The Dead Sea Underwear

You hear stories of people finding a stash of Aztec Gold buried in their backyard, or finding Aunt Lettie’s Diamond broach in a shoebox in the attic (street value: one mortgage and putting two kids through college at Dubuque State University and Auto Repair). I kept this in mind as I rallied myself to clean the garage yesterday.

We’ve only lived in our house for ten years, so I wasn’t prepared for the archaeological treasures I was about to unearth. Brushing away cobwebs that would test the fortitude of Indiana Jones, I found an innocent looking white kitchen trash bag sitting on the floor.

I don’t know how many times I stepped over this bag or kicked it aside as I navigated the narrow passage between exercise equipment (with little to no chance of ever being used) and empty cardboard boxes. But there next to my Rubbermaid tub of old National Geographic magazines lay an inestimable treasure. I’m speaking, of course, of dirty underwear.

It’s bad enough finding your own used granny panties in a bag, but I also had my daughter’s Wonder Woman panties. She’s a 36 year old toddler when it comes to underwear. I concluded that this was from a trip we made to Wilmington together three years ago … when my oldest grandson was negative zero years old.

I further concluded that it found a home in the garage after I removed the bag from my suitcase before putting my nondescript luggage on the shelf three feet away. It literally took me one second to forget that the bag was on the garage floor instead of the laundry room floor (also three feet away).

I’m sure my panties were delighted to avoid three extra years of washing, and fifteen extra pounds of me. They came from an ultra-mega pack of panties most of which have seen those extra fifteen pounds come and go (aside from the five pounds that accumulate over your lifetime each time you lose weight).

I buy the dowdy style that the manufacturer won’t even dignify with the name “panties.” My “cotton briefs” may be a bit boring, but I just can’t get my fat ass into the Wonder Woman panties.

Down on the farm

I am proud to say that I have gone 59 years without ever having tasted an eggplant. The very name conjures up a purple morning scramble of slime topped with parmesan. Today that all ends. I recently bought a share in a CSA Farm (Community Supported Aggravation) so I could enjoy the healthful benefits of fresh produce free of GMO’s, DDT, herbicides, and anything else they can think of to dump on my food.

produceI envisioned myself eating my weight in raw sweet peas, strawberries, sweet potatoes, green beans, and corn. I didn’t envision my refrigerator being invaded by unidentifiable squash, cayenne peppers, eggplant, and (still to come) kale. I’m obviously going to have to go outside my cooking comfort zone of fish sticks and box macaroni and cheese.

I’ve known parents who cook three different meals each night to please everybody. Fortunately, my husband grew up in a low income family of eight children, so there was always some degree of rejoicing if little Johnny was late to dinner. Dave would eat cedar mulch if I fried it in bacon grease. I am also no stranger to poor people cuisine, but my mother simply dumped enough salt on every meal to mask any undesirable flavors. We’re talking oatmeal with a salt content high enough to fry every neuron in your body (and those of your unborn children).

Before my first delivery, I went right out and bought a pressure cooker and canning jars. What I couldn’t foresee was a half-bushel box filled with two pickling cucumbers, a handful of wax beans, six tomatoes, an ear of corn, both green and yellow zucchini (more than I could count), six spring onions, and eight red potatoes. Not enough of any one thing to can, and what the hell are you supposed to do with two pickling cucumbers?

Yesterday, I spent about six hours turning five tomatoes and two plastic boxes of cherry tomatoes into tomato sauce. It yielded exactly one half pint. Did you know that when you remove the seeds from cherry tomatoes you are left with a slice of tomato meat the size of a quarter and the thickness of the gold the Franklin Mint uses to clad commemorative coins?

Fortunately, I can eat almost anything that is breaded and deep fat fried. Tonight I will be enjoying the healthful benefits of salt laced with a little eggplant, coated in bread crumbs and fried in enough boiling oil to mount a credible defense of a castle wall. Dave will be eating fried mulch.

It’s one dam thing after another

One doesn’t generally expect to find giant mutant rodents in their backyard. It’s the stuff of B horror movies with really bad special effects. We live in a big cookie cutter community where your neighbors are close enough to hear you fart on the back porch. But one nice feature: our house backs onto a lake and a pond separated by an earthen levee. A gap in the levee has been bridged by what appears to be a beaver dam. Any actual beavers, however, remain as elusive as the Loch Ness Monster. Statistics show that on any given day of the week, there are more UFO sightings than beaver sightings.

The only time I had seen a beaver was at a location so remote that a run to the store for diapers involved a 50 mile round trip over potholes big enough to swallow a Mini Cooper whole. Don’t think I didn’t consider making a loincloth out of moss and tree bark for my toddler.

033116 beaverRecently we’ve had a lot of rain, so the pond has backed up across the nature trail and into the neighbors’ back yards. My husband, Dave took it upon himself to go knock down the top of one end of the dam to allow for some drainage. Every day Dave knocked it down, and every night it would magically get repaired. We attributed this to the elusive rodents, since an Army corp of engineers on night maneuvers seemed unlikely.

Last night, I was sitting on my porch when I witnessed something doing a cannonball off the dam. I grabbed the binoculars, and sure enough, I saw a furry looking head swimming back and forth near the dam. Dave and I decided to walk out on the levee for a closer look through the dusky gloom.

We reached a break in the bushes surrounding the pond and saw three beavers swimming a scant 20 to 30 feet from us. As one of them started swimming straight toward us, a story problem started to form in my head. If a beaver can swim the length of a semi in 6.2 seconds, and I am standing the length of two Volkswagon Beetles away, how long will it take him to gnaw my leg off.

Four things occurred to me: 1) It was now too dark to see the trail 3 feet away from me; 2) I was standing next to the dam buster and probable cause of the ire of paddle-tailed pond residents; 3) beavers can walk on land; 4) beavers can bite through trees. I prepared myself to throw Dave to the ground and run away screaming, “He did it!” … like a grown-up. I love my husband, but it was him or my ankles.

Dave continues to tempt the laws of nature whenever it rains and the pond backs up. I don’t actually know what beavers eat, but if they show up in my backyard with torches and pitchforks, I won’t be serving milk and cookies. I may have to throw Dave out the back door to prevent a riot, but he kind of has it coming.

Yeah, I became that person

It’s been a long time since I’ve had vomit in my hair. Admittedly, it was a regular occurrence back in the days when I would strip naked and butt dance in the car after a wild party. Lately, the gastric juices are coming from a six month-old bundle of bad breath.

My firm resolve never to become a Grandma failed me when my youngest decided to poop out a baby last August. At Michelle’s baby shower, we were asked to write a special message for the baby … you know, for when he learns how to read and set the house on fire and stuff. All my children were of the female gender, so I wasn’t sure what to write for a boy. I’m a writer and I choked. What advice would you give to a testosterone laden adolescent? I finally hit on my Hallmark moment.

Finish your homework

Do your chores

Say your prayers

Don’t pick up whores

My card was carefully placed in a scrapbook, next to all the sappy sentiments of the other guests, who clearly lacked a poetic flair and the foresight to prevent him from getting syphilis.

Once Calvin went from being a blip on the ultrasound to a spitting-up machine, I fell in love. When I come over, he gives me that huge smile, just before he grunts out a poop. There’s just one teensie-weensie problem: I now own a smart phone.

Complete strangers will find my phone shoved in their faces while I carpet bomb them with baby’s first Christmas and forty different angles of baby drooling in his sleep. Whatever you do, don’t get behind me in the Uber-Mart checkout line. If you have twenty items or less, you have just become a target of opportunity.

Don’t think it doesn’t require the self-restraint of Ghandi to only post one photo of my little dude in this blog. So, both of you faithful readers who waited out my blogging dry-spell, may I present Calvin Orrin Coleman: (thanks to Grandma) STD-free for six months and counting.

6 months

Under the hood

Last week as I was doing my regular workout routine … you know, 200 push-ups, bench pressing a VW Bug … something distinctly uncomfortable happened in my arm. OK, I was sitting on the sofa eating popcorn and watching Castle re-runs on TV, but it still totally counts as a sports injury. I had butter and salt on the popcorn, which (as everyone knows) makes the kernels heavier than your average styrofoam packing peanut.

I’ve got a lot of miles on the chassis, and you don’t want to look under the hood. It ain’t pretty. It should come as no surprise that I tore either a tendon or rotator cuff. This means that I’ll need an MRI. Somehow, I have to schedule that in between work, a colonoscopy, and a root canal. At the moment, I have a gaggle of specialists on speed dial.

This morning, I had to break down and start labeling my little brown bottles. These pills are for inflammation; these are for muscle spasms; these are for moderate pain; and these are for weeping and gnashing of teeth pain. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery. Damn! I guess I won’t be able to rent that backhoe this weekend.

Seahawks logoSince I excel at setting the bar low, my weekend plans are laundry, and putting away the Christmas tree. The bright shining star on my weekend is the Super Bowl. I will be cheering on my Seahawks (my apologies to my friend, Terri, who believes that the heavens opened up and God personally pooped out Peyton Manning. Maybe why God invented the colonoscopy.). This year, the official reviews on questionable plays have frequently gone in Seattle’s favor. When a referee looks under the hood, chances are that we’ll get the first down, touchdown, and an all-expenses paid trip to the Bahamas. We’ll take it. We have no shame.

DSC00071Fortunately, I’m getting back some use of my arm. I just need to take it easy when raising my arms and doing my touchdown dance. If this blog sounds a little bit incoherent, it’s because I’m currently in a no-driving state of intoxication. Maybe the label should include a warning against operating a laptop. As you may have already guessed, the real reason for this blog is procrastination for packing Christmas lights (definition: wadding up the strings and stuffing them in a zip lock bag), and washing Dave’s socks.

Wishing you a happy Ground Hog’s / Super Bowl / Laundry Day.

Go Hawks!

Bring it!

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As we completed our filing on Turbo Tax this weekend, a very colorful graphic came up. It was a scale to measure the likelihood of an audit. We rang the bell on the red danger zone. Normally, something like this would send me into a catatonic state. This time, it hardly elicited an eye twitch.

Do you hear that, Mr. IRS man? I’m not afraid of you. I have a very well paid CPA on speed dial to attest to the fact that I suck at being a small business owner. I’d rather pay taxes on money I’ve earned over the year, but if I just get taxes back for money I’ve lost, I can live with that.

I can sleep well on the knowledge that I stimulated the hell out of the economy last year-all in the name of doing business. I replaced my geriatric diesel-powered computer, paid for advertising, stayed at a very ritzy hotel for a conference, and generally threw money around like I was told that I only had one week to live. Uncle Sam owes me.

I saw an article about an Oregon man who claims that his female IRS agent seduced him, then didn’t even help him with his audit. While this may make me question the integrity of an IRS agent, who clearly should have cut him some slack (unless he was a real loser in bed), it still doesn’t make me fear a possible audit.

I watch TV commercials where people pretty much admit that they’ve cheated on their taxes for ten years and now owe the government $300,000. They go to a tax consultant who is able to lower their debt to the price of a tall mocha latte (no cinnamon). Don’t they know that they’re robbing the government of the money that it needs to declare August National Toe Fungus Awareness Month? How can our elected officials afford to establish wild squirrel preserves in Utah? These people have no shame.

If the IRS can’t shake down Mr. Mocha Latte for the money he owes, they don’t have a prayer of getting past my airtight alibi: that I really am just that bad at running a small business. So bring your calculators and rubber hoses – I can take it. And if you’re reading this, Mr. IRS agent, I’m pretty good in bed.

Fish or chicken?

I’ve been through a lot of buffet lines in my lifetime. The offerings may vary, but there is one universal constant. Someone ahead of me in line will look thoughtfully into a chaffing dish and ask, “Is this fish or chicken?”

They seem to take an inordinate amount of time pondering the nature of said mystery dish, before poking it experimentally as if they expect the meat to leap out and attach itself to their face. I should point out that this is a guy thing. When faced with the choice of fight or flight, most guys opt instead for poking.

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

In their defense, some buffet items do bear an uncanny resemblance to creatures you’d find in a Dean Koontz book. You might ask, “Why should this matter to me?” Don’t make me come over there and smack you. Do you really want to bite into a nice juicy steak, only to find out it’s last week’s catch of the day?

More and more, the food service industry must cater to a growing demographic of people whose arteries will clog up from just looking at gravy. Caterers are forced to serve meat that is gray, skinless, boneless, and flavorless.

Let’s break it down for those of you with the culinary IQ of the average kidney bean.

  • Is it coated with a thick layer of bread crumbs? Fish
  • Is it slightly watery when you lift it out of the dish? Fish
  • Is there a bowl of lemon wedges sitting next to the tray? Fish
  • Does it look like a giant squid? Alien creature

Everything else is either chicken or cocktail weenies. Differentiating between the two is beyond the scope of this course.

Next time you’re in the buffet line, you can confidently assure your fellow diners that they are not eating liver, tripe, or road kill. Just be sure to keep the tongs handy in case you see something that looks like squid.

The joke’s on you

I actually went to Wikipedia to look up the origins of April Fool’s Day. I know, right? Me, doing research for a blog? One story of how the “holiday” started came from The Canterbury Tales. The day is set “Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two.” That Chaucer couldn’t fpell for beanf, which is probably why I never read thif fnooze feft. Continue reading

Social insecurity

Editor’s note: I had my daughter read this before posting, and her response was, “Meh, whatever.” I take that as permission to heartlessly exploit her.

facebookMy daughter is staying with me while she’s looking for a new job – one that pays well enough so she doesn’t have to live in a tent with a steady diet of road kill and pop tarts (strawberry – unfrosted). She doesn’t have enough money to go out and party, so this means we’re together A LOT! Desperate for a pastime that doesn’t include helping her mother fold laundry, clip coupons, or pluck nose hairs, she finally considered social networking. Continue reading