Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just go without food. Trust me.

I did something soooo dumb today.

No, I didn't try meth. It was worse.

Yes. I attempted to grocery shop a mere 2 days before Thanksgiving.

I should have known that I was in trouble when the grocery parking lot was full at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday. As I got out of my car, an errant cart came rumbling towards me. At the time, I was all, "Oh, hey, little cart friend. Let me help you back to the cart corral." But I was a fool. That cart was trying to warn me. That woogedy wheel was actually chanting, "Get the hell outta here before it's too late!"

But I, of course, was a fool. I continued into the store.

Now, I'm a lucky duck. I do my grocery shopping in the middle of the day on weekdays. I've got it down to such a science that I know that Monday mornings are crazy, but mid-day on Tuesday or Wednesday is where it's at. I admittedly have little time for grocery amateurs.

Two days before Thanksgiving? The grocery was filled with amateurs. The few of us pros (read: anyone who has ever been in a grocery store, ever) who made the mistake of shopping made panicked eye contact as we rushed to grab necessities and get the hell out.

I do think I should earn triple points with Jesus for not running over any kids with my cart. Not just any kids, but, specifically, the little girl with the fluffy white coat. You know, the girl who was opening cheese slices and offering them to her 4 brothers, all while standing in the middle of the aisle?

Actually, not in the middle of the aisle. In the middle of EVERY AISLE. Every aisle, as her mom ignored her, parked her cart also in the middle of EVERY AISLE, and kept up a running dialogue with no one in particular about what she needed next for her homemade mac and cheese.

I wonder if she was home by the time she discovered that her kids ate all the cheese.

So, yeah. If you haven't hit the grocery store yet, prepare yourself. It's like Armageddon, but without the soaring Aerosmith theme song. And if it was this bad mid-day on Tuesday? By Wednesday night, it's going to be some real bad, snakes-raining-from-the-sky, all-ye-who-enter-will-be-smitten-by-leprosy-and-herpes kind of stuff.

Good luck. And happy Thanksgiving, turkeys.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The kind of infidelity my husband has to worry about.

We have this cute neighbor who sits in a lawn chair in his garage a lot. He's an elderly guy, and always calls out a hello when I walk past his house with the dogs.

Note that when you're friendly and old, you can get away with sitting in a lawn chair in your driveway. When you're my scary neighbor Creepy Chuck, sitting in a lawn chair in your driveway seems to be 1 step away from "It puts the lotion on its skin."


Today, Cute Neighbor Man was raking leaves. He had a dozen bags lined up at the curb, and figured he had about two more left to fill until he was done.

"Well, your yard looks great," I said.

The corners of Cute Neighbor Man's mouth twitched. "Well, my grandson is coming from college for Thanksgiving. I want things to look nice for him. I don't want him to think that Grandpa has gotten soft," he said. "You know, I'm 84."

And then I melted. My crush officially turned into forever-true love.

As I left him to finish his task, Cute Neighbor Man turned to back to me. "Hey," he said, pointing at me. "You have a wonderful Thanksgiving!"

Oh, honey. You, too. You too!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Oh, teevee. No one loves me like you do.

I have been traveling a ton. Well, "a ton" if you're like me and you don't leave your house much. Being out of town 2 weekends in a row is practically like I'm Magellan, Cortes, or the conquistador of your choice.

My first trip was to Washington, D.C. to visit BFF. Her fancypants government job means she typically lives overseas, but right now, she's in D.C. Hurray! So, of course, we had to celebrate by having a girls' weekend.

Now, D.C. is an amazing city filled with historical significance at every turn. Why, a long weekend was hardly enough time for us to see even a fraction of it!

That's why we didn't even try. Instead, we spent most of the weekend fulfilling a dream - nay, fulfilling our destiny.

Yes. We watched all of the "North and South" miniseries, or, more accurately, television event. And yes, we earned extra credit by watching the horrible third installment.

Now, there are certain signs in life that tell you if you've made the right choice or a seriously wrong one. And people, I'm here to tell you that the fact that BFF owns all 3 of the "North and South" DVD sets is a sign that I choose my friends very well.

We were in fifth grade when this miniseries, or, more accurately, television event, first took to the air. Do you remember it? It was a big, star-studded deal! Amazing battle scenes, period costumes, and the likes of Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, and Gene Kelly in cameos!

It was glorious.

But rewatching this epic television masterpiece as an adult had me cringing just a bit. Now, BFF and I were raised on cable teevee, Frosted Flakes, and full-sugar pop. But our parents either didn't realize or were too tired to care that "North and South" was teaching their fifth-grade daughters about way more than the civil war. The miniseries, or, more accurately, television event, covers these educational topics:
  • Friendship
  • American history
  • Whores
  • Backwoods abortion
  • Adultery
  • Adultery in brothels
  • Adultery with married congressmen
  • Adultery in abandoned churches
We also learned these important life lessons:
  • If your nemesis falls through the ice, do yourself a favor and don't save him from drowning. It will only end badly.
  • In the olden days, people died really fast. You knew they were dead by the dainty trickle of blood coming from a corner of their mouths.
  • Slashing your abusive husband in the face with a saber isn't enough to keep him from kidnapping you later. You best kill 'em.
  • People in the south were evidently super, mega dumb. See also:
    • You can't interrupt your ladylove's wedding if you show up for said wedding late - even though it's happening next door and you've known about it for several days. 
    • You can evidently "hide out" in Charleston without a disguise and no one will find you even though your husband has detectives looking for you.
  • Don't ever cast Wayne Newton as a sociopathic prison warden. While a seemingly inspired bit of "special guest" casting, it will be completely unbelievable. Viewers will spend his scenes humming "Danke Schoen." This will not forward your goal of representing gritty, realistic prison conditions.
I do feel like a better person for having watched all 1,404 minutes of "North and South." Clearly, I learned a lot.

However, I haven't seen any other miniseries, or, more accurately, television events, from the 70s and 80s. I've never seen "The Thorn Birds," or the others that I don't even know about. What are your guilty (or not-so-guilty) pleasures from television's past?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's a sling. That they put in your hoo-ha.

I don't know what kind of teevee shows you watch, but lately? Lately, My Guy and I have seen a lot of teevee ads for TRANSVAGINAL MESH.

Or, to be more accurate, ads for wanting to sue somebody because you had a bad experience with TRANSVAGINAL MESH.

Now, I get it. Sometimes, when you have surgery, you need some kind of sling to keep all yo' organs all up in their proper places. Sometimes, you just need to show your internal bidness who is boss, and nobody can do that like some TRANSVAGINAL MESH.

However, I hardly think that after a long day, when you settle down to watch some "House Hunters," that you're in the right frame of mind to finally decide that hey, maybe it's time you sued those honkies who made your shoddy TRANSVAGINAL MESH.

And who made that media buy? "Uh, yeah, we'll take placement during 'Maury' and, yeah, the entire HGTV prime-time line-up. That's really when people are thinking about TRANSVAGINAL MESH."

I'm not trying to be insensitive. I'd understand the ads if it happened once or twice, or if we were watching lots of daytime or late-night teevee. But we see the ads all the damned time. And what is it about watching first-time homebuyers make stupid comments about needing 5 bedrooms and granite in the kitchen that's an obvious tie-in? What about the home-buying process just screams, "TRANSVAGINAL MESH?"

And speaking of screaming? Since the ad features on-screen text that's in all-caps and emergency yellow? I think that, obviously, you can't say the name of this medical product without screaming it. Like, "Run for your lives! We're being chased by rabid, zombie TRANSVAGINAL MESH!"

So, basically, every time we watch "House Hunters" now, my subconscious makes certain connections, and I think the people are looking at homes in neighborhoods infested with roving bands of ne'er-do-well TRANVAGINAL MESH.

I never agree with the buying decisions on that show.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I have 85 third cousins, all named Mike.

My mom has been visiting. Her cousins had a brunch yesterday, and it was the first time she'd seen them in 20 years.

I tagged along, and was the youngest person there. Mostly, I got to sit back and take it all in.

Honey, when you have a big ol' Irish Catholic family, you don't need to watch the stories on the teevee. You just pay attention to your own people and be entertained. I mean, after all, there are a gajillion kids to keep track of.

And the names! Every family has a Michael, a Mary, and a Patrick. There's a cousin who was supposed to be Michael, but since she ended up a girl? Well, she's Mary, but goes by Mickey.

There's Jim, and Big Jim, and Uncle Jim. My grandpa, Michael Edward, was surrounded by several Michaels and a handful of Eds, so he was simply "Bud." And there was Daddy Mike, who "knew people" and worked for the city for 42 years, if you know what I mean.

I'm not even kidding.

I know just enough about this part of the family to be truly dangerous. It's just enough to let my imagination run wild.

In my fantasy, Sister Pat is a Catholic superhero, flanked by her nephews Patrick, Patrick, and Mike. It turns out that great-grandpa Michael really was born on the boat on the way to the U.S., not in dirty ol' England. This means that Big Jim was able to get his Irish citizenship before he died, just like he'd hoped. And Daddy Mike, who "knew people," was a benevolent neighborhood do-gooder who leveraged his connections to take care of the less fortunate.

Or maybe they were all just flawed and interesting and imperfect like me.

After you die, people only say nice things about you. Well, unless you were really wretched (see also: my great-grandfather who burned down his son's house). But mostly, people just recall the nice stuff. It makes it easy to pretend that we imagined the humanness and the flaws, that our perceptions and memories are somehow incorrect and invalid.

The self-doubt is bullshit. But focusing on the good is also a kind gift.

In 70 years, when I've finally kicked the bucket, I want my family to talk about how Aunt Cha Cha had a knack for saying the wrong thing and laughing too loud. Tell 'em my house was always filled with dog hair but I was a nice lady anyway. Laugh about how all the kids called my husband Uncle Cheeseburger and how any baby would poop if he held them. Pass around a goofy snapshot of us, where he's making a face and I'm laughing with my mouth full of food, probably tooting a tiny bit in my effort not to spit food across the room.

Let us be human. Give us the break I have such a hard time giving myself.

How do you want to be remembered? Any interesting relatives in your past?