Laughter

Our bowels have GPS, and they’re off by at least a mile. 

Don’t believe me? Think back to the last time you were on your way home and the need to poop hit you. It wasn’t bad, just your body saying, “Hey – nothing urgent but, FYI, we’re ready to move when you find the appropriate place and time.” 

Then you got about a mile away from home and your body said, “Phew! We made it. High fives all around, everyone. Now…release the hounds!” 

And you freaked out! “Wait, WHAT?! We’re NOT home yet! We’re not in a bathroom! STOP!”

“Whadaya tawkin’ about,” your bowels replied. “We’re home. It says so right here on my GPS: ‘You have arrived at your destination.’ And not a moment too soon, I might add,” they chuckled.

And you squeezed your butt cheeks so tight, trying to prevent an accident in the car. Then the relief of making it home without making a mess was swiftly replaced with fear at having to get out of your seat and walk into the house. As much as your bowels believed you were already in your bathroom, you are equally convinced that the pressure of you sitting in your car is the only thing holding your poop in. 

You’re not alone; it happens to all of us! Our bowels make a conscious dcision to prematurely engage their release button when we get within a mile of our homes. They don’t mean to cause us such distress. They just have defective GPSes. 

Grace & Frankie

With so many shows on hiatus for the Summer, I’m glad networks have gotten smarter the last few years and are giving us new shows or new seasons of shows right now. Even though there are fewer shows and fewer episodes of Summer shows. I don’t have pay movie channels and can’t watch zombie shows because they will give me nightmares. I tried watching Orang Is the New Black on Netflix, but couldn’t get through more than 15 minutes of the first episode. Scandal is so hard-core, I keep threatening to stop watching, but I still hang on. For that reason, I haven’t watched House of Cards because I’ve heard it’s even more evil than Scandal.

Yesterday, however, I started watching Grace & Frankie on Netflix. And by “watch” I mean binge-watched. I watched 6 episodes yesterday and 3 more this morning! I love it because it is so grey, like real life. Our expectations, and the media’s portrayal, of life being just black and white is not only unrealistic, but impossible to obtain! Why? Because we are humans! Brutiful, fallible humans with good and bad in all of us, the ability to wound each other and be hurt by others. We all have the capacity to use our talents, smarts and tongue to build each other up and tear each other down. No one human is all evil, all good, all worthless, all valuable. There is something to like, love, hate and pity in all of us. And Grace & Frankie remind us of that.

Here’s the plot of the show: two 70 year old married men (played by Sam Waterston & Martin Sheen) have been business partners for as long as they’ve been married, 40 years. 20 years ago, they fell in love with each other and started an affair. The show opens with the husbands finally telling their wives (played by Lilly Tomlin & Jane Fonda) they are leaving them for each other.

Sounds pretty cut & dry, doesn’t it? The men, are obviously the “bad guys”, the ones to dislike in this show. They not only cheated on their wives but also lied about who they are for 20 years! They stayed with their wives while the women raised the children, took care of the house and, now, are leaving their wives all alone at the end of their lives? And to top it all off, they chose to tell their wives in a restaurant, hoping there would be no outburst or scenes made. However, I have sympathy and empathy for all 4 main characters. The writers and the actors get kudos for achieving that!

Because you learn that one marriage wasn’t happy and may have never been. One wife was going through the motions and hadn’t paid attention to (literal) signs that had been in her house for years. Would it have been better for both to continue on that way or for one of them to marry the man of his dreams and the other to be free to find her own? One spouse lost her best friend and had her heart broken so that her husband could be free to be himself and marry the man he loves. It’s hard not to be happy for two 70 year old men, finally free to be who they are, excited and proud to tell the world that they love each other! And come on, who doesn’t love a big, gay wedding?! There is pain, anger and regret felt and dealt by all of them, but there are also the possibilities and joy that can be gained by new beginnings.

But that’s not all! There are also the adult children, who have all grown up together, and the huge family adjustments. Your parents are divorcing, you have more houses to visit now,  and the man who was your “uncle” is now becoming your “stepmother”?! Dealing with that along with their own children, marital problems, the dating scene, their own careers and addiction adds more layers to the show.

Wow, I think I’ve managed to paint a very bleak picture of this show but it’s not! I laugh hard during each episode, as well. Because life is messy and complicated and grey. Grace & Frankie show all of that while making us laugh, cry and embrace all that we brutiful humans are!

If you’re are or have watched it, let’s chat! If you decide to start watching it, tell me what you think!

Oscar-Themed Birthday Fun

Oscar-Themed Birthday Fun

It’s that time of year again!  Time to honor the best and brightest, the most talented, the one who’s given their all and made the most impact on us.  I’m talking about my brother’s birthday!  Last year, we decided to tie the Oscars into his celebration since they happened around the same time.  B and I had such fun planning!

We went to our favorite restaurant for dinner, John’s Family Restaurant in Rippon, West Virginia.  Yes, it’s out of state, but the drive is not that long and it’s very beautiful.  We used to live in West Virginia and go back to John’s a few times a year.  Great comfort food, ranging from burgers up to prime rib and crab cakes, and the owner will come to your table and sing Happy Birthday to you!  She has the voice of an angel and no matter how many times she’s sung that song, you feel her undivided attention and God’s love flow out of her in those words.  I’m getting all verclempt just thinking about it.  *sniff, sniff*

After dinner, we drove back to our house for dessert and presents.  Bonus of having dinner out of state is that the ride back home giving your body time to make room for dessert! (I wish I had thought to take more pictures, but I get caught up in the moment sometimes.)  We decorated with yellow and black balloons and created 3 award categories to present to my brother before cake and present time: Best Son, Best Brother and Best Uncle.  I created envelopes with black construction paper and staples.  On the front of each envelope, I listed the award category and the five nominees on card stock with a fancy font and glued that to the front of the envelopes.  Inside each envelope was the the name of the winner (my brother Neale, of course), also on card stock in a fancy font.  All of this was made up for fun and not to be serious.

Nominees for Best Son:
1. Pinnocchio
2. Son of Sam
3. George & Fred Weasley
4. Jep Robertson
5. Neale

Nominees for Best Uncle:
1. Uncle Si
2. Uncle Ben
3. Uncle Buck
4. Uncle Sam
5. Uncle Neale

Nominees for Best Brother:
1. Wally Cleaver
2. Loki
3. Greg Brady
4. Jase Robertson
5. Neale

My dad presented Best Son, B did Best Uncle and I did Best Brother.  The hubs was our “trophy girl”.  ;o)  I found a downloadable silhouette of the Oscar on Twig & Thistle, cut out 3, laminated them with my $19.99 laminator from Costco and stuck them in Dollar Tree paper cups.  The hubs wrote the award category on the front because he has the best printing in the family.

It wasn’t a big party and it didn’t take us long to do, but we all had so much fun!  B and I giggling while making the statuettes over how surprised Neale would be.  The 3 of us laughing while coming up with other nominees.  My dad taking 5 minutes to present his award because he couldn’t stop laughing.  All 3 of Neale’s acceptance speeches.  I’m so glad we did this for him.  He truly is the best brother, brother-in-law, son and uncle.  He is always there for us when we need him and we have a great time together.

My one, and only, speeding ticket

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As I’ve shared with y’all in previous posts, I was a goody-goody.  I did not put one toe out of line, or even consider it, for fear of doing wrong.  So I don’t speed.  Well, let me qualify that: I’ll go up to 5 miles over the speed limit, especially if I’m on a highway and other cars are flying by me at much higher speeds.  I don’t want to be a safety hazard on the road.  But that’s it – 5 MPH over the limit.  However, I am also Irish and have a temper and have been known to act rash once or twice.  I know, shocking, right?!  😉

I was 20 years old and doing my last semester of college, my co-op semester, in Rhode Island.  My Nana & Papa lived in Vermont and, when I would get the urge to run (if you’ve read my post My Greatest Regret, you’ll remember why I got those urges), I would sometimes drive up to their house.  I’d drive from Rhode Island, through Massachusetts and into Vermont.  It’s really nice driving north, because the speed limit in Vermont is higher – 70 MPH.  However, driving back south sucks.  Slowing your car down from 70 MPH to 55 MPH at the Massachusetts border feels like crawling the rest of the way home.  To make matters worse, shortly after entering Massachusetts, the road went down to an undivided road of only one lane each way.  It never ceases to amaze me how many people can drive 10 miles over the speed limit on a divided highway but then slow down to 10 miles below it when it becomes undivided.  *sigh*

So, on this one particularly beautiful, sunny, Summer day, I was the first in line of many cars stuck behind a car going 35-40 MPH in a 55 MPH zone for 20+ miles.  And there were plenty of times when the double solid line in the middle of the road changed to a dotted one to allow passing.  Unfortunately, there were always cars coming in the opposite direction during those times.  I was already anxious because I was heading back to work and dealing with my own demons inside, and this white-haired head in front of me that was so short it had to look through the steering wheel not over it, turned that anxiety to anger.  So, as soon as that road opened up to a 4 lane divided highway, I swerved around that driver and punched it!  FREEDOM!  My mood instantly changed to relieve and then giddiness and I started laughing.  I had felt trapped inside of me for almost 2 years and being behind that driver made me feel trapped in my car, too.  But no more!  I was free and I was going to get the heck away from that car so I could stay in the lead.  I felt fantastic!

For all of 1.4 miles.

I saw something in the road ahead of me.  I was in the fast lane and tried to figure out what it was before deciding to move over to the right or not.  Was it a dead animal?  As I got closer, the something got bigger and it most definitely was alive.  It was a crazy man, standing in the middle of the fast lane with his hand in the air in the “HALT!” position.  I am a smart enough driver not to slam on the breaks and possible cause a skid out that would hit the crazy man or flip my car.  So I slowed down as fast and as safely as I could and got into the right lane to avoid him.  You know what that crazy man did?!  He stepped into the right lane in front of me!!  WTF?!?!

I was still slowing down quickly so I could come to a stop and pulled into the shoulder.  As I passed crazy man I got a good look at him.  He was bald, crazy mad, and wore a uniform.  Turns out it was a Massachusetts State Trooper uniform.  As I put the car in park and tried to regulate my breathing and heart rate from the scare of him in the road, he stormed up to my open car window and leaned it.  He started yelling at me!  And he spit when he yelled.  I will never forget that face.  His head was perfectly round and his baldness gleamed in the sun.  He had a small space between every single one of his teeth and he had a mole on his left cheek that was so big, no matter how hard I tried to keep my eyes locked on his, they kept wandering over to it.

He just kept a-yellin’ that I was clocked at 72 in a posted 55 and that he was going to arrest me for driving without a license, car theft and attempted murder of a government official.  OK, let’s break down all those charges:

  1. 72 in a posted 55: I guess the most common excuse this particular trooper had heard for speeding on this stretch of road was that they had no idea the speed limit had dropped from 70 to 55.  So he always referred to it being posted and always spat on me during the “puh!”.
  2. Driving without a license:  I used to look significantly younger than my age.  You have to be 18 to buy lottery tickets and clerks didn’t stop carding me until my third trimester of pregnancy at the age of 30.  To make matters worse, I didn’t wear makeup and for some strange reason, I decided to wear my hair in two, braided pigtails, one above each of my ears on that particular day.
  3. Car theft: He thought I was 14, not old enough to have a license, so I must have stolen the car for a joyride.  HA!  Me – go on a joyride?!   I couldn’t help it; I giggled at that.  It just made him madder.
  4. Attempted murder of a government official: He was referring to himself.  I tried to kill him when he stepped onto the road in front of my car going 72 in a posted 55?

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  So I looked away and started to collect my driver’s license and registration, to prove that I was a legal driver of my father’s car.  He flipped out!  “PUT YOUR HANDS UP WHERE I CAN SEE THEM!  DO YOU HAVE ANY WEAPONS IN THE CAR?!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”  Good Lord!  I was all alone, on the side of this deserted highway, with an armed crazy man and I was scared.  Then I thought, “Hey!  Why is this road deserted?!  What happened to all the other drivers in that long line of cars behind me?!”  Just then, they all drove by, nice and slow.  I guess they all drove that road enough to know that there was a speed trap where the road opened up because none of them had taken off like me and passed the short, white head.

I had to sit straight, with my back against the seat and my hands in the air.  Then slowly slide the top of my body towards the right and even more slowly open the glove box.  Then I had to get back from it so the trooper could inspect the box for weapons.  @@ (It’s easy to roll my eyes now, but back then I was really scared!) I gave him my driver’s license and registration and, before heading back to his cruiser to check my info, he told me it was in my best interest not to run.  As if I would.

He let me sweat in that car for quite some time before coming back with my speeding ticket for reckless driving, because going 72 in a posted 55 was reckless according to the state of Massachusetts.  He seemed irritated that my info turned out to be legit and let me know that although he was not arresting me for attempted murder of a government official at that time, he did have the right to press charges in the future.

I was a wreck the rest of the way back to work, traveling 5 miles below the speed limit the whole time.  And that is why I don’t speed.

“Roughing It”

Sometime between Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning, we sprung a leak in the basement.  At first, it appeared to be coming from the washing machine, but by yesterday morning, it was clear it was coming from the hot water heater.  A plumber came over and confirmed that the hot water heater tank is cracked and it needs to be replaced.  Unfortunately, we do not know when that will be.

In the meantime, we had to shut the hot water off yesterday and drain what is left in the tank to avoid further flooding.  So I am boiling water on the stove and wishing I had a real fireplace with a big, black kettle over it, to save on gas (and to fulfill a childhood dream of living like Laura Ingalls Wilder).  I piled the dirty dishes on the counter, filled one sink with hot (2 parts boiling water from the stove and 1 part cold tap water) soapy water for washing and rinsed in the other sink, using the dishwasher as a drying rack.  That’s what I did when I was single and living alone: used the dishwasher as a drying rack.  This morning I had to teach B how to take a sponge bath.

B: Yes!  I love baths!
Me: This isn’t a real bath; it’s a sponge bath.  I’m going to give you a bowl of hot water, a washcloth and a bar of soap. Stand on your towel in the bathroom, lather up your washcloth and wash your feet, pits and manly bits.  Then rinse off with more hot water, dry and get dressed.
B: Wait.  Backup.  Wash my what?!
Me: Your feet, pits and manly bits.  You know, your feet, your arm pits and the area covered by your underwear.
B: “Manly bits“?  Where do you come up with this stuff, Ma?   And when I take a real bath, the bubbles in the water do all the washing for me.
Me: Once again, this is not a real bath; it’s a sponge bath.
B (mumbling as he walked up to his bathroom): It shouldn’t have “bath” in it’s name than.

Poor kid.  He’s got it so rough, doesn’t he?  LOL  I’ll address the fact that he is letting the bubbles do all the washing for him the next time he takes a real bath.  ;o)

Thigh Gap

I’m not ashamed to say, I don’t have thigh gap.  I don’t think that there is anything wrong with thigh gap and, if you are healthy and you have thigh gap, good on ‘ya!  Don’t know what thigh gap is?  According to Wikipedia, “A thigh gap in women is a space between the inner thighs when standing upright with knees touching.”  It would be nice, though, to have thighs with a lower circumference.  The tops of my inner thighs are never separated and my poor lady business is suffocating from lack of oxygen!  So, a couple of years ago, I decided to let her come up for air whenever I was in the shower.  It’s the least I can do, since she’s provided me with so much over the years.  When I am facing the shower head, I prop my left foot up on the ledge of the tub and when I am facing away from the shower head, I prop up my right.

You remember when we were kids and community pools had a deep end of 10-15 feet, and you’d swim all the way to the bottom to touch the grate?  It was such an accomplishment, worthy of serious bragging rights during the Summer, especially to the kids who couldn’t do it yet.  Swimming back up to the surface after you did it for the first time seemed to last forever and you wondered if you’d make it.  With one last pull down of your arms and big kick of your legs, you broke through the surface.  Your mouth flew open and your aching lungs started panting, desperately dragging in air, sounding like an asthmatic.  Yeah, that’s the sound my lady business made the first time I propped my foot up in the shower.  I felt so bad for her!

My favorite pair of jeans are almost done, thanks to my lack of thigh gap.  The tops of my inner things have just about rubbed through the material.  I’ve thought about patching them, but I don’t think it will work.  If I put the patches on the inside, the outside will still deteriorate into shreds and strings, quite obvious to other people.  It’s totally cool if that happens on the knee of your jeans or you cut them across your quads.  However I fear it would get an “Ew!” from people at the top of my inner things.  If I were to put patches on the outside of my jeans, it would plug the holes and give me a couple of more years of wear out of them!  But, again, the patches would be visible to the public and it would just elicit the same “Ew!” reaction.

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This is a shot of the crotch of my favorite jeans to show you how the material is wearing away at my inner things. (And no, I am not in the jeans.) As I was typing this caption, B came up behind me and asked, “Is that a picture of a horrible rainstorm over a rushing sea?”

Well, at least we’re lucky.  Instead of just a sudden blowout and unexpected loss of my favorite pair of jeans, we have a terminal diagnosis: time to accomplish a bucket list and say everything we need to say to each other before they walk off to that rag pile in the sky.  And by “sky”, I mean the cardboard box in the bottom of my linen closet.

Perfect Example of Venus vs. Mars

First of all, I want to thank all of you who commented on my Facebook page and sent me private messages regarding my previous post, Unexpected News.  I truly thought I was alone in this and that I was disappointing and upsetting people by being so scatterbrained.  I have described it to the hubs like this: “I wish the issue was merely that I am juggling too many balls at once and I can’t keep them all in the air.  But the issue is that sometimes, I don’t even remember I’m juggling!” Turns out, there are other 40-something moms out there with lots to do, worry about and keep straight and they forget important stuff, too.  I know there are others that are able to keep their shit together and I commend and envy you.  But I am cutting myself some slack and ensuring that I am updating and consulting my Cozi at least 3 times a day.

We all know that men and women view, feel and think differently.  This past weekend, the hubs gave me such a perfect, simple example of this and I had to share.  He was in the bedroom watching a cooking competition on TV while I was in the bathroom getting ready.  I heard a woman crying on the TV and walked into the bedroom to find out why.

Me: What’s the problem?
The hubs: She’s crying.
Me: Holy crap!  And THAT – right there – is the difference between men and women.
The hubs: (chuckles) What?
Me: She has a problem that made her cry.  I want to know what made her cry.  To you, the problem is that she’s crying.  This is brilliant and so simple!  I’m putting this on my blog.
The hubs: That’s what I’m here for, babe.  To provide you with endless material for your blog.

Happy Monday!  😀

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