HAVE WADERS, WILL TRAVEL

I moved from Michigan because of all the precipitation. I was constantly under an urban rain of terror as it cooled and condensed, and I listened to weather predictions of doom and gloom. I’ve lived through storms, tornados, black ice, with cold that cut its way to my bones. And although few states can match Michigan’s extraordinary scenery, I wasn’t fond of ferrying down streets with an outboard motor and hydroplaning like I was on the Colorado River. Dr. Seuss and I had the same idea when the sun did not shine and it was always too wet to play, and we sat in the house every cold, cold wet day. It was never going to suit me having a career outdoors or having my parents read the headline, “Tim Horton Hires A Ho.” I didn’t want to be hanging out on street corners selling doughnuts or possibly something else in frigid temperatures.

That being said, I moved to this luminous state where there’s hardly any precipitation. Pimps I’m not so sure of. Weathercasters announce every day that it will be mostly crowdy with a great big chance of swimmers and sunbathers. People here get pretty excited when water falls from the sky and wets their plants. So when this latest storm blew in, it became the main topic of conversation. The nutty and sometimes nefarious newscasters were sending panic to the population, giving instructions the same way climatologists in monsoon states mandate immediate evacuations. Everyone was freaking out over a little moisture. I had to laugh because I’d been through a lot worse weather than rain. They advised the public to take cover, bring oars and inner tubes if you absolutely positively must go anywhere, and basically be ready to board an ark. Folks were gathering two dogs, two ducks, two squirrels, leaving out skunks and snakes for obvious reasons. I myself would take two books. One on how to get along with a cluster of claws, and another helpful hinter on how to handle flatulence in a closed area while on a forty day cruise.

I urged neighbors to sit with me on the bay of my front entrance watching the tide roll in. I wanted a show of hands from anyone who liked Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain, because I was fully prepared to set up a wet bar, a Slip ‘N Slide, and other rainy day activities on my lawn. I mean, who’s afraid of a little tempest? I figured on having fun as long as I was still afloat and the wind wasn’t carrying me to Atlanta. I was glad it was the weekend so I could wash clothes, mop the floors and front porch, take stormtrooper selfies, prance, dance, and drink under the continuous cloudburst. I must have sounded something like Gene Kelly in one of his dynamic singing moods, because relentless raindrops came down on my umbrella as I was puddle jumping and belting out song lyrics totally related to the drencher. Why be moody when you can jiggle your booty and cause people to question your sanity?

Yet something caused some sort of onshore water displacement and before long, showers fell on San Diego for four days and four nights in biblical proportions. The radiant sunlight, along with my pervading cheery mood, started to shrink and shrivel away. Given the intensity of this surge, we were under a severe winter watch that was expected to be upgraded to floods of saturation. I know there’s a drought. But would it kill them to assure this native Midwesterner that there won’t be an unfavorable weather disturbance? I like water, when it’s frozen into cubes and mixed with Vodka. As it turned out, I was surfing my driveway and kept company with one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish and some squid and seals, since our land essentially merged with the ocean.

My beau and I were jolted awake by walloping winds and pounding wetness, making San Diego the most popular dive destination. All we did was sit, sit, sit, sit. And we didn’t like it! Not one little bit. The pain in my back meant rain, and the pain in my neck meant the new tree we planted was uprooted and bent to a forty-five degree angle. Frost and snowflakes even made an appearance here and there. I would make plans with people then nix those plans since I didn’t want to be marred by such monsoon madness. I was telling friends, “I hate to cancel, but those plans were made a few days ago when my motivation wasn’t yet fractured by the idea of treading through glacial estuaries.” I should have added, ‘I do not like green eggs and ham, nor do I like building a dam or scraping ice off my car windshield.’ Basically, I bitched about the storm, I bitched about the cold, I bitched about the lack of sunshine, and about growing old. Not every gal is made of sugar and spice and things that are nice. Some gals are made of squall distress, Spanish rice, and boobs that may not serve as a flotation device. The storm cured the drought situation. But I’d be a lot more thrilled if it never rained or snowed in sunny California.

THE MAGICAL MISERY TOUR

Complaining comes with aging. But as my boyfriend points out, aging gives us a lot more to complain about. I’m not so sure I’m ready to be thrust into a continuous position of expressing discomfort. It makes for monotonous conversation and is nothing to be proud of. Yet I myself cannot help revealing how my birthday went, a decision that gives me undying pleasure with each passing moment. I won’t bore you with this celebratory event, unless of course you’re a thrill seeker and complaining advocate who just wants to take the last written word in. Let me start by saying my man hardly ever complains. He makes me happier than a kitten with a cotton ball. Except look out if he misplaces something or is listening to politics on the radio. You’ll hear several resounding cuss words coming from the room he’s in.

We planned a Palm Springs weekend away and stopped at a department store in the city where my daughter lives. I explained to my non-complaining mate that I needed to exchange some shoes she bought me and set it up to meet her there. I was trying to enjoy my trading experience when it was obvious that it was the last place my beau wanted to be. Especially right after he was ditched the minute we entered the establishment. We went to the shoe department and I asked my daughter, “Where did he go?” She said, “He’s looking at clothes in the men’s department.” I thought to myself ‘good, he’s occupied for a fabulous fifteen minutes or so.’ But he didn’t experience the same exhilarated rush a woman experiences when she’s taking time to browse every single apparel and footwear rack in a retail outlet. His idea of an exchange is dashing in and out in a matter of minutes. Exchanging for a woman means scouring the whole store to see what else she wants with laborious effort, which makes for an unbearable interruption in a man’s life. I tried telling him that Cinderella is proof that shoes can change a woman’s life, and two things can brighten her mood. The words “I love you” and “Sale.” I know I speak for other ladies when I say that we apologize for any temporary inconvenience caused by delays in places that sells anything wearable. I mean out of nowhere, I had racks of cute clothes and shoes calling my name. Nothing can beat the delightful scent of a place permeating with silks and soft leather. Personally, I kind of like hanging out with me when I’m shopping.

I did have a moment of deep concern for my man who was trapped in shopping hell until I saw an attractive top and yelled to my daughter, “How cute is this one?” Men don’t know the importance of finding something for $19.99, because twenty dollars is an outrageous amount of money to spend on a shirt. He looked at men’s clothes for a whopping two seconds and began wandering the store wondering where we were. It’s really hard to find compatibility with a mate at that point when whining escalates into a full blown, “This is the worst day of my life.” I thought the worst day of his life was when he got diverticulitis, or the time he ordered horrible pizza. He has zero tolerance for terrible food and women who drag him into retail establishments. Never in the history of calming a man down, has a man actually calmed down, simply by being told to calm down, when his woman needs time to bargain hunt. I tried to remind him that it was MY birthday, not his. I could give up shopping, but there would have to be a fabric shortage and I sure wasn’t born a quitter. I never ever want to look back and say, “I should have bought that but my boyfriend prevented me from doing so.”

Trust me when I say it was not a romantic experience. For someone revered as a god, he became verbal and his laughs were limited. And this girl loves a good joke or two when times are tough. He had no chair to sit on or his IPad to occupy his waiting time. I wanted to ask my usual voice of reason, “Let me guess. Are you A.Ticked off? B. Extremely upset? C. Ready to cry? Or D. Done with all three?” The wrinkles he has on his face are all from laughter with the exception of that scrunched unibrow that is predominant when he’s deeply disturbed by something. I was just thankful that shopping doesn’t cause heart attacks. In his defense, the moon was full and there wasn’t a Starbucks or a bar nearby where he could have had a soothing drink. I had this million dollar idea of having a detector go off when he’s uptight so others wouldn’t witness this unexpected item in the whining area gloriously emanating how it was the worst day of his life. He looked less like the perfect man and more of a caged tiger. At that point, it wasn’t difficult to tell ferocious animals and boyfriends apart. One wants to see you, and the other one wants to see you leave. He definitely wasn’t the same person I knew thirty minutes earlier. I think he came extremely close to lifting his middle finger and showing it off. And I thought I was dramatic. I took out my camera phone and pointed it in his direction expressing, “Don’t make me shoot you!”

I gave the guy every opportunity to take off and go somewhere for awhile. He took my key and proceeded out the door and into a torrential downpour looking for my white car in a parking lot loaded with white cars. It truly was the worst day of his life since he didn’t know which car was mine. What doesn’t kill you is suppose to make you stronger, except for maybe a flash flood that could wash you away and you drown while your girlfriend is in her happy place. He should have brought a glumbrella since it was such a gloomy day. I was glad I wasn’t there to hear that conversation he was having with himself. There was a moment thinking about loved ones who weren’t with me anymore, like my loverboy who was camped out in my car probably dying of alienation or old age. I kept pondering on that saying, ‘If you love someone, let them go.’ I was also thinking, ‘If you loathe someone for a short time, let them go too.’

My daughter and I finally made it to the register. But under the burden of an insoluble problem, came another. The gift return label was stuck to the bottom of the shoe that I was exchanging, so when the cashier went to remove it, it tore the bar code which made it impossible to read or scan. It was the highlight of my boyfriend’s bad day having me text him that we were stuck in checkout. I wanted to send him a friend request to see if he still liked me. Helen Keller once quoted, “Life is either a great big adventure, or nothing.” Palm Springs ended up being a great adventure, minus the story my true love told everyone about how my birthday was the worst day of his life. Little does he know that he’s getting snapshots of his bad self for his birthday.

SICK IN THE HEAD

Your great big ray of sarcastic sunshine has contracted the rhinovirus. I didn’t know I came into contact with an odd toed and relatively small brained mammal that is native to Africa. I need a noose, or a visit to the Cuckoo’s Nest so Nurse Ratched can suppress me and force a lobotomy. Any good looks I once had, have been exchanged for ghastliness and gagging reflexes. I can’t promise I’ll be less of a miserable mess than I was yesterday. Having this cold screwing with my head and physcomotor area is affecting my pep, vigor, and possibly even my personality. But since humor enhances the immune system, I’m going to give it a shot.

I can’t ever remember being this infected and confined, for this long. I started out the first day with this infirmity building an arsenal of wadded up germaphobic tissues. I blew my nose so hard in fear that I’d blow my brain into Puffs and it would go out with the garbage. Day two, I had no recollection of anything since I slept through it. By day three, I couldn’t breathe. I pondered whether to hook the hose up to my nose and flush out my nasal passages. Out of all my body parts, I felt my forehead was in the best shape since I could do plenty of facial expressions of disgust. My boyfriend was still somehow attracted to me on day four, even with the blisters beneath my nostrils. I had to go to the mailbox incognito. Having not worn a bra for days, I was sure my lover wanted to gather my boobs and hold onto them so they wouldn’t completely droop to the floor.

By day five, I was cursing Kleenex boxes and calling our attorney to draft my last will. I ended up trashing the original version because better decisions are made when you’re self medicating. Anyway, I wasn’t sure how many days I had left. I totally should have informed my msaaseuse on my last visit that I loved him, in case I never see him again. By day six, I was just a distraught and irritated sight standing in front of the mirror asking, “Why me?” I really wanted to use my brain that day. But my head was a cacophony of distorted noises. I was creating some pretty compelling content for the center of disease control. Day seven rolled around I was sure my beau was worried that I’d turn into the Tasmanian devilwoman. It didn’t help that he approached with a dish towel tied around his face while he’s holding a can of disinfectant and he’s telling me that I have cooties. He made me a lovely bowl of chicken broth and smiled rather strangely when he handed it to me. I had never been so scared of soup in my life.

It’s been a week since I’ve had a glass of wine and figured maybe that is what’s really wrong with me. By day eight, I did anything to entertain myself. I found a crossword puzzle to stare at in case my cable stopped working. Yet I have no brainpower to pencil in words. My main squeeze caught me doing some interesting things while I’m couch ridden. To start, I sang the Soud of Mucus song. “Raidrobz od rozez ad Colowado Zpwigs. Bu beig zick iz nod one uv my faborit thigs.” It’s hard to sing when you’re wheezing and you’re brain feels like a busted can of biscuits. I tried unclogging my nasal passages by pushing my tongue against the top of my mouth and pressing a finger between my eyebrows. My mate started laughing and asked, “Have you taken any medicine?” I was grateful to have someone around to administer those phlegm-loosening expectorants as long as they weren’t going to send me into the stratosphere. There wasn’t another soul in sight for buffering my suffering. Theraflu muffins would have been beneficial, or Coricidin cupcakes. But friends and family members want to keep a safe distance away, like as far as Copenhagen. No one is drawn to moans, groans, and a pale and crusty nostriled individual that looks as though she combs corn oil through her hair. I did take enough NyQuil to stun a congregation of oxen. Bill Murray once asked, “If you’re not supposed to abuse cough syrups, then why does NyQuil come with a shot glass?” I had been warned plenty in my past about drinking responsibly and look where it got me.

By day eight, local police had received a report of suspicious behavior on our block. It was just me firing off confusing commentary while trying to unlock the door to someone else’s house. The officers wanted to see my medicine cabinet to see what they were dealing with. Apparently I’m a vile felon and cannot be trusted drinking over-the-counter stuff without supervision. How did I know I was swallowing that gets-you-so-wasted-you-think-you’re-Mick-Jagger medicine? I couldn’t stop chanting, “I cad ged no sadizvaction.” Of course my beau had to trump my singing and belted out, “Wild thing, I think I love you. But I wanna know for sure. Come over here my sickly baby and hold me tight.”

I held him alright. The man ended up catching this microbial menace from his long suffering girlfriend and let me tell you. Pedifiles and serial killers aren’t the only sickos with character defects.

TRADER WOES

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!!!
My New Year’s resolutions don’t last any longer than the lifespan of a Mayfly, which is within a few hours. Last year I made a list that said I will eat more vanilla wafers. Now some may think I was going to say vegetables. I suppose if I had written vegetables, I may not have all this access flesh. The year before that, I scribbled something on a bar napkin about exercising. I was a little woozy and couldn’t make out my own writing. It didn’t matter because I blotted my lipstick and spilled wine all over it. Something always happens to the list which prevents me from carrying out those casual promises I make to myself. One year I started to jot down that I’d be a better pers–. But the cat grabbed it before I could finish and made a lovely play pal out of it, flinging it into the toilet. So I stayed the same screwy and sarcastically entertaining jollity that you have all come to know and hopefully, adore.

I never said I was perfect. I can be a smart ass, I have a potty mouth, and I’m turning into a surplus of suet. I tried flushing out my crazy cranial area with a hose to my ear that sprayed a forceful stream of purifying water, attempted to flatten my flab with a meat pounder, and I taped my mouth shut for a good sixty seconds. That didn’t last long. My shackmate asked me what I wanted for dinner and suggested that we jog through that all-you-can-consume buffet called Trader Joe’s. I yelled “Hooray,” considering I hadn’t eaten for a solid hour and love to sweat. And their food makes me drool. I get very clammy and hangry when I don’t eat. I’d be the world’s worst hostage if I was holed up somewhere without food from this enchanting franchise. It all started with their pumpkin pancake mix. Then they came out with mango Galette, that beautifully handcrafted pastry with my favorite fruit filling. I go in with an empty stomach and go home the impressive owner of mouthwatering items from every single aisle…AND the bakery section. It won’t be long before some magician comes up to me and says, “Abracadabra. You’re fat and flat broke.”

This year, I have the choice to either stay out of Trader Joe’s completely, or buy from that superstore with continued loyalty. If I never went there again, I’d be a frightening portrait of a co-dependent and wouldn’t be able to live with myself. I realize that eating Trader’s Red Vines is like eating eight inches of waxed roping and has two teaspoons of sugar per twirl. But I just can’t help myself. Nor can other women in my town. I find myself fighting off hands of mercurial shoppers who have the fondness for confiscating my addictions. I took the remaining few boxes of licorice and a lady asked me where they all went. If I’m going to take the very last eleven boxes of something, I should assume I’m going to get gangbanged by some other stalwart Trader Joe junkies who are equally jonesing. I never thought someone would be admiring my jugular veins so closely. She probably had every right to bear those big arms. I mouthed off some acerbic sarcasm to my rival. “Licorice? What Licorice!” She should have the New Year’s resolution of curbing those high levels of suspicion and paranoia. I was fortunate that a Joe’s employee didn’t approach exclaiming, “Don’t deny it. We have camera footage of you grabbing every one of them.”

It’s not like me to dwell too much on things like this. Yet methinks the lady doth protested too much, so I surrendered one of my containers, as long as she surrendered her Ganache Torte. I had to have it because it’s very likely somebody’s birthday somewhere in this country. Besides, I had a seven in ten chance of a severe spaz attack had I not inhaled enough chocolate that day. Another lady said that taking all the Sea Salt Almonds was an injustice. If by chance you and I end up tackling each other at Trader’s empire, may the odds be ever in your favor. My boyfriend is good looking, but he’s pretty smoking hot when he’s trying to sneak away to the register with those last containers of something I want. I, on the other hand, feel I’m a great girlfriend because most of the time I have Trader’s Cinnamon Churros in my mouth that prevents me from arguing with him. There have been times my lover wanted to get amorous, but his stomach was growling. He ended up having a foodgasm. Sometimes we have foodgasms together.

Someone left their resolution list in the shopping cart I was using that read: Buy more collard greens, quinoa, flaxseed, and crap like that. The person was probably meandering somewhere out there in a state of wanderlust, simply because he didn’t buy bacon and crap like that. His healthy wife likely wrote that list. Little did she know that I also found a half eaten container of Cookie Butter Ice Cream. I myself have vowed to eat organic plant-like products and arrived home with croissants and calorific crap like that. And their Mac ‘N Cheese??? We usually buy a dozen of them at a time. The problem is that Trader’s food isn’t all fat free. I found that out when I went home to my bathroom scale and it went digitally berserk on me. I tried teetering on it with one foot, but I didn’t know a leg filled with what looked like mounds of cellulitic macaroni could weigh so much. So I put down Joe’s Raisin Rosemary Crisps, removed four pounds of make-up, took off my sock, wiped off the heavy toenail polish, and laid down next to the scale with just one pinkie dangling over the thing. But that seemed awfully ridiculous. I finally flung the scale into the trash and came to three conclusions. I can’t control a dang thing and blubber is proof of that. Secondly, my goal isn’t to become a Hollywood star, so I can put on a few extra pounds. And thirdly, plump folks are just happier folks and that much harder to gag and force into a van.

I’m a little leery about Trader’s bell system. One bell calls another cashier to the register. Two bells means a question needs to be answered. But a mixture of bell tones together means they are either playing around, or someone is shoplifting. God knows I’ve eaten a grape or ten in produce. If I’m going to ascribe to any New Year’s resolution, I should buy a Trader Joe’s franchise so I can take whatever I want, whenever I want. And I can write my own cute things on the chalkboards. Otherwise, I’ll take up scuba diving off the coast of Newfoundland, since I found out the Titanic sank with an elaborate buffet. That, or hack an Al-Qaeda website and replace all the terroristic information with Joe’s Mini Pie Medley, leaving their taste buds ever so tingly in exchange for those urges to bomb.

I’m somewhat in shape. If by “exercising” and “deep meditation” you mean, doing wine crunches on the floor by holding a bottle of vino between my legs with a mouthful of Trader tortilla chips, then yes. I’m mentally and physically fit both morning and night. Squats are a little harder. I could spill the wine and choke on the chips, which could keep me from opening my Trader’s Nutty Seedy Fruity Bar. I may not get rich from writing. But I do expect to get something substantial by endorsing Trader Joe’s. My New Year’s resolutions? Italy. Tango. Trader’s Fig Butter. Wear more sensible pants to allow my buttocks the space it needs for expansion. Trader’s Trek Mix. Get a doughnut tattooed on my cellulite. High five those ninety-year olds buzzing by me in traffic. Trader’s Jalapeno and Honey Chevre Cheese. Cha Cha. Make better bad decisions. Decorate the Joe’s shopping carts. Master the hula hoop. Trader’s Molten Choco…

THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL

There’s something you don’t know about me. I wanted to be a songstress, and an instrumentalist. I also wanted to be another Mother Theresa but that didn’t happen either. Christmas’s came and oh by gosh by golly, it was time for mistletoe, holly, tasty pheasants, wishful presents, and our Michigan countryside covered in avalanches of snow. It was my third Noel morning, and I ran to find gifts under the fifty zillion fir needles and stringing lights. The tree wasn’t the only thing that got lit up. Mom and Dad were drinking toddies when I started beating on the drum that Santa left me. As it turned out, my favorite Yuletide melody was The Little Drummer Boy, and theirs became Blue Christmas. Whenever possible, I would spontaneously burst into song while thrashing the membranophone and my irritated mother would tell me, “I appreciate your wonderful arrangement, but I just got your baby sister to sleep.” I pondered, what child is this who lay to rest on Mom’s lap is sleeping? She could have laid her in some far away manger so I could rock around the Christmas tree letting my Christmas spirit ring. There was always an excuse why I couldn’t make music. It didn’t matter though. Because later I’d have some pumpkin pie and resume my pounding and off-key caroling. My parents were forever casting aspersions. “Good God! Do you hear what I hear again?” I think I made my parents tone deaf, but I looked so cute crooning and pummeling with pie crust clinging to my lips. Nor were they impressed when I wanted to get all jolly and deck the halls with boughs of marshmallows and grape jelly. I heard Mom tell Dad, “Honey. Let’s get a babysitter and go to the Caribbean for Christmas. I’m looking a little pasty.”

Being obsessed with music did save my makers from a lot of unwanted solicitors. And faithful friends who were dear to us, gathered far from us, once more. The drums were probably frightful and my voice, well, not very delightful. But Mom didn’t exactly birth Sheila E! The parents were probably hoping I wouldn’t become a composer or Karaoke singer, unless of course I led a band in the Netherlands. They couldn’t watch White Christmas without me belting out Bing Crosby lyrics while playing the flute. “Stop,” said the king and queen to the little lamb. So, to honor them, pa rum pum pum pum, I stopped blasting the cylindrical noise maker and went with a sweet sounding harmonica. Although applying my lips to another mouthpiece was not a pleasant diversion. I blew entrancingly in the presence of my delicate and suffering family members. Yet when Dad took me to see Santa, he wanted me to make a list, check it twice, but ask primarily for a trumpet. It was beginning to look a lot like Mom was angry because she started hissing at Dad in the worst way. Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe is what makes a season bright. But they didn’t know that with me around they’d be entertained all night. I was their star of wonder, star so bright, star of keeping them up late in nocturnal hours of friggin’ sleeplessness.

My Christmas lists always consisted of something that was no doubt going to create a lot of ruckus. “I want a piano,” said the child to Santa’s everywhere. But my parents would have had to remove the furniture and most of the kids from our house to accommodate such a large acoustic keyboard. I would have liked a tambourine, but they would have gone into jingle bell shock. Some years were a major disappointment when I didn’t get what I wanted. At twelve years old, I still had this prolonged belief in Santa and waited next to the fireplace for his arrival. I figured having personal communication with the man would assure me gifts that were eminently practical to me, although eminently painful to my parents. Besides leaving cookies, I left four brownies, two Twinkies, and thirteen Mars bars hoping that would satisfy his every need and in turn, he would supply me with a slew of musical instruments. I got dozy while waiting and thought jeepers Santa baby, hurry down this chimney tonight would ya? It was a silent night, a holy night, a night that was perfectly quiet and sacred until I heard something rustling outside in the bushes. I thought to myself, must be Santa, must be Santa Santa Claus! But I didn’t see soot falling in the chimney or a jolly white-bearded gentleman carrying a big bag with a bountiful endowment. It was my older brother trying to sneak back into the house. He was a curious sight, slurring his words while crushing dogwood in our winter wonderland, pressing his face against our ice frosted glass door whimpering, “Baby it’s cold outside. Let me in!” I wanted to bonk him over the head with my drum, but it may have killed him. So I opted for an empty roll of wrapping paper. I never wanted to limit my pounding to just a percussion instrument.

My brother threatened me if I told our parents and of course, that didn’t stop me. I walked around the house the following day using pan lids as cymbals and serenaded the rest of our household with, “Do you know what I know???” I did that about twenty times, because doing it once wasn’t nearly enough. I even got other siblings to join in. Not everyone can become a marching band conductor or lead a relief effort. As I kept telling my delinquent brother, “Santa sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re out with your friends at all hours of the night getting into trouble.” I worried though, that he would come after me and I’d be asking Santa the following year for twins, which would not mean more siblings. All I wanted for Christmas at that point was for my two front teeth not to be pushed out of alignment. My parents may very well have told me to be quiet on occasion, or “better not pout.” But at least they never had to tell me to shovel snow for a month straight, or repeat themselves when I went potty by saying, “If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be neat and wipe the seat.” Mom and Dad definitely had their own song during the holiday season. “Christmas Christmas time for cheer, time with boys is time for beer.” Of course that was before I grew into a mischief making and ill-mannered teenager myself.

Says me to people everywhere…
Have yourselves a Merry Christmas while using your own weapons of mass percussion. Let’s just hope you don’t cause any grief if you end up banging in public places.
____________________________________________________________________________
AUTHOR OF DAMSEL IN DIS MESS (girlie antics & other shenanigans)
AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON & KINDLE – AUDIO BOOK, FEBRUARY 2017

BOOK LAUNCHING!!!!!!!!

My book DAMSEL IN DIS MESS, brought to you by Aionios Books, will be available soon on Amazon. I wanted to bring my stories to paper and have it read in every household as a reminder that life is not only filled with spiciness, but frolicsome fun at the same time. LOOK FOR IT!

DEJA BOO

I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. I love watching cute little kiddies running around in costumes. But I hate having to think up a costume for myself. I go to a Halloween store to buy a couple things and the total is two hundred dollars. And there’s usually only one piece of candy per trick-or-treater, or the candy turns out to be a penny. Years ago, one young costumed cowboy used some of his quick drawing logic by pointing his toy pistol at a penny giving homeowner demanding, “Your candy or your life,” thus prompting several squirts of water into the candy givers face from his spraying weapon. No one got the gunslinger for possession of a concealed squirt gun, although he was mighty susceptible to parental criticism. He attempted to wipe the homeowners face with his red bandana and spent the next five minutes searching the candy bowl for every single Tootsie Roll. Those were going to be my breakfast, lunch, and dinner the following day.

Designer Donatelli Versace believes that the best things in life happen as a result of following your intuition. That’s why for one Halloween party, I dressed as Dolly Farton. I had the perfect blonde wig, stuffed my shirt with inflated balloons, and packed a whoopee cushion inside my pants, which totally added new dimension to a rather boring outfit. They were attention getters alright. It was the only time I let party guests fondle my boobs. And all night people were asking, “Who cut one?” They say it’s bad luck when a black cat crosses your path. In preparation for that party, mine kept coming in clawing at my blown up blimps and windy fanny blaster. It’s a good thing I wasn’t going as Minnie Mouse. And I couldn’t get the wig to look right. My daughter chimed in, “Trust me Mom. No one is going to notice your hair.”

Another year I went to a party as brash housewife LaVerne, the most colorful gum chewing character who I resurrected from The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. I was impeccably coifed in a tight fitting leopard skin jumpsuit. It was the gum chewing and lingo I had to perfect. Again, my cat sat staring at me while I practiced getting into character in front of the mirror. It was an opportune time to impersonate others as well. I spend forty-five fun filled minutes entertaining myself and my cat. Daffy Duck was a no brainer. But Elvis was a bit harder to achieve. I couldn’t sing I’m all Shook Up and pivot my pelvis at the same time. With all the fur my cat was leaving on my bedspread, I could have wrapped the thing around me and gone as a fur hide draped cavewoman. It turned out to be a rather ho hum party till I got there. I take that back. Carmen Miranda’s exotic fruity headdress hit the spinning ceiling fan.

Trick-or-treating with my kids was always memorable. There I was walking my small daughters through oddball suburbia wondering what else I would come across besides goblins and severed bloody heads. One year we walked up to a guy’s house who had dressed up geckos on his lawn, which pretty much convinced me that he had a reptile dysfunction. Another man came to the door with Gummy Snakes in his beard. One neighbor couldn’t be bothered with Halloween. He was putting out his Christmas decorations. Old lady Ferguson figured she could save about twenty dollars a year on Halloween candy, or keep children away period by lining her doorstep with vegetables. And a teen dressed as a pregnant Mother Hubbard started barfing up Smirnoff all over someone’s lawn. What a spooktacular event that was. I had to explain to my innocent youngsters that she might be experiencing morning sickness. They said, “But Mom, it’s nighttime.” The exhausted homeowner cleaned up her mess and called her parents. I was willing to keep all her candy, and call a cab to transport her to a detox treatment center.

We came across an individual dressed as Frankenstein, who was sitting beside his front door holding his head in his hand when we approached to ring the doorbell. It was by far, the single most traumatizing decoration ever. What looked like a dummy sitting in a chair turned totally real and began to move, scaring me to no end. At first, I thought maybe it was just a side effect from the new deodorant I was using. Jeepers creepers. Always be prepared for strange and spine-chilling human beings on Halloween. An exhumed corpse may come alive and tell you all the reasons why they love gutting little children. I suppose that stopping hearts was his way of reducing the overpopulation problem. He was passing out gumballs, which could get lodged in our windpipes and keep oxygen from getting to the brain. I wondered, what the devil are they breeding here? He must have referred his every decision to the tribunal of Transylvania. There’s a fine line between monster and normal neighbor, and I wasn’t willing to cross it. So I grabbed my girls and ran. I was frightened as frightened could be while my kids were yelling, “Wait Mom, we didn’t get our candy!”

Halloween isn’t the same without a haunted house. Most of those cursed establishments show a trickle of light here and there that provides a sufficient pathway throughout the deep dark horrific structures. One was so blindingly black that I had a death grip on my girl’s coat collars so I wouldn’t lose them. My youngest daughter complained that I was choking her, and I had this nerve-racking notion that someone was going to kill me at the same time I was killing my kid. A hand touched me and I asked, “C’mon whoever you are, lead me through this thing won’t you?” I just hate it when I smile at strangers and they don’t smile back, or I ask questions and don’t get good answers. All I heard was a baleful BOOOOOOOO. I felt as though I had entered Alfred Hitchcock’s residence and some psychos were never going to let me leave. Based on the cast of characters, I was pretty sure some celebrities were there. Like Adam Handler, Drew Scary, Charlie Scream, and Leonardo DeCapitation. Quentin Tarantulatino was there providing his satirical humor by dropping spiders onto the heads of all the tourers. I walked into that house fairly normal and came out with the need to be cast into an insane asylum. In light of those dim circumstances, the next year I sewed noisy little bells to my girl’s coats, carried a flashlight, and dressed up as Jack the Ripper. I probably should have hired a bodyguard.

OH SWEET DAIRIES OF LIFE, I’M GLAD I FOUND YOU

I am so thankful for Richard Dreyfuss. I just found out he eats at the same ice cream parlor as I do and eats the very same ice cream that I love. And since product availability varies at each location during different times of the year, he called their corporate headquarters asking that they not remove the luscious chocolaty flavor from our locale. They probably wouldn’t have complied if the begging had come from little old me.

Ice cream satisfaction goes way back to the days of the Good Humor truck. I had a hard time avoiding the daily siren call of Creamsicles, snow cones, or anything with a chocolate coating compatible with ice cream. We could hear the ringing bells a quarter of a mile away. That gave us time to hunt our mother down and have her go through her wallet to find enough money to satisfy our every need. I really wanted twenty dollar bills, since I had a hankering for about fifteen other needs on their menu. I figured the best way to bypass any conflict with my parents or siblings was to consume as much creamy goodness as I could, starting right after breakfast. But I was confronted with a strange paradox. Mom was a church going conservative who owned a beautiful home in the burb plus a colored TV, but never kept huge amounts of currency in her wallet. Life would have been so much better if she’d kept tons more cash on hand, so I could eat ice cream every hour on the hour.

One day I developed an ice cream headache, followed by digestive issues. My mother probably thought that broccoli and Brussels sprouts wouldn’t have done that to me. But ice cream cured a lot of other things like episodic migraines, sibling infarctions, and persistent schoolitis. My manifestations weren’t going to damper my chances of chasing the Good Humor man down the street. I figured ice cream a day kept the doctor away. But not in my case. Mom planned on taking me the next morning to see our family physician. Meanwhile, she assumed I was simply lactose intolerant and banned me from all dairy. She told me to eat fruit without whipped cream. It was like telling me I could have pizza, without the cheese. She might just as well have offered me a slab of tofu or a pile of pickled beets. I couldn’t watch Popeye for God’s sake, the way he scarfed spinach straight from the can. Yet neither my angry expression nor my confidently spoken demands caused her to give in. My needs were simple. I didn’t need anything else inside my system other than dairy products. Nothing increased the number of meals together unless my mother was making milkshakes or served us sundaes. I’m surprised I didn’t ask for cartons of ice cream for Christmas and my birthdays.

After Mom cut me off cold turkey that night, I went through major withdrawals. I went from being Good Humor’s biggest fan and top purchaser to watching my siblings eat creamy confections right in front of me. Mom said she would save the last of the ice cream for me once the doctor gave me the okay to eat it. But I was compelled to perform the complicated maneuver of sneaking into the kitchen, releasing the frosty ice milk from the freezer into the trembling hands of this tortured vessel. The kitchen adjoined the family room where my mother sat intently engulfed in the scandals that Peyton Place provided. Even if the house had been burning down, she was not going to get up to call the fire department. So I figured I had the chance at ice cream retrieval. I made several failed attempts, since my siblings were intermittently traipsing in and out of the kitchen and would surely snitch on me. The freezer was a pulsating aorta of dairy products and there were salivating brothers and sisters who anticipated it as well. Come to find out, one of them snatched my frozen dessert. I thought I would go insane. Every resident in our pagoda of rapscallion inhabitants had absolutely no idea where that ice cream went. Had my parents dusted for fingerprints, someone would have been sent to the gallows. And if I found out it was a several sibling thievery, I was prepared to boil the culprits in a bubbly cauldron and keep every future carton to myself. Someone also stole my favorite pair of socks. My mother found me lying awake late that night and asked me, “Must you sleep with one eye open?” I would rather she wake everyone up and announce that she was having a two hour seminar the next day on how not to steal stuff from each other.

The doctor confirmed my diagnosis. I didn’t have mad cow disease. Although everything about me was irritable except my stomach, and I missed out on a whole night of bliss. I just couldn’t believe I was doing it wrong all those years. I should have bought Good Humor treats and resold them to the highest bidding siblings, kept the cash for my own stash, and buried a metal container outside to keep my goodies in those long cold winters. Come spring, summer, and fall, it would have been a free-for-all those who didn’t cross me.

I have currently adopted the Nike slogan, slightly revised. I say, Just do it…later. What’s the rush to do anything else when eating ice cream should come first. It’s become the appetizer to my every meal. Besides, at this stage of my life, I can do anything I want.

LOVE IS A MANY CENSORED THING

My brain was my most superlative organ, up until I fell in love the first time. I was thirteen. Not a single force on earth could stop my trembling body. I had to suffer through the entire school year before seeing this guy at my grandparent’s cottage every summer. He and his cousins occupied two cabins across the lake. You sure learn to swim in a hurry when there’s a cute bushy blonde on the other side you want to manhandle. I was either going to swim across for some great kisses, or I was going to die trying. I made that decision in fifteen feet of lake water, and have survived to tell about it.

Recently I ran across a stack of love letters from my first crush. I probably should have sued him for fraud after he told me he would love me forever and went on to marry another woman. Love seemed so eternal at the time. One year my siblings and I contracted the mumps and measles and I sat lakeside staring at his cabin. I could only see him from a distance and it was pure agony. The next year we were like animals in heat. I had practically planned our futures together, although our unworldly and callow innocence kept us from even touching each other. That Christmas, I was hoping that my true love would send me that golden ring. When I didn’t get one in the mail, my heart continued to beat despite the imaginary knife that was wedged inside it. Even though I would have liked a sleepover with this friend every single night of the week, I wasn’t exactly ready to be tied down to holy wedlock at fourteen. Not when there were men who make one common mistake when they get married. They stop playing and flirting with their wives. In all fairness, women choose chocolate over their mates every day.

The year after our viral diseases, I was a little older but not that much wiser when I was willing to pick out plate patterns after playing spin-the-bottle in his barn…as if a kiss solidified our relationship. There were about eight of us twirling the empty glass decanter along with my boyfriend’s wily wise guy of a cousin, who also had a hopeless crush on me. He thought it was love at first sight. I didn’t think it was love at tenth sight. I suspected he came from the Garden of Eden where strutting around in a bulging bathing suit slash loincloth was customary. There is no substitute for flimsy nylon, except for maybe heavy duty canvas that would completely cover his cullions. It would be a trusted favorite among girls who don’t want to see a boy’s package.

I was hesitant in playing the bottle game since he tried directing the thing straight at me. I refused to kiss him because after that, he would have wanted to play naked Twister. I had a very hard time liking the brown eyed boy who kept saying, “Just digest those butterflies baby.” It was possible that he was just missing some nutrient-rich foods in his diet that would make him less of a scoundrel such as Choline, for normal brain development. I wasn’t sure. All I knew was that my tingles were reserved for his captivating cousin.

But the stalker wouldn’t go away. I would get up in the morning and stroll outside where he would be hiding around every corner. He caught me very serenely walking through lofty pine trees and came up behind me remarking, “You seem so unhappy. I’m here to change that.” A babe in the woods is susceptible to wolves and restless boys on the make. Despite all my unembellished appeals for solitude, he couldn’t help himself on another occasion when we got ice cream cones. He commented, “It must be love if your ice cream melted.” I would have preferred that my boyfriend treated me like some majestic endangered species. Not this guy. I wanted so badly to tell my shrewd pursuant, “Meet me back in these deep dark woods at midnight.” I would have shown up fully costumed in Reaper gear, ready for a castration.

After summer vacations, I went home and looked every day for the mailman to come, waiting for those love letters from my crush. One day I opened a note that read, “I miss you. Probably not near as much as you miss me, but I’m an awesome catch.” It was from the boy I despised. Every summer I would see him again and he gave me several more good reasons not to date him. He could make me cringe. He could pump blood faster than he could pump gas. His could create tidal waves when I was trying to sunbathe quietly on a floating raft. I wanted a love like Napoleon and Josephine, Richard and Liz, Morticia and Gomez, Romeo and Juliet. But I also wanted a relationship that would last longer than five days. And I surely wouldn’t commit to mutual suicide.

Years later, I was curious to know if I would be attracted to that loathsome lad at the cottage and choose him instead over my crush. Doting can go a long way. Maybe I should have accepted his fourteen marriage proposals. I went on to marry as well, but found matrimony to be very complex and psychological. One mate ends up logical, and the other a bit psycho. In my case, don’t ask me who was who.