Click any letter for a look at my prize-winning essay from the 2010 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. You don't even have to buy a vowel.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Welcome to Heidi!

If books were attractions at DisneyLand, Heidi Clement’s book, Welcome to Heidi” would be Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Her experiences are hand-picked from the kind of blog posts that make us realize how exciting, exuberant, and downright entertaining life can be – if you gaze at it through kaleidoscope-colored glasses.  Let’s focus today on Chapter Three, the one I like to call the “Koo-Koo for Cocoa Puffs” Chapter.

 
There are times in everyone’s life when they need a psychic. 

Okay, maybe it’s just me and it’s not need in the same way that you need to have a drippy chocolate doughnut or someone’s going to lose an arm, but you’d really like to know how events around the corner are going to play out, and could sure use the wisdom of someone who can peek into the future and tell you if leggings will go out of style before you lose 50 pounds.

Or if the shoes that are the perfect match for that “I Got a Promotion and You Didn’t” day are going to go on sale before platform pumps become passé.

Life challenges are just part of the fun with Heidi Clements in her hilarious book, Welcome to Heidi, when she takes us along on her long-term relationship with Letty, the psychic.  At thirty-seven bucks a pop, that’s a relationship even I could afford.  

Heidi also checks out her life prospects with Tomo, a Trance Channeler. With all the indecisiveness spread around these days, it’s helpful to know someone who can tell when me when the control-bot I’m dating will try to accessorize my outfit with a gun to my head or that my dream date was once my brother. 

At times like that, hitting the yellow pages for someone like Tomo makes perfect sense. That’s better than confiding in my Aunt Edna who tells me, “Marry a picky eater. You’ll never have to cook.”

Turns out Letty the Psychic hits the bullseye on all the major topics:  Happiness, Money, and Mean People. 

Want to put that old flame who broke your heart in his place? Bam! Need to press the mute button on your neighbor who put the the “psych” in “psycho” and who takes out her hostilities on your  dog who’s a buddy, not a biter? Heel, please. Or else!
 
Need Letty’s help with a career change?  Heidi’s got the right idea.  “If a chicken has to die in order for me to get the job of a lifetime or the man of my future, then so be it.” 

A breast and a thigh is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

I once had a drunken neighbor who used to sleep in the driveway and kept a goat chained to his heat pump so he wouldn’t have to mow the lawn.

Wonder if I can get Letty’s number.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Trash Talk

Usually by the time there's frost on the Garden Gnomes, I'm ready for summer. This year, I can't wait for winter.

I get e-mails from The Home Depot Garden Club, which is kind of like Jack the Ripper subscribing to Hooters R Us. 

The newest edition to hit my inbox is offering suggestions that will enable me to annihilate plants during the winter months as well as during the balmy days of summer.
 
I don’t need much help sending plants down the garden path anytime, but it seems like the colder months would serve as beginner level floracide.  However, the experts suggest I plant winter greens at this time.  Since I didn’t plant anything that stayed green in June, I’m looking forward to giving November a try.  Everything will be brown by then, so my yard will fit right in.

My Gardening Guru suggests I plant a nice patch of arugula, which sounds to me like either a choice vacation destination somewhere that serves drinks with a variety of tropical fruit garnishes, or an indication of nasal drainage. 

I’m also supposed to seize the opportunity to divide my perennials.  I’m not entirely sure what perennials are, but there’s talk about a root ball that I wouldn’t bring up in mixed company.

One of the sections described proper care for my power equipment.  I’m not allowed to use a hair dryer without a license.  I cannot imagine a situation where I would be set loose with a leaf blower without an Emergency Responder standing by for immediate action in case my Bermuda grass goes South. 
 
I did use a string trimmer once to even up the grassy fringe along the driveway.  Now there’s a stone nestled beside a stand of oxymorons that resembles a first grade macramé project.

The Garden Club is adamant that now is the time to begin composting.  I’ve finally found an area where I can excel. 

If piling trash is an avenue to luscious landscaping, I’ve been a master gardener for years.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Go Spot, Go


“Go where?”

“Spotify. You put the client on your desktop and you can listen to anything.”

“That sounds illegal. If I had a client on my desktop the only thing I would hear would be the sound of their lawyer threatening to take my house.”

“Mom. Get real. Nobody would willingly get on your desk.”

Kid One is attempting to enlighten me on the endless musical possibilities the Internet has to offer.  I’m attempting to decipher how the Internet is made up of enough nonsense words for Dr. Seuss to write a novel.

“I was quite a catch in my day.”

“You didn’t have a day. You had a decade of disco.  Besides, nobody would fit on your desk. You collect things.”

“I need everything that’s on that desk.”

“Three pencil cups?”

“They all have special meaning.  The elephant and the clown came from the circus and your aunt stole the flowered cup from a yard sale just for me.”

“It’s STOLEN?” He looks gleeful at the thought of a woman who wouldn’t take an after dinner mint without asking bending the law.

“Well, not technically.  It was hidden inside a coat she bought.”

“My life is a lie. I was raised in a den of thieves.”

“Thanks for the memories.”

“So what about that stack of ratty notebooks?”

“Those are my journals.  Everything from my first kiss to your first diaper is in that stack.”

“Sounds libelous.  Or slanderous.  Or whatever means that if you show them to my friends I’ll have to join the witness protection program.  They have to go.”

“No way. I’d sooner part with my tiara.”

 “That reminds me. Why do you have a tiara on your desk?”

“Why do you listen to Spotify?”

“So I can hear anything I want.  It takes me where ever I want to go.”

I popped the tiara on my head and transported immediately to a faraway island country where I reign as Queen and every inhabitant is over forty years of age and wears an overcoat over their swimsuit. The only sound was that of sales clerks marking clearance prices on boxes of HoHos.

“And with this I can hear what I want.”

“And what’s that?”

“Quiet.”

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Things Are Looking Up


It came to my attention today as I was blotting up a coffee spill with the Business section of the newspaper that

A)     If they reduce the page size any more, it will be like reading the headlines in the small print section of my Kia contract, and

B)     Rolls Royce, kiddie car of billionaires, is enjoying a boom in sales.

I’m not sure these two findings are unrelated.  Lifestyles vary between the Rolls Royce set and the “I hope it keeps rolling” set. Just look up the prices and you’ll understand the difference.

While newspapers are edging us toward the “squinting is in” theory to conserve money, Rolls Royce is doling out luxury cars like concessionaires deal $10 beers at the ball park.  To those of us still trying to work out a payment plan for the beer, the idea of dashing off a $400,000 check for a car, even one that has tiny overhead lights that make the roof look like a heaven of twinkling stars, would be like stuffing a gold bar into a birthday card for a niece we don’t have time to shop for.  “Can’t get away; buy yourself something nice.”

At the Dubai WalMart.

I realize that there are jobs that come with more perks than mine. What would I do with dental insurance that makes it possible to collect enough teeth to eat toasted pecans, enough time off to catch the red-eye flight to Paris, white-gloved butlers who serve tea with extra lumps?

The last time I got lumps at the office, I was crammed under my desk trying to figure out which wire to jiggle so the mouse would work.  Since I’m the only one there, I would get stuck up with red tape if I filed for Worker’s Comp, so I scolded myself for negligence and stuck a Band-Aid on the sore spot instead.

I’ve never figured out how to get one of those other jobs: jobs that pay dividends instead of money and come with enough compensation that you can hire someone to remember the secret password (Jeeves, what is my mother’s maiden name again?) to your Fandango account. Those are lifestyles and are referred to as something you’re into, not something you do.  (He’s into stocks and bonds or investment banking.)  By comparison, I’m not really into filing six months of committee reports, but I’ll be up to my agenda in paperwork if I don’t.

So it’s not likely that I’ll be pulling up to the office in a Rolls Royce Phantom any time soon.  But you can bet your Silver Shadow I know how to see the twinkling stars in the sky without paying extra.

Just look up.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dead Man Walking

Our heat pump froze over today. They tell me that happens when the filter gets clogged.

There’s a filter? Like for regular or menthol?

In my recent experience (before my nap) I learned that when the filter is clogged, all the good, cold air goes back to the unit and turns into Frozen, the Backyard Reenactment, and the wicked bad air blows up my pants leg. If you’ve never had a blast of thermodynamics up your leg in the midst of a humid Southern Summer, let me assure you it’s no different from dropping a boiling hair ball down your pants.

Never mind the Fourth of July. We’ve already seen fireworks at my house.

I suddenly discovered the urgent need to call the Heat Pump People. They suggested that as long as we keep Labradors scattered around the house like throw rugs, we might want to consider changing the filter more often. Who knew that big dogs were good for more than finishing up your ham sandwich or standing in the open doorway to watch the neighbor’s cat wash between its toes? They also keep us up-to-date with filter changing.

The filter is in the basement.

I barely have the energy to crawl into the kitchen and hold my mouth open under the ice dispenser when it’s this hot, and this guy is suggesting I skip down two flights of stairs like it’s the Yellow Brick Road, and crawl through the Tunnel of the Dead to change the filter? Everybody knows that Bad Guys go through neighborhoods hiding bodies in basements. Doesn’t this guy read? Or watch reality shows?

“What did they say?” Captain CoolDown appears, clad only in Things He Wears When It’s Too Hot to Dress, mopping his brow with the grocery list.

“They say you need to change the filter.”

“I’d better do it. This heat is going to make the bodies smell.”

Great. I’m looking for Green Acres and he’s giving me Twilight Zone.

Armed with a new filter, flashlight, and a flask of Holy Water, the Captain heads downstairs. I hear various noises that may or may not involve screaming and swordplay and the breaking of glass that I’m pretty sure involved what’s left of the Holy Water.

In the silence that follows, I’m trying to decide whether to call Ghostbusters or dial Emergency Services for the Jaws of Life. Suddenly the Survivor of Basement Battles: Zombie Heat Pump edition pops his head in the kitchen.

“We should be good in just a little while. Do you know anything about this?” He held up a coil of bushy Christmas garland bedecked with tiny lights.

Garland that had been in the way when we brought up our decorations last December and I blindly piled in a convenient crawl space, effectively blocking air flow for six months. There was only one thing to do.

“Never saw it before.”

 Let the Spirit of Christmas Past stay down there with the rest of the bodies.

Monday, June 2, 2014

12 Simple Rules

It's not that I didn't want jail time after the divorce. . .oh wait, yes it is. So I made a handy list of rules to keep the Defendant alive and to help me maintain an unfettered life.  Join me at the Huffington Post for 12 Simple Rules for my Clueless Ex-Husband.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Couple of Things

Now that Conscious Uncoupling is a bigger trend than quirky quizzes on FaceBook,  I can’t help but compare the ongoing battle of the stars to the one the Captain and I would have if we ever called it quits.  We're both easygoing folks, and nobody's going to go all white around the kitchen cabinets over who gets custody of the microwave. But sooner or later somebody's going to lay claim to the last jar of fig preserves in the cupboard, and the fruit will hit the fan.  Contentious points in our settlement would include:
 
  1. Custody of the dictionaries. We’re word people.  This makes for a tough battle.  The air will be thick with nouns, and adjectives will cover the walls. There's not a stain remover on the market that will remove ground-in adverbs.
  2. Responsibility for cleaning the kitty box corner of the marital mill house.  I’d rather take out fire insurance and torch the place. Danger Cat alone is the reason our coat closet is filled with HazMat gear.
  3. Subscription to Mental Floss magazine.  This one is in Bill’s name. It doesn’t look good for Albert Einstein finding a place in my new pad.
  4. Custody of the recipe for Apple Bread.  Bill makes bread that Sunbeam would open a new division for, so I wouldn’t demand physical possession of the recipe.  I just want visitation of the results.
  5. Responsibility of the marital Computer Tech to repair and update all estranged computers for free.  Because the blue screen of death makes me sad.
  6. Ownership of the Disney videos.  I brought 101 Dalmatians into the marriage and I’m not leaving with less.
  7. Continued relationship with the extended marital family.  Captain Keyboard has fixed my family’s computers, arranged for repairs on everything from telephone lines to plumbing, and initiated emergency garbage runs to the dump during the great fruit fly outbreak of 2001.  My sisters would pack my belongings in a steamer trunk and set me adrift off the coast of Charleston with a bucket of shark bait before they would let him get away.
  8. Proprietorship of the family fortune--a three liter plastic jar once bursting with cheese popcorn, now awash in pennies collected painstakingly over an eighteen month period.  There would be more, but we keep digging into the stash for important life-enhancing substances like candy corn and Easter peeps.
  9. Three McDonald’s Monopoly game pieces, two of which were good for a free order of medium fries in 1998.
  10. The cast iron frying pan.  Seasoned by years of campfire cooking and bacon grease massages, it makes the best gravy in the continental United States, outlying territories, and Arctic ice floes.  In the Southern United States, the family’s cast iron frying pan is passed from generation to generation with the same care as the family silver.  I’d sooner part with the children than the frying pan. The frying pan requires less maintenance and doesn’t ask for allowance.

But after careful deliberation, we've decided to stay together.  Neither one of us is willing to take custody of the cats. 
Danger Cat Communicates with the Mother Ship.