January 25, 2013


           Does anybody, besides me, get exasperated with husbands who can’t find a goddamned thing?  If I hear, “Honey, where’s the juice?” one more time, I just know I’ll wind up sitting at a table with my defense attorney and staring up at Judge Ito.
With subtle variations, my day starts off like this:  I’m sitting at the kitchen table, toothpicks holding my eyes open, slurping down my first cup of coffee, while watching the birds packing it in at our feeder just outside the window.  The Zen-like tranquility of this quiet, sunny morning is about to be broken.
“Honey, where are my boxer shorts?”
“In the drawer, where I’ve been putting them for the last ten years.”
Which drawer, though?”
At this point, I heave a sigh audible on the 50-yard line of the nearest football stadium, stomp down the hall, open the drawer and hand him his shorts.
“What would I ever do without you?” he purrs.
“You’d be pretty chilly,” I reply.
I go back to my coffee.  I have just resumed my chair, when . . .
“Honey?  Where are my loafers?”
“In the closet.”
Where in the closet?”
“On the floor!”
“I don’t see them.”
I pray for restraint and stomp down the hall, yet again, open the closet, bend down, pick up his shoes, and hand them to him.
“What would I ever do without you?” he asks again.
Without me?!  I’m starting to question the fact that he even lives here.
Then he comes out to breakfast, open the fridge and . . .
“Where’s the orange juice?”
“It’s behind the milk.”
“No, it’s not.”
Grinding my teeth to nubs, I stomp over to the refrigerator, move the milk aside with a dramatic sweep, and indicate the orange juice, much the way a German Shorthaired Pointer would indicate a duck.
The sarcasm is lost on him.
Now he has the orange juice container in his hand and looks me right in the face and asks, “Honey?  Where are the glasses?”
I hand him his spectacles.
The sarcasm is lost on him.
“No, I mean to put the juice in,” he whines.
That finally does it.  Still in my bathrobe and fuzzy slippers, I put on my coat, get in the car, and drive away.
If you happen to be passing by, you might want to drop off a gallon of orange juice for my husband so he doesn’t get dehydrated.
Just don’t put it behind the milk!

January 18, 2013


             I couldn’t put it off any longer.  Last night, I went to the laundromat to get my laundry done.
“Well, of course you went to the laundromat to get your laundry done!  What else would you do at a laundromat?” you cry.
Ahhhhh.  Thereby hangs a tale.
Now, being one of those poor souls who owns neither washer nor dryer, a trip to one of these institutions of automatic cleanliness is necessary once a week or so.   And believe me, if there wasn’t a bar right around the corner, even once a week would be too often!
I stuffed my dirty laundry into a pillowcase, jumped into my Dodge Aries K muscle car, and off I went.
The drive was short . . .way too short.
I sauntered in with my pillowcase full of clothing that smelled like it just got its “come on down” notification from the Underworld, stuffed a washer, dumped in soap, and paid the extortionist on duty the requisite ransom to run the machine.  I then settled back in a plastic chair, ergonomically designed to create something resembling the pain from a shattered spinal column within 27.5 seconds, to pass the time reading.
I’m so silly sometimes.
I had read exactly two paragraphs when I was hit in the head by an extremely hard rubber ball that two shrieking urchins were bouncing on the floor.  It scared me to think that a little rubber ball could generate so much hilarity in the youth of today, because if they think that’s funny, they must think that Henry Kissinger is a stand-up comedian.
At any rate, when they saw the hatred in my eyes (well, “eye” would be more accurate, since the other one had already swollen shut and was turning a shade of purple only Liberace could love), they scattered.  And, get this, they were crying!
Their mother stomped over to me and asked me if I thought scaring her children was funny.
“No,” I replied.  “What I think is funny is badly behaved children boiling in oil – right next to their idiot permissive parents!”
Deciding that further confrontation could be hazardous to her health, she walked away, looking fearful.
OK, back to the book.  Two more paragraphs, and . . .
Two other excrescences, one riding in a clothes cart, and the other pushing it, slammed into my right leg, the trick knee of which immediately sent me a post card saying, “Wish you were here.”
After my screaming subsided slightly, the mother of these creatures approached me.
“Why are you screaming like that?” she shouted.
 “Because it’s the only way I know how to scream when my knee is dislocated by children who were obviously raised by wolves!” I replied politely.
She took her leave, as well.
I located my pocketknife and slit my jeans at the knee so the swelling could continue unencumbered, sighed, and picked up my book again.
You guessed it . . . two paragraphs, and . . .
“Hello, ma’am ( I hate to be called “ma’am”).  Would you like a pamphlet about the Lighthouse Church?”
I looked up from my book.
“Do you see that I am reading?” I asked.  "What is it about this activity that you interpret as someone pining for conversation?"
“Well, yes, but this is so much more worthwhile than . . .what’s that you’re reading?”
I showed him the cover.  My book was entitled, How to Identify Human Skeletal Remains in the Field.  I gave him a wide, evil-looking smile.
“Well, I’ll just leave you a pamphlet,” he said, tossing one in my lap.  He proceeded to make a hasty round of the rest of the patrons, then departed.
I stuck the pamphlet in the back of my book, and attempted, once again, to concentrate.
Ten minutes later . . .
“Ma’am?” (there it was again) “I’d like to give you a pamphlet . . .”
Now was my chance!  “No, no!  I’d like to give you my pamphlet!” I cried, stuffing the pamphlet I’d received earlier into his sweaty hand.  Then I went back to my reading.
As the previous saver of souls did, this fellow made the rounds of the patrons, too.  I was able to tune him out until the buzzer sounded on my machine, and I had to get up to empty it.
As I was doing so, this moron approached me again.  I guess I really looked like I needed saving.
“Ma’am?” (blood pressure rising) “Do you know the way to Heaven?” he asked, with a capital H.
“No, but I know the way to San Jose, if that helps,” I said, tossing a tee shirt in the dryer.
“Ma’am?” (one more time, and I was going to move this man a good deal closer to God than he was prepared to be at that moment) “You don’t understand.  I already know the way.”
“Then why did you ask me?”
“I want to know if you know the way.”
“What difference does it make?  I’m not going right now, maybe not ever.  It sounds boring and I don’t like harp music.”
He was either stupid or deaf.
 “But ma’am,” (right! that’s it) wouldn’t you like me to show you the way to Heaven?  I’d be glad to!”
 “Pal, if you don’t leave me alone, I’d be glad to show you the way to hell!” I replied.
“But you don’t understand.  I want to lead you to Heaven!” he cried.
“What are you saying, then?  That you're here to kill me?  Help!  Help, police!  Murder!  Somebody dial 911!”
As a result of the ensuing fracas and the many statements that had to be taken, my laundry was left in the dryer far too long and was reduced to ashes that were several sizes too small.
But you know what?
It was worth it.

January 11, 2013

Storage Bin SNAFU

          Yesterday, I had the wonderful experience of clearing out my storage bin.  Well, not just clearing it out, but moving the stuff in my big storage bin to a much smaller, more affordable storage bin.
Ever try to fit twenty pounds of potatoes into a five-pound bag?
Of course, as soon as I mentioned my intention to do this mega job, all my friends were suddenly stricken with: 
1.  Bubonic plague
2.  Malaria
3.  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
4.  Back pain from injuries they sustained in the Boer War.
So I set off, all by my lonesome, to do what I told my husband, Stij (he was the Boer War injury), would probably be a three-hour job.
Not even close.
Now, I’m one of those people who can get sidetracked for fifteen or twenty minutes at a time looking up a word in the dictionary.  There are so many other interesting words one comes across while on a mission of that sort.  So picture me standing amid stack after stack of boxes of books, most of which haven’t seen sunlight for a year or more.  I decided that I had to go through each box so I could be sure I’d have the books I would probably need access to placed up front in the new shoebox storage space into which I was moving.
Second mistake.
Three hours later, I wasn’t even half finished.  It was beginning to get dark out, so I stepped up my efforts.  This was working out fine until I came across a whole carton of childhood photographs and mementos.  Another hour came and went, while I alternately laughed and wept over what I found in that box (I’m a pretty emotional mover).  I found my original Teddy Bear (who still smelled the same – very important), photos of me at ages 4 and 9 (these are what caused the crying – I’d no idea I had been such a strange-looking child), old photos of my childhood playmates . . . well, you know the story.
By the time I finally finished the move, all broken and bleeding, even my hair hurt.  It was 10:00 PM (I’d started at 1:00 that afternoon) and rain was pouring down in a veritable wall of water. The storage place was closed for the night, and had been ever since 7:30.  The meant that he computer at the gate would not accept my password.  This also meant that I could not get my car out of the lot.
“Perfect,” I sighed.  I waded toward the gate through the monsoon, complete with gale force winds.  Upon arriving, I observed that the top edge of the gate was gaily festooned with a pleasant medley of razor wire and barbed wire.  I hadn’t noticed this before, since the idea of climbing over the gate had never previously occurred to me.
I sloshed back inside.  There was no telephone in the facility, but there was a fire alarm.  I reached out to pull it, but the realized that it would be pretty silly to set it off and call a group of men to bring even more water, and so passed on the idea.
I’m typing this on my laptop, while sitting on a pile of rubble inside my new storage bin.  If you happen to be in the area, could you please come and get me out?


January 4, 2013

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning? Yeah, Right.

           I’ve come to the conclusion that there are definitely day and night people.
My husband, Stij, for example, is a day person.  He will arise early of a Saturday, jette to the nearest window, and tear aside the curtain to gaze upon Mother Nature in all her dawn beauty.  The Peer Gynt Suite is playing in his mind as he throws up the sash and breathes deeply of the fresh morning air.  He will then do several deep knee bends and assorted other calisthenics, after which he will stride to the bathroom and take a cool shower.  He will sing during this.  Then, freshly scrubbed and dressed, he will joyfully leap down the stairs, or possibly slide down the banister, prance to the kitchen, and enjoy his first cup of coffee while listening to the morning birdsong at our feeder.  After a while, he will get up from the table and, from scratch, mix up some cinnamon rolls, bake them to perfection, make another pot of coffee, and take it all out to the patio, where he will spend the next few hours reading the paper and sharing his bounty with the squirrels.
That’s him.
I, on the other hand, am a night person.  I don’t react well to mornings.  I don’t react well to any time earlier than noon, because I will have gone to bed at 3:00 AM.  For comparative purposes, my mornings, when I have to face them, go something like this:
I arise early of a Saturday, stumble to the window, tear down the curtains, look at the sash, and throw up.  I gaze upon Mother Nature through crusty, mostly closed eyes, and wonder what the hell she’s doing up in the middle of the night.  I do not do this to appreciate her beauty.  I do this to see what the weather is like.  Even an observation as simple as this takes many minutes to penetrate my sleep-fogged brain, after which I fall back into bed and do my calisthenics, which include fluffing the pillow and finding a comfy position under ten layers of quilts.  But, the day calls, so I fall out of bed with a crash that registers on the Richter Scale, get up, check for broken bones, and teeter into the bathroom.  I take a shower (or I think I do.  I will not remember in an hour whether I did or not), then dress in the delightful fashion statement of business suit, ski boots, and a hardhat.  Next, I trip and fall down the stairs, landing in a heap at the kitchen doorway.  I get up, re-check for broken bones, and limp over to the coffee pot.  There’s none left, so I scoop in some cat litter and start it perking.  Stij has hidden my air rifle, so pot shots at the happy little birdies that are sounding so goddamned cheerful is out of the question.  I settle for obscene gestures, instead.  By now, Stij has cleared up all the knickknacks that broke when I fell down the stairs.  He walks into the kitchen.
 “Good morning, Sunshine!” he cries, with diabetes-inducing bonhomie.
“Who are you?” I mumble.
“The guy who looooooooovvvvvveeeessss you!” he twaddles, with minty-fresh breath.  Anybody who can add twenty extra syllables to the word “love” clearly does not want to live until lunchtime.
I turn and with my brimstone breath that I sent away to hell for, I ask, “Wwwwwwhhhhhoooooooo?”
He keels over.
Good.  That’s taken care of.  Blessed silence once again.
After I slug down my cat litter coffee and eat a sponge that I thought was a pastry, my eyes are finally open and my mind is finally functioning.  I survey the wreckage and do what has to be done.
I go back to bed.