Monday, May 23, 2011

Is that really necessary?

I know, I know - another early-in-the-week blog.  Totally throwing you off, no?  But...I'll be busy at the end of the week, so thought it was only fair to do something in advance.  Just to be safe.  I'm already pre-enjoying my Memorial Day plans - a much needed trip to see my lil buddy, Jack.  And to play one of my best roles - The Traveling Handyman.  While I should get started on packing clothes tonight - instead I'll be shining up the drill, saw and clippers for a trip north. 

Now for the actual blog.

I have always, always, always looked down on the Candle Snifter. 

Yes, I know - that is probably a sentence you'd been expecting to read for a loooooooooong time.  Well, good news, the day is here. 

Sometimes things get invented that I just fail to see any purpose in.

The Candle Snifter being one of them.  I always wondered who the genius was who, after blowing out a candle one day, said, "Gosh, that was super hard.  I had to exhale quickly just to get the tiny flame extinguished.  If only there were a way to do this in which I not only didn't have to expel any air - but could also refrain from holding my hand behind said candle to protect my belongings from any errant speckles of wax."

Was it really that traumatic or taxing of an experience that we needed a whole system to do the exhaustive job for us?  Were there people who had to skip events after blowing out their candles because they were just driven to function overload?

I'm wondering if the ability to blow out a candle should be a gauge of "How are you?"  Well, I'm good enough to blow out a candle all by myself. 

So there's that. 

As luck would have it - just a few weeks ago, I came across an ad for a product that was going to CHANGE THE WAY YOU FEEL ABOUT WASHING YOUR PET. 

Come again?  Will it enable dog to get into the shower by herself, grip the shower head in one paw while scrubbing her nether regions with the other?  Because I'm in! 


How your life is going to change is that when you wear these NEW inventions (in the form of, um, gloves) you will no longer have those pesky drips coming down your arms.  You know the ones - they start, well, at the faucet and careen toward you wrists.  Then beyond.  Until, before you know it, you're whole upper body is as wet as a towel removed from the washer before the spin cycle.

Evidently.  I mean, that's never actually happened to me.  Maybe it's because when I wash my dog, I'm not placing her above my head - so I don't have to reach UP, thus forcing the drips to come DOWN.  Another idea, my friends, is to bathe your dog in the tub.  Where drips don't matter.  Especially if you both wear your birthday suits.

Who is using so much water and/or product when washing something that they are currently jumping for joy - missing the whole point of this blog - at the news of this debuting product? 

Which led me to... my Bed, Bath and Beyond flyer.  Where I saw this:
You want to know why kids aren't as tough as they used to be?  Because someone has invented a way for them to fill water balloons that takes all the difficulty out of trying to fill water balloons.   I'm shocked that this doesn't come with a little man to tie the balloons as well.

Also - what good is a water balloon if it is the size of a baseball?  If it's not looming on volleyball size, I'll pass.  I'm not trying splish my friends with a dainty bit of water.  I want to SPLASH them with something akin to torrential.  I want them wet enough to start begging for a pair of Drip Free Gloves just so something on their person wasn't drenched.

If I'm not getting myself soaked in the struggle with the hose faucet - doesn't half of that glee disappear?  Their shouldn't be a faucet in America without the remnants of failed balloons wrapped around it.  You know what I mean - just when you've got the balloon to capacity, the neck of it breaks off - leaving you a mess and a bright orange band around the faucet?  Quickly forgotten while you go in with a reinforcement balloon.

But then it got worse.  Because I saw this:
Know what that is?  Bananza!  Bananza!  Bananza!

Because apparently it has become too much, just too, too much to peel our own bananas.  Now we have a special tool to "Pop the Top" and offers no mess and no mush. 

Newsflash A:  Bananas get mushy when they are old.  They get mushy when the brown starts creeping onto the peel.  If your bananas are getting mushy from the effort of your peeling technique, well, what the hell are you doing to it?

Newsflash B:  Bananas are NOT hard to peel.  No harder than blowing out a candle actually.  You can do it one handed really.  All you need is a fingernail or teeth or strong fingers to 'Pop the Top' and you are on your way.  With an extra ten bucks in your pocket because you were smart enough NOT to buy the Bananza. 

Newsflash C:  If you really need the Bananza, I here by forbid you to eat bananas. 

Ironically - I can't decide if these and products like these make us a lazier country or not.  I mean, yeah - at first glance it seems that there is a whole society actively seeking out ways to not do things.  Like peel.  Or blow.  But I also feel that there should be a teeny tiny bit of credit for creativity. 

But then I have to cancel out the tiny bit of credit for creativity because I remember my initial reaction of "Are you kidding me???"

If someone is going to spend time making my life 'easier,' here are the areas I'd like the focus to shine on:
* Changing a car tire.  Please make a machine to do it for me.  A machine that stores nicely in my trunk.
* I'd like a steam cleaner for my carpets that functions like the Roomba.  Automatic all the way with GPS.
* Unloading the dishwasher.  If that could just be done without my input, that'd be great.
* Folding the laundry - again, take me out of the equation and I'lll buy your product.
* Coffee.  Make it automatically appear in the mornings, even if I forgot to load the coffee maker.
* Fill my gas tank without my participation.  If they have automatic cow-milkers - isn't this just the opposite motion?

Just throwing those out there.  With a verbal Trade Mark.  I
n case anyone opts to steal my ideas. 

Like they did with the Snuggee. 

Because lying in a blanket was just too dang hard.

Monday, May 16, 2011

May I Not Get Struck Down By Lightning....

I was driving into work this morning listening to the radio and the crew was talking about the pending rapture.  The one that is coming this Saturday.  This was piggybacked with a chat about the pending end of the world.  On October 21st.

Now, before anyone goes weird on me - let me offer some pre-blog disclaimers:

1.  God and I are currently on speaking terms.
2.  I believe God has a plan. 
3.  I've been getting better at trying not to let my worries over whether I agree with that plan get the best of me.
4. I feel pretty confident that my current status with God qualifies me for the rapture. Yes, it will be awkward if I'm mistaken.

The topic on the radio this morning was really about 'What Would You Do?' 

If you knew for sure that May 21st was it for us - what would you do this week?  Or if you assumed you'd be taken in the rapture and, oops, it came and went without you - then what?  Now you've got to wait around until late October for the whole thing to end?  (Rip off alert!)

I know a lot of people do a lot of studies and calculating and grafting and charting and deriving to figure out these important events.  The Mayans did it.  Nostradamus did it.  But really what are the chances that someone's quick math cracked God's schedule? 

In some ways it peeves me that all this emphasis is being put on May 21st - there's a fellow at work here whose teenage son has had himself sick to his stomach for months worrying about this day.  And yet I get that.  I remember reading 1984 (or was it a movie?) and dreading that fateful date.  I believe I feigned illness mid-day so I could be with my mama.  (Shenanigan Alert!)

It also makes me wonder if all the folks wandering around with signs of warning know that if things don't pan out, then a whole lot of other folks may think they shouldn't trust their Bibles so much anymore.  I mean, if a billboard tells you the Bible says the rapture is coming May 21, 2011 - and then it doesn't - won't that steer people in the exact opposite direction?  That almost makes me more nervous than the actual rapture.

I think it's easy to see signs if you want to see signs.  Sign, sign, everywhere's a sign, blocking up the scenery, breaking my mind...(you're welcome). 

When the disaster in Japan took place, I had a friend freaking out because she'd read about that happening in Revelations.  Which I totally looked for and didn't find.  I mean, yeah, I could have interpreted a bunch of stuff a bunch of different ways to come up with a correlation, but when you have to stretch it that far....doesn't that take some of the weight of the sign away?

I saw the marquee on the local arena announcing Joel Osteen coming to speak in July.  July.  Two months after the rapture.  Joel Osteen is an extremely popular preacher (from one of those mega churches in Texas).  I like Joel Osteen - I think he's got really good messages.  Plus you can watch him on TV - thus enabling the go-to-church-in-pj's option.

If there were going to be a rapture, why would Joel have his schedule booked out to July?  I'm pretty sure he'll be ahead of me on the Going Up list.  Is it weird that I feel a bit relieved to see Joel's got plans beyond the rapture.  Or should I be alarmed?  If he can't get in, then I'm totally hosed.

People mock me because I have a total inability to say 'no.' Yes, I'm that person. Want something? Need something? Have a ridiculous request? Kidney? Liver? Ask me - in my head I'll totally turn you down, but what will come out is, "Absolutely - just let me get my paring knife and you'll have your organ in a jiffy."

I just like to be kind to people who need some kindness (screw the rest of you). And that involves saying 'yes' sometimes when I really don't want to. It sort of goes hand in hand with my theory of you don't have to hit up a church every Sunday to be a good person - you really can just be a good person any day of the week. It rarely even hurts.

Unless you count all the 'situations' I've gotten myself into by stupidly agreeing to something ridiculous.

So what would you do?

And why should it take a rapture threat to ponder this question?

Shouldn't we always plan like life is short and should be fulfilled with awesome things?  Shouldn't we always be, at the very least, acting like we're trying to stay on God's Good List?  Shouldn't we always be kind and loving and open to those we care about?  Not just for a week or so before a maybe-rapture?

So I'm not going to stress too much about the rapture this week.  I'm hoping for sure that I have time for one last round of eggs and coffee Saturday morning.  Plus some good old fashioned couch time.  Maybe with Joel.  Maybe not.

What I would do is just do what I always (try) to do - be a good person and leave the worrying to man upstairs.  Note the word 'try'. 

What will probably happen is I'll call various family members and friends every three seconds on Saturday to make sure I didn't get left behind.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day

Don't worry - I'm not going to go all gushy here.  I like to save my mama related gushyness for when I'm a blubbering mess with my actual mama.

But, I thought since Mother's Day is this Sunday, it would be irresponsible of me not to write about it in the old blog.  And yes, the easy way out would be to tell all of you why I am the luckiest and you are not. 

I could go on and on about how my mom is the best mom and how she puts up with three of the very differently crazy kids in the world with grace and kindness and hugs - both virtual and in person. 

Sure, she sometimes shakes her head of disbelief - probably from disbelief that she got so dang lucky to have such a unique handful.

You can see we haven't affected her at all:

And for those of you constantly pointing to my dad as the source of my stunning personality...this is true proof that both parties were involved in my DNA.

Did you know that in some countries, Mother's Day is celebrated in March?  So weird.  When I think of Mother's Day I think of sunshine and flowers and feeling spring fever.  All things that make me feel that warm, fuzziness of contentment.  The same feeling I get when I think of my mom.  And, last I checked - none of those things are available in March. 

Did you know that when Mother's Day was being 'invented' back in 1908- the woman who named it (Anna Jarvis) was adamant that the apostrophe appeared between the 'r' and the 's' instead of after the 's'?  She wanted to be sure this was a singular possessive so that each family would honor their mama - instead of making it just a general plural 'yay for all the mothers' type holiday. 

She also decided the second Sunday in May was an ideal day for this - and when Woodrow Wilson made it an official holiday in 1914, he took her lead.

Some folks celebrate Mother's Day on the fourth Sunday of Lent - this coming from another longstanding tradition where servants where given that day off to do their family Easter visiting - because they would surely need to be back to work on actual Easter.  Who else would cook the ham, boil, paint and hide the eggs and clean up after the Easter Bunny? 

The day off became known as Mothering Sunday because the servants were theoretically going back to their 'mother' church.  Somewhere in time the two days merged into one. 

If you look up the dates for Mother's Day online (where everything is true) you'll find that nearly every month - some country is celebrating Mother's Day.  January, July and September seem to be the only months who don't get to share the joy. 

Still - I will always picture Mother's Day as a May-thing.  I mean, really, Norway?  Second Sunday in February?  When it's probably dark 23 hours of your day? 

Behind Valentine's Day, Mother's Day probably gets most of the bad rap for being a Hallmark Holiday.  Although I'm a firm believer that nothing is a Hallmark Holiday unless you make it into one. 

Are you spending more money than thought on your gifts?  Then you're guilty. 

Remember Anna Jarvis?  The Mother of Mother's Day?  She burned through her life savings trying to de-commercialize the holiday.  Her whole purpose in the day was actually to fulfill her own mother's dream of creating a celebration for all mothers. 

An idea that didn't take hold until Jarvis hooked up (not literally) with John Wanamaker...
Of Wanamaker's Department Stores...
Of  "Hey, let's sell a whole bunch of stuff to a whole bunch of suckers for this holiday..."

Sadly, Jarvis came to regret the whole she-bang when she realized how Wanamakered the holiday was  becoming.

I actually like some of the 'Hallmark-ness' of the holiday.  Or most holidays for that matter. 

I love walking into a Target or a drugstore or wherever- hitting the card aisle and seeing a crowd. 

I love squishing in with all the other shoppers and going from card to card, chuckling, aw-ing and guffawing. 

I love the dance everyone does around each other as we reach for cards - making sure no one is getting bumped or shoved, helping each other find a rejected card's home back on the shelf, sometimes sharing cards with one another. 

I love the feeling of 'we're all in this together'. 

I love that the card I pick will be absolutely perfect for my mother and totally wrong for someone else's.

I love that I could make my own card at home out of leftover scrap paper and my mama would think it was perfect.

Mainly, though - I just love my mama.