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Posts tagged ‘lesbian humor’

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER PACKING

It was Emma’s birthday and we were going to Big Splash Water Park, out to dinner, and cake with her grandparents. It was a big, big day. And we were packing. Em had to pack for the water park and dinner and then for pirate bonding on the river for the weekend and then for camp. She had lists for each bag and what needed to go in it. I think she may have gotten that from me and perhaps the importance of always having first aid kit. But I was keeping my mouth shut on those two accounts. It could just have been a coincidence.

I only had to pack for Big Splash and dinner and I was stressed. I had to pack my swimming suit and accoutrements and clothes for the restaurant afterwards. I stood arms akimbo in the living room, deep in thought. I looked over at Layce who was calmly reading.

“I’m going to have to pack a toiletry bag because I’ll be all sticky from the sunscreen and chlorine which will rinse off but still be there if I don’t thoroughly soap up, which means I’m going to need soap, shampoo, lotion and all the rest.  I should probably pack an extra towel because my pool towel will smell like chlorine and be dampish.”

“I’m going to take a shower when I get home. It simplifies things,” Layce said not looking up from her book.

I considered this approach. It would simply things but that’s just not my style. Em was packing her suit, towel, sunscreen, and various other items. “Don’t forget your thongs,” I told her. (I admit that under duress, I had a retro-moment back to the days when flip flops were called thongs before skimpy underpants appropriated the word.)

“You mean flip flops,” Em said.

“Yes.”

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“Okay, but you have to remind me to put them back into my Tortuga bag, (that’s what the pirate thing is called) and then move them to my camp bag,” Em said.

“Will you two please go do your pack thing and leave me alone. I’ve read the same page five times now.”

“She just doesn’t understand the importance of  proper packing,” I told Em. We scattered each to our own packing issues.

Em called upstairs. “I need that small black bag for my camp toiletries.”

“I’ll be right down with it.”

There was a heavy sigh from the living room, which we both ignored. Such is the nature of those who pack ten minutes before a trip. I refrained from mentioning that she forgot her belt last time we went out of town. I figured it was best.

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DOING THINGS BADLY

I was walking out of my Continuing Ed watercolor class with one of my classmates.  “How are you liking the class?” I asked. I was pretty stoked about it. I have this bucket list of things I wanted to do when I had more spare time. The time had come—learning to paint was on it.

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“I’m so bad at it,” she said discouragingly. “I thought it would be fun but it’s a lot harder than it looks.”

“No worries, I do a lot of things badly but that doesn’t stop me,” I told her.  I refrained from saying that very few things stop me if I’d decided upon doing them.  Not all the choices have been good ones, but I have reached my fifth decade so that’s saying something.

I knew in kindergarten being a great artist was not in the cards for me. It may have been my uniquely ugly, crayon creations that tipped me off. They were perfect eyesores.  They didn’t even warrant a place on the fridge, but I wished I’d archived them for kicks and giggle later.

My classmate sighed heavily, walked to her car and I never saw her again. I finished the course and thoroughly enjoyed it. My professor would often shake his head, bite his lip, and make a few suggestions. I’m pretty sure he pitied me, but I was enthusiastic and I made it to the end—six out of fifteen of us did. I felt sorry for him then. He’d given up his time to teach others about his passion and the badness factor had kept the rest of the students away.

The point here—yes, there is one— is that I’m all about the means, the journey,  the interesting stuff I learn along the way when I take up a new hobby. So far, I sew badly, I play the guitar super-badly, and I paint badly. I also park badly, but that’s a whole other blog.  It seems such a shame that people insist that they have to do whatever they do first rate, top of the class, must be the best at it, or the thing isn’t worth doing.

Can’t we just do it without the judgment of “bestness?” It’s being the best, doing the thing well or not at all, that cripples us. I’m not saying it hasn’t taken me years to get to this philosophical oneness with my badness, but once I did, I’ve had a lot of fun trying out new things and not worrying whether it’s good or bad. It just is. Isn’t that what having fun is all about?

So embrace your inner badness (the kind that goes with hobbies) and go out and have fun. If you’ve already reached this place—major kudos to you.  I won’t subject you to my watercolors, that would be cruel but I’ve archived them this time—you know, for posterity.

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LITTLE MISS FIDGET

The story of little Miss Fidget begins as a young girl with unflattering hair is forced into the educational system. This known fidgeter is moi. I tried to convince my mother that after having tried kindergarten for half a day that I had decided it wasn’t a good fit for me so I wouldn’t be going back. Imagine the shock and awe of this revelation when she told me I had no choice. It was prison or kindergarten. (Just kidding.) The fidgeter was born.

I did my best to keep my fidgeting discreet after I got called out and told to “Sit still or I will dip your toes into a pool of alligators.” (My kindergarten teacher believed in tough love.) By the second grade and all through college I figured out a way to fidget without detection.

The method to this is to sit in the third row from the front next to an innocuous student. They’re not difficult to find  You’ll be virtually invisible because the good students are in front, bad in back. In between—not memorable. Thus, I would fidget—barely perceptive toe tapping, leg crossing, and other yoga like positions, running my hands up and down on the desk tabletop, the smoothness soothing. Over the years I must have come up with 1,001 different ways to fidget unnoticed.

I have recently created another fidget. I rub the fabric of my pants between my thumb and index finger. This repetitive motion is referred to as “self-comforting.” I do it when I’m in the car because of the high rate of automobile accidents. If I’m not driving, I self-comfort.

I was caught in the act by the All Seeing Eye—Layce. “What are you doing? Did you know you do it all the time—like whenever we’re in the car,” Layce said, looking over at me while waiting at the stop light.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said, looking down at my right hand, which was frantically stroking my pant leg.

She gave me the “hairy eyeball,” but said nothing, waiting for my confession. I knew she knew. She knew I knew she knew about my fidgeting issue.

“Okay, I admit to being a fidgeter. I can’t believe you haven’t noticed before.”

“I have noticed before and this latest fidget is creepy. You have to stop, now, before it requires therapy.”

She was making me nervous so I rubbed harder. “I need help.”

“Stop, you’ll wear your pants out.”

When we got home, I researched fidgeting. There’s a whole lot of info out there and a whole lot of “people who fidget.” Fortunately, I found the solution on Amazon. It’s a small cube, each side with a different activity for you fingers. Six sides with seven different stress relieving features: click, flick, roll, and spin.

I ordered it and paid extra for two day shipping.

The Fidget Toy

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This thing is awesome for fidgeters. Word of advice: Don’t use it when it’s in your pocket because it will look like you’re playing pocket pool.

So you fidgeters out there take heart. There is hope. Fidget away!

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Valentine’s Present, Part II

I told Layce that I wanted an English bull dog. (see her blog “I Just Got Played” for full explanation.) I got a cappuccino machine instead . It was my Valentine’s present. She didn’t have a gift idea so she was highly amenable to my plan B—a cappuccino machine.

Operating a cappuccino machine isn’t as easy as Starbucks makes it look.

First, we had technical difficulties with the “filter retention clip.”

“Did you read the manual?” I asked. I always read the instructions on everything, literally. You would not believe the stuff you learn from instructions. In fact, if I ever quit writing novels, I’ll become a technical writer and write instruction manuals.

“No.” She always says that. We make good partners because of our different methodologies when it comes to new kitchen appliances.

We eventually discovered that the filter retention clip was malfunctioning. With gentle twisting and turning, and a little brute force, we managed the get the clip working. Next we searched for cups to fit under the filter nozzles. I hadn’t realized that all our coffee cups were too tall.

“We’ll have to get some of those cute white porcelain cups—the elite liberal kind so we look posh,” I said.

“Yeah. I’ll add that to the stainless steel steamed milk pitcher that I had to order.”

“I’d like to start using fresh beans but we’d need a coffee grinder.”

“I thought we had one?”

“We did but something happened to it,” I said. (Em and I used it to grind up crayons for an art project. Don’t ever do this.) I changed the subject. “I want to learn to put those hearts and trees on top of the coffee.”

“And then you’ll want some of the fancy syrups to add to your frothy drink with the tree or heart shape.”

“I’d forgotten all about the syrups, thanks for reminding me. It’ll help me channel my inner barista. I might need a do-rag and green apron.”

“This is getting very involved,” Layce said.

“I need the appropriate accoutrements if I’m going to become a barista. It’ll be another one of my hobbies. Every afternoon as we read the New York Times and Vanity Fair, I’ll make us this excellent cup of perfectly brewed coffee.” I imagined myself wearing a do-rag and a green apron calling out “Layce, your amazing cappuccino is ready.”

“Your hobbies do keep you out of trouble despite the accoutrements.”

I ignored her facetious tone. “I’m going to research about becoming a barista. I’ll need to buy a couple of books.”

“I had no idea that a cappuccino machine was going to start a new obsession that requires so much stuff.”

“That’s what happens when you don’t get me a dog,” I said.

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THE BIG TRIP, Part One

I slapped a fat manila folder down on the table. “It’s finally done. Now we can go.” I was thrilled.

“What’s this?” Layce asked, gingerly picking up a corner of the folder as if what’s inside might leap out and snap off a finger.

“It’s the history of Hot Springs, demographics, weather predictions, must-see sights, morning walks mapped out, the best place for coffee and lunch, a list of all available hotels and their amenities, coupons, more maps, and reviews I want to compare to see just how people come up with those snippets on TripAdvisor, and a detailed packing list of all the things we’ll need to make our trip a success. Do you have any questions concerning your packet?”

“Huh?” Layce asked.

“You need to read all that so you’re prepared for our trip. I’ve included photos so you can get the feel of the place. See,” I handed her a series of photos of the Garvan Woodland Gardens. “And that’s the Grand Promenade,” I said indicating another photo. We’ll walk that the first morning. There are some great coffee shops along the way.” I pointed to the list of coffee shops, bistros and restaurants I had compiled.

“You have times listed here,” Layce said, scanning down the page.

“I made out a daily agenda so we wouldn’t miss anything. It just makes things easier. You get up, and you have your day all set up because your wife is taking care of everything. Now, I think you should go pack.”

“We’re not going for another six weeks.”

“No time like the present.” I grabbed the car keys.

“Where are you going?”

“To get the oil changed, the tires rotated, and a 52-point inspection. You don’t expect me to leave town without doing that. Safety first.”

I looked down at the presentation folder as it sat looking forlorn on the table. “Why aren’t you reading? You’ve got a lot of material to cover in six weeks. I expect you to be fully prepared.”

“Will there be a test?” Layce asked. She’d gotten up to pour coffee.

“No, but I put a lot of time into researching.” I put on my best pout face.

“But this is like watching those movie trailers that are too long. After you watch it, you feel like you’ve already seen the movie.”

“Are you saying you don’t want to go now?” I asked.

She flipped through the folder and said, “All the best stuff’s in here. We’d save a lot of money if I just read this. Then we wouldn’t have to go and spend a fortune on a vacation.”

I snatched the folder out of her hands. “Forget it. You’re not reading this.” I dumped it into the trash. “Forget it even existed.”

Layce smiled and walked out of the room humming a tune that sounded a lot like We Are the Champions.

Why do I get the feeling I was just bamboozled?

Stay tuned for The Big Trip Part Two.

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The Cold, Hard Truth

I had been led to believe I was the perfect child for most of my adult life. Then one day my mother dragged out a box of letters that she’d written to my departed grandmother. They told a completely different story—a story of a tyrant, an errant flower girl, an anarchist Brownie (not the kind you eat) and a Halloween Scrooge.

It goes like this. Every day after grade school, the neighborhood children gathered at our house. One late afternoon as my mother took out another pitcher of lemonade, my father asked why everyone always gathered in our backyard.  My mother looked at him coolly. She pointed at me. “Because she can’t be the boss at someone else’s house.”  This was true. I prefer to control my own environment even now.

This need for control got me ousted from Brownies. My mother decided that socialization with other little girls would be a good idea. She dressed me in brown and sent me off. The first couple of times were okay. A bird pooped on our leader’s head during a bird watching session. I enjoyed that but insisted from then on I would always wear hats when in the woods. Which I still do.

It was the crafts part of Brownies that was my undoing. I thought it was inane to roll up pages of magazines and glue them to the outside of an empty gallon ice cream container in order to make waste baskets. As I pointed out, I already had a waste basket and I didn’t think taking away much needed manufacturing jobs was the sort of thing the Brownies should do—especially during dire economic times.

The next letter’s interlude had to do with my aunt’s wedding. For some reason unbeknownst to anyone other than my four-year-old self, I had gotten peeved about my flower girl dress and had what we refer to in my family as a “hissy fit.”  So, as was described in the letter, I held up a wedding, further stressed out the bride and refused to ever return to the wedding’s country of origin—Bicktoria (Victoria), B.C.  I have since returned.

As a child I adored Halloween. It was less about the dressing up and more about the acquisition of free goods. There would be few times in life that people actually opened their doors, smiled and cooed, and handed you candy. Halloween seemed the only time that adults did not fear hoards of children coming at them. At the end of the evening, I would dump out my pillow case full of candy and begin the inventory. I sorted the candy bars and treats into their respective categories and tallied up the totals. I went to bed and the next morning got up and recounted my inventory. Some were always missing. My parents denied any knowledge of the missing treats.

My mother put the letters aside. We studied each other. “You always told me I was the perfect child,” I said.

“I lied.”

And that’s how I found out the cold, hard truth about my younger self.

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Butter-Sitting

“I warned her,” I said. Layce and I were at a play in Tulsa. It was date night—only it was two o’clock in the afternoon. (This has nothing to do with our advancing years so banish that thought from your head. We like matinees.)

Another frantic text came in but the house lights have gone down so Layce turned off her phone. “She’ll be fine. It will teach her life skills.”

“I don’t know if it’s such a good idea to let her practice on Butter,” I said, biting my lip.

Layce patted my hand. “Emma is perfectly capable of taking care of Butter.”

I settled into the play and guiltily forgot about Butter until intermission. We went out into the lobby to stretch our legs.

“Aren’t you going to check your phone for messages?” I asked, trying not to sound frantic.

“We’re on a date. Butter will be fine.”

I tried to look relaxed. “Yeah, sure.”

“Oh, all right,” Layce said, and turned on her phone.

I leaned over to look. Emma had left ten messages, each one worse than the last. Emma was doing a complete overhaul on her room and, in theory, Butter was supposed to sit in her laundry basket on her blanket and chew on her chew toys while Emma worked. This did not happen.

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“She won’t stop crying. And she keeps getting out of her basket. I can’t get anything done. I had to get out the baby sling and carry her around.”

“She sounds a little overtaxed,” I said. I was trying to be diplomatic. Butter made me feel the same way. I haven’t practiced my guitar, or sewed, or read, or colored, or anything else that tended to last more than fifteen minutes at a time.

“She’ll survive,” Layce said. “I did. I had Emma attached to my hip for her first three years. She was like a giant wart who gave me tendonitis.”

“Is this payback?” I asked.

“It’s more like preparation,” Layce replied.

The lights flickered and we went back into the theater. As I sat watching the play, I thought that it wasn’t Butter I should be worried about, it was Emma.

When we got home, Emma was at the door holding Butter and looking the most frazzled I’ve ever seen her—including finals week.

“Here, take her,” she said thrusting Butter at me. “I have to go lay down.”

Butter was happy as a clam. She licked my face. We both sat in my recliner. She fell asleep immediately. I sipped my coffee and read. Maybe Emma could Butter-sit again next weekend.

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