Things Driving Me Crazy Today

Didn’t we just survive Tuesday one week ago? It’s back already?

There are only two ways to keep it together on Tuesday: 1) Go back to bed, or 2) hear me whine about what’s driving me crazy today.

  • Standing in line at Café Rio, silently practicing my order.
  • When the dishwasher breaks and I think, that’s okay, washing dishes by hand is therapeutic. But two days later I’m just throwing plates and shit away because I hate washing dishes.
  • 3 a.m.
  • When my zipper comes unzipped at the bottom.

zipper

(You had one thing to do, zipper.)

  • Running up the basement stairs so the monsters don’t get me. Still.
  • Repeating a favorite song so many times that I start hating it.
  • Not having time for a much-needed mental breakdown.
  • Trying to pry apart an English muffin without smashing half of it.  You couldn’t cut this thing all the way through?

English

(Damn, English sense of humor.)

  • Knowing that explaining something really slowly to stupid people doesn’t make them understand it any better.
  • Wishing the bottle of body wash would run out so I can use a new fragrance.
  • Having music shame. Definition: Rocking out to Iggy Azalea at the gym. When someone asks what I’m listening to, I say Adele.
  • Never finding my name on the personalized Coke bottles.

friend

(I’m always just the friend.)

  • Not knowing if I pulled a chest muscle, or if I’m experiencing heart failure.
  • Never being quite sure what to do with my hands if someone’s talking to me while I’m standing up.
  • Avocados.

There. Now you can go back to bed!

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Concert Stage Fright

I was a teenage mom, so I spent my high school years changing diapers and watching Sesame Street. As a result, I missed the whole “going to a concert” event that, I guess, is some rite of passage into adulthood. During these concerts, certain behaviors are taught that I never had the chance to learn.

ss

(I might not have been cool, but I did know my ABCs.)

Now that I’m much older, those rock bands from my youth are touring again. Journey (to the rest home), Styx (slowly traveling to the underworld), Kiss (your youth good-bye) and (rusty) Metallica are all making their comebacks–and by “comebacks” I mean performing in concerts sponsored by Viagra.

I’ve had the chance to attend a couple of concerts, but because I never learned those concert behaviors, I feel out of sync with the rest of the crazed (and grayed) attendees. Granted, Richard Marx and Kenny Loggins aren’t exactly the type of rock star where I can throw my underwear on stage (because my granny panties would smother any person they landed on) but I can still rock with the best of them, as long as I take ibuprofen two hours before the event.

kenny

(Kenny Loggins concert. After a certain age, everything is a Danger Zone.)

So maybe you experienced concert goers can give me some answers to the following questions:

1. When it comes to clapping along to the beat, how long do I clap, and how do I gracefully stop clapping after I realize I’m the only one still clapping? Do I clap for the entire song? Just for the chorus? Or should I sit with my arms crossed and watch in disdain as others clap?

2. What’s the purpose for the encore? How arrogant do you have to be to run off the stage and wait for thunderous applause before finishing your concert? We  know you’re going to do more songs. You’re wasting our time.

3. Why do musicians take a perfectly good 4-minute song, and turn it into a 15-minute remix,  complete with extended guitar riffs, never-ending chorus repeats and breaks for applause? I get it. Footloose was your crowning glory, but c’mon–I can barely tolerate the original length–don’t torture me with the uncut version.

4. What is the point of seeing rock stars “up close and personal” when I’m too far away to see anything. For all I know, I just paid $60 to watch an impersonator doing a 45-minute show.

5. Why should I pay for tickets when, for the cost of admission, I could buy the musician’s complete album collection, and listen to the songs more than once? A free iTunes album download should come with each ticket purchase.

I guess I missed the boat when it comes to age-appropriate concert revelry. But it’s okay. I heard Herman’s Hermits is touring, and they’re just grateful people show up.

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It’s. Still. Summer.

There are people out there (yes, I’m talking to you), who love to discuss the waning days of summer; who anticipate the slow dimming of the sun as society returns to a state of hibernation. To these people, I say, “Shut the hell up.”

The only thing that gets me through stupid Utah winters, is the idea of summer. In January, I’m already counting the days until I can pack up my heavy sweaters and run around barefoot in the grass. I’m like the Olaf of Salt Lake.

olaf

(I’m totally cool with summer.)

But YOU. YOU can’t stop talking about pumpkin spice candles, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice lotions, pumpkin spice spice or any other fall squash-related products. Here’s a clue–IT’S NOT FALL YET!!!! Give me just a few more weeks of watching summer sunsets, wearing shorts instead of parkas, being eaten by mosquitos while I munch on gooey s’mores and walking Ringo without having to wear LAYERS.

Plus, it was so dismally rainy here in August that I’m pretty sure we should get a do-over for the past month.

rain

(In the house. In the rain. In August.)

I’m working with local legislators to create a law banning NFL and high school football Facebook posts, discussions or games until after Sept. 22. As part of this law, it will be punishable to sell fall-related foods, clothing or craft items until the first day of autumn. (Hey, it makes as much sense as the majority of Utah’s laws.) There will be no Halloween costumes. No candy corn. No scarecrows decorations. No delightfully arranged fall centerpieces. NOTHING until summer is officially over.

Give me time to mourn the waning of warmth without your insane anticipation for the fall season.

DSC_0562

(My daughter and grandson enjoy summer, too.)

My mind is simple. I enjoy simple things. A fresh peach, a handful of raspberries, a BLT with real tomatoes (not grocery stores knock-offs), the sun on my face–even a few more freckles on my shoulders. On the first day of fall, I will wake up with a deep sadness, but will look forward to autumnal traditions, including enjoying the beauty of the season.

But until then, I will rage against the dying of the light!

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Back to School Tips

Let’s all take a moment to observe a moment of silence as millions of kids return to school after a long summer vacation. Now, let’s raise a glass of champagne that millions of kids have returned to school after a long summer vacation!

Parents everywhere are facing that double-emotion “giddy/sad” as they miss their kids, but are ready to get back on some type of schedule that doesn’t involve going to bed at 2 a.m., eating graham crackers and frosting for breakfast, and watching hours and hours of Adventure Time.

Here are some steps to help make the transition back to school as seemingly smooth as possible:

  • Organize the carpool–Mom #1 can take kids to school on Monday and Thursday at 7:55. Mom #2 can pick kids up after school on even-numbered days, as long as it’s not raining. Dad #1 can drive to school on Friday mornings after he gets off his midnight shift. Mom #3 can never drive, but yells at you if you’re late picking her kids up. You end up driving the rest of the time.

hitler

  • Try not to act too happy–I made the mistake of doing the Happy Back to School Dance of Joy, right as my daughter walked back in the house to get her backpack. She was crestfallen. “I thought you LOVED having us home,” she said through her tears. That experience has left me feeling guilty for approximately one decade.
  • So. Save the joyful happy dance for when the kids are out of earshot. –They’re very worried about how you’ll spend your time now that they’re not around to ask you for snacks 50 times a day. They’re concerned you’ll develop a drinking problem because you’ll be so lonely. They’re right!!
  • Plan creative lunch menus–Your child will never eat what you make for them. So make lunch for your child’s best friend because they’ll be trading anyway. Never pack peanut butter, or anything with tree nuts. You’ll get the mother-from-hell calling you at midnight explaining how you’re trying to kill her daughter.

holly

(My elementary school lunch box carried PB & J every day, with a thermos of fishy-smelling lukewarm milk and a homemade cookie.)

  • Get a reading list from the teacher–It’s always nice to get the reading list early so you can lose it as soon as possible. On the off-chance your kids actually read, be sure to pick up at least one book from the list.
  • Set up a homework space–This means a) not in front of the TV, b) not at your daughter’s boyfriend’s house, c) not at McDonalds (unless you’re there for a family dinner), and d) not in the bathtub at 10:30 p.m. because your child forgot to tell you they had a research project due the next morning.

Follow this advice and you’ll be surprised at how quickly the school year goes–and your kids are home for two weeks for Christmas vacation.

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Watching the Parade Go By

I’ve been a dedicated parade attendee for more than four decades. I’m not sure why. It’s not like watching a local parade is the same as enjoying the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with its bloated, floating cartoon characters. It’s more like watching paint dry.

FWI 2014 (13)(When the librarians stroll by, pushing book carts, you  know you’re watching a small-town parade.)

Each year, the beauty queens float by on their crepe-paper concoctions, with themes like “Honoring the Past” or “Striving for the Future.” I’ve never seen a float with the slogan, “Kicking Back and Enjoying Today” where, instead of standing and waving, Miss City could recline in a hammock, drinking spiked lemonade.

And too many cities have asked parade participants to STOP THROWING CANDY! This is insane. Next to Halloween, parades are the very best, free candy events in the universe!!  I leave with my pockets stuffed with salt water taffy, Smarties, smashed suckers and Tootsie Rolls. I understand city leaders are concerned about residents’ safety, but really? I could understand the candy ban if people are throwing baseball-sized jawbreakers into the crowd, or those pointy rocket suckers. But taffy? I can’t imagine that doing any serious damage. I’d like to see the number of Tootsie Roll emergency room incidents that caused city leaders to outlaw candy throwing. Boo.

FWI 2014 (12)

(I’ve trained my grandchildren to run into the street to get me candy.)

Here’s a parade idea: what if marching bands actually played music?!?! Call me crazy, but watching overheated, sweaty band members march by without musical accompaniment seems a leeeetle paradoxical. But, then again, having heard some of these bands “play” “music,” maybe it’s best to let them  pass by in silence. (Disclaimer: I marched in my share of parades as a flute player–not good enough to be a flautist–and I have “Let’s Go Band” scarred into my psyche. Permanently.)

Why are clowns still a thing in parades? I had hoped climate change would force them into other lines of work–like not scaring the s*** out of kids.

FWI 2014 (20)

(And don’t forget the random snow plow. In August.)

And why must there be cars, cars and more cars? Especially if the passengers aren’t throwing candy. You can only look at so many VW Bugs before you want to punch the family next to you.

Finally, there’s always that one random dude walking the parade route, handing out candy–and you’re not quite sure if he’s a politician or a pedophile. (But I still take the candy.)

Fun Days 2014 (2)

(And I still can’t explain this creepy dude.)

Now that parade season is over, cities have an entire year to do it right next time. Either way, I’ll be there cheering the local librarians and snatching candy from babies.

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Best Signs in New England

Hubbie and I traveled to the East Coast to get away from it all–and wound up lost for several days. Driving around Massachusetts is equivalent to walking through a busy mall blindfolded, finding Nordstrom and selecting the EXACTLY right color of beige socks. Impossible.

boston

As we drove aimlessly through what looked like cannibal country, we saw several signs that made us chuckle. Which was good, because when we weren’t chuckling, we were cursing the Massachusetts cartographers and road engineers. To save you from an unnecessary drive through the Live Free or Die state, here are my favorite signs:

Cape Cod (1)

Yeah. Me, too. But I don’t want a sign in front of my house advertising the size of my a**.

DSC_1230

By the time we’d driven MILES in the wrong direction, a bowl full of soup sounded perfect.

DSC_1258

For people afraid of heights, this sign should have been comforting–if it hadn’t been posted on the rickety Charlestown Bridge. The bridge crosses the Charles River, and looks like it would crumble if people stomped across it.

Salem (1)

This town must have a problem with senior citizens darting out of shrubbery, jumping into traffic and dashing across the road. At least I didn’t see any elderly roadkill.

Portsmouth--NH (56)

How many New Englanders had to suffer a head injury before the city erected this warning sign?

Fenway (33)

Yeah. How often do you see THIS sign?

There. Now you never have to drive across Massachusetts.

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Top 5 Steps for Handling an Awkward Conversation

We’ve covered the fact that I’m socially-disabled.

I went into a sandwich shop for a turkey sub and the professional sandwich maker said she’d gone to high school with me. I’m terrible at remembering faces, so I asked her name. She said, “Remember? I’m so-and-so, from over by the junior high?” The name jiggled my memory slightly, but I had no recollection of ever interacting with this person.

MHS

(Graduating quality folk for several years.)

Because I suck at small talk, there followed an uncomfortable silence while she waited for me to regale her with tales of our past friendship, and I struggled to subtract 30 years from her face. The silence grew longer. I whispered, “No mayo, please,” hoping she’d drop the staring contest. She obviously wasn’t going to construct my sandwich until we’d had a meaningful reunion, so I turned to my handy-dandy list of ways to handle an awkward conversation.

Step 1: Fake recognition. “Oh, didn’t you live near the whatchamacallit by the whosamawhatsit? Right! That’s where you lived!”

Step 2: Find common ground. “What have you been doing since high school?” (The answer is, obviously, attending culinary school.) “Do you have children? Grandkids? Pets? Allergies? Aversion to strange conversations? Me too!”

Step 3: Inane smiling and head nodding. Once I got her talking, I could just smile and nod as she regaled me with everything from her recent hysterectomy to her jail time and divorce from her third husband. Not necessarily in that order. Smile. Nod. Smile. Nod. (After a while, my smile faltered and I could feel my cheeks trembling.) That’s when it’s time to move on to Step 4.

Sideshow Bob

(Once I stop smiling, your life is in danger.)

Step 4: Back away–slowly. By this time my sandwich had been assembled, paid for and was sitting on the counter waiting to be devoured. Unfortunately, she was still reliving our tenuously-existing relationship. I’m smiling and nodding like a mental patient but slowly retreating to a far corner.  We’d covered Obamacare, the price of gas, climate change and the renovation of a local school. I’m trying to be polite, but I’m also hungry and out of general topics.

Step 5: Bring in the closer. “Wow, it was great seeing you after so many years. I hope your parole hearing goes well! I sure am looking forward to eating this delicious sandwich you made for me. You are great at your job. Wow, just wow. So good to see you.”

Because I’d already made the mistake of getting my lunch to stay, I had to do a follow-up (and optional) Step 6. After finishing my lunch, I stood up, waved to (insert name here) and told her again how great it was to see her.

Mission accomplished. But now I can never return to that sandwich shop. At least not until I’ve studied my high school yearbook to relearn everyone’s name.

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