Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Back to the Future For Buffalo News Carrier

An 81-year-old Grand Island woman has her newspaper carrier to thank for potentially saving her life by noticing her paper hadn't been picked up. Joseph Rains, a seventh grader in the Buffalo suburb of Grand Island (yes, technically, an island, and also, technically owned by Native Americans) was delivering a special Monday holiday edition of the News when he noticed a previous paper had been untouched. Then he heard some mysterious banging coming from inside the house. Concerned, he consulted his chaffeur (technically, "mom") who was was driving him around on his route that morning. She contacted the local authorities, who responded and found that Audrey Yehle had fallen inside her house and (yes, technically "couldn't get up" -- just like that doddering commercial for emergency alert services always warned us could happen!) Instead of fancy technology, she had utilized an ordinary household broomstick to attract her paperboy's attention. (Thank you Glenda, the good witch, for that idea.) The woman just happened to live on "Love Road," leading us to wonder if the late Beatle John Lennon himself was playing guardian angel for the woman, tapping the 12-year-old paperboy on the shoulder. This was such a heart-warming item that it was reported tonight on Keith Olberman's Countdown Show on MSNBC. In his version, the newspaper boy noticed the woman's "Buffalo Courier-Express" hadn't been picked up. So I conclude, technically, that the woman had NOT been lying helpless for a couple days, as reported, but rather must have been there for a couple DECADES. The Courier, you see, has been out of business since 1982. Thanks, Keith, for sending me Back to the Future! Now if only I could score an invite to the Bass Pro Under the Sea Dance.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Wish List: Happy Kids!

I don't know any parent whose wish list is substantially different from that. All we want for Christmas is happy children. Well, yes, we also want world peace (as long as we don't have to personally see to it), financial stability and health for all concerned. But if the kids are happy that's pretty much all we ask. Someone pointed out recently that Christmas just doesn't have the same magic that it did when we were kids. You never get anything that really thrills you, unless you have incredibly rich spouse who leaves a luxury car topped with a bow in your driveway. In which case you probably already have everything you could want or need, anyway. Well shoot, everything is supposed to be more fun for kids! Whether it's playing little league, losing your tooth, going to an amusement park, learning to ride a bike, anticipating your birthday...why should Christmas be any different? From a worldly perspective, of course. Spiritually Christmas ought to add meaning with every passing year. I will have to say that for kids of the age of mine (4 and 6), no matter how hard we try to emphasize the "Jesus' Birthday" thing, it is really not much more than a technicality to them. Jesus is one lucky kid, who gets to have his birthday on Christmas Day. So he can get presents! I had to actually explain that Jesus came first, followed by Santa. Sort of like the chicken and the egg, never mind Happy Meals or the frying pan. I don't really worry that the Santa Concept will undermine their future religious faith. Some claim that once they learn that "Santa is a lie" or at best, a parental exaggeration on par with "you'll never grow if you don't eat your vegetables," then they will conclude every fantastic-sounding thing we've ever told them is false. Such as the existence of God and a heavenly afterlife. My plan is to retire all the fictional characters at the same time. The moment Santa is unmasked is the day we eliminate the Elves, cage the Tooth Fairy, shoot the Easter Bunny, bury the Groundhog and smash the Great Pumpkin. I may even reveal there is no all-seeing cop who will cart us off to jail instantly if he EVER SEES ANYONE WITH AN UNBUCKLED SEAT BELT. My 4- and 6-year-old are really worried about having to eat jail food, and they often discuss what would be served there and what it might taste like. Personally I believed in Santa 'til I was maybe eight, and it never caused me to have any religious doubts. That's for later when you realize bad things happen to good people! The Book of Job in case anyone forgot. What's more perplexing is why "good" things happen to bad people! Who the heck made Herod king? Anyway, Hubby and I got our wish this year, as each kid was thrilled with the whole Christmas experience, and they were even on good behavior at Mass. (The 4-year-old fell asleep, which is about as good as it gets.) Some of our more successful endeavors were as follows: making a deliberate effort to see some great local light displays. They had a listing in the paper of some spectacularly ostentatious ones, complete with lighted figures on rooftops, gyrating animations, colors everywhere. So I mapped out a route which took us to half a dozen or so great sights, along with a very large mobile home park where about 90 percent of the residents decked out in a major way, attended by Santa and Mrs. Claus giving out candy at the exit. It took about half an hour to get all the way through, and I'm certain the location is visible to astronauts orbiting the earth. The 4-year-old was sputtering his praise, "This was good! This was beautiful! This was wonderful! This was generous!" (He's sort of like an automated synonym-finder at this age.) We also took advantage of an early Thanksgiving by decorating the weekend BEFORE. This allowed us to schedule two holiday parties, one the weekend after Thanksgiving (for friends) and another a couple weeks later (for work people who are also friends). We always invite people with their kids so no one has to worry about sitters, and our kids are thrilled to have the company. However they always enjoy the children so much that they want them to come right back the next day! Hubby's outrageous display of Santas, nutcrackers and funky villages is the visual centerpiece of all this. Naturally I am more concerned about having enough food, including something kids will eat. (chocolate santas! pretzels!) The week before Christmas my mother sent us some seeds for grass for the kids to grow for the Baby Jesus. The idea is that we're growing it so we have fresh hay for his manger when he arrives. The kids really like this in a horticultural sense, watering it with great glee each morning. It grew quite tall in only a week! This was another way to keep them focused on the "Jesus coming" aspect of the holiday. I want to thank my friend Katrena for alerting us to, a fabulous site that has anything a kid (or parent) could want to make your holiday preparations complete! This site allowed us to email Santa, which both kids did. They anxiously checked their email box (available right on the site) every couple hours. It took him more than a day to reply, but they were thrilled! They were able to read and personalize stories, play Christmasy (and educational) games, print out coloring sheets and puzzles, find out deep background information on Santa. We visite Mrs. Claus' kitchen and picked out a cookie recipe for us to all make together. There was a huge selection, but we settled on "angel crisps" because my 6-year-old studied them all and decided this one didn't have any ingredients he objected to. Hubby then had the brilliant idea of purchasing two "calls from Santa" on Ebay. Yes, I suppose you could have a relative do it, but it's hard to disguise your voice for five minutes. And this "Santa" (from Nevada) was great! He had a real Santa voice, and you could call him up and get his answering machine and leave messages. Hubby and I had to fill out a questionnaire about the kids. When he called the caller ID read "Santa: North Pole." I have to say the kids' jaws both dropped when they realized they were talking to Santa. Santa chitchatted knowledgeably about their lives, asking about their teachers, my 6-year-old's lost teeth (even claiming he sent an elf to help the tooth fairy find the tooth he lost on the playground!), complimented them on doing their chores and flossing. We put Santa on speakerphone so I taped the whole thing. Well worth the ten bucks per call, in my opinion. Santa did a fantastic job! On Christmas Eve we tracked Santa's progress around the globe on the site's NORAD satellite Santa Tracker. It was cool! You could see on the map where he was. You want to start early in the day when he's still in Japan and keep checking back every so often as he hits various countries. There are live reports and on location sightings as he flies past local landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower. When he got to Brazil I warned the kids we'd better get them to sleep! We sprinkled the reindeer food on the front lawn before ushering them to their beds. Hubby pretty much bought and arranged all of their toys this year. (He was better about not getting things that come with 3oo PIECES.) I made the hot cocoa that we sent out for Santa, along with a plate of angel crisps. I'm also in charge of the stocking stuffers. In addition to chocolate Santas they each get Christmas pencils, two toothbrushes, floss, chapstick, math flashcards and dice. I don't know why the dice. Maybe because we were always losing the dice to board games when I was a kid, so I'm compensating. So for any adults who feel like they have lost the magic of Christmas, you really need to spend it in the presence of children. Jesus is the reason for the season, yes, but children are the reason for the toys. Without Santa we'd have no toys. Without Jesus we'd have no love. Someday the children will realize which aspect is expendable and which is not, and when they do, they will never lose the magic of this Holy Day.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Christ's Birth 2005

We all know Christmas is about much MORE than the birth of Jesus Christ on earth approximately 2,000 years ago, give or take a solstice. As if it needed to be! Primarily it seems to be about retailers achieving their year-end sales goals. Since one of my previous professional incarnations was advertising for a retail chain, I can attest to the economic worship of what is reverently known as "The Fourth Quarter." But Christmas is also an opportunity for the socially aggressive to insist that their form of Christmas greeting is preferred to any other kind. That is, "Merry Christmas" is superior to "Happy Holidays," and we'll boycott your butt if you ban the former in favor of the latter. For the religiously inclined, why not skip gift-buying altogether and just focus on the true meaning of Christmas? Then you don't have to worry about which stores to avoid! It isn't really necessary, though. If you want to annoy people you can just pronounce it "Happy HOLY-Days." That's where the word came from, after all. Another option is to shout gleefully, "Mary, Queen of Scots!" in a British accent. This will definitely make people wonder what is wrong with you. At our house, along with getting ready for the Birth of Christ, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Believe it or not, that special actually MENTIONS the birth of Christ and quotes Scripture! Today that seems wildly subversive. It's also worth noting that Christmas was already completely commercialized at that point. I think we need to complain about much more than the commercialization of Christmas. That's a retailing fact of life, but far from the only feature making Christmas something other than perhaps it was originally intended. How about the Electrification of Christmas? It's apparent from a cursory trip in residential areas that the Worship of the Watt goes on unabated, with glowing bulbs, icicles, snow globes, reindeer, angels, manger scenes, disco balls, cartoon characters ad infinitum. (Personal note: And I love looking at it! Give me more!) Or, the Hallmarkification of Christmas. (Guilty here, too.) Between packages and cards it's possible to spend more of your Christmas season in the post office than in Church! But I love getting the photo cards and newsletters that update us on people we don't see nearly often enough. All the friends and family get them except my one friend who "hates newsletters" because they are so impersonal. Well I always write a personal note on the card in addtion to sending the newsletter. I actually used to send out a page or two long-hand letter until carpal tunnel set in. So after that I decided the newsletter was the only way to go. I just try to make it interesting enough that if it's the only thing you had to read in the car you wouldn't be totally bored. How about the Calorification of Christmas? This isn't hard to do in any case, but when you've acquired an Italian mother-in-law, as I did seven years ago, things get REALLY out of hand! dishes....COOKIES. Forget those stupid tips on how not to pack on the pounds over the holidays. It's impossible. And realistically, why should we turn any of this fantastic food down? Can we talk about the Jingleization of Christmas? Those stores and radio stations that start playing tunes with bells as soon as the Thanksgiving wishbone is parted? Think about this. Six weeks of Christmas music. In a 52-week year, that is more than 10 percent of the total year spent listening to Bruce Springsteen giggle "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." It is more than a month of Jose Feliciano crooning "Feliz Navidad." It is like listening to "The Little Drummer Boy" as a penance for the duration of Lent. On the other hand, there isn't much about modern music that I like, so I guess I'm not really complaining. Just pointing it out! What should we call the things we watch during this season? The BoobTubopoly of Christmas? Since we have a 4- and 6-year-old naturally we are revisiting the traditional kids' specials such as Charlie Brown, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Mickey's Christmas, Frosty the Snowman and the Little Drummer Boy. And adult fare such as A Christmas Carol, It's a Wonderful Life, Home Alone (okay, a movie, but for kids), Miracle on 34th St., Holiday Inn, and (my personal favorite) The Homecoming, which introduced us to Earl Hamner's Walton family. It is amazing with all these "izations" (beyond just commercialization) that we have time to notice Jesus at all! I do try, and it comes more to the fore when you have to constantly remind your kids WHY we are doing all this stuff. Because Jesus wants us to! On a commercial note, I really don't need anything except socks. I KNOW the Christmas season is about more than me keeping my feet warm. It is about the presence of Jesus in our lives. I wonder if the emphasis on that in December somehow gives us a pass on realizing it every other month of the year. That is going to be my project for 2006. Getting the Jingle out of Jesus so he can show up at the breakfast table every morning, supervise my driving throughout the day, and help us wrap things up at night. Welcome, Jesus, into our lives and our hearts!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Reindeer Food is Nutritious

I was a Christmas Party Volunteer at for my son's first grade class. Several of us got there early to prepare the room while the children were having recess out on the playground. Even though I am a "food person" by nature, I did not get assigned to pizza preparations or cookie placement. For some reason I am always tortured by crafts. Right to the craft table I go! We will be creating reindeer puppets out of a brown paper lunch bag, construction paper body parts, and of course glue. And even though I am (psychologically) allergic to glitter, that of course was mixed into the equation in the form of "Reindeer Food" that we would be putting into little plastic Ziploc bags. Reindeer Food is made up of standard rolled oats plus the glitter. My son's first grade teacher said the children could scoop the oats into the bag, but she wanted us parents to handle the glitter. This was due to an incident involving one of her own personal children a number of years ago. They had to visit an emergency room in order to extract glitter from her child's eye. As I have mentioned before, I am very Craft-Unfriendly. Nothing turns out better due to my participation in it. My very presence causes glue to harden, construction paper to curl up, yarn to develop split ends, sequins to scatter, glitter to clump up. I was becoming concerned that "I" would get glitter in my eye and have to be transported to the emergency room, still clutching my adult scissors. So the children filed back in to start their Christmas party activities. I did one useful thing, which was to go around the class with the hand sanitizer and make everyone wash up. Then they scattered to various tables to play Christmas Bingo, frost Christmas cookies and of course to construct their reindeer puppet and assemble the reindeer food. Eight or so first graders gathered around my table, smiling expectantly. I was sitting in a first grade chair, so my knees were approximately at my ears. I moved one knee out of the way and said, "Welcome to the reindeer table!" That brought an immediate chorus of "Where's mine Give me the scissors I don't have one Hey he took the glue You're too close to me I can't find my other antler...etc." Fortunately the pieces they had to glue onto their bag were already inside the bag. They all dumped out these pieces onto the table, which caused them all to start elbowing each other in case someone else was reaching for "their" pieces. Never mind the fact that they were all the same, and no one was likely to steal "your" reindeer eyeball to give "their" reindeer a third eye. One girl said to me, "What is the glitter for?" "It's part of the reindeer food," I said to her. "It helps the reindeer fly." "So they eat the glitter?" she said skeptically. "How do they fly before they get there?" I frowned. "They already know how to fly because they're magic reindeer." "I don't believe in magic food," she said. I shifted to a more technical explanation. "The glitter helps the reindeer find the food on the lawn. It's an optical enhancement," I tried to say with finality. Now if I were that girl's parents I would be tempted to borrow a neighbor's dog poop, sprinkle some glitter on it, and throw it on the front lawn for added reindeer realism. But that's just me. After the children finished glueing all the pieces to their paper bags they were supposed to put their name on their own reindeer. One child added, "Made in China." I guess he pays attention to labels in the stores! When we finished our reindeer they all gathered in front of the teacher for the wrapped book exchange. One thing I notice about first graders is that they allow each other practically NO personal space. While sitting on the floor they jam right up against each other like they're on a pilgrimmage to Mecca. The teacher kept saying, "Spread out! No one will be able to walk up to get their present unless you spread out!" Another thing about the first grade class it that at first glance it sort of looks like a hockey player awards dinner. They all smile broadly and no one has any teeth! I wonder if the teacher gets used to that look. As each child's name was called, he or she was supposed to go to the pile of wrapped presents and choose one. They spent a lot of time on the choosing, even though these were all books and you had no idea what book was inside. So they were choosing based on the style of wrapping paper and contours of the package. Which were all either square or rectangular. Book-shaped, for heaven's sake! Why was this taking so long? The tag said who the gift was "from" so each recipient was supposed to say something thankful and give a holiday greeting to the giver. But you have to admit a "book exchange" is a good idea for first graders. Even though everyone wanted to trade once they opened their book. Finally I was released from duty. No glitter in my eye. No stab wounds with scissors. No glue in inappropriate places (best as I could tell). Only one girl whose tenuous hold on the reality of Santa may have been threatened by my reindeer food explanation. Next I will be working on the physics of how the sleigh stays up there. "Magic" has become seriously undermined as a working explanation.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Improve Your Memory In 14 Days: A Quiz

Haven't I seen this quiz before? Say in the past couple of weeks? Any memory test that doesn't include my grocery list is just playing games. Here's a quiz for you: 1) How much time, in your average week, do you spend staring into your refrigerator, slowly chilling your forearms, because you refuse to close the door until you remember what it is you were supposed to be getting? 2) How many rebate coupons that you are eligible for do you successfully redeem in any given year? (More than half or Less than half) 3) How many perfectly pleasant phone conversations do you have with family members each day without getting to the real point of your phone call? So you have to call back. 4) What percentage of your birthday and anniversary cards that you send out are, technically, "belated?" (whether the card uses that word or not) a) Less than half? b) More than half? c)Practically all? d) I've stopped sending cards because I can't remember to whom I'm related anymore. 5) How many important documents could you physically locate in five minutes? Circle all that apply: driver's license, birth certificate, car registration, social security card, marriage license, passport, title to car, mortgage papers, warranty card for anything costing more than $500 bucks. 6) What is the phone number for your childhood home? (first home that you had to learn a phone number for) 7) What is the oldest condiment in your refrigerator? How long ago did it expire? 8) Where were you and what were you doing when Andy Gibb died? (you may omit this question if you don't know who Andy Gibb is. If old substitute JFK. If young substitute JFK, Jr..) 9) Recite the Whopper Ingredients. 10) Say "Toy Boat" four times fast. 11) If you are still reading this quiz you probably can't remember why you started taking it.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

And Time's the Person of the Year Is...

Time's Person of the Year, eagerly awaited by those of us who like to ingest news along with our carbohydrates, is none other than...a triumverate. Yes! Three persons in one. A trinity, if you will. A new trend that I already don't like, starting with the replacement of Nightline's Ted Koppel with three people who taken together aren't nearly as good. So who are these three all-important persons, bellwethers of Life As We Knew It in 2005? Was it this year's Weather Supremes: Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma? (No.) Was it our govermental stooges, FEMA's Michael Brown, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco? (Uh-uh.) How about Republicans in Trouble, such as Scooter "G. Gordon" Libby, Bill "Me First" Frist, and "Smiling" Tom DeLay? (Nope.) Or Democrats Saying Dumb Things, such as Harry "Concentration Camps" Reid, John "the Army's Broke" Murtha, or Howard "The Scream" Dean? (Not hardly.) No. None of those. Singers perhaps? Ones we are sick of reading about, such as Britney & Kevin, Jessica and Whats-His-Name, J. Lo and anybody? Nah. Terrorists? We've got Bombings in Bali, Terror on Trains in Britain and Insurgents in Iraq. Eh, it's almost background noise now. Well then! How about people who DISTRACTED us from real news? The Runaway Bride in Albuquerque, Natalee Holloway in Aruba, Cindy Sheehan in Crawford? Big People Who Left Us Worse Off For Leaving? Pope John Paul II, Rosa Parks and Johnny Carson come to mind. How about those most responsible for reminding us that the news media is a wretched profession whose duty is to serve someone, but that the "someone" isn't the general public? I crown Queen Judy "Miss Run Amok" Miller (formerly of the New York Times), Court Jester Armstrong "Pay Me" Williams (ex-syndicated columnist), Pageboy Dan "Faked Evidence" Rather (retired from CBS News). Ooh. My suggestions above seem practically PLAUSIBLE. So which did Time Magazine choose? (Dramatic Rock and Roll Drum Roll gives way to clackclackclacking of a computer keyboard) The "Persons of the Year" are none other than U2 lead singer "Bono" and that husband and wife team of Bill and Melinda Gates. 'Cuz they're trying to make the world a better place! I have to admit I should really applaud Time's effort to name them. So what if it resonates with practically no one? Does it matter that it sounds like a bunch of high school teachers voted them "Most Admired Celebrities" in a dreamworld? Maybe the world is so depressing today that Time just had to look for someone doing good in the world and celebrate it no matter what. Time's writers are probably extremely tired of writing about hurricane debris. I should really agree wholeheartedly. It just seems so, so lame. Yes, the world is falling apart before our very eyes, but some very rich and famous people are throwing a lot of money at the world's problems! Also, after viewing the cover photo, I wish Bill and Bono had traded glasses. That would have offered an interesting visual effect. How is it that Mother Nature did not win hands down? (or bodies Facedown?) You've got a Tsunami in southeast Asia (the magnitude of which has never been seen in our lifetimes, and occurred too late to make the list last year). An earthquake in Pakistan that was large enough to make Pakistan and India set aside their nuclear threats for a few moments, and of course Hurricane Alley on the Gulf Coast, which waterlogged an American City to the point where it Ain't Coming Back. (Repeat: Ain't. Coming. Back.) I suppose I should give Time credit for looking at the bright side. They've lit a candle instead of cursing the darkness! Okay, Time. Maybe the world WILL be a better place in 2006. We can only pray that it is. If I had to pick one person of the year it would've been Terri Schiavo, victim soul for this poor, deluded humanity that resides on earth. May God bless us all, every one.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Loose Tooth T

Our 6-year-old has been discussing his loose tooth since the summer when it first began to wiggle in its socket. Would he be able to eat food when it fell out, he wondered, or was there a risk of starving? "Has the first grade lost any students to starvation?" I asked him. "Not yet," he admitted. "Well you probably won't be the first." As Thanksgiving bore down on us the dental drama heightened. The tooth was dangerously loose. There was a very real risk it could pop out and vanish into Grandma Carm's famous Thanksgiving Day pork sausage stuffing. But no. The tooth held on. It went from loose, to very loose, to hanging by a thread, to hanging by an invisible thread. Now it appeared to be held in place by nothing more than a force field. Uncle Rob offered to tie his tooth to a doorknob. Or he would get his tools from his toolbox. Our 6-year-old declined, aghast at the suggestions. It wasn't until the following day that he burst into our room and said, "Guess what?!" He opened his jaws wide to show off the new gaping hole in his gums. We cheered! He did a victory dance! Then came a howl. The 4-year-old began hitting himself in the head. "It's gone!" he cried. "He lost his TOOTH!" In all the excitement of "losing" the tooth I guess we had failed to explain what came next. "It won't be gone forever," I told him. "He'll get a new grown-up tooth." We carefully secured the tooth in a plastic sandwich bag, and placed the bag under his pillow. The next morning he had a shiny silver dollar in its place. To show you the state of first graders' education these days, the 6-year-old informed me that because they were active at night and could see in the dark, tooth fairies are "nocturnal." Less than a week later he announced at breakfast that his other bottom tooth was very loose. He hoped to lose it at school. Apparently a lost tooth at school is accompanied by fanfare and a visit from the assistant principal. There is a special container for the precious tooth, and who knows, maybe a crown. As he was wiggling the tooth with his finger I suggested he stop eating his second piece of toast and get ready for school. "Just brush the top teeth," I advised him. Five minutes later I heard a moan from the other side of the house. He emerged from his bedroom, crestfallen. It had come out when he tripped over his brother. (I'm probably lucky I still have all of my teeth considering how many times I have tripped over the 4-year-old.) I placed Tooth Two in another sandwich bag and stuck it in our refrigerator. At dinnertime Hubby heard the good news and bad news. A lost tooth, but no glory at school. "Where's the tooth?" Hubby inquired. I went to the refrigerator. Where the heck was it? I had it in a plastic bag, for Mike Tyson's sake. It had to be in there. I searched every shelf, each drawer, the butter compartment. The freezer. The. Tooth. Was. Gone. How could this be? The search was narrowed down to a single major appliance. As the condiment bottles multiplied on our countertop, Hubby looked concerned. "Why don't I look?" he suggested. I gave the boys dessert, trying to ignore the sinking feeling that I had perhaps tossed it out with old onions that had outlived their pungentness. That had gone over to the Dark Side of the Fridge. I don't remember doing this, but then, I don't remember half of what is on my grocery list these days. Or could I have intended to put it in the refrigerator and never did? And why the heck was I refrigerating an expired tooth, anyway? I wasn't a dentist or taxidermist. Five minutes later Hubby triumphantly produced a plastic bag with its little white contents. Relief flooded through me like a dose of nitrous oxide. The 6-year-old resumed his state of Dental Ecstasy. Later I remarked to Hubby, "Good thing you have good eyes." He replied pointedly, "Good thing I'm RESOURCEFUL." "You mean you..." He held up a piece of white platic with a small edge sawed off it. "So I had YOU fooled, too?" E-Novacained-Gads! We were pulling a fast one on the 6-year-old, not to mention the Tooth Fairy. She obviously took it at face value, because she left the coin as expected. Tooth Number Three came out just the other day during an especially violent game of kickball during recess at school. To my son's chagrin, the tooth became lost in the playing field. Fortunately his teacher explained that a well-written note to the Tooth Fairy instructing her to "check the playground" would probably result in the traditional prize. The next morning, it did.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Pet Peeves for Cranky Women

These are the top-ranking pet peeves for women, as compiled by a bunch of people who are totally guessing. Agree or disagree? 1) When someone says something negative about obese people. Yes! It makes my cellulite start jiggling with anger. Since more than half of America is overweight, you're making fun of the majority! Does that sound smart? We women are more sensitive about our weight than men, so when men say something snarky we take it as an assault on our gender. 2) When someone says "A woman should never be president." What, like the men have done such a great job? Plus, wasn't Woodrow Wilson's wife running the country at one point? Maybe I haven't been listening closely enough, though, because I honestly have never heard anyone say that. 3) When a man says having affairs is just part of the male biology. Along with saying stupid things, I presume. Well pooping in the woods is part of our biology, too. Civilized people don't do it. I just read a statistic that half of all married women have had an affair, so maybe it's part of women's biology, too. Put that in your pipe and worry about it! 4) When your boyfriend says he never wants to get married. Huh? Boyfriends NEVER say that. It would ruin everything, especially for HIM. What they say is, "I need more time," or "I'm not ready yet," or "Why do we need to get married when what we have is so great?" or "I've been hurt before, so I can't trust anyone else yet," or "you only need to be married if you're ready for kids, and I'm not ready for kids," or, "Pass me the remote." Anyway, I never understood why women are anxious to marry men who aren't anxious to marry them. Doesn't anyone feel the need for enthusiasm before a date is set? 5) When the line is longer for the women's restroom than for the men's. I have taken creative action. Look for restrooms on other floors! See if you can find an employee restroom! Put your hair under a baseball cap, scrunch it over your eyes, throw on hubby or boyfriend's jacket, and slouch into the men's room! (I have done this with a full shopping cart in the grocery store.) If no other options exist, avoid liquids! 6) Men who get paid more than women for the same job. These days, don't they at least have to call it something else? When it's time to ask for a raise, you'll know how much to ask for. "The same amount that Bubba's getting." 7) Male bosses who make sexual jokes. Tape recorder? Lawsuit? Camcorder in your desk, whip it out and say you wanted to capture some of his best material for replay at the office Christmas party? Ask him to repeat the joke slowly so you can type it into an email you're sending to your lawyer? Say, "That's your wife's joke, right? Does she have any more?" Ask if his kids are as funny as he is. Gift him with the Ex-lax brownies. 8) Guys who can't take the hint that we're not interested. Listen, that isn't their fault. They're programmed to keep trying. Is it so hard to say, "I'm not interested," or "You're not my type?" 9) Co-workers who wear sexy outfits to the office. That isn't annoying. It's entertainment! Every office needs one of these. Maybe two, so they can try to outdo each other! It is always interesting to see what they'll flounce into the office wearing during the season's first blizzard. 10) Relatives who ask "When are you getting married?" Possible responses:
  • (Ashen look on your face.) "Did he set a DATE and not TELL me? What have you heard?"
  • "As soon as he divorces his wife."
  • "Hopefully before I succumb to my fatal illness."
  • "As soon as possible."
  • "We already are. Did we forget to invite you?"
  • "We're waiting for a few elderly relatives to die off so we can shorten the guest list."
  • "Whenever you want us to, if you'll pay for it."
  • "I can't. I'm gay, and he's my cover."
11) Relatives who inquire, "When are you going to have a baby" (Why, are you available to babysit?)
12) When your mother says something mean about your lifestyle. Why be negative. Just say, "yeah, isn't it great?" Unless it's about your closets. Just go clean them!
13) When someone asks how far along you are when you're not pregnant. Most people realize this is about as popular as asking someone how much they weigh, but I suppose it still happens. Just tell them you're due in 10 years. How about the reverse, not realizing a heavy person IS pregnant when they are? That's sort of insulting, too.
14) Men who stare at your chest. Well I suppose you could just tell him his fly is open so he knows where you've been staring.
15) Men who whistle when you're walking down the street. What, that isn't a compliment? As long as they aren't making lewd propositions, who cares?
16) When your boyfriend or husband forgets to ask how your big day at work went. Just TELL him! Then he won't have to ask.
17) When your husband/boyfriend buys you clothes in the wrong size. YOUR fault for not handing him the Sizing Memo before holidays or special occasions.
18) When your mother-in-law makes snippy comments. How about, "Thanks, I'm working hard on that." No sarcasm in tone allowed. You will go to heaven faster.
19) When your hairdresser screws up your 'do. Unless your an Academy Award nominee, you'll live. It might be an excuse to experiment, which most of us don't do often enough. Take pictures and let the kids have a laugh!
20) When someone obviously re-gifts. Be sure to give it back to them in the next go-around!
21) Pet peeve lists that go on longer than twenty items.