Sunday, December 28, 2008

Inflatable Santa Parallels the Christmas Season in 5 Short Chapters

Chapter 1: Black Friday Purchase
Inflatable-Illuminated (6-foot) Santa was purchased flat, boxed and hopeful. Included are two guide wires and light bulb and a magic inflation pump. Santa filled quickly and stood erect and happy with his one “mittened” hand waving and the other hand at his side, standing guard outside our window, facing out—a seasonal sentry, bidding glad tidings to passers by. “Welcome Christmas, bring your cheer.” (Fa-who-Foraze)

Chapter 2: Rockin’ Around the Barberry Bushes
Inflatable-Illuminated Santa sways back and forth in the wind, sideways and across, dancing to an unheard song. Santa does not stand tall anymore, but manages to look jolly. Even with the two guide wires, two rigged guide wires tied to water-filled milk cartons, and Santa himself propped against a half-buried shovel, he can not stand upright. Possibly the anticipation of Christmas Morn is too much for the eager, plastic elf; his enthusiastic dirty dance shameful to those who gaze at him from out our window and from across the street.

Chapter 3: The Night of His Life
Christmas Eve is here. As parents stay up too late wrapping pretty packages and listening to old-by-now Christmas songs, Inflatable-Illuminated Santa buckles, clearly losing "oomf" and air. At 1:00 am, he is seen bent over, his “hello” hand next to his face, bowing and dry-heaving into the bushes.

Chapter 4: Religious Experience
On Christmas Day, Inflatable-Illuminated Santa was seen genuflexing North, rocking back and forth like, enraptured, hand raised as if to receive the spirit. Later, on all “fours” bowing East towards Mecca was Inflatable-Illuminated Santa, barberry-pierced, with red-suited backside in the air.

Chapter 5: Deflation
Christmas is over. Decorations are put away and dusted. Inflatable-illuminated Santa and others are deflated now, following the “high” of the season and inevitable reality-slap of high credit cards bills and the long winter ahead.
He still has a smile on his face--possibly due to the memory of his dirty dance.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

“Head” for the Salon

More and more you’re seeing men in salons. I view this as an intrusion. I don’t look my best with aluminum foil in my hair, and although I’m not there to impress anyone, my girlish vanity feels assaulted with a man sitting next to my foot massage chair, with my cracked feet all exposed. It’s like co-ed gym class all over again.

Where should men go for the equivalent of our feminine days at the salon? A locker room backrub, perhaps? A tranquil, darkened massage school den, maybe? It used to be less confusing. Man salons were called Barber Shops which had the candy cane pole outside the establishment. The pole represented a place where you could get a buzz cut and a nice smooth facial shave. We have no such warning device for men on beauty salons. Even the word “beauty” does not repel some men.

One such man is Fred.

My daughter Krista and I went to have our hair cut and mine colored at our favorite salon. One of the latest perks they’re offering now is a “Head Massage” during the “conditioner” application phase. It’s pleasurable, but doesn’t make my foot thump or anything. Still, it’s better than JUST a shampooing and conditioning, and since it’s included, I wasn’t going to stop her. When it was over, Krista said, “Mom. That was weird.” For me, even though my head was being kneaded, my neck was in an awkward position. I had to put a heating pad on it when I got home. I had a better experience with my latest mammogram.

Fred on the other hand, came home from work with his hair cut. He had stopped at a nearby beauty salon on way home.

“Have you ever had a “Head Massage?” Fred, flushed from the experience, sheepishly asked.

“Yeah, did you like it?
”It was AWESOME. When she finished, I said, “Is it OVER?””

You did not!”

“I did!”

I am mildly jealous that some salon tart has found Fred’s new G-spot. I’ll bet Ernie the Barber doesn’t indulge his clients with tantalizing fingers! Hair only grows so fast, so if Fred starts coming home with a perm or highlights, I’ll know I have Head Massage Junkie on my hands.

Maybe there’s a “patch” for that?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Determined Snow “Blower” ...who couldn’t

Here in Green Bay, Wisconsin, we are experiencing an early onset of winter. It has been snowing for days with no end or warm-up in sight. In past years, we’ve had mild Decembers--so mild that overzealous, confused crocuses have been known to push their petals up and sing, “We’re having a Heat Wave.” This year, they’re safely underground, humming nap-inducing lullabies. This year would be a good year to “make like a bear” or crocus, and hibernate.

Up until our older sons went to college, snow removal was part of their contribution to our family. They were sometimes compensated, especially for giant snow-falls. It was a luxury I didn’t fully appreciate until now, when Fred, Krista and I are at nature’s mercy.

For the past 8 years, the boys and Fred have been “fussing” with our 37-year old snow blower; an orange, steel Stegosaurus, that only works when the safety “do-hickies” are deactivated. You also caused rotator cuff damage each time it needed starting. So, this year we treated ourselves to a new snow blower--just in time for Blizzard “A,” which occurred on the way home from the hardware store. The new “snow buddy” shows promise and even has a red and white striped “snow-chomper shield.”

“Aww. It looks a candy cane.” I said, which immediately made Fred lose respect for it. Fred used the new machine with ease. I was all set for Fred to show me how to use it….when Blizzard “B” occurred while he was away.

What happened next doesn’t happen very often—that is, the urge to do “MAN work.” I rose from my chair, put on my winter gear and headed to the garage, intent on figuring out the new snow blower so I could clear the driveway. You don’t need a driver’s license to use it--how hard could it be?

Why do I always say “How hard could it be?” It’s the ultimate task-jinx.

Instead of a simple key start and a “Ready-set-GO” button with a lever to move the “thing-the-snow-comes-out-of” back and forth, as I had envisioned--looking at the controls for this new beast was like looking at the cockpit of a 747. Each side has “holder-on-ers” with 3 different handles. There are 2 “joy” sticks (hear: “anger” sticks.) and numbers up to 9 on the “gear-shifty” thingy-dooie. There are directions on the “dashboard” which made me feel stupid. Can’t they dummy things down for the “mechanically un-inclined?” Somewhere between “complicated snow machinery” and “shovel” would be lovely.

They also don’t make these types of machines “small-hand friendly.” The snow blower handles, when clamped down, require larger/stronger hands. I could have squeezed the handles together for a short time, but certainly not for the duration of a full driveway blow. I’m not just speaking for women here—there are plenty of men out there with smaller hands too.

Although I can hold a curling iron and a phone for hours.

Maybe lawn mower and snow blower manufacturers are trying to tell me something; a not-so-subtle message that I’m not supposed to do “MAN work.” I’m meant to be arm-candy; a domestic “decoration” who should have her snow blown for her. I’m totally fine with that.

Who cares if the snow is cleared anyway, as long as I can get my car out?