Bad Karaoke

My singing is so bad it almost resulted in an arrest one night. A group of my co-workers and their spouses gathered one evening at a bar in Great Bend, Kansas, to celebrate the birthday of one of our friends. As it happened, the bar featured karaoke, and after we’d had a few drinks some of us began putting our names on the list of singers.

I was a karaoke virgin, but not a hesitant one. Once my name was called I practically leapt to the microphone and promptly butchered “Leader of the Pack” by singing when I shouldn’t, and not singing when I should. It looked much easier when I was just spectating.

Now anyone with a smidgen of self respect would have called it quits after the first go round. Maybe my smidgen was missing that night. I signed up again and again, and while I became better at following the bouncing ball my voice never got even a little better. But, everyone seemed to be having a good time so what was the harm?

Studly doesn’t sing, but he sat there drinking a beer, or two, or five, cheering me and the other members of our group on. The birthday boy (we’ll call him Bob) and I decided to sing a duet to “I Got You, Babe,” the classic Sonny and Cher hit. Bob could actually sing, so our duet had an interesting sound to say the least. I was trying to channel Cher, but ended up sounding like Oscar the Grouch with Kermit the Frog in his throat.

That’s when the heckling began. An inebriated couple–an incredibly skinny man and equally incredibly beefy woman–started yelling hateful slurs at Bob and me during our song. I was oblivious, but Studly was not. He asked the inebriated pair to shut their mouths. They impolitely declined. Our song ended, but on my way back to the table I was grabbed by some friendly folks to sing “Goodbye Earl,” so I stayed in the spotlight where I felt I’d always belonged.

I’d never even heard the song before, so I was kind of talk-singing the lyrics when I wasn’t laughing. The inebriated couple grew louder. Studly was busy defending my honor. I was still oblivious. I remember looking up from the karaoke screen to see an officer of the peace putting handcuffs on my husband. For some reason, the gravity of the situation didn’t phase me even a little bit. I calmly announced to my fellow singers and the room at large that I needed to go because my husband was being arrested.

I hurried to Studly’s side and arrived at the same time as one of the bartenders who came to Studly’s defense. According to the bartender the female part of the couple launched herself at Studly about the same time that I was singing about Earl dying. Studly held her off without actually hitting her, but she was big and strong and he finally had to give her a less than gentle shove to move her away from him. That’s when the police walked into the bar.

Just as in my favorite cop shows the officers escorted both parties to separate locations to grill them about the incident. I watched from the sidelines thinking, “Book her Dan-O!” With multiple witnesses corroborating Studly’s tale he was freed from handcuffs in a matter of a few painfully embarrassing minutes. In the end, he was asked if he wanted to press charges against his attacker. He declined. He just wanted to put the whole episode behind him. Too bad he’s married to me.

Just for the record, I am now a karaoke veteran, but Studly is banned from my performances until I actually learn to sing. In other words, it’s a lifetime ban.

Peace, People!

Long Week in Gadsden County

I got home from work this afternoon and plopped my butt in front of the television. Then I picked up my iPad, scrolled to WordPress and wrote this post. Yes, it was this bad.

As hungry as I am, I haven’t eaten dinner because chewing just takes way too much effort. I opened the fridge and cried to find I was out of wine. So I had a couple of beers instead. Now I need to pee, but the bathroom is two whole rooms away.

I just watched 12 political ads in a row because I didn’t have the gumption to change channels. I’m pretty sure I’m now an Independent. There was a funny commercial on about immature cheese, but it hurt too much to laugh, so I didn’t. Yawning hurts, too. Pretty much everything hurts.

I remind myself that I work to keep myself busy and to meet new people. I ask myself if I really need people at all.

I finally got up to heat some dinner in the microwave, and stood in front of it for a good 30 seconds looking for the preheat button. The beep signaling that dinner is ready grates on my already frayed nerves. Chewing is every bit as difficult as I imagined.

My phone rang. I let it go to voicemail even though it was on the table beside my chair. I sure hope it wasn’t Publisher’s Clearinghouse.

I updated my Facebook status to “pffffft!” and all two of my friends liked it. I cried again over my lack of wine. It’s eight o’clock and I’m ready to go to bed, but it’s even more distant than the bathroom. The sofa looks good.

My head aches, my back is in spasms, and my head throbs. But I met some new people! Tomorrow has to be better. Right? Right? At least I’ll have wine.

Me: SIRI, take a note.

SIRI: What would you like the note to say?

Me: Buy wine for tomorrow night.

SIRI: Here’s your note

I whine for tomorrow night.

Me: Yep.

Peace, People!

Having a Wine Time, Wish You Were Here

“A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and Thou.
Beside me singing in the Wilderness–Oh
Wilderness were Paradise enow.”

I’m fairly sure I know what Omar Khayyam had in mind when he penned those lines, but “Let’s get drunk and make out in the park.” just doesn’t give off the same vibe.

Wine does tend to lead me to amorous thoughts. I’m having a glass as I type this, which leads me to say, I really, really like you. I also find that I tend to over punctuate while nipping the grape. Commas abound. Semicolons trip over themselves in a clumsy attempt for attention; however, I am still obliged to follow the dictates of proper punctuation.

I wish I could gather together all those who’ve read my posts. The countries represented simply astound me. Today, I had visitors from United Arab Emirates, Angola, the Republic of Korea, and Chile. Last week I entertained readers from Indonesia, Colombia, and Argentina. The Seychelles. Italy, Guatemala, Ireland, the U.K., and France were represented, as were Spain, Ecuador, Georgia, and Ukraine. My mind is blown.

If I could, I’d throw a party. We’d drink wine and beer, vodka and soda, and solve the problems of the world in ways no politician would ever consider. There is power in words. Power in community. We’d row out on the lake behind my house and comment on the fish flipping their fins in the sunlight. What a glorious gathering! Then we’d have beef burgers or tofu burgers and relax in the waning of the day.

Good times.

Peace and Wine, People!

Inferior Homes and Gardens

Some women are HOMEMAKERS. These women can put together an impromptu dinner party for thirty while simultaneously stitching Halloween costumes for their grandchildren without breaking a sweat. Their homes are immaculate and their decor like something out of a magazine. I have friends who fit this description, but I am not one of these women.

I’m the dreaded anti-homemaker whose arrival was prophesied in the book of Martha Stewart, Chapter IX, verses 3-7, “And lo, there will be among them women who can neither cook nor sew. Women who will weep and rend their garments when the microwave fritzeth. And these women shall feel no shame. Yea, ‘tho they walk through the halls of Betty Crocker and Southern Living, they shall gather no knowledge of domesticity. Woe unto the partner who finds himself yoked unto her, for his days shall be filled with ramen noodles and take out.”

My mom tried to teach me the domestic arts. She really did, but I had no interest. Even baking a cake from a box puzzled me. Every single step had it’s own special rules: “It’s this way, not that way. Drain this, not that. Flip it like this, no, no, not like that. Here. I’ll do it.” Her need for me to be perfect in the kitchen was superseded only by my total lack of interest.

Our home economics teacher, Mrs. Craig, did her best to mold me into a practitioner of the domestic arts, as well, but her efforts were for naught. I did learn multiple ways to freeze cantaloupe in her class, though. To this day I hate cantaloupe.

Mrs. Craig also taught a sewing unit that culminated in a runway type style show. We were to find a dress pattern we liked, buy the material, and make a finished outfit that we would then model for our final grade. My pattern was for a jumper and blouse. I selected a light weight blue denim material for the jumper and red and white checked gingham for the blouse.

I worked on my outfit every day in class, but as the date of the style show grew near I was still woefully behind schedule for completing the project. With many painfully patient late night hours of assistance from Mom, I had a presentable, ok, darned cute outfit for the style show. I’d venture to say it was one of the best final projects that semester, and I received an A for my efforts. Of course, Mom threatened to disown me if I ever signed up for a home ec. class again. She needn’t have worried. Happiness was home ec in the rear view mirror.

Mom has been gone for many years now. She pretty much gave up on me ever becoming a competent homemaker, but I’d want her to know that I’ve become an okay cook and a decent housekeeper in middle age. She’d be astonished and proud.

Peace, People!

Misaphonia Anyone?

Studly suffers from the cruel, non-fatal, yet highly contagious condition known as “misaphonia,” more commonly called “hatred of sound.” Specifically, he cannot tolerate any type of noise associated with eating, i.e. crunching, slurping, smacking, etc. His condition is so severe that he can’t bear to watch those Kit Kat commercials where people crunch to the tune of, “Give me a break, give me a break. Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar.”

No biggie, right? Wrong. No one can eat any type of crunchy fare (I.e. chips, popcorn, apples, hard candy, mixed nuts, etc.) in his presence without triggering his annoyance. I swear he once chastised me for eating a marshmallow too loudly.

The worst part? Studly has turned both of our children into misophones as well. Thank goodness they are both grown with homes of their own. Family dinners were once a nightmare. I’d take a bite and look up to find three pairs of eyes giving me different gradations of the “look” indicating that I was violating their code of crunchiness.

Nowadays I revel in eating by myself whenever the situation arises. I crunch and munch and smack my lips in delight. I even chew my ice with abandon. When I have the grandkids I assure them that dining can be fun, that a little smacking and crunching is allowed. Their response:

“Nana, can you please chew more quietly?” Well, maybe for them I can try.

Peace, People!

Use Your Words

Friends don’t let friends use words incorrectly. Just ask Studly. For the first 20 years of our marriage I was the unofficial grammar hammer in our home. Studly’s approach to academics in general, and English in particular, was much more on the laid back end of the spectrum; whereas, my approach tended toward the rigid. One might say anal. One might say unforgiving.

My children would not use bad grammar. My children would never resort to using double negatives. My children would never, ever use the word “ain’t.” I’m fairly certain I was successful in their training, since they both maintain that grammatical rigidity with their own children.

What I didn’t foresee was that Studly would glean grammar nuggets from me, as well. Yes, I’ve provided ever so polite constructive criticism of his English usage over the years, but I really didn’t think those lessons would become so rooted that one day he’d have the gall to challenge mygrammar. I don’t know whether to be proud or pissed. And, yes, I could have used a better word than pissed, but I wanted the alliteration. So there.

Peace, People.

The Dance of My People

Friday morning I decided to drive Studly’s car. My car was almost out of gas and the windshield was covered in lovebug guts, so it just made sense to put his car to use. Besides, I wanted to listen to Howard Stern, and my car doesn’t have Sirius/XM radio.

We still haven’t quite gotten our garage sorted out. One side is completely filled with four motorcycles, a riding lawn mower, a couple of large tool boxes, assorted crap, and more assorted crap. The other side houses my car. So both Studly’s personal car and his company car sit outside.

I had an early morning chiropractic appointment in Tallahassee, so the sun wasn’t up when I walked outside. The old saying about it always being darkest before the dawn popped into my head as I stepped into the humid Florida morning. The light emanating from the open garage door didn’t penetrate very far, so I clicked the car remote to provide a little more illumination. Darkness still prevailed.

My imagination instantly kicked into high gear, conjuring up all sorts of monsters lurking in the pitch black between the car and me: snakes, gators, wolves, bears, chainsaw wielding serial killers. I began inching forward, speaking in no-nonsense tones to anything with evil intentions, “You better not mess with me, whatever you are,” and, “I come in peace, please don’t eat me,” were among my choice words.

The passenger door was closest, so I went for it and threw my purse and work bag in the front seat. I considered just climbing over the center console, but I had on a skirt, and I looked kind of nice, so I decided to suck it up and walk around the front of the car. And right into a massive spider web.

The full blown spider dance was on. You know that dance–the one where you flap and slap, and stomp about, but no matter what you do the web continues clinging to your hair, your face, your hands. And you know, you just know that spider is doing it’s best to attack, bite, and possibly kill, the person who ruined its magnificent web. Even reliving the event now I imagine a family of spiders scrabbling around in my hair looking for a place to nest.

I battled through the web, but all the way to Tallahassee I wrestled with the probable presence of spiders, periodically slapping at my neck, and when I arrived at Dr. Verrier’s office I had him do an arachnid check. To his credit, he took my request seriously, but I have a feeling that service isn’t covered by my insurance. I am pleased to report no spiders were discovered. Nevertheless, I could still feel that spidey tingle.

I told Studly about my web encounter of the worst kind when he called from Pensacola that evening. “That’s what you get for driving my car,” he said. No sympathy, but I have to admit, spiders are a pretty good deterrent to future car borrowing.

Peace, People!

Love (Bugs) in the Air

North Florida is under attack, and I don’t think anyone is doing a damned thing about it. All week long this part of the sunshine state has been swarmed by “lovebugs,” scientifically known as Plecia nearctica. Apparently these bugs are members of the family of march flies and go by the cutesie names of honeymoon fly, kissingbug, and double-headed bug. The darned things fly around coupled together during and after they mate for up to several days.

And they do it everywhere. I had to wade through a storm of the nasty little buggers yesterday to get into my vehicle outside of an elementary school. I was slapping and flapping and waving my bag at them, but a host of the entangled insects still managed to make it into my car. This morning I found two in my purse. Ew. Just ew! While I admire their tenacity and endurance, the whole idea of me carting around a pair of cavorting lovers is kind of low brow. Does this make me a pimp? A madame? Is my handbag now a mobile bug brothel?

The lovebugs aren’t all bad, though. The birds are enjoying a moveable feast with all of the distracted, romantically involved bugs in the air, and lovebug larvae are lauded as one of nature’s best organic recyclers. The adult lovebugs are great pollinators, as well. But the pair I found copulating in my handbag won’t be pollinating anything. Ever again.

Peace, People!

Do You Want Fries With That?

Saginaw, Michigan, now has a drive through funeral home. Seriously. I heard this on NPR. Now, instead of having to go into the funeral home one has the option of pulling up to a curtained window at the mortuary and pressing a button to view the deceased while appropriate music plays from an overhead speaker.

According to the proprietor the drive through is aimed at those who have a fear of funeral homes. I have a fear of colonoscopies. Could my next one be done as a drive through procedure? Many people fear the dentist’s office. How about drive through root canals? Drive through proctologist, anyone?

I hate to be a stickler for protocol, but it seems like actually getting out of one’s car and going in to view a deceased friend or loved one is the very least one could do to show respect. The drive through option is more about voyeurism than anything.

“Dang, Aunt Lou sure looks good through my double-tinted window.”
“Is that a mole on her chin or bug juice on the window?”

When I pass on (I.e. die, kick the bucket, cast off this mortal coil, start pushing up daisies, breathe my last, expire, etc.) I want to be cremated, so I doubt that anyone would drive through just to view my urn. However, if they’d let folks view the bonfire, well that might draw a few spectators. We could throw in some sparklers and make it a big party! Heck, I wouldn’t even mind if sticks and marshmallows were available just as long as folks show up.

I have a real fear that since we’ve moved all over the country that upon my demise no one except a few family members will attend my funeral. I don’t know why this bothers me, since death itself is something I do not fear. So, if my funeral becomes a big party maybe it will attract a crowd. I hope everyone sings “Thanks for the Memories,” “Thank God and Greyhound She’s Gone,” and “Happy.” Then I want them to sit around the crematory bonfire and roast their marshmallows. Is that too much to ask?

Peace, People!

Lies I Tell Myself

Below is a list of the top ten lies I tell myself. Please add any lies of your own. We’ll share and compare.

1. I don’t need to write that down. I’ll remember it.

2. I’ll start my diet tomorrow.

3. I’m only going to eat 10 chips.

4. Just one more chapter….

5. I can handle one more glass of wine.

6. The cats aren’t sleeping with me tonight.

7. I can quit watching “Criminal Minds” any time I want to.

8. This week I’m going to stay on top of the laundry.

9. Tomorrow I’ll get organized.

10. I will never use sarcasm again.

Peace (like that’s gonna happen), People