Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It’s that time of the year, so it’s not my fault!

Ghosts, goblins and bumps in the night. Yes, it’s that time of the year again when scary things happen…. Everything that can go wrong will go wrong and the month isn’t even half over!

The only good thing that can be said for this October is there is not a Friday the 13th! The last time that happened, I woke up to a flat tire on my car. That, in itself isn’t so bad, however, I had just purchased a can of Fix-a-Flat the night before. But, I woke up an hour later than usual – through no fault of my own of course. Someone or something had reset my alarm clock during the night!

You see, there is this ghost, or poltergeist, a troll, a goblin or some other supernatural creature that seems to follow me where ever I live. This entity, creature or critter always manages to create problems for me when I least need them.

Even when I’m not at home this “being” follows and taunts me. For example, when I’m out shopping at “Wally World” (my dear little boy coined that phrase when he was two years old – he confused Wal-Mart with Disney World as he thought all toys and games were made by Mickey and Goofy. (Sometimes I even thought he was made by Mickey and Goofy) and since then everyone else has just followed his lead) this little voice begins whispering in my ear, “Buy chocolate, buy chocolate, buy chocolate,” over and over and over.

I’ve even stopped and looked around, staring at shoppers all around me and then thoroughly embarrassed myself by asking if they were speaking to me. Their faces looking at me with blank stares slowly morphing into a “she’s weird” look as they shake their heads and continue pushing their grocery carts.

And, of course there is all that “trick or treat” candy on the shelves. Shelves and shelves of vibrantly colored, orange, black, red, umber and gold packages of Halloween candy tempting me. My will power is bad enough as it is – I don’t need any assistance thank you very much.

But, then someone…. Or should I say some THING forces my hands and arms toward the shelves… I am not in control … those hands reach out and grab two, three … no wait… FOUR bags of Halloween candy and put them in my grocery cart. “Hey,” my mind shouts, “This is not fair!”

It’s not until I get home and begin unloading my groceries that I realize I bought two bags of Brach’s Bridge Mix as well and one of them is empty! I look at my hands and there are the remains of chocolate crèmes, chocolate covered almonds and chocolate covered raisons all over them! This is a really evil little demon!

Generally, throughout the year, this evil little critter manages to leave me alone … for the most part… unless he’s putting rocks the size of footballs in the middle of the freeway for me to run over with my car while I’m dressed in rodeo clown attire, but I digress and that’s another story!

But when it comes to the month of October and the week of Halloween, my life suddenly begins an intimate relationship with Murphy’s Law.

Take the other night for example. My telephone rang, usually my BFF calling to check on me, or it’s a general sales call for an unknown and unwanted product (I have got to remember to put my name on the Do-Not-Call Register – but then it would be awfully quiet around here).

Anyway, I answered this particular call even though I didn’t recognize the number. A strong, husky, yet smooth male voice was on the other end asking me out to dinner and dancing. I immediately began sorting – in my mind – through my closet for the appropriate outfit and shoes to wear for this glorious evening out as the male voice continued discussing the dinner plans.

My mind was racing away to an evening of enchantment when it came to a screeching halt. What did he just say? Wait, that’s not my name. Why did he call me by another name?

I quickly and very diplomatically reminded him of whom he was speaking. “What?” said the prince quickly losing his charm, “Oh my! I have the wrong number – you’re not my fiancé!

Well, there you have it – a perfectly good evening down the drain because some guy punched the wrong buttons. I do wonder though if we couldn’t have worked something out?

Nope, Murphy has nothing on me at this time of the year. I had to buy five pairs of panty hose last week. And I gotta tell you… I absolutely hate those things – you do know they were invented by a man – a “man” also invented the girdle (thank God we no longer have to wear those) and the brassiere. Anything and everything to hold us back, push us up or rein us in!

So the first pair got torn when I ran into an open drawer… again, not my fault, my little demon was working his tail off. The second pair I snagged with a broken fingernail. Time to get a manicure!

The third and fourth pairs were both attacked (one at a time) by my sweet, but elderly cat, Sweet Pea. She loves to grab at my legs when I’m leaving the house. I think she thinks she can hold me and keep me from leaving…. I’m taking away her “lap.”

This week, the light bulbs in the bathroom upstairs, the kitchen downstairs and the loft/den all decided to go out at the same time. I climbed on the bathroom cabinet to put a new bulb in the socket and lost my balance, poked a hole in the wall with my foot and broke the towel rack as I tried to stop my fall.

Try explaining to the landlord how you managed to put a hole in wall above the commode!

I don’t know what’s in store for the rest of the month, I can only hope that my little demon, that little creature/critter/devil stops with the chocolate.

But then, next month is Thanksgiving with such tantalizing goodies in the stores like pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and chocolate turkeys! Then there is the really dangerous month of December – chocolate Santas, chocolate reindeer, chocolate pie, chocolate cake - followed by New Years Eve with food, chocolate and more chocolate everywhere! Need I say more?

I think I need an exorcist!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

High School Reunions – the Real Melting Pot!

Ahhhh. Autumn is in the air. Crisp, cool days, football and bowls of chili – well, maybe a little north of Houston, Texas that is. It’s still a sweltering 90 degrees and crisp is an adjective we in the south use for burnt toast. And, we only eat chili during the two weeks in February when winter hits the Gulf Coast. But, we still have football!

Most schools, colleges and universities have what they like to refer to as an “alumni game.” That’s when everyone who ever went to that school is allowed to show up, sort of like a class reunion for everybody – no matter what year you graduated (or didn’t graduate, but at least attended for one semester).

My high school has the garden variety of reunions – every five years and we even ask the year before and the year after to attend.

For those of us who have been to a few (“few” can mean as little as three or as many as seven depending on your age… I’ve *ahem* been to only one or two… well maybe three or four if you don’t count the ones I might have missed) it’s another major milestone in our lives.

That first reunion is like a big party – similar to the ones we attended while still in high school. After all, five years is nearly yesterday to a 23 year-old (only two years past legal drinking age and still wet behind the ears). For those young enough to remember their first reunion, it’s the gathering of college elites, college dropouts and college wannabes or those who couldn’t care less!

And, some of the “kids” come in with wallets bulging with photos of their babies, most still in diapers, all of them talking about how little Ashley or Joshua will be the next Einstein or Ralph Waldo Emerson, all the while talking about the 12, 24 or 56 hours of labor giving birth to the little darlings and of course the biggest discussion was diaper choice…. Paper, plastic or cloth!

The second and third reunions are a little more, how do I say this?.... complex…I didn’t make it to my first two, but I made an all-out effort to be at the third one. Have you ever tried to lose 30 pounds in three weeks?

Listen, we’ve all seen the commercials where the girl is going back to her 10th - or maybe her 20th – reunion and she’s worried about her hair color. I was more worried about taking the (ex) husband.

At the first reunion, most of the married couples were those we knew in high school who were headed for the alter the minute the last school bell rang. But those (of us) who moved far away brought home some really good examples of cross-cultural diversity (the word “cultural” is used very loosely here).

Example number one: The super smart fellow who made A’s in chemistry, physics and atom smashing, but flunked etiquette and physical education, yet in he walks with a surfer girl from San Diego…. Legs up to here, flowing blond hair and a vocabulary of 10 words.

Example number two: The cheerleader – the one who dated the quarterback of the football team – in she walks with what looks like a Japanese Sumo wrestler – no vocabulary – just a lot of grunts.

I came back to my reunion with a guy whose major terminology consisted of, “Hey, woman, whar’s the vittles?” or, “Me and Bubba’s goin’ out to do us some huntin’… keep the fahr burnin’ and chop some more wood for the pile.”

So, there I was with the Neanderthal cowboy trying to keep a (very) low profile. One of my former classmates came over and introduced himself to us and began to tell us about his latest money-making venture. Apparently, he had become quite wealthy since leaving school – at least that was the impression he imparted.

Ol’ Hoss looked up at him and said, “Wahl boy, have ya ever bin in a Turkish prison?”

Former classmate and his spouse ever-so-quickly turned and fled, tripping over several chairs as they made their excuses – something about checking on little Poopsie who was boarded at the vet clinic in Albuquerque.

Lassoing old Paint, I hightailed it out of there, hoping no one would remember who I was with when the next reunion came around. “Hey,” said the Bubba clone, “That wahr jist a lil’ ol’ rednick hewmer. Thay jist don’ preshate funny stuff.”

I tried to explain the difference between Midwesterners and rednecks hoping he would understand if I used only one-syllable words. Needless to say, I undid the ropes that bound us together not long after that and have attended every subsequent reunion …. Alone!!!

The next reunion was a blast! I was single, free and unencumbered. Watch out everyone, I’m about to hit town! Besides the fact that I had lost 230 pounds…. 200 of which formerly belonged to Old Hop Along.

The third and fourth reunions are when you find out that the boy you had a mad crush on for three years in high school but were too afraid to speak to because he was really, really, Really popular, had a secret crush on you at the same time!

I can’t begin to tell you how many times that has happened to me. The reason I can’t tell you is…. Oh never mind…. But it DID happen!

Anyway, these reunions are the ones where everyone’s career is set and flourishing and everyone wants to know what mutual funds and how many T-Bills you have in your portfolio.

My portfolio consisted of a $25 savings bond my brother sent me when my daughter was born. Do they still make those???

This last reunion was just as much fun as the previous two. And, at this reunion, the main topic of discussion was where are you retiring? When did you retire and how is the golf game now that you have time to play every day?

Wallets also are bulging again… this time with photos of grandchildren, great grandchildren and furbabies. Yes, many of us now have furbabies since the children have left home…. For some reason, our need to continue parenting just never ends!

I refuse to bring photos of my grandkids…. With 12 little moppets, I need a wheelbarrow to carry them! Instead, I brought one of the little angels with me… she was the “family grandchild representative” – and she handled her job very capably!

Next reunion? I’ll probably still be single, (happily of course) and ready to party until at least 10 pm!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Milestones – A Sad but True Fact of Life

This year both of my children reached milestone birthdays. My daughter turned 40 in March and my son, my little baby boy, turned 35 in August. I called both children – one lives out of the city, and the other lives out of the state, and wished them a very happy birthday, and of course, made sure they knew they were getting closer to my age!

I’ve been sitting here thinking that at any moment I’m going to get all sappy and begin crying as I remember the times I shared with my little ones. My children have grown and gone – left the house – left the building and left mom behind. The only thing I can think of now that they have reached these milestones, is how much older I am.

I certainly don’t feel older than 40 or even 35. Although, I am beginning to show my age somewhat. I have a few more wrinkles and my crow’s feet are beginning to sprout wings and my hands – well, I just tell everyone I had freckles when I was younger and they never went away. A little fib or two never hurt anyone.

I asked my daughter how it feels to be 40. Does it feel any different than being in her 30’s?

“Mom,” darling daughter replies, “I don’t have time for this. I have to get the kids to football/baseball/basketball/cheerleading practice and I’m running late because my boss threw a huge project on my desk at 10 minutes to five and wants it done before I leave the office, then I have to pick up hubby from the airport where he’s returning from a work conference, then we have to stop by the mechanic and pick up his car, go by the cleaners, stop at the grocery store and get one or two of the kids to the tutor.”

I called my wonderful little boy to wish him a happy birthday too, and I posed nearly the same question to him as well – how does it feel to be 35?

“Mom, he implored, “I’m busy. I’m headed out of town for a new project and I’ve got three new men to train, so I have to develop their training, work on the project, make sure they know what they are doing, then I have to get home in two days, take the boys to football practice, make sure wife has some time to herself and that she and the girls can all get to the next birthday party/church social/school meeting/dance classes and then I need to mow our two acres, work on the fence, take the dogs to the vet…….”

He was still talking as his cell signal slowly faded away.

So much for a “rite of passage” into the middle of their lives.

I remember one of my “rites of passage” into the adult world. Newly married, I had just turned 21 (yes, I’m not too old or senile to remember that far back!) I didn’t go out drinking as so many new 21 year-olds are wont to do… no, hubby and I went out for a nice dinner at a reasonably priced restaurant. Hubby was just slightly younger than moi… he was not yet 20 and both of us looked like we were teenagers still in high school. I proudly showed the waiter my ID for the glass of white wine I was hoping to taste. The waiter looked at me, looked at the ID, looked at dear new hubby and laughed out loud.

I asked what he found so funny, and he said, “You and this ID.” He was laughing and coughing so hard I thought he was going to pop a vein.

“You kids,” he exhaled, “You kids are just so cute, do your parents know you’re here?”

So much for turning 21 and trying on my new legal status! And, no, I didn’t get to taste my first glass of wine that night. I still don’t look my age, at least that’s what people tell me when I tell them I have 12 grandchildren, but I do get served a glass of wine when I want one.

So many young people today don’t think they ever will age including my children. Yet, both of them have finally realized that the years are starting to go by just a little faster, and as their children turn to full-fledged teenagers, they look at me and finally, with great reluctance realize they truly are catching up with Mom!