Monthly Archives: March 2017

Manners On Call

no_cell_sign.1Okay, kids, take out your cell phones. It’s time to do a little review on cell phone etiquette. I understand completely how easy it is to get distracted or forget how to be well-behaved users of technology, to get sloppy and obnoxious to the point the people around you hate you even if they don’t know you. So, a friendly reminder on how to not be a butt head can be a good thing, too.

Let me just say right off that I love a good Bollywood blockbuster as much as the next person. Not so much, though, that I’m going to purchase the soundtrack, set it on repeat, and blast it on my cell phone in Whataburger. You may not be able to actually hear me yelling it, but, in this situation, I’m going to politely suggest earbuds. Honestly, in high school I had 36” speakers that didn’t have subwoofers like that. I’m surprised people in the drive thru weren’t asking for the Whatacurry Sandwich.

Remember, too, that there’s a time and place for cell phone use. Funerals are a no. Church, in general, no matter what’s happening is a no. If you’re in a church, don’t even think about talking on your phone. Just no. Movies, concerts, plays are great places to not use your phone. Why? Because very likely you are sitting right next to someone who does not want or need to hear you complain to your sister about your step-father’s gout.

Public bathrooms are the forgotten NO in cell phone use. I think there’s way too much attention given to who identifies as whom and can use what bathroom. I don’t care if you identify as a Blackhawk assault helicopter or an avocado, don’t be using the toilet and your cell phone at the same time. It’s just nasty. Good Lord! Wash your hands and use some Purell. Not to even mention that nothing amplifies your already too loud voice quite like porcelain and tile grout! Unless you’re calling 911, hang up and call back later.

Of course, there are the situations I shouldn’t even have to mention, like don’t text and drive. (Read that again: Don’t text and drive!) But otherwise, just pull your head out of your phone and at least make an effort to show some good manners.  

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Camping? Uh, no.

campingI’m all about a great adventure and don’t consider myself a foofy, high-maintenance kind of girl. I have, after all, spent nearly a week wearing the same clothes and not showering while trekking in Nepal. I proudly smelled like a wet yak and shamelessly posted pictures of my pathetic, unclean self on social media. I can function without my hair dryer, lipstick or shoes that coordinate and compliment my outfit. I don’t, however, like camping. And yet, I went camping.

Okay, let’s not get carried away. I was hardly sleeping on the ground in a tent, which would be only slightly this side of barbaric. I think the amount I pay monthly for my mortgage, escrow, property taxes and homeowner’s association dues prohibits me from abandoning my comfortable and costly home to play at being a homeless person. Regardless, I actually spent a week “roughing it” in a cabin just outside Garner State Park recently. Quit rolling your eyes! It was absolutely primitive – there was NO INTERNET!

While it was actually very relaxing to be unplugged for a few days and be off the grid, to be so far from civilization that you could see tons of stars at night and marvel at the absence of street noise, there were still some very real challenges. I’m not talking about having my marshmallow catch fire (I happen to like them blackened but not converted to charcoal) or dropping my hot dog in the dirt while making the transfer from stick to bun (and I had mastered culinary perfection with that hot dog, too, gosh darn it).

I think it took only hours for my youngest son to cover a large portion of his 6’3” self in poison oak. Of course, I couldn’t Google “unexplained weird rash,” so I had to assume alien possession or that it was an expected reaction to a teenager being exposed to fresh air without the protection of his cell service or video games. About the time he started resembling a leper, we found a bottle of calamine lotion, which only made him look like a leper tinged a fetching shade of pink.

Scorpions, chiggers, camp fire smoke inhalation, and a shower head that could only accommodate a dwarf midget if he was on his knees. And this was supposed to be fun?! Honestly, there are homeless people who fare better.

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Sleep or DIE!

Fear-of-Sleep-Phobia-SomniphobiaI’m wide awake in the middle of the night reading an article in “Time” magazine about the importance of sleep. While the irony is certainly not lost on me, even at 2:12am, I did find quite a bit of the information alarming. Short of running an electrical current through my sinus cavity, I’m not sure there could have been a more effective way of making sure I never slept again other than that article. So, thank you, “Time” magazine for letting me know that not sleeping will cause me to become sick and die then making sure that actually happens.

According to the studies they cite, sleeping less than 7.5 hours every night will likely result in heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. I’m sure they meant to also list canker sores, foot fungus, diarrhea, and scabies before they jumped to the bottom line of: AND THEN YOU DIE.

They used up four pages of type with a really small font to terrify me with facts about how my brain cells won’t have the garbage flushed out, my emotional stability will be threatened because of unprocessed negative experiences, and I’m likely to have violent encounters with lab rats because I’ll be cranky. Okay, so I have those things to look forward to, but only until I get Alzheimer’s or symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. All because I’m a nocturnal underachiever.

Not that “Time” magazine was all doom and gloom. They did devote an entire page to things that would help me get more shut-eye. For $300 I can purchase a ZeeQ Pillow. This memory-foam pillow sits up all night watching me sleep, monitoring my every move, and recording my snore patterns. Oh yes, if I snore, that pillow will buzz to “nudge me into a new position.” I guess if I keep snoring, the pillow kicks me until I roll over. Because there’s nothing creepy about a pillow with enough artificial intelligence that, with one small short in the brain chip, could decide to hold itself over my face until I quit snoring, moving and breathing all together. I guess I’ll sleep better – but with one eye open the whole night!

Now, because of my friends at “Time” magazine, I don’t even have to sleep anymore to have nightmares. I hope they understand if I don’t renew my subscription!

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Throat Ninja

Blausen_0860_Tonsils&Throat_AnatomyMy youngest son woke up one morning and his voice had changed. Wait, it’s not what you think. He’s 18 and his voice had changed a while ago. This was a new change. He sounded strangled, like he’d accidentally swallowed one of his socks and it was stuck in his throat. Think Marlon Brando in the “Godfather.” Because I am Jean Ciampi, Web MD, I took a quick peek and found his tonsils were strangely fuzzy and the size of grapefruits. Consulting with my medical colleague, Dr. Google, I diagnosed tonsillitis. A trip to Urgent Care confirmed it.

A big, honkin’ shot of something painful in the rear end, along with a prescription for antibiotics, and I thought he’d be good to go in no time. Except he wasn’t. Within just another day or so, one of his tonsils had gone rogue, completely off the grid. It was attempting a hostile takeover of the entire body with the intent of a forced life stoppage. It had taken the other tonsil hostage and was refusing to speak with negotiators. We had no other choice but to up the stakes and head to the Emergency Room.

Enter the Throat Ninja. He had scalpels hidden in pockets of his coat and, I’m almost sure, had x-ray vision. He also carried what looked like a computer bag except it was actually a cleverly disguised but fully functioning operating theater. He explained that the tonsils had abscessed and would need to be lanced. In the Tonsils vs Throat Ninja smack down, I had put all my chips on the Ninja.

You don’t actually realize the seriousness of having your child’s throat slit open until the doctor mentions that the abscess is the width of the hair on a gnat’s keester away from his carotid artery. Then they ask him to sign an authorization for emergency life-saving measures should they accidentally nick it. What the what?! Why can’t my kid just get stitches like other kids?

I’ll be adding assistant surgical nurse to my resume as I got to hold the little suction tube thing while Throat Ninja filleted the tonsils with a Ginsu knife. In the end, the kid got sent home with copious amounts of antibiotics, painkillers, steroids, and ice cream. I got red wine. I think we’ll both live. 

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Ants, Plants and a Bad Hair Day

antIts spring and I am at war. The battle rages on several fronts, all of them equally fierce and the outcomes are all questionable. Most unfortunately, I am quickly learning how ill-equipped and incompetent I am to face these nemeses. Yet, in the true spirit of the underdog, I push hopelessly forward.

My first enemy: the banana tree. Truly this menace is the herpes of the garden. There is no cure. Ever. During the Vietnam War, thousands of banana trees were torched by flame-throwers and napalm only to reappear fully grown two weeks later as if nothing had happened. Why would anyone plant one of these viruses? Kroger has bananas for 19 cents a pound all the time. You don’t need to grow your own, for heaven’s sake! Go to the store already! Still, I have sharpened the blade on the machete, purchased several industrial barrels of Round-Up, and put plans in place to salt the earth. Regardless, I know I will not win. 

What only intensifies the humiliation is listening to the fire ants laugh at my feeble attempts for domination. They, of course, are on my hit list. And their eradication is also my exercise in futility. I’ve tried pouring boiling water on their mounds. I’ve invested more than the national debt in worthless poisons. I’ve even tried shoveling heaps from one side of the yard onto another in the hopes that they’d just fight it out and kill each other off. Instead, they band together and plot to destroy my universe. Again, I know I will not win. 

As I do every spring when the humidity starts to rise, I fight the frizz with great futility. Anyone who dares say, “What nice curly hair you have” gets punched in the throat. Oh yes, that’s me out in the yard covered in ant bites, screaming obscenities at the newest banana scourge looking like blonde cotton candy has sprouted out of my head. I am, however, undaunted. I now have five different deep root conditioners and I’m NOT AFRAID TO USE THEM! Yes, I know I will not win this one either. But at least I will have soft, damage-free frizz.

The struggle is real. So if you need me, I’ll be in the bunker mapping out invasion strategies and waiting for the hot oil to repair my split ends.

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