment for a hearing impediment. I am a child of the 80s and I love listening and singing to the best of retro rock on my Sirius XM car radio. (A big thank you to my husband for buying it for me!) I often make my husband chuckle because I enjoy “singing“ the instrumental portions of the song. I like singing the lyrics too when I know them, or when I think I know them.

Yesterday while running errands with my hubby, I was singing the AC/DC song, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”, only since I wasn’t as familiar with the lyrics, I was singing, “Dirty Deeds Thunder Cheek”. I had no idea what the lyrics meant, but I was having a good old time singing, so who cares? My husband was killing himself laughing.

Later, “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money came on. I started belting out the chorus:

“Take me home tonight
I don’t want to let you go ’til you see the light
Take me home tonight
Listen honey, just like a runny sack, ‘Be my little baby.’ ”

If you know the song, then you know it’s not “just like a runny sack”, it’s supposed to be “just like Ronnie sang, ‘Be my little baby.’ ” Again, my husband was in stitches and quickly proceeded to Google the correct lyrics and their meaning. Turns out, the lyrics are referring to Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes singing, “Be My Baby.” And as all ladies my age know, that song was featured in the epic love story, Dirty Dancing. Those lyrics I know!

So either I have a new hearing impediment, which is entirely possible now that I am in my early 40s, or the singers of my generation just didn’t articulate very well. I guess it doesn’t really matter, because I enjoy singing even if I sing the wrong words and completely off-key. I also really enjoy making my husband laugh. He claims he’s laughing with me, but I think we all know better. So Jeff, this one is for you!

“The night we met I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance I’d never let you go
So won’t you say you love me
I’ll make you so proud of me
We’ll make ’em turn their heads
Every place we go
So won’t you please

(Be my be my baby) Be my little baby
(I want it only say) Say you’ll be my darling
(Be my be my baby) Be my baby now
(I want it only say) Ooh, ohh, ohh, oh”

–“Be My Baby” sung by the Ronettes (and me)

Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes (Photo Credit: thoughtontracks.com)

Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes (Photo Credit: thoughtontracks.com)

 

The Mad Scramble

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frenzy

Photo Credit: Frenzy Theatrical Release Poster found on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frenzy

Last Friday I hurt myself doing absolutely nothing.

It was a day like any other—I got up (late as usual), rushed to get dressed, fed the dog and dropped him off at doggie day care on my way to work. “Work” these days consists of daily trips to Starbucks, where I camp out to write and enjoy my caffeinated beverage of choice.

I was a little late in arriving, so I had to wait out an elderly gentleman, who was in my favorite secluded seat in the corner. (Doesn’t he know that the few seats next to the outlets are reserved for laptop users like me? Geesh.) No sooner did I have that snarky little thought, then Karma sprang into action. “Ouch!” I had turned to plug my computer into the outlet and managed to somehow seriously hurt my shoulder. I don’t know what I did to injure myself, but my shoulder is now making sounds that only rickety old machinery from the turn-of-the-20th century makes as it grinds to a permanent halt.

My very wise husband insisted that I make an appointment with my massage therapist who is skilled in orthopedic/medical massage. Since I can’t comfortably move my shoulder and have lost the complete range of motion, I complied without much fuss. The appointment is this afternoon.

In preparation for my massage, I went through the daily routine of bathing and scrubbing, but with far extra attention to detail. I exfoliated with sea salt. I used the long-handled scrub brush and broke out the loofah. I shaved—twice. I scraped and sanded my rough heels until they were as smooth as a baby’s bottom. I cursed myself for having not gotten a pedicure this weekend. I dried off, deodorized, perfumed and powdered. As my mom would say, I was “squeaky clean”.

Throughout this ritualistic cleansing, I began thinking about how goofy I was being. One should definitely maintain good hygiene, but I was now obsessively cleaning. And this isn’t the only instance. I do this all the time. For days leading up to my dental appointments, I scrub and floss my teeth like a crazy woman. I use the weird-looking tongue scraper, and I gargle intensely as if I can make up in a week for not flossing regularly since my last checkup six months ago. But the madness doesn’t begin and end with my bodily cleanliness.

A few times a year, I treat myself to having a group of maids come in and clean my house from the baseboard to the ceiling. They do a fabulous job, but they aren’t cheap. So in order to get my money’s worth and to ensure the maids don’t catch on to the full extent of my slobbery, I start cleaning and organizing the house days before their scheduled visit. I wash and fold the laundry and EVEN put it away! (A truly magnificent and rare feat in my home.) I clear everything off of the counters and put anything left out back where it belongs. I straighten up the closets and make sure nothing is left on my newly “Swiffered” floor. Anything that isn’t put away by the time the maids arrive gets hidden in the garage. By the time I’m done, my husband questions why we need the maids to come at all.

This same cleaning frenzy also occurs before the plumber, pest control man, electricians or friends come over. My husband calls it “the mad scramble.”

I could blame this completely on my OCD, but I don’t think that would be accurate. I think it’s genetic, or at least a learned trait. My mom had an enormous hole in her kitchen ceiling from Hurricane Katrina that she refused to have repaired. It wasn’t a cost issue—it was just an inconvenience to go through the motions to hire a contractor, get estimates and get it fixed. Her logic was that she rarely had company other than immediate family, and it didn’t bother her as long as she didn’t look up, so why go through the hassle of fixing it? For five years, that gaping hole drove me nuts. It drove my relatives nuts. My mom, however, was completely unphased—until her financial advisor scheduled a visit. The ceiling got repaired and repainted instantly before he arrived. Poof! It was like magic.

So what does all this mean? Maybe it shows I’m not the best housekeeper. Probably, it proves that I’m motivated into action mostly out of fear of embarrassment and judgment. Definitely, it guarantees that the house will be spotless when you visit and that I will be smelling like a rose.

Tag, You’re It!

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I have a very strong desire to pull the fire alarm.

No, I’m not reflecting on a moment from my mis-spent youth. In fact, I was a great kid if not the perfect child. In grammar school I was on the honor roll, I sold Girl Scout cookies in abundance and I took ballet classes three times a week. In high school—I held down a job every summer, never snuck out of the house, and earned the nickname “Sister Rebecca” for my uncommon, moral, teenage ways. I hardly ever did anything “bad” and if I did make the slightest misstep I instantly felt the harsh pangs of Catholic guilt guaranteeing that I would never make the same mistake twice.

But at this very moment, as I sit writing this post, minding my own business, I really want to pull the fire alarm on the wall next to me. It is just begging me to do it. “Pull Fire Alarm” it reads in bold white letters. As if to say, “I double dog dare you.”

It reminds me of the time while quietly sitting on the sofa watching TV with my husband, he looked over at me with loving, kind eyes and said, “I really want to hit you with a pillow.”

What the…?

And then he started to laugh. And then I hit him with a pillow, and I started to laugh.

I don’t know what brings on these spontaneous urges to do something a little naughty. Maybe it’s for a quick adrenaline rush or maybe it’s to recapture the frivolity of youth. In college, we started playing pranks on one another until it got a bit out of hand. Chicken feet from the local dim sum restaurant were dangled from a car bumper (I honestly don’t remember why)‚ cans of peas overflowed a mail box, and my roommate’s “boyfriend’s” car was completely covered with new sod from an unsuspecting neighbor’s house—complete with a flower sprouting out of the hood. There were many more alcohol-induced pranks, but these are some of the ones that I feel most comfortable sharing at the moment.

Now I’m not condoning breaking the law, damaging property or sending hundreds of people running in a panic from a non-existent fire. Remember, I am “Sister Rebecca” after all. But, I see no harm in letting off a little steam with a harmless prank or two.

So be forewarned. If you come home from work tonight and find the crazy-looking blue ceramic chicken that I made in college on your doorstep, just smile and know that it’s just me sending you a fun little message. Tag, you’re it!

Blue chicken

The Card Lady

valentine's day cards

I dated my husband for 10 years before marrying him. I like to be really sure of my decisions before acting upon them. When we finally did marry, I realized that I would need to carve out a role for myself in my new family. Being an only child, I never had to do this before. But now, I had 2 brothers-in-law, a sister-in-law, and a second mom and dad. That’s a lot of personalities in the mix, and I wanted to stand out.

When I was younger, I pictured myself becoming Wonder Woman. At five, this was a literal interpretation. My cousin even custom-made me a costume complete with bullet deflecting wrist bands and a Lasso of Truth. As I got older my interpretation of what becoming Wonder Woman would mean changed significantly. I pictured an amazing career in advertising, a husband who adored me, a charming, neatly kept house, and the time to craft, bake, garden, and throw decadent parties to rival the ones seen on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (sans all the crazy drama).

But then I met “Leslie” (name changed to protect the guilty). Leslie is my sister-in-law, a.k.a. the second coming of Martha Stewart. She is the ultimate household superheroine. She bakes bread from scratch, grows a vegetable garden in the backyard, wins “yard of the month” for the beautifully landscaped front yard, collects antique furniture, and cooks entrées like Duck Confit Cassoulet that requires two weeks to prepare. Oh yes, and she also sells high-end real estate and is raising the perfect, gorgeous blonde-haired child who prefers caviar to hamburgers and the viola to the violin. She’s 11.

How I would love to wrangle Leslie with the Lasso of Truth to find out how she does it all! By comparison, my house is rarely neat—matter-of-fact there are several doggie fur tumbleweeds rolling by on the hardwoods at the moment. I don’t bake or garden even though the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter has been collecting dust in my garage for the past two years. I have never baked anything “from scratch” and the edible mainstay of the parties I throw include appetizers from Costco and dinners from the Honey Baked Ham Company. I just don’t have the time or energy for much more. And since I don’t have kids, it doesn’t seem I deserve a free pass for my mediocre existence. (At least, that’s my impression.)

So since the role of Domestic Goddess was so clearly already taken by my sister-in-law, I needed to develop a new persona for myself. Hence, The Card Lady was born. Actually, she wasn’t just born as I had been sending cards to family and friends for years. More accurately, she was rediscovered and newly impassioned.

My card giving surpassed the handwritten thank you note (a sadly dying art) and the traditional birthday card by leaps and bounds. I was a woman on a mission, to send cards for every holiday. And not just ANY card, but the absolute perfect card for each recipient. One that would resonate with them, make them laugh or cry—a card for them to keep and treasure forever. Or so I would like to think.

I scour every card rack that I see. I seek out high-end card boutiques. The magnetic stripe on my plastic Hallmark Gold Crown card is well-worn and I always use the gold seals provided on my envelopes to show that “I cared enough to send the very best.”

And for all my efforts, I have received more than I have given. My family has begun sending cards too—for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. My in-laws even sent our dog a Christmas card containing money for visits to his favorite doggie daycare. (He’s really spoiled.) But by far the very best outcome has been that my husband, for each year since we’ve been married, has given me a custom-designed Valentine’s Day card featuring our anniversary year on the cover. This year marks our 9th Valentine’s Day together as a married couple and he continues to make me feel adored every day.

It turns out that I’m not the perfect homemaker that I thought I would be, but hey, that’s okay. I’ve evolved into someone who I think is pretty wonderful all the same. And it turns out that I had my own unique super power all along—the ability to make people feel loved and appreciated with a simple hand selected card and personal note. Take that Martha Stewart. XOXOXO

Eating My Centerpiece

As a pre-Valentine’s Day surprise for my husband, I planned a wonderfully romantic dinner for two. The highlight of the meal was the stuffed pasta shells which he adores but that I rarely fix because it makes a mess of the kitchen. In addition to the candlelit ambience, I had devised a beautiful centerpiece ironically inspired by the 2006 movie “The Break-Up” starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. In the movie, Jennifer’s character asks her boyfriend (played by Vince Vaughn) to bring home 12 lemons for their dinner party centerpiece. Unfortunately, we never get to see the citrussy main attraction because he only brings home 3 lemons. (Apparently, he never listens, which is one of the factors leading to the break-up.)

So, I was left to my own imagination to figure out what a lemon centerpiece might look like. My only clue was that it would require 12 lemons. (Not 3, but 12.) I put 12 lemons in a bowl and it looked like—well, 12 lemons in a bowl. So I added some yellow flowers that I bought on my third trip to the grocery that day and voila!—a bright, cheerful centerpiece was born.

And it was a good thing that the centerpiece was so cheerful, because what happened next did NOT make me happy. With T-minus 45 minutes, I raced to take a bath and get dressed. In the 10 minutes that I was in the tub my dog managed to steal a purple pen from my purse and eat it on the orange wool entrance-way rug. Then, with ink-covered paws, he walked on the hardwood floors to the living room rug, then popped up onto the sofa and later trekked to his water bowl. It didn’t take advanced sleuthing skills to determine the sequence of events. The track of purple doggie prints, ink splattered everywhere, the remains of half a pen and the fact that my once yellow-looking lab mutt was now sporting purple paws and lips told the whole story.

T-35 minutes: Panic ensues. Dripping wet, and naked except for a towel, I dash across the living room praying that the blinds are closed and cursing my dog who looks utterly un-phased. I quickly wipe the ink off the hardwoods. “Thank God, it comes off!”

T-33 minutes: I frantically grab my phone and Google “How to remove ink stains from carpet”. First suggestion is rubbing alcohol. I looked in the medicine cabinet and we don’t have any. “Crap!”

T-31 minutes: Second recommendation on the list is to dab a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar on the offending stain. In my panic, instead of dabbing, I dump. Now there are mounds of white baking soda scattered from the front door to the living room, and when the vinegar is added they bubble over like little volcanoes spewing purple-tinted lava. I begin scrubbing furiously. (Which is exactly what Google said not to do.) The stains remain and the damn dog is smiling (laughing, actually), “Bugger off, Hooper!”

T-10 minutes: I’m freezing. I’m still naked and wet! Shit! “Please God let my husband be running late.” After insisting my husband be home promptly at 8pm I was now wishing for a small traffic jam or an interstate construction hold up. I spend my few precious remaining minutes recovering all the stains with baking soda. I prefer the “Pompeii ash-covered look” to the “my dog slaughtered Barney the purple dinosaur” crime scene.

T-5 minutes: Fastest getting dressed and made-up in the history of womankind. “Maybe he’ll assume my heavy breathing is in anticipation of our romantic evening?” Not a chance. My tear-stained face will give me away not to mention the powdery mounds throughout the house.

The dog is barking like a banshee. My husband is home.

After a quick explanation of the day’s crazy events, several more ineffective scoldings to our dog, and a few very large glasses of wine, we did finally sit down to a great meal and a relaxing rest of the evening. It’s just ink-stained stuff, and in the grand scheme of things, not that big of a deal.

By now you are probably thinking that this is a “making lemonade out of lemons” story, and you are right. Literally. My centerpiece flowers finally died several days ago and now I am left with a bowl full of 12 lemons and nothing planned for dinner tonight.

T-3 hours: Time to Google, “Recipes using lemons.”