Just For Gaffes (edited)

I owe my life to “I Love Lucy.” Not in any literal sense, but certainly in some sort of metaphysical way. Lucy’s propensity for doing the wrong thing at the right time set a disturbingly cool precedent for me back in the days when the television was actually a pretty decent babysitter. Lucy’s grape stomping, ledge climbing, chocolate wrapping legacy, if nothing else, gave me permission to be my goofy self with no, ok, a few apologies.

But Lucy wasn’t my only influence. My mom, Freida, and her younger sister, Nedra, lent their wackiness to my formative years, as well. Once while waiting to pick up a relative at the small airport in Amarillo, the pair scurried off to answer the call of nature inside the ladies’ room of the nearly empty terminal. It was late at night and they might have been a bit tipsy. Mom was in one stall. Nedra in another. Gas was passed. Loud and long and clear. Nedra, always quick with a witticism sternly admonished, “Freida!” A deep silence ensued. The kind of silence that indicates something is very wrong. A toilet flushed, a stall opened and closed, followed by the sound of footsteps leaving the room. Only then did Mom explode in laughter as Nedra realized she’d scolded a complete stranger for farting. The pair hid in the bathroom for awhile hoping the gas passer wouldn’t associate them with their bathroom behavior.

Once my Aunt Nedra and her husband Uncle Richard, along with my mom and dad were spending the night at my grandparents’ home. As was their habit at such gatherings, the men went to bed ahead of the women who liked to tell stories and laugh well into the night. After much silliness my Aunt said goodnight to Mom and my grandmother and went to bed. Soon after, my mom followed, but found her spot next to my dad, occupied. She started laughing and soon her mother joined her in fits of uncontrollable giggles. Groggily, Nedra asked, “Richard, why are they laughing?” My dad, who until then was sound asleep responded, “Maybe because I’m not Richard and you’re in bed with your sister’s husband.” Everyone but my grandfather thought the story was hilarious. It just pissed him off.

I’ve turned doing embarrassing things into an art form. Too many to list here, but one of my favorites(?) was the time I was having some sort of sonogram done. As I lay on the exam table the tech was instructing me to take deeper breaths, hold, release, etc. The doctor to whom I’d been referred had an odd name, something like Bozdagerian or Bodgazerian or Bogzaderian.

I asked the tech, “Just how do you say this doctor’s name anyway ? Boz-da-ger-ian?”

“Deeper” said the tech.

So I lowered my voice an octave and tried again. “Boz-da-ger-ian?” I intoned.

The tech started laughing. “That was impressive,” he said. “Now please take a deeper breath.”

I’m most apt to commit verbal faux pas, like the time I told a crowd of people that upon Turning 50 I had “embraced my AARP-ness.” Read that aloud and you will know why I was the butt of more than a few jokes that afternoon.

Then there was the time a drunken me asked a lady on the dance floor where the deejay was located. Coincidentally, she asked me the very same question. At the very same time. She even kind of looked like me, only drunker. I noticed dancers giving me odd looks. That’s when I realized I’d been carrying on a conversation with my reflection in a mirror. I told myself thanks and returned to my table. I never did find the deejay.

My mom always said I was just like my Aunt Nedra, but at least I’ve never slept with my sister’s husband.

Peace, People.

Fifty Shades of Hey!

As the movie trailers for Fifty Shades of Grey began appearing on Facebook this week I stopped to reflect on my own interaction with the novel.

I tried reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Honestly. The hype was bubbling around the book like fizzy soda, and avid reader that I am, I inhaled those bubbles and dove right in. For all of maybe 50 pages of 50 shades. Then, I called a friend.

“Hey, you’re reading Fifty Shades of Grey, right?

“Ummm, yes,” she moaned.

“Does it get better?” I asked.

“Yes, yes, yes!” she cried.

I hung up.

I read another hundred pages. I still didn’t get it. Who was this inner goddess, and why didn’t I have one? Did the inner goddess perhaps serve as a replacement for a personality? Was there supposed to be sexual tension between Mr. Grey and Miss Steele? Did I need to reassess my definition of sexual tension?

I called another friend.

Hey, I’m reading that book you recommended, Fifty Shades of Gray.

All I heard was buzzing in the background.

“Hey!” I said, a little more forcefully. “Does the couple in the book ever actually do anything?”

Our connection must have been bad; the buzzing continued, only more loudly.

I hung up.

“Perhaps I should skip to a sex scene,” I thought.

It was a little difficult to determine exactly where in the book that sex scene took place, though. There were so many rules, regulations, and tools involved. It read more like an orientation for shop class than a sex romp.

I called my husband.

“Hey, Studly,” I said. “Do you think we need a contract for sex?”

“Huh?”

“You know, a contract so you can’t be found legally responsible if I get hurt during intimate relations.”

He guffawed. “Intimate relations! That’s a good one!”

I hung up. What a sadist.

Peace, People.

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Snake Eyes

I never met a snake I couldn’t hate. Venomous, non-venomous, short, long, infant, adult, it doesn’t matter. They give me the willies. If I can see one well in advance of initial contact I can handle a snake’s presence, but the thing about snakes is they tend to lurk, hidden among the leaves and undergrowth, offering apples to unsuspecting naked people.

Tallahassee, Florida, is basically a hilly jungle. We have oak trees, magnolias, mimosas, pines, sweet gums, palms, and a host of other trees all, apparently, on steroids. In addition we have millions of shrubs and bushes and flowers. A profusion of plant life populates this part of the Florida panhandle. It’s beautiful. And it’s home to five different kinds of venomous snakes: the Pygmy Rattler, the Cottonmouth or Water Moccasin, the Timber Rattlesnake, the Coral Snake, and the Copperhead. These snakes love to hide under fallen leaves. Guess what? Lots of trees mean lots of leaves.

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Above: water moccasin

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Coral snake

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Pygmy rattler

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Copperhead

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Timber rattlesnake

Recently due to an increase in snake bites among the local populace, the “Tallahassee Democrat” ran an informative piece on the venomous snakes in our area. How kind of them. Since then I have barely stepped foot into our forested backyard. Every single snake named in the article enjoys hanging out in fallen leaves. I look out my back door and all I see are trees surrounded by fallen leaves. When I do go out I have this ritual dance. It’s part flamenco, part ninja, part karate. Think John Belushi in “Animal House.”

They tell me cats are good snake repellant. I have two, but they don’t want to go outside either and I’m not sure how much good they are doing as mere spectators.

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A while back I wrote about super powers I’d like to have. I need to add one: Super Snake Dominance and Avoidance. This power would instantly cause all venomous snakes within 5 miles of me to be rendered inanimate and harmless. Indefinitely. I’ll give the non-venomous ones a break as long as they do their living outside of my direct line of sight. They just need to heed my ritual dance.

Peace, People!

To Fly Or Not To Fly: What was the Question?

I’ve given a great deal of thought to my “yet to appear” super powers. Just what would they be? How strong? Will they be worthwhile powers, or useless ones like the ability to consume massive quantities of prunes with no adverse effects?

Any day now I feel sure these dormant abilities will emerge in full strength to make up for all the years they’ve been suppressed. I was fairly confident that my 50th birthday would be the trigger point, alas, here I am at 57.75 and still nothing. I just hope they show up in time for me to fully utilize them before I’m too old to reap the benefits. It’d be a shame to learn I have the gift of super flexibility once I’m confined to a wheelchair.

In no particular order, here are the three standard super powers I’d most like to have:

1) The ability to fly. Okay, I lied, this is by far the most important of the super powers, so I listed it first. I do have some stipulations, though. If I can fly I also want the super power of having hair and skin impervious to sun and windburn. What good is having the gift of flight if one is wrinkled and unkempt? I’d also need an incredibly strong set of neck muscles if I’m going to fly long distances. Maybe that’s just a standard set of accoutrement when gifted with the power of flight.

2) Invisibility. Obviously I’d only use this power for good. Wink, wink.

3) Super strength. This is one that could be especially useful as I age. No more accosting strong young men to open tight lids and doors for me. Wait, I might want to think this one through.

In addition to these, I’d also like to have some not-so-standard powers. For starters, how about the ability to nap at will? Anytime, anyplace. I’ve actually seen this power in action, but have yet to be able to master it.

Also I’d like the power to eat any thing I want without ever gaining a pound of fat. I’d like that one as soon as possible as I’ve been eating like it’s already a given. On second thought, could it be made retroactive?

One more, because I’m feeling greedy snapping up all the good powers. I’d like the power to magically transport my grand kids to my house at any time, and then transport them home when they’ve been thoroughly spoiled. Really, this is the only one that matters.

If the whole super power thing doesn’t work out, I still have hopes that my letter from Hogwarts got lost in the mail. Accio correspondence!

Peace, People.

Waking Up Is Hard To Do

I got two hours of sleep last night. Maybe two and a quarter. My husband, Studly Doright, who by the way doesn’t have sleep apnea (we had him tested) snored all night long. And when I say he snored I mean he:

Snorted
Roared
Snuffled
Gurgled
Rattled
Plorked
And mmmphhed
Loudly

All night long.

There was never any pattern to the cacophony. He usually maintains some sort of almost hypnotic, metronomic rhythm that allows me to slip into sleep. But not last night. Just as a tango was established he’d switch to a rumba, then to a cha cha. There might have been a salsa thrown in, too. I would have loved a minuet, but that never happened.

I moved to another bedroom around 3:40 a.m. The cats found that amusing and wanted to play. I must have fallen asleep at some point, only to have Studly wake me up to kiss me goodbye when he left for work at 6. How very considerate of him. Thank you sir, may I have another?

Normally I’d have had the luxury of snuggling under my covers after Studly left for work, but I’d promised to meet an acquaintance at a fitness center for an early morning aerobics class. I went, and held on through most of the class, but I might have fallen asleep during the cool down. There was a trickle of drool on my yoga mat. I just hope I didn’t snore.

Peace, People

I Mustache You a Question

My name is Nana Noyz and I have a mustache. There, I’ve said it. Let the 12 Step Program commence. While I have come to terms with my crinkly wrinkles, my saggy breasts, my droopy eyelids, and my jiggly arms, I cannot embrace my facial hair, nor have I been able to admit that I am powerless to stop it.

I remember gazing in amazement at the sparkling white hairs on my Grandma’s chin and upper lip. They were fascinating to 5-year-old me, and I might have made the mistake of wishing for some of my own. If so, I rescind the wish! I do, I do, I do!

Fifty years ago I don’t think women of a certain age worried as much about random hair sprouting from their chins and cheeks. Those were the days, my friends. But in the 21st century we are almost obsessed with keeping a smooth visage until death removes all such vain concerns.

Heaven knows I try to keep ahead of the hair growth, but sensitive skin keeps me from going the depilatory cream and/or wax routes. Instead I look in a magnifying mirror every morning searching for offending follicles and then ruthlessly pluck the fruit, er, hair. There are two trouble spots.

The first is a place on my chin just left of dead center that can always be counted on to yield a pluck-able strand. It amazes me just how quickly a hair grows in this spot and I’m thinking of willing this particular follicle to science. Not only is there always a hair there, but it is consistently two shades darker and three times coarser than the hair growing on any other part of my body. Truly it is a worthy topic for Unsolved Mysteries or Ancient Aliens.

The second place is just above my upper lip. I’ve named it, The Fringe. The Fringe isn’t dark, and it isn’t coarse. In fact, it is so fine that I almost cannot see it even with the 20x magnifying mirror, but I can FEEL it. Sadly, plucking on a daily basis yields almost no results, so I end up waiting until individual hairs grow to an obscene length. You know, like when the small child sitting next to you on the park bench tries to get your attention by tugging on one.

My only consolation is that my husband, Studly Doright, cannot see anything up close without his reading glasses. This is the reason why women should always marry men near their own age. He thinks I look just like I did when we married 38 years ago. Poor guy. He got a raw deal in the “for better or worse” department; he just doesn’t know it.

I’m Nana Noyz, and I have a mustache that my husband can’t see. There. I’ve accepted it.

Peace, People.

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A Thigh Slapping Good Time

Whoever said that endorphins released during exercise can give you a high must’ve been smoking something. All I get from exercising is tired.

I’ve put on a number of pounds over the years. At least 10 for each of our many moves. Granted, I go through periods of weight loss, otherwise I’d have added 170 lbs. over the last 38 years of wedded bliss.

After our most recent move to Tallahassee, I weigh more than I ever have. It’s a loneliness thing. I know no one, therefore, I eat. Great excuse, eh? Unfortunately my clothes are not fitting anymore and no one wants to see me naked. Trust me. Even my cats have expressed their disgust. Where others might see hair balls, I see only revulsion.

It was time for a lifestyle change. So, in addition to trying to eat healthier foods–lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, salmon, etc., I decided to get more active. But that means exercise. Damn. My eldest sister-in-law, we’ll call her “The Pretty One” or TPO, for short, suggested a water aerobics class.

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I searched the websites in Tallahassee and found that several city parks offered water aerobics. On Wednesday I made my first visit. I knew I was in trouble when the instructor, Madame de Sade, told me, “First time? Don’t worry, it’s a work at your own pace kind of class.”

What she meant was, “I’m going to run, run, run in the water and you are going to wear a blister in your left big toe trying to keep up with me.” All we did was run. Forward, backward, sideways, we ran with her screaming, “Run, ladies! Run like your lives depend on it!”

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I didn’t want to go back, but I figured Wednesdays must be leg days, so I returned on Thursday. Same. Damn. Thing. Now the blister on my big toe is bigger than my big toe. It’s formed an alliance with my ankle and they both scream for relief every time I take a step.

I looked at the lady on my right. “I’m blowing this joint tomorrow.”

She nods. “I’m in,” she says.

So today, we went to a different park. There was music playing when we arrived. The instructor gave us a smile and a hug and welcomed us to the group. We only ran once before launching into a series of routines that left me panting and smiling and, well, high! My endorphins and I can’t wait to return to class on Monday.

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Peace, People!