Sunday, November 29, 2009

Crafts for Christmas - or Stuff I Shouldn't Do

Below is a piece that ran a few years back in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  However, due to my editor's snip happy fingers, the piece that made it to the paper was much abridged (thanks, Janet!  Just kidding).  This is the article, in its entirety.
 I promise, I'll get back to "normal" writing soon!  And, to my Aussie fans, send more comics!!!

I often tease about being crafty; I’m being facetious. Martha Stewart would have a heart attack at my house.  The only thing we have in common is cooking.  Crafting is for people with patience.
 I was watching her show the other day, and she was showing off all these homemade Christmas presents.  I’m sure if one of my kids had made one of them for me, I’d be THRILLED!  However, these were produced to be gifted upon your children.  All I could think of, though was what 16 year old wants a set of coasters made out of gift wrap?  As an adult, I’d think they were adorable.  But I’ve got kids who would think their mother had finally flipped her lid.
Besides, I don’t even own coasters – a magazine or newspaper works just fine, if we use anything.  Plus, we have “kid friendly” furniture (translation: really cheap, easily replaceable, & with no sentimental value whatsoever.).  A hole in a sock can easily be fixed with a safety pin, super glue, or just thrown away.  At my house, a sewing machine would be purely decorative.  But, we would get a good laugh if someone remarked that they didn’t know I sewed. 
All that being said, I have to admit I actually did do something really, really crafty one year.  I’d been out shopping at a mall, and just loved those huge, bushy garlands, dripping with ornaments.  I went everywhere to find one to buy.  Sadly, I had no luck.  Well, I’ll just make one myself, I thought.  That should have been my first clue – that I was thinking about crafting anything - ever.

But, once Lucy gets an idea, it’s pretty much a done deal.  I bought yards and yards of garland, and wired 4 strands together to make one big bushy one.  The week after my fingers healed, I set about stringing the lights.  Have you ever had an electric shock?  Ask me about it some time.
Two weeks, several trips to the craft store, countless bloody finger pricks & a few glue gun burns later, I stood back & congratulated myself on a massively bushy garland fit for any mall.  It was time to light her up & gloat.
I probably should have considered making it closer to the banister, though – all 15 feet of it.  I had to call the girls, a bunch of times.  They had pretty much avoided me during this project.  It was probably better that way.  Even though I used made up curse words, I used them quite a bit while making my mall worthy creation.
We all began to lug what was now being called, “The Beast”, to its’ resting place.  Two hours, several broken ornaments, and two irritated daughters later, we finally had “The Beast” up.
Now, I should point out that it wasn’t half bad.  And, after we’d vacuumed up the mess all over my living room floor, the hall, and down the stairs, it actually looked pretty.  We were ready to light it up.  (You have just GOT to know what’s coming!)
I had checked the strings of light to be sure that they were working before I began.  What I didn’t think about was connecting them together.  Turns out, there’re “male” and “female” plugs.  I’m trying to think of a way to put this delicately, so let’s just say my poor garland was celibate.  
I’m fairly sure my scream could be heard two towns over.  That, and the torrent of made up curse worse that seemed to flow from my mouth as if a damn had been burst & words I didn’t even know I knew spewed forth like molten lava, rolling gleefully & with utter abandon from my mouth.
Aubrie and Elyse were laughing, not knowing that I was about to turn my wrath on them.  As soon as they saw my face, they ran faster than a Mormon missionary from a bar at happy hour.  Yep, I’d proven again that I was no Martha Stewart.
I stood there glaring at The Beast.  Then, I fumed, fussed, plotted, planned & even cajoled.  There was NO WAY I was taking all those ornaments off that stupid garland to start over.  Finally, a decision was made.  I squared my shoulders, lifted my chin, grabbed my purse & went to the store for more lights.  I planned to drape them over, under, & around the decorations, making a chain to plug all the lights into together.
By the time I was done, I lit that bad boy up – and, boy did it ever LIGHT UP!   If I’d known Morse code, I could have signaled a space invasion from opposite sides of the planet.  Fortunately – for the family – no one said a word about the brief interruption in power, or the fact that their eyes were burning as surely as if they had been staring at the sun.
They oohed & ahhed, & told me what a lovely job I’d done (after they’d pilfered through their rooms to find sunglasses).  They didn’t think I’d noticed that they occasionally glanced nervously at the sky in the event an errant plane thought it had found its runway.
  But it was done, it was up, & I was finished!  I’d had my fill of crafts for Christmas for, well, ever.  My new motto is if I can’t buy it, we don’t need it.  And if I want it badly enough, I can usually whine & annoy someone else to do it for me.  To me, Martha, THAT’S a good thing.

It’s been a few years now, and I’ve learned a thing or two. Dogs and the beast don’t get along well.  As they bound up the stairs, their tails inevitably break a few ornaments or take out a string of lights.  By the time we take it down, the beast looks like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  The next year, we tie it to the banister and THEN replace broken or tattered ornaments.  We don’t even bother re-doing the lights.  We just drape new strings on top of the old ones.  Once it’s lit, though, you can barely notice (that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it). 

So, if you come to my house at Christmas time, feel free to admire the Beast.  Word of advice, however; don’t look too closely or allow a body part to come into contact with it.  Remember that shock thing??

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Cell Phone Wars

When it comes to technology, I’m like pitting Gomer Pyle against Steven Hawking.  My kids keep trying to drag me into this century, but I always manage to find something to hold onto.

However, I have had a cell phone for a few years.  But, only as a matter of convenience.  You know, the car broke down, I’m at the grocery store, do we need anything?  Having one and knowing what it can do are two very different things.

So, when my husband, Matt, looked at my cell bills and realized that we were paying $45.00 a month for over 600 minutes, but I only used around 30, he decided it was time for a change.  Of course, I whined like a toddler being weaned from the pacifier.  After 2 years, I pretty much figured out how to use the phone I had.  But, logic won.  We switched to one of those “pay as you go” phones.  He asked what I wanted in a phone.  And here was my simple list:

1.       Must be a flip phone.  I know this is old school, but I’ve always felt that a phone should be large enough that you actually know that it’s there.  I did have one of those small ones for a while, but I always felt like Andre the Giant using a paper cup and string.  When people would call, I’d hold it to my ear to hear, then move it to my mouth to speak.  Ear, mouth, ear, mouth – honestly, I must have looked like a chipmunk on crack.  That phone didn’t last long.

2.      Must have a large address book.  For years, I lugged around a large organizer, solely to keep people’s phone numbers and email addresses.  It took a while to understand how handy the “contacts” portion of my cell was.  The only problem I have is that I can’t figure out how to put spaces between each word.  Fortunately, we homeschool, so I can decipher pretty much anything.

3.      Must ring LOUD and vibrate.  It had to be loud, because I can never hear those things.  The vibrating feature was a must as the stupid thing was usually at the bottom of my purse.  The vibrating allowed me to reach in and find it; or at least give me a shot at it.  Bonus, I usually find loose change.

Matt bought the phone that had all my criteria.  When we got it home, my daughter, Elyse, had a chance to look it over.  She exclaimed, “Mom, this is a camera phone!  Now you don’t have to try to fish your camera out of that suitcase you call a purse!”   I, of course, am thinking, oh, great, something with a lens.  I wonder how fast it’ll take me to break this bad boy.

She played with it a while, then asked if I’d like to try to take a picture.  She pointed to a button on the side and explained that all I have to do is point and shoot.  I held the lens thingy to my eye, and told her I couldn’t see anything.  “Is this thing on?  Elyse, I can’t see anything!”  I kept squinting through the little hole, but nothing.

Of course, my family is in stitches on the floor.  I couldn’t understand what was so darned funny.  We just got this thing, and it’s broken.  Finally, they turned the phone around and explained that I was trying to see through the part that was taking the actual pictures.  The “view finder” was the big screen on the other side.

The stupid phone also came equipped with “blue tooth” technology.  This is where you get this small device to stick in your ear, to both hear & SPEAK!  I looked at it & thought, “Beam me up, Scotty”.  Then I laughed really hard & gave it to the Boy.   

Another feature on my new little gadget is the speaker phone.  I had no clue until I hit the button by mistake, and suddenly everyone at the grocery store knew we were out of toilet paper.  Of course, I didn’t know how to turn it off, so I just hung up (and got the toilet paper).

So, yes, I’m far behind when it comes to this new age of technology.  But, so what?  Most of my friends are in the same boat.  And, if you’d like a laugh, give me a call on my cell.  I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll hear something like, “Why can’t I hear anything?  What did I just do?  Is this thing on?”

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Whatever happened to 70's sticom characters?

A friend of mine asked an innocent question, whatever happened to the first Mrs. Brady?  Being a writer, & sometimes a very evil writer, I responded with this a very scary story.  I probably shouldn't post it here, though.  It might give you nightmares; I can be extremely evil (especially when you take into consideration that I was working on my crime thriller).  Next, I was asked whatever happened to Carol Brady’s first husband.  This is what I conjured up for him:

Carol's 1st hubby was a door to door candy salesman. Turns out, he was peddling more than candy. It also turns out, he liked men. One day, he was caught by his lover's partner, who flew into a jealous rage & promptly beat him to death. At the funeral, Carol looked into the coffin & said, "I guess life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get".

Another friend then asked, what about the original Mr. Partridge?  Here we go!

Mr. Partridge owned a successful greenhouse. Unbeknownst to Shirley, he was also a secret agent who'd stumbled upon a plot to kill the President. Through a series of recorded wire taps, he captured the evidence. He was going to give the tapes to his superiors, when he was attacked by his adversary in his nursery. His boss managed to get to him, as he was breathing his last, laboured breaths. "Where did you hide the evidence?" Gasping for air, he whispered, "in . . . . the . . . . pear tree."

And, the last of the 70’s sitcom history.  Whatever happened to Mel from Alice?

It took some digging, but I FINALLY found out what happened to Mel. After selling the diner, he moved to Las Vegas to do some gambling. Being a hard worker, he quickly grew tired & took a job as a chef in a high end restaurant. The problem was, he couldn't get used to the new lingo. Java for coffee, pasta for noodles, etc., & was constantly messing up. After weeks of being yelled at, he'd finally had enough. He picked up a steaming pot of polenta & dumped it over the boss' head. As he was being led to jail (where he had a heart attack & sadly, died), a waitress asked, "Mel, why'd you do it??" Over his shoulder, he hollered back, "Miss my grits"

You know, I have to walk around with all this stuff going through my mind!  Aren’t you glad you’re you??

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Glamorous Birthday

I woke up at the crack of 8:00 (ish).  It takes a good half hour between waking up to physically getting out of bed due to whining about how much I hate mornings, hitting the snooze button a few hundred times, complaining about my aching back, & checking to see if there’s an errant dog or two to step over.

Then, it’s on to makeup.  Now, folks, when you’re as old as I am, makeup is no longer optional!  This procedure takes about 45 minutes, as I have to use industrial strength spackle to fill in my lines & wrinkles.  And even though it’s strong, I have to wait a few minutes for it to dry so I can apply the second coat & then sand it down.  Next comes all the concealing, de-puffing, & artificial colour additions to my pasty, white face.  Why didn’t my Grandmother’s Native American genes get passed to me?

Next, comes the clothing ritual.  Men, cover your ears for this part.  I gather my boobs up from around my waist & spend about 10 minutes stuffing them into my bra.  It takes a while, because gravity keeps insisting that they remain right where they are.  After this, I slip into something a little less comfortable – Spanx.

After I’d struggled & done some Olympic worthy gymnastic moves, I finally managed to bring the Spanx up to where it’s supposed to be.  Only to end up with a muffin top.  This you have to stuff back down into the, well, let’s just call it what it is, girdle.  Where is gravity when you need it?  When this fun little exercise in futility is over, you notice that your rear is peeking out at odd angles.  It, too, must be stuffed; this time, UP into the girdle.

Although this is a little off point, I feel that it begs to be said.  Men, unlike women, would NEVER EVER EVER do any of the things we do.  I’ve seen 350 pound men on the beach wearing nothing but a Speedo.  At least, I HOPE he’s wearing a Speedo.  You can’t tell because his gut is covering most of his mid-section & his back hair looks like a sweater.  Then, he’ll strut down the beach like he should be on the cover of Playgirl.  A woman, however, will stress over gaining a single pound, buy the most restrictive bathing suit with a built in girdle to mask as many (what we see as) “flaws” as is humanly possible.

Furthermore, a woman will dry herself off in the shower & have her robe on before she gets out to avoid seeing herself naked in the mirror.  A man will get out of the shower soaking wet, stand there admiring himself, & turn to you saying, “Hey baby, like what you see?”  As he’s patting his protruding belly.  I am firmly convinced that God is a man.

Then, we go on to clothes & hair.  Clothes usually take a while because I still keep a couple of dresses whose size I’ve surpassed.  But, ever the optimist, I’ve just got to try one or two on, in case of a miracle.  My hair is another ½ hour.  Those of you who’ve seen me, know that it’s pretty long, so I wear it up (age appropriate).  This entails a barrage of bobby pins & enough hair spray to put a boulder sized hole in the ozone layer directly above my house.

After the torturous morning rituals, I was off on an equally glamorous trip – Walmart.  The dogs need bones & food – again.  Even though we buy dog food in 50 pound bags, I have to purchase it once, sometimes twice, a week.  The kids need cereal & cereal accoutrements, as they went through 2 gallons of milk in one morning.  It’s also time to gather more laundry supplies.  And, of course, I need more hair spray.

Now, on to the pharmacy to collect the medicines that are now necessary for my existence.  Water pills, thyroid pills, blood pressure pills, ulcer pills, etc.  Man, I long for the days when I only had to take ONE little pill.

Next stop on my exciting birthday adventure was the liquor store.  I’m hoping against hope that there will be something, anything that has the ability to make one happy on the one hand, yet forget your age on the other.  I know, good luck with that one.  However, as some of you know, I found a decent bottle of wine.  I mean the liquid kind, not my normal “whine”.  Then it was back home to tackle the laundry.  I’d finally cleaned the mountain of clothes from vacation, when several foot hills sprung up in its place.   

Thankfully, I didn’t have to cook dinner.  Friday nights at our house is hot wings & pizza night.  Since Matt used to make them in the restaurant, Friday night’s meal preparation falls to him.  Of course, he wanted to make the day special, so he purchased ready made dough balls.  He even bought a “gourmet” sauce.  Now, I know Michele is going to think I have lost my sense of taste, but honestly, one pizza sauce tastes pretty much the same as any other.  Of course, I didn’t tell Matt that.  It was so sweet that he went that extra mile.

And before any of you think that my Matt is a slouch in the romance department (Krista, get your mind out of the gutter), he was adorable.  He came home with a dozen long stemmed red roses, a beautiful card & a bottle of expensive perfume.  What he didn’t know, however, is that the perfume he so lovingly picked out makes me sneeze.  I already have a full bottle on my dressing table.  That little nugget of information will never reach his ears, however.  He’ll think it’s the best perfume I’ve ever smelled, even as he’s wondering if I have hay fever due to all the sneezing. 

But, all in all, it was a terrific day.  After dinner, I grabbed my cheap bottle of wine & Matt & I went out to the Jacuzzi (where I promptly fell asleep).   But, being old, I’ll remember this birthday completely different than it actually was.  I’ll look back with fond thoughts (aka delusions) of breakfast in bed, being lavished with sparkly baubles, riding in a convertible for the parade thrown in my honour, & the 7 course gourmet meal & champagne that was brought on golden dishes & fed to me by young, handsome waiters who vied for my attention.  It could happen - sigh.  But,

7 course gourmet meal, $500.00
Sparkly baubles, convertible for the parade, $100,000.00

Having good friends, terrific children, & a husband who adores me – Priceless.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tamara & Michele's Excellent Adventure

Well, we’re back.  And, thank God Michele went with me.  Apparently, the Garmin was programmed incorrectly (who could have seen that one coming).  Had we followed the directions that the computer kept screaming at us, we’d have unintentionally been Thelma & Louise.  I say that because I’m quite certain that it would have launched us off a bridge & into the Schuylkill River.

We wandered around the Sports complex section of Philadelphia.  Michele saved the day, because she spotted the NovaCare Center.  We finally made it there. 

We were going up the stairs to the building, when Michele suggested I take a picture.  Well, as she said, “After that guy gets out of the way”.  The guy was taking way too much time to get down the stairs, & Michele was getting a little annoyed - & who could blame her.
That’s when it hit me, & I reached out my hand & said, “Mr. McNabb?  My name is Tamara Kells.”  Yup, it was quarterback Donovan McNabb.  I was happy just to have met him, when Michele said “go take a picture with him!!”  So I did, after I stopped shaking.  He was very nice, asked some questions & was more than patient with me.  It was hard for me not to pinch his cute little cheeks.

We made it into the building, when I began to notice some of the Eagles were, in fact, in said building.  Now, had I known that, I would have studied the roster so I could call them by their names.  Instead, we just watched them all go by & smiled & said hello.  Now THAT was surprising – the fact that they were there & I didn’t stop them even if I didn’t know their names.  And, no, I didn’t see Michael Vick. That I know of.  It’s probably a good thing that Big John Runyan wasn’t there.  He’s my favorite Eagle of all time.

Derek came down, & brought out a big ol’ box, filled with Eagles t-shirts.  We pulled the car up, & he loaded it into the trunk.  He was very sweet, told me that what we were doing was really nice, & that if I needed anything else, to let him know (he doesn’t know me very well, does he?).  Bonus, he was really cute.

It was too early to go to the Phillies, so Michele took me to Tony Luke’s.  Apparently, I was supposed to be impressed, but I’d never heard of this place.  This quickly became evident to Michele, who thought I should be admitted to the nearest hospital for crazy people (not that she would have been far from wrong).

Still, good food.  Then, it was on to the Phillies.

We went into the wrong parking lot at first.  A really, really sweet girl helped me by taking me into the building to an office where I was directed to the right place.  At this point, I should note that the gate I went through to go into said office was one way only.  I was on the wrong side of the gate, while Michele & the car were on the other.  Thankfully, she noticed my plight, & opened the door for me.  If not, I’d still be wandering around aimlessly, begging for alms.

We finally get to the right area, but, sadly, the office was a good clip from where we’d parked.  Normally, a light walk wouldn’t have been a problem.  But, noooo.  I’d decided to wear a wedged pair of heels.  My feet were killing me, & I was wobbling all the way there.  I kept glancing at Michele, wondering if she was strong enough to give me a piggy back ride.  I decided against it, since I couldn’t guarantee Alex that I’d get her home safe & sound as it was (due to traffic, the long drive & my driving “skills”).  However, if I delivered her with a sprained or paralyzed spine, I somehow doubt he’d let her accompany me on any future excellent adventures.  I carried on like a trooper (a big, whiney trooper).

We made it into the building & met Scott Palmer.  He took us into the elevator, & the next thing we knew, we were on a behind the scenes tour of the ballpark.  A very, very quick paced tour.  Mr. Palmer, aka Jesse Owens, seemed to think we were prepared for a nice jog.
We went into the clubhouse, & Michele took pictures of all of the guy’s (I don't know what they’re called) locker thingys.  We saw the batting cages, went out onto the ball park, & Michele was able to take a picture with the World Series trophy.  Thankfully, Mr. Palmer took the picture, as I couldn’t take a clear picture of a snail taking a nap.  I think I may have annoyed Mr. Palmer, though, because the first thing that came out of my unedited mouth was, "Gee, this is a lot smaller than a football field".    

Michele was able to keep up the brisk pace.  I (however) was lagging behind, concentrating on not falling off my shoes & breaking my ankle.  And if that wasn’t enough to keep me occupied, I began to have heat flashes.  But a good scout is never unprepared, so I fished a fan out of my purse.  I was able to surreptitiously fan myself until we rounded a corner.  I dropped the fan. 

Michele should really consider trying out for the Phillies.  That girl practically dove to pick it up before our guide could see.  But, ever the spry guy, he turned around & noticed.  Good times.

We FINALLY made it to Palmer’s office for, “the interview”.  He left & brought back some woman, who is their veteran’s affairs representative.  We sat & listened to the stories of what they do for soldiers. And honestly, it’s impressive the work they do behind the scenes.  I have to give them that.  They listed all the good things they do; & all without recognition.  So, kudos to them – seriously.

That was when I decided to ask if they would at least send something over to Rick & his unit.  And they said YES!!! 

They even went one step further.  Mr. Palmer would like Rick’s APO address, & they’ll see to it that his unit receives some type of care package.  My paper wouldn’t even have to pay the postage.  I’ll send that to him (Palmer, aka Jesse Owens) tomorrow, with a reminder that a lot of people’s eyes will be on him.  Hopefully, the kids will get some cool stuff.

So, there you have it, folks, Tamara & Michele’s excellent adventure.  And, again, I can’t thank Michele enough for accompanying me on it.  If not for her excellent navigational skills, I’d probably still be wandering around Philadelphia, the shore, the mountains, or Delaware.

Tomorrow, I’m off to interview Kurt Landes, the GM of the Iron Pigs, Phillies’ minor league team.  This time, I’m wearing flat shoes & I’m tossing the Garmin out the window.  It’s only Allentown, after all.  How lost can I get? 

Wait, never mind.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'm Too Stupid for my Car

I'm posting Kimberly Hedrick's favourite article. This appeared in T&C about 2 years ago.

I’m Too Stupid For My Car:

My husband, Matt, & I finally bought a new car. A brand new sporty Pontiac Grand Prix. To make a long story short, we’ve never in our married life paid more than $2500 for ANY car. I’ve been driving a 20 year old Chrysler for what seems like forever. I quickly became amazed & confused at the technology in these “new fangled contraptions”. Which, of course, meant I would never in a million years be able to figure it all out. No surprise there, I guess. Compared to this, my old car was the Fred Flintstone buggy in a Jetson world. And, trust me folks, I’m much more comfortable in the stone ages. Allow me to tell you about the many features my car has, how I found out about them, & how badly I use them.

The first thing I found out was that the windshield wipers work – really, really well. How did I find that out, you ask? Well, we were bringing it home from the dealership on a beautiful, sunny day. The kids were in the car with me & Matt followed in his van. We were SOOO ready to look all cool in my sporty new car. And that’s when it happened. I accidentally hit the windshield wipers, & couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to turn them off. All 20 miles to my house, they were going at seemingly warp speed. The kids gradually slid down in their seats so as not to be seen with the crazy lady with the wipers on. I look in the rear view mirror & see Matt laughing so hard I thought he was going to get in an accident. This should have been my first clue that this was going to be WAY tougher than I thought.

My car came with Onstar. I’ve heard of it, but didn’t have a clue what it was or what it did. With that feature, my car has its own phone & number – ITS OWN PHONE NUMBER!! Man, it’s like Kit from Knight Rider with a Neanderthal at the wheel. The buttons for this curious new piece of technology are located discreetly in the rear view mirror (that, I know how to work – the mirror, I mean). There’s the phone button, the Onstar button & the emergency button. Thankfully, the emergency button is spaced farther over & has red markings. Unfortunately, the phone & Onstar buttons are right next to each other. (You’ve got to know where this is going). I love the phone feature, because I don’t have to find my cell phone, which is always at the bottom of my purse. So I use this feature, a lot. However, I seem to always push Onstar instead of the phone button. The operator comes on & says, “Hello, Mrs. Kells, what can I do for you today?” They were so sweet. But after getting it wrong for the hundredth time, this is what I get now: “Mrs. Kells (heavy sigh), did you push the wrong button again??” I was very proud, though, when one day I pushed the Onstar button by mistake. I searched my brain frantically for a reason other than the obvious, I’m an idiot. Ah-hah! I came up with, “Bubba! Did you hit that button? Bad dog! Sorry about that!” Happy with my quick thinking, I hung up - & hit the phone button on accident.

The car has an on board computer, that can tell me how many miles I can drive on the current tank of gas, the weather, if the tire pressure is low, & so on. It actually sends a monthly email to my husband, after giving itself a check up! This feature makes me laugh really hard. If I can't operate two simple buttons on a mirror, what in the world would I do with an entire computer? Besides, if I even tried to touch it, it would probably tell Matt on me.

Another cool little feature is that I can remote start my car up to 500 feet with my key chain. Honestly, at first, I was afraid to use it. I figured that as soon as a car this advanced had the opportunity to get away, I’d be staring at the tail lights. To this day, as I approach, I swear I see the headlights narrow like a child glaring at a spoonful of cough syrup. All the little computers are trying to decide if escape is possible. I wonder if it knows that even if it does manage to flee, Onstar will find it. Take THAT – stupid car!

All in all, all this technology is pretty much wasted on me. Maybe in a few years I’ll have figured out what all the buttons do. Right now, I’m afraid to touch the wrong one for fear I’ll find I have an ejector seat. Imagine my panic when it began to get dark & I couldn’t figure out how to turn the lights on! But, it has a nice, smooth ride, unlike the tank I used to drive. And, the kids & Matt know how things work (even Dakota, the 11 year old boy!). So, until I get used to it, I’ll have to always have one of them in the car with me. Too bad, though, because it has a really cool sound system. Guess it’ll be a while before I can blast Def Leppard. Oh, well. Times are changing, & either you go with it, or get out of the way. I’m looking into turning invisible.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fire - again (sigh)

Yup, more fire to report. And this time, it wasn’t at the shore; it was in my kitchen.

I put a large pot of water on to boil & left the room for a moment. When I returned, smoke was billowing from the kitchen. I round the corner & was horrified to see a ball of fire on my stove. Turns out, I lit the wrong burner & the stack of pot holders on the stove was a glorious fire ball. I grabbed the small section that wasn’t on fire & threw the bulk of the burning cloths into the sink & doused them with water. However, being new to fire fighting, I didn’t realize that would increase the already choking level of smoke.

Ever the Ethel to my Lucy, Elyse ran in to help (that's her picture up top).

We managed to get the last of the fireball into the sink & decided that we would perish soon if we didn’t open windows & turn off the air conditioner. I should point out at this time that our house is old, & the windows are heavy. We rush over & begin to lift the beast, when I lost my grip. The heavy window came crashing down, & smashed Elyse’s finger. So now I’m tending to Elyse’s finger, the house is rapidly filling with smoke, I knew I had to open the window & I should turn the a/c off. If this isn’t a recipe for disaster, I don’t know what is.

Finally, we determined that Elyse’s finger wasn’t broken, & had some of the windows & doors open, when Matt comes up the stairs & into the mix. Realizing that this was, in fact, an actual emergency, & not just one of my Lucy moments, he began to help open the other windows. While he’s opening other windows, he’s muttering about the “blankety blank” smoke detector not going off & how we could have all been killed & what was I thinking turning on the burner & leaving the room?

Boy’s friends were over at the time, & like moths to a flame, were anxious to get their front row seat to the screaming woman, injured daughter, smoke filled, man cursing carnival that was playing out before their eyes. I half expected one of them to ask if we had popcorn.

We managed to get the smoke out of the house, yet there’s still a tinge of the odor when I turn on the oven. But, thankfully, we’re all safe & the house didn’t burn down around us. Yet.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Dog Named Bubba

Our family adopted our labs two years ago. Their original names weren’t dumb enough, so we changed them to Bubba & Mae-B (pronounced “maybe”). They were 3 & 4, respectively. Mae-B is your normal, yellow lab. She’s loving, playful, & willing to go anywhere with anyone at any time as long as they pet her. Bubba, on the other hand, is her polar opposite. He’s black, the size of a small pony, &, sadly, stupid; really, really stupid, but in a good, cute way. We also surmised that he had been abused, as he was quite skittish & never wagged his tail. I used to inspect it to see if it was broken somewhere. Of course, my husband, Matt, would make fun of me & ask where I got my vet training.

When we first got him home, my daughter, Aubrie (the dog whisperer), was the only one he wanted to be around. She’d walk into a room, & right behind her was her shadow. But, she loves him & he loves her right back. Next to gain his trust was Elyse & Dakota, followed by me. Matt is just now getting his grudging seal of approval. He's quite the comic, even though he never means to be.

Bubba had a Flintstone sized bone that he carried around the house. Between his size, & the added width of the bone, he had trouble fitting though doors. Honestly, it is pretty funny watching this goliath trying over & over – think pinball machine & you’ve got the visual. If we were nice people, we’d probably have turned his head for him. Seriously, though, it was just too funny. He’s afraid to drop it because Mae-B would pick it up. The ensuing tug of war is comical.

Bubba hates change as much as Britney Spears hates underwear (& apparently, long term relationships). Matt recently installed a tile floor in the kitchen. When Bubba saw it, you could literally see what he was thinking. “Are you people KIDDING me?” He often loses his footing. & ends up sliding on it as if it was ice. This, of course, freaks him out & he runs away. Well, kind of runs away. It takes him a few seconds to catch his footing. In the meantime, his legs are going a mile a minute & he looks like he should be in a cartoon.

Bubba is finally wagging his tail, & I kind of wish he didn’t learn. With one swipe, he took out a string of lights at Christmas. He’s knocked over lamps, tables, & the occasional kid. If I hear something crash, I don’t even have to wonder what happened. I just yell to the kids, “Bubba?”

But on the bright side, he loves us & we love him right back. He may not be the brightest bulb on the planet, but he's ours. And we couldn't be more happy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fire at Shore


On last year's trip to the shore, we had not one, but two close calls with fires. The first one came after my beloved mother in law, Gretchen, helped dry Dakota’s clothes. He’d been in the ocean. She put the oven on low, put his pants & hoodie in the oven, & dried them successfully.

The following day, Elyse’s clothes were also wet (this time from the now traditional tsunami that swept through). Remembering her Grandmother’s ingenuity, she, too, used the oven to dry her clothes. However, being new to the subtleties of oven drying, she put her pants directly on the heating element. And, to speed the drying process, put the oven on 350 degrees. Needless to say, we smelled smoke.

Thankfully, Matt removed the fire ball that had been Elyse’s jeans & was able to douse the flames. Smoke filled the room, & we were concerned that the fire department would be summoned shortly. Which they were.

The following day, a new “neighbor” moved into the apartment next door. She was an odd woman, but sweet. She entertained nightly & seemed to have an aversion to being inside her apartment. Outside in the shared hall drew the lion’s share of the crowd. Massive quantities of alcohol were consumed. We knew this due to the many, many empty bottles surrounding the extra large common trash receptacle. But, that was nothing compared to her cooking habits.

Apparently she enjoyed barbequing so much that she brought down a miniature hibachi. As most folks do, she set about getting the coals ready. Unlike some, she appeared to use half a bottle of lighter fluid on this miniature hibachi. She withdrew into her room to take a “nap” & let the coals get hot. I say “nap” because I think that sounds better than “passed out”.

And, yes, the coals got hot. In fact, flames erupted, & lept to the balcony above. Rousing our neighbor proved futile, so Matt & some others were able to douse the flames. Right before the fire department got there.

Normal people, upon finding that they almost burnt down an entire block, would determine that this wasn’t, perhaps, the best course of action to pursue. Our neighbor, however, did not. She tried again, & this time, thankfully, with no further incident. That being said, Matt & I had the kids throw their clothes into our suitcase. We wanted to be prepared in the event that we’d have to flee to avoid becoming our neighbor’s main course.

Thankfully, the remainder of the weekend went by smoothly. But.... This year's trip was not without incident. I'll write more about, "The Bird", later. In my crazy life, it's always something.

After all, I AM the Brunette Lucy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back from Ocean City

We're back from our vacation to Ocean City, NJ! We actually had good weather - for once. Matt didn't even have to bring out the parkas, inflatable boats, ark supplies, nothing! Sadly, he wasn't sure what to do with himself.

Boy decided that a dip in the ocean was a good idea. Of course, the ocean water was still freezing. It took a while to defrost him. I was a little worried about brain damage for a while, though. He wanted to go back in. Sigh. Fortunately, he's completely thawed, & his lips aren't that weird shade of blue anymore.

Thankfully, Elyse didn't light her pants on fire this time. Aubrie didn't get sick, Matt only got mildly sunburned, & I did what I do best - shopped.

We left feeling great & Ocean City was still standing. Of course, the kids have standing orders never to look back. Just in case.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Flood Alert!

Just wanted to make everyone aware. There will be rain like you've never seen this weekend. How can I say that with such certainty? Because, our family is going down to Ocean City for a long Mother's Day weekend.

We've been doing this for 21 years, & it has never failed. It rains, and rains, and rains. I'm not talking scattered showers or your run of the mill rain storms. I'm talking about torrential, sideways, build an ark fast, type of rain. Oh, & wind. Almost hurricane force wind, & ocean swells of several feet. This is so that even if you can find a place to take shelter along the boardwalk, a small tidal wave will most certainly find you. Only industrial strength umbrellas can withstand the force. And even they have turned themselves inside out.

Another thing you can be sure of is that Sunday will be beautiful. The sun will come out in all its glory; reminiscent of the type of glorious scene Noah saw. The wind will be a gentle breeze, & the weather will be a balmy 80. Why do I know this? Because we leave on Sunday. This, too, has never failed.

Well, I've got to go. We're packing up now. Matt's loading lumber & tools on top of the van, along with schematics for rapid ark building.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Twitter stuff

I have an account on Twitter. I have no clue how to use it. So, I've taken to writing really dumb "musings". Then, I stumbled upon a link in Twitter, that linked it to the blog. So, even if you don't use it, you can still see how dumb my musings really are. And, if you know what I'm actually supposed to be doing on Twitter, would you put me out of my misery? And, probably anyone else that decides to "follow" me. The link is on the left of this page.

This ought to be good!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Boys & Girls


When my girls were little, they played with Barbies. They’d raid my closet, jewelry box & makeup to play dress up. But, not in the creepy, “Toddlers in Tiaras”, beauty contest kind of way. We watched sweet “videos” like “The Little Mermaid” & “Aladdin”.

When they had their friends over, they held tea parties. I’d make little peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, put in their favourite video & they danced around & sang like happy little idiots . I’d do their hair & let them play with my makeup. Who cared if they got lipstick over most of their face? That’s why God made face cream. I didn’t have to explain to their friends’ moms why I was returning their children looking like clowns. They knew exactly what had happened. Aubrie & Elyse came home plenty of times with blue eye shadow that was deposited in greater quantity on their foreheads than eyelids.

Enter The Boy, Dakota. When he was little, the girls drew him into their make believe world. They considered him their own walking, talking doll. That boy wore more makeup, bows, dresses, wigs & sequins than most 3 year old boys should ever have to endure. They’d take that cute little curl at the top of his head & attach some type of bow or barrette (complete with rhinestones) to hold it firmly in place. I still have a picture of him in a tutu, holding a wand. The girls & their friends were gathered around him, giddy with their masterpiece.

Then, The Boy grew up. And he has friends. Friends who are also boys. Remember all that fun, squishy girl stuff I spoke longingly about? Well, just throw that out the window. Boys are different. Really, really different. My entire mindset was to be changed. And not necessarily for the better.

The days of dressing up in frilly clothes have been replaced by dressing up as Darth Vader. Of course, Boy had to have the Darth Vader mask, which comes complete with a voice distorter & heavy breathing. Remember when that WASN’T a good thing – the heavy breathing, I mean?

The cute fairy wands are now light sabers. Boy tells his friends to bring theirs over, & the battle ensues. Unfortunately, most of the wars have been waged in my living room. The casualties, sadly, have been pieces of art, pictures & lamps. Thankfully, Matt & I planned for that. We only buy cheap stuff so that if it gets broken, it’s not so bad. I didn’t, however, plan for how much was to be broken at the hands of Boy & his friends! On the bright side, I get to change the look of my living room every six months or so.

The dulcet sounds of the Little Mermaid singing, “Wandering free, Wish I could be, Part of that world” have been replaced with the sound of swords clashing & voices yelling, “en guarde”. The only music that’s played comes from Rock Band. The songs are usually some grunge band that seems to be particularly irritated about one thing or another. What, I have no idea. I don’t understand a word they say. I’m told that the words are scrolled across the top of the screen. Problem is, they’re so small, I need binoculars to read them. That’s ok, as I somehow doubt I want to know what it is they’re lamenting, no, make that screaming, about.

Soft, stuffed teddy bears are now walking, talking robots. Robots that screech, “Intruder alert, intruder alert”. Night vision & spy gear are littered throughout our house. Boy even rigged the entrance to his room with some type of electric beam. Now, whenever I go in there, an alarm blares & the robots attack.

Barbies have been replaced with GI Joe & army men. His room is more often than not a war zone. He has army men & tanks stationed all over, readying for the imaginary war. Tanks with flashing lights & realistic battle sounds. Loud realistic battle sounds. Pillows are mountains, rugs are lakes, dressers are cliffs, & the army men are strategically placed all over them. I’m beginning to think Boy will end up being in the military. At least he could use his stealth battle plans to some type of use. Hopefully, not for evil.

Food lasts in my house about as long as it takes me to get it out of the grocery bags. I’m constantly begged to get the normal, kid “staples”. You know, Fritos, soda, cupcakes, & anything that’s sweet, salty, full of preservatives or fried. Stuff that makes me gain weight just being in its vicinity. I do wonder, though, if there’s some type of growth hormone in junk food. Boy & his friends are shooting up like fireworks.

Yes, there’s a difference between boys & girls; don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. And if you don’t believe me, have yourself one or three. But the differences are funny, baffling, heart wrenching, hilarious, & just about every adjective under the sun. I wouldn’t change one second of every minute with my kids.

Now, bring on the grand babies!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hoping to Write

Last night, I went to the library to hear a well known author, Jonathan Maberry, speak. He was telling us about the nuts & bolts of the writing business. Sadly, as I had thought, my genre (a sad attempt at humor) isn’t in demand these days. Boogers.

I was hoping to hear that the people whose style I attempt to invoke, such as Erma Bombeck, Dave Barry, etc. were in demand. Heavy Sigh & dashed hopes!

On the bright side, I can still write & bother you, you lucky minions! Ok, I’m done.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


My husband, Matt, snores like a bear. As a matter of fact, when we were first married, I barely slept the night through. It didn’t matter if he was lying down, or relaxing in his easy chair. As soon as we fell asleep, the sounds that resonated from that man were heard in every part of our house.

I went in search of every ear plug known to man. I put in foam plugs that were supposed to mold to my ear, thus eliminating any sound from getting in. Problem with those, however, were that they felt weird. I couldn’t take them for long, as I’d have to pull them out & then clean my ears. I tried plastic & water filled ones & even an industrial pair given to me by my Uncle Warren. Nothing. Either they were too much of a pain to keep in, they didn’t work, or they worked so well, I couldn’t hear my alarm clock.

So, I did what humans have an uncanny ability to do – adjust. I got used to the sound of a freight train next to me all night. I even stopped worrying about the pictures on the wall falling on me.

When the kids were babies, Matt would hold them on his massive chest in his chair. They grew up thinking all men snored loud enough to rattle pictures. When they were cranky, Matt would get them, sit in his chair, fall asleep & snore. This would put them right out. I have a myriad of pictures of this big man with these tiny babies sound asleep on their daddy. As they got older, nightmares or thunderstorms would send them into our room. We’d set up beds, & they’d fall fast asleep listening to Matt snore. Thunderstorms had nothing on him!

Then, one day, we found out that he needed surgery on his heart. They did test after test, including a sleep study. It was determined that Matt had one of the worst cases of sleep apnea they’d ever seen, which exacerbated what would be considered “normal” snoring. The sleep study guy said that he had no idea how I ever managed to fall asleep next to him!

After his successful heart surgery (& many hours of my worrying about him), he was sent home with a breathing device that made him look like Darth Vader. He was to put this device over his nose & mouth, thus forcing a constant amount of air so that he would get a full night’s rest. Problem was, it also stopped the snoring.

Yup, I said that was a problem! I went from sleeping next to a bear to complete & total silence. It was AWFUL! I entertained thoughts of pulling the mask off, just so I could hear the ever present sound. I thought better of it, though, as it was saving his life. Boogers. Not the life saving part, the part that he didn’t snore anymore.

And that’s when the irony hit me. At first, I tried to drown out his snoring. And now, after 20 years, I desperately wanted it back. Like the old saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”. So often in life, that saying holds true. How good we have it, but take it for granted. Or, worse, don’t notice.

I’m adjusting, slowly, to the lack of a rumbling train sleeping next to me. Of course, I had to buy a big ol’ fan that made a lot of noise. Still, if adjusting yet again is the benefit of having my big Matt around for a long time, then, I’ll adjust.

Besides, I still get my “fix”. When he falls asleep watching TV (which is pretty much nightly), I hear the now comforting, and missed, roar of a freight train. And I’m happy to hear my dear friend & husband making it.

Tamara Kells Website

Yup, I managed to build my own website! Check it out; if you dare. It's dumb, but, I'm not the Brunette Lucy for nothing!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Blogs & Twitters

I started this blog, not really knowing why. I’m a complete moron when it comes to all things technical. But, my husband, Matt, said it’s the thing to do. So, I just do what I’m told.

Then, I got a “twitter” account on accident. I was trying to get in touch with the editor at the Inquirer. Since my article appeared there a while back, the head muckety mucks have changed. Well, he doesn’t post his email online. Instead, he has a link to his twitter thingy. I follow the link, & find out that I have to create an account to write to him. So, of course, I do what I’m told & did it.

THEN, & I really don’t know how this stuff happens, I get an email saying that Gavin Newsom is following me. Following me where?? Anywho, I look into who this guy is & it turns out, he’s the mayor of San Francisco. Ok, I personally didn’t have that little tidbit of information – Michele told me. Thank God for good friends!

Next thing I know, some guy named Dave Peck is following me. What am I; the Pied Piper?? I have no clue who that guy is, except that it appears he has some talk show on the radio. How in the world did these folks find me?

All this leads to a conversation our family had about blogs & twitters while on the way to eat (ooh, ask me about the Chinese buffet we went to! Holy cow, they had everything under the sun to eat & we went there because for some reason both the girls decided to give up meat for Lent which is making me crazy especially since right before they announced their plan, I bought a bunch of meat that was on sale & now I have a freezer full of beef I can’t cook. Um, probably another rant. I’ll stop).

Honestly, I can’t believe that this is where the English language is going. But I digress. I’m supposed to network through twitter to link to my blog, then get people to follow my blog, especially if they’re twitter people, because it’s supposedly the new “thing” to do, but “netiquette” requires me to then link to their blogs & twitters & follow them around. At this point, I got lost in the conversation. How do I link, why do I care, & why don’t people get paranoid when strangers are “following” them? Could I lead them off a cliff or something? It seems like a rather large responsibility to entrust to an idiot.

Matt then summed up, kind of, how folks link to bunches of people. Apparently, they can throw out a virtual net & get a bunch of people on their “followers” twitter home page. Don’t ask me for particulars – I zoned out during the explanation. I have no clue why people link, follow, twitter & blog. I’ll leave all that technical stuff up to Matt. I just do what I’m told.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dancy Dance

Dancy Dance

I was at a homeschool function the other day when a mom remarked about my curly hair. I told her that it was natural and that my husband, Matt’s, was too. All three of our kids inherited our dark, curly hair.
Our first daughter, Aubrie, had Shirley Temple ringlets. We were constantly being stopped so people could admire it. So, we did what every good parent does that has a Shirley Temple look alike. We trained her like a circus monkey. We taught her to dance when we said, “dancy dance Aubrie”. She could be in the middle of eating and she’d drop her spoon, stand up, and dance. I’d put her in dresses with frilly socks and take her out. When people would admire her, I would tell her to dancy dance. And, like the good circus monkey she was, she performed.
Looking back, I wonder if that had an ill effect on her. I could be wrong, but her aversion to dancing as a teenager might, possibly, conceivable, albeit slightly, be in direct correlation to her youth.
Elyse, on the other hand, had baby fine, stick straight hair. Until she turned 6. Her hair exploded like microwave popcorn into a mass of curly, thick hair. Which, of course, she hated.
She would take her paper scissors and cut a nice, thick patch of hair at the root, right in the middle of her head. Of course, I tried to even it out so it wasn’t so noticeable. Other than shaving her head, she stuck out like a sore thumb. An adorable, brown eyed sore thumb.
Boy (Dakota) was born with little hair, except at the very top of his head. He had a patch of hair that curled like a kewpie doll. Of course, I thought it was adorable, and made sure that curl was always there. To add insult to injury, his sisters would dress him up like a ballerina and put a bow on top of the curl. I can see that he might not like his “girly” hair.
It, too, grew in like a storm in Kansas. Now, we can barely get a comb through it and it grows faster than we can cut it.
The kids are learning to cope with their hair. Aubrie has a firm grip on her curls, as well as an industrial strength straightening iron. Elyse figures if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and leaves her curls alone for the most part. Dakota has resigned himself to the fact that other than shaving his head, he’ll have to live with the cards he’s been dealt. Besides, he looks just like his dad. Fortunately, he’s happy about that.
One day, Aubrie's dad will walk her down the aisle. At the reception, I'll get to dance with her new husband. We'll have come full circle when she gives me his hand and whispers, "dancy dance mommy".

Miracle on 12th Street

Courtesy of Normie Kells

For about the last 45 years, my husband, Matt’s, family has gone down to the shore every mother’s day weekend. It’s always a fun time to hang out with each other. This year, however, was different. My father in law, Cliff Kells (known to the grandkids as “Normie” – long story) passed the week before Thanksgiving. This was our first year without the family patriarch, who was such an important part of our lives for so many years. He also was my biggest cheerleader & champion of my writing. Throughout the following months, there were many signs that he was still with us. None, however, were as amazing & real as what happened on May 11th at the Tahiti Inn, Ocean City, NJ.

We arrived at our apartments on Thursday afternoon. The apartments surround a common courtyard, with sliding glass doors & windows facing it. Those are the doors that we used to get in & out of our units. Everything was fine, & nothing was unusual all day. The next morning, Matt went next door to his mom’s to have
coffee, & as he walked up to the sliding door, noticed something
unusual. There, clear as day, was a profile of Normie. At first, we thought it was from the fog, however, the profile stayed the entire day. You could see his nose, where the folds of his skin were, his eyes & his chin. Of course, there were doubters in the family. Things were mentioned such as Matt or his brother, Bill, did it. The problem with that is that Billy isn’t as tall as Normie & Matt is taller, & the face was exactly where it would be on Normie’s 6 foot frame. Also, even if you try to press your face against glass, the features are compressed. This was not. It looked as if Normie had stood there & a light was shined on his profile & embedded in the door. Later that day, my mother in law, Gretchen, went to church. She walked in & as she did, the organist played the first verse of “I am with you”. After the first verse, she quit & went on to another song, as if she didn’t know why she suddenly started playing that song.

I’ve always believed that our loved ones are never gone, & are around us. Normie has let us know for months. But, on 12th Street in Ocean City, he proved it to doubters & let his beloved wife know that he is, indeed, still with her.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Where's My Other Shoe?


My husband, Matt, said that I’m a pack rat. I couldn’t hear him, though, as he was standing behind a stack of unfinished projects. But if we ever get attacked by killer bees, he’ll be really glad that I saved all the netting that was going to be a bed canopy but turned into really nice padding for my unfinished ceramic coyote. I don’t really like the term, “pack rat”, though. I prefer to be called a collector of rarities.

I began to think that he may have a remote chance of being right one day. I was looking in my closet for a pair of pink sequined shoes that can only be worn with one specific outfit. I found the first one in record time, but I just couldn’t find its’ mate. I did, however, find my black satin special occasion purse, which still contained the dance program. What a nice walk down memory lane.

I also found a large bag of fabric paints. Technically, they can no longer be called paint, as they had dried up & were hard as a rock. With their pointed nozzle, they would make a really good projectile object. A bag of yarn, a few takeout menus & a stocking stuffer I forgot to give my son later, I conceded defeat. The pink shoe’s mate was not to be found. You’d think that the obvious thing to do would be to throw it away. But, what if I find the matching shoe? It really was a one of a kind. So, back it went into the closet. I set it free in hopes it would begin a quest for its partner.

Please don’t get the idea that my house is filled with boxes. Matt is too much of a neat freak for that. Or, uh, as he likes to call himself, a minimalist. All my “collections” are stashed away where no one can see; unless you open my bedroom closet. Do that, & all bets are off.

Occasionally, Matt would go through my stashes & throw things away. He didn’t think I knew (until now). One thing has stopped his major, secret cleansing rituals, though. I started saying, “Oh, well, if I can’t find it, I’ll just go out & buy another. You’d be surprised how quickly he can find what I was looking for.

Matt & I have been married almost 20 years now. Proof that a collector of rarities & a minimalist can live quite happily together. To celebrate, we’re going to go to dinner tonight. I’ve figured out what I want to wear. Now, where’s my other shoe?

Friday, February 13, 2009


My husband, Matt, is a puzzle fiend. Crossword, Sudoku, Jumbled Words, you name it, he loves them. I, on the other hand, hate them. Matt calls it a left brain/right brain issue. I call it a don’t care/too frustrating issue.

I do ok with jumbled word puzzles, but once I get frustrated, I’m done. Matt tried to explain what Sudoku is, & how it’s played. All I had to hear was that it was math related. After that, I had zero interest. Numbers make my brain hurt.

He recently emailed an intelligence test having to do with colors. The average person is supposed to get it right within 5 tries; he got it in 3. I, however, now have concrete evidence to point to that I actually have no brain. I got 14% on my first try, & 0% on two others. I actually got worse!

At first, there was no way I was going to divulge this little tidbit of knowledge. I figured I could just walk away & forget about it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t.

All I could think about was why didn’t I get this test? I’m not a complete idiot (as far as you know), & this test didn’t seem that hard. I’d go back & re-take it. Still, my score was “you’re so dumb, how can you even manage the controls?” Look, I’ve been told I’m not the brightest bulb by some, but a dumb computer is telling me I’m stupid? It was war.

I’d keep taking the test, failing, taking, failing. The more I tried, the worse I felt. Even in the shower, I was going over all the instructions, trying to figure out what I was missing. Then, I’d go back with renewed fervor, only to get laughed at by my computer – again.

That’s when I formed my conspiracy theory. Maybe it was a joke that Matt thought would be funny. And, what if he really DIDN’T get it in 3 tries? What if he was trying to tell me he thought I’m an idiot? Was he doing this on purpose to make me crazy?

Well, by the time he got home, I’d worked up a good ol’ case of mad. I hollered at him & told him exactly what was on my pea sized mind! He looked at me as though I’d lost it, & then, & then, had the nerve to suggest that maybe I wasn’t reading the instructions. That’s when I told Mr. Man what he could do with his puzzle.

After trying, hard, to contain himself, he showed me what I failed to figure out. Then, he bust out laughing. I couldn’t believe how easy the mistake I’d made was, or how silly I felt yelling at him. Then, I promptly sat down & re-took the puzzle/test, & got 100%.

I guess the moral of the story is, don’t take out your lack of problem solving on those you love. Either that, or, don’t take stupid puzzle/tests. And, sadly, in my case, the real moral is that I’m an idiot, & shouldn’t be allowed near computers. ‘Nuff said.

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy
She was pretty dumb.