Thursday, June 26, 2008

NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

My Internet just stopped working.

The television screen froze and the fax machine stopped mid-fax. The connection service that provides us with our phone, cable and TV service (I think they may even operate my oven and dryer) became instantly inoperative.

Everything was so quiet.

I was looking at my modem-flashy light box next to my computer. It had stopped twinkling happily back and forth like consecutive Christmas lights. There are two green lights “on” and a green light by the word “Cable” that was blipping very slowly…blip…….……blip…….....blip. I’m watching it like an intensive care nurse with a patient hooked up to a heart monitor:

”Come on, Baby, hold on!”I don’t mean to be insensitive. I know there are homeless people out there due to floods, tornadoes, etc. I realize how fortunate I am.....but.....WHY MEEEEE????

I think I have a problem.

I think I am addicted to technology.

Coincidentally, my boss in another state and I were trying to get on the Internet at the same time, and something really strange was happening to her connection too. “This is not a coincidence,” my brain said, “something awful must have happened.” A dreadful, sinking feeling came over me. Before I knew it—multiple possibilities starting flashing like a Power-point presentation-- through my mind:

1. Some superhero-gone-bad was causing mass hysteria by hiring “Rodan,” the giant 1956 pterodactyl to sit on top of the National Security Agency (NSA) building and kick the windows out with its talons.

2. The ant hill we live on is shifting, straining the physical cable wires. The ants have hoisted our house up on their backs and we are being sucked downward into a spiral of quicksand.

3. Some idiot construction company somehow cut the cable lines rendering the entire continent of North America completely without computer service.

It turns out I was partially right.

A construction company did cut the cable lines, rendering the entire city of Green Bay “Communication Deprived.” It was just a coincidence about the computers being screwy in two different states. And no pterodactyl was involved.

My calendar is on the Internet, so are my email contacts, my banking, and my Blog! I work from home, via a virtual-online database—so no work, no livelihood. My SKYPE connection to call my son in China is dead. I felt so vulnerable….so alone. Our service outage lasted 9 full-long-quiet-miserable hours. When it came back my little “Road Runner” in the corner of my computer desktop was running again. I swear I heard it “Mee-beep.”

To counter act my obvious neurosis and to prove to myself I/we can exist without it….I am proposing an UNPLUGGED NIGHT, once a week, just to desensitize us to the blackness that a “Technologically-Vacant” existence would be like…..sort of a “Communication-Goes-Bye-Bye drill.” No cell phones, no cable, no pagers, no television. Just us.

Sounds like hell to me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Interview with my Dog

CHING, CHING, CHING, CHING, chingcingchingching, shimmy, chingcingchingcing. Click,click,click,click…click,click,click,click

Jasmine, the Canine Alarm Clock is ringing.

It doesn’t matter if she stays up all night. I could take her for a 20 mile run, she would still get up earlier than I intend to, shake her noisy collar, and clack her four sets of toenails on our hardwood floor. Even if I gave her slippers, took her collar off for the night and kept her in her kennel—she would jostle, hmpf, rattle, whine and generally make it known she is awake.

And no one hears her but me.

Why won’t she sleep in?

I have a lot of questions like this stored up. I thought—for the purposes of this Blog and for dog owners everywhere, I’d conduct an unprecedented interview with my dog:

Heidi: Good Morning, Jasmine.

Jasmine: Yes, Good morning to you as well.

Heidi: Let’s get right to it. Why won’t you sleep in?

Jasmine: Well, we dogs have heightened senses. We hear the sun starting to pop on the horizon. We are protective by nature; we sleep lightly and only try to bother you when we absolutely must for the purposes of relieving ourselves.

Heidi: You’re putting me on.

Jasmine: O.k.—it’s cause I can’t wait to see you—is that so wrong?

Heidi: Aww. I guess not. Are you a happy dog?

Jasmine: Basically yes, but since you asked…I’d like to be walked a bit more, I’ve been gaining weight.

Heidi: Nonsense. You’re in great shape.

Jasmine: You’re only saying that because you don’t like to take a lot of walks. I’ve been reading your Blog, and if you really want to lose 50 lbs. by your reunion…why don’t you try getting down on all fours and eating kibble every… single…..day out of a bowl in the laundry room? You’d be wearing belts again before you knew it.

Heidi: That’s uncalled for.

Jasmine: Maybe but…how about when you took a mmmmmwuuuuuuuumaj mjsuuuiiiiehhheyyyi

Heidi: I’m sorry we’re having some technical difficulties (maybe you’d like a bath?)

Jasmine: O.k., O.k.

Heidi: Why are you so afraid of the hose outside? Every time I turn it on, you back away and look at me like I’m “Sybil’s” mother.

Jasmine: Well, remember when I was 2 months old and I had a few accidents in my kennel? You dragged me out of the house IN the kennel…

Heidi: That was because I was afraid you’d run all over the house covered in “poo”

Jasmine: You hosed me off like a Chevy. It was COLD!

Heidi: What did you expect me to do? You were COVERED in POO?

Jasmine: I wouldn’t have jumped on you.

Heidi: I couldn’t take that chance.

Jasmine: “Sigh”

Heidi: Do you have any questions for me?

Jasmine: Why do you shave your legs?

Heidi: It’s a customary American thing women do to…. Uh….so we don’t look like ….I guess I’m not sure.

Jasmine: You’d look a lot more attractive with hair on your legs.

Heidi: Really?

Jasmine: Why do you wear clothes?

Heidi: Because we don’t have fur and it gets cold. PLUS—certain colors flatter your skin tone, certain pants make you look thinner, you know.

Jasmine: No. I don’t.

Heidi: Back to you. What’s up with birds?

Jasmine: Bird? Where? Where’s the bird? Here birdie, birdie.

Heidi: Exactly! You’re obsessed.

Jasmine: Have you ever eaten a bird?

Heidi: Well, yes, chicken, turkey, duck…

Jasmine: Where? Where’s the chicken, turkey, duck?? Oh. It’s the most fantastic scent in the world. I’m a bird hunter you know.

Heidi: Yes, I know. Why do you keep putting your tennis balls so far under things that I have to get them for you?

Jasmine: What’s your point?

Heidi: Wouldn’t it be simpler to keep them within reach?

Jasmine: Then you wouldn’t have to go get them.

Heidi: What’s your point?

Jasmine: I put the tennis ball under things, and you go fetch it. Don’t you get the game?

Heidi: Yeah, I get it. That’s about all the space we have here…

Jasmine: Wait a minute….how about some different dog food, maybe “Sparrow ala ..”

Heidi: Times up.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

PELS (Phys. Ed Loser Syndrome)

My daughter recently acquired a set of “High School Musical” Barbie-sized dolls for her birthday. Gabriella & Sharpee look pretty realistic and true to their models, but Troy...

“Krista, Troy looks like my middle school gym teacher, Miss Angus,” I say.

“Who?”

“My middle school gym teacher. She had the same kind of warm-up suit too. In fact, here----take it back..it's creeping me out.”

Miss Angus was just one in a long “squad” of gym teachers who made my life miserable. Looking at the Troy/Miss Angus doll—I feel 11-years-old again in shiny purple shorts trying to do a “road-runner” or a memorable “flipoversommercrash” instead of a proper vault.

My family is full of artists, musicians, engineers, geeks and nerds. I think we eventually turned out a good swimmer, a Frisbee Golfer and an extreme bicycle rider, but pretty much the rest of us had PELS (Phys. Ed Loser Syndrome).

Ever since elementary school and the dreaded “Rope-to-the-Ceiling”, I’ve hated gym. Unless that rope had big knots spaced the entire length of it—my “tween” arms and abs were much too weak to take me all the way to the top. Where were the practice ropes? The ones in the private gym area where a child could explore his/her muscle strength without an audience of monkeys?

We had relay races, lorded over by Mr. Crosby, and I was forever letting my team down. It was assumed that all children were born able to “crab walk” or “bear crawl.” Apparently, I was playing with Tiddly Winks when they gave out the free “HIKE UP YOUR TORSO AND WALK ON ALL FOURS” lessons.

Middle School was the worst. Every fall we had the 880 yard run and with not nearly enough training for a PELS sufferer—it was just:

“TWEEEEET--GO!” Miss Angus would blow and shout.

A giant line of girls 100 yards across would all take off—running full speed. Having no idea how to breathe right, no idea what to do with that panicky, heart-rate reaching 300 bpm feeling, I walked…a LOT. An asthmatic and the girl with a special shoe to correct her “one leg shorter than the other “ handicap both passed me…wheezing and run/limping, respectively.

Thanks to Mr. Snarry, in 7th grade we had a Girl-on-Girl wrestling unit. I did learn some useful terminology about “center of gravity” and the correct number of hand-smacks to signify a “PIN.” But being weighed and shuffled into weight classifications and finally struggling in the middle of a circle to the jeers of nasty, hormonal teenage girls sucked!

Mr. Link made Fridays hell by emceeing our gym class dancing. There were always too many girls and those of us left on the wall were told to walk up to an already happily-paired couple, and “cut in” whenever Mr. Link would say, “Snowball” over the microphone. It was Mr. Link, and not over-use of the “cooooooo” sound effect, that ruined disco for me.

By High School it was looking like another round of gym horror stories. Badminton, Tumbling and other sports I was no good at were on the horizon for me.

Then a miracle happened…

I injured my knee and my orthopedic doctor wrote me a note that said, simply:

“Heidi is excused from gym until further notice.”

I took the note to my counselor and when she asked me to choose another class instead of gym, my eyes started shifting, guiltily--obviously, I was meant to return to gym class eventually. But the doctor never gave me official notice and I never had to take another gym class. Justice was served--PELS style!

P.S. If Miss Angus is reading this—I never, ever, EVER, took a “mandatory shower.”


Friday, June 20, 2008

I am not a Hermit…not that there’s anything wrong with Hermits

I come from a family who appreciates the indoors more than the outdoors. I am an “indoor girl.” I get teased by my family and neighbors for being “hermit-like”, but not everybody is cut out to be “at one” with nature. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the outdoors. I love the sweet smell of spring air, the tittering of birds and the warmth of sunshine. I’d just rather experience it through a screen, or passing by it in a car.

In my neighborhood, you’ll see me spending time out in the yard about as frequently as you might see a bear or a fox. It’s newsworthy…but not apocalyptic. When I am in my yard, people come out of their houses and gape at me like a giant hot air balloon containing the “Wizard of Oz” just crash landed on our street.

“Is that Heidi?”

“How long has it been?”

“My God she looks old.”

I can’t help it if I have indoor hobbies: writing, computers, movies, cooking, sewing, reading, and entertaining. If I HAD to—I could do them outside…but:

I HATE Bugs: Remember ‘70s commercial for “OFF” where the guy put his whole arm in an aquarium full of mosquitos and they all landed on him? That’s me from May until the first fall frost. I am afraid of wasps; detest flies or anything else with 6 or more legs. There might be some kind of bug-paranoia PILL I could take….or I could stay indoors.

I no longer worship the SUN: I freckle and burn when exposed to sun. Also, unless I wear a turban, helmet, or some other full-head cover, the sun fries my dyed-hair and gives me a “Lucille Ball meets ‘80s Cindy Lauper” color. That just doesn’t happen in a mall.

Don’t LET me get over-HEATed: You don’t even want to go there.

My husband is outdoorsy. He rather eat every meal at the picnic table, spend every free moment in the woods camping or fishing. From outside our house, he’ll tap on my window like I am an animal in a zoo exhibit he’s trying to make move.

“There!! Did you see that? She just wrinkled her nose and hit the “delete” key.”

This past winter my daughter, Krista, and my husband and I made a big snow lady we named Edna Turnblatt (complete with double-Ds) in our front yard. Rick went in and got his camera:

“Excellent. We need a picture of this snowlady!” I say, posing with Krista:

“No, I want a picture of you outside,” he said, “it doesn’t happen very often.”

There’s a difference between being a hermit and not-liking-to-spend-time outdoors. You’re invited to my living room to discuss it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Have no Fear---Mammo-wipes are here!!

As a person who lost her parents to cancer—I have a fear of dying. Everything that pains me, every hair that grows from every mole, every goosebump, even a sty-in-the-eye, I firmly believe is a tumor, just waiting to be diagnosed. I have been a big chicken about getting my first mammogram. I figured not only would I be disfigured by the “Boob Jaw” Power-Wrench x-ray plates, but I would most certainly get a bad diagnosis and subsequently… die.

Finally, though, I scheduled my appointment. This particular radiology department gives you the results right away, which takes one of the discomforting, scary elements away.

At my appointment time, I was amazed. They treat you like gold. REAL cloth gowns (no paper napkin vest) and you have a private room to dress and undress in with a t.v.! The nurse asked me if I’d worn deodorant. E-GADs! I did read something about that,

“Yes, I did. It’s a good thing too—I’m pretty nervous.” I say.

“That’s o.k., you can use one of these,” and she pointed to the table with a supply of little packages.

I looked down and see little packages that say the word “Mammo-Wipe” on them. I read further:

Mammography Deodorant Wipes: Your patients will appreciate your care and concern when you offer them one of our pleasantly-scented Mammo Deodorant Wipes. They’re the perfect way to freshen up after a mammogram, leaving the patient feeling clean and comfortable.

I did appreciate their care and concern, and yes they were pleasantly-scented. But from the looks of them—they were a moist towel-ette--nothing more.

I started to imagine other “Mammo” products and things:

-“Mammo-Mints” for the “close-talking” x-ray tech I was assigned to

-“Mammo-Vision” private dressing room t.v.

-“Mammo-Magazines” for the waiting room (probably more appropriate for a male waiting area)

-“Mammo-Attendants” who help align your “Mammos” on the “Mammo-Tray

Finally…

-“Mammo-Exiting Instructions” so you can take your “Mammos” out of there and back to the lobby

O.k.—I was a little punchy...

However, thanks to the “Mammo-Wipes”, I was sufficiently “Mammo-Distracted” throughout the entire process to render me virtually fear-less. At the end I got to watch the t.v. in my private “Mammo-Room”, until a tap came at the door.

The “Mammo-Assistant” told me my “Mammos” were fine.

I used my “Mammo-Wipes” and true to the description, I did feel clean and comfortable. In fact, I swiped a package for a souvenir.

Have no fear, “Mammo-Wipes” are here! Not only do they make you feel refreshed-- the silly name will take you to a happier place!


Sunday, June 15, 2008

THE GAME OF “WHIZ SHOT”: Winning will be a relief!

For decades, women have been frustrated by a common complaint…their men “missing” the toilet bowl, thus creating a mess on the floor.

My girlfriends and I have talked about this subject at length. Together we decided that one of the following must be happening, because naturally, no man wants to create a stinky, disgusting, unsanitary situation:

1. They see porcelain and they get confused (especially at night) and think it’s a urinal with a backsplash.

2. They are “claiming” the toilet as theirs---marking the perimeter with a scent.

3. They’re actually lifting their leg in an effort to achieve a “oneness” with their male animal brothers (and who could aim shooting under their leg?).

We know they have the ability to harness themselves--they can write their names in the snow!

Maybe they need a little encouragement…

I had the following idea years ago after seeing one of those traveling weekend carnivals “Win-A-Prize”- type games where you aim a stream of water from a big squirt-rifle at a target and the car races down the track. EUREKA! The concept of “Whiz Shot” was born. Taking into consideration man’s in-born attraction to competition and sports…

Picture this:

THE TOILET BECOMES A GAME! Lights behind the lifted lid illuminate the “Ready, Set, Go” LED lights as they step on the “astro-turf” mat around the toilet with both feet. INSIDE the bowl, there is a target painted near the hole.

Here’s the fun part----a reward for accuracy! The longer the stream hits the target, the more TICKETS come spilling out from the back of the toilet (like “Skee-Ball”). Hence--immediate, pleasurable positive reinforcement! In order to hit the target, they might have to bend their knees (which I’ve suggested for years) or otherwise adjust themselves. If any wetness comes out of the bowl, a penalty buzzer will go off (and no points for “rim” shots). They can exchange their tickets for something they want… like Lawn Equipment, Beer-Themed Bar Mirrors or Deer Trophy-Placement Rights. We could have “Whiz Shot” Olympics and Olympians. Before you know it…..it could be a spectator sport!

A variation: The longer they hit the target accurately; the resulting energy will be converted to powerize a t.v. screen dropped from the ceiling to show several minutes of movies like “Slap Shot” or “Dirty Dozen” or reruns of “Ba-Ba Black Sheep.”

No? How about a toilet bowl with accordion-fold style sides that come all the way up and curve, creating something like a giant drinking straw-like vessel? Side note: I have seen stranger toilets. In Leichtenstein on a European vacation one year, I witnessed a toilet where, once the flush handle was depressed, a 4-inch coin-slot type arm shot out from the back and clamped around the seat. Then the seat spun around while the arm sprayed disinfectant around it.

So—we can use creativity, just like the "Leichtenstein-inans", and dare to dream of clean toilets and the surrounding flooring beneath them! If we can put a man on the moon, we can make him tidier in the bathroom!


Friday, June 13, 2008

...and dressed like a Salt-Shaker she looks like a Goddess

About 3 months ago, I learned about a five-year All-Bands Reunion this coming July for those of us who were students under a particular high school band director. Most of my friends were in band, and I’d like to go.

Complication: I'd like to lose about 50 lbs. Unlike my friends and family who have been part of my day-to-day life for these past (cough-cough) 25 years, and have seen me morph from a naive teenager to a bawdy, “Foghorn Leghorn” broad, “I say--I say”, my high school band-mates have only a “THEN” versus “NOW” perspective.

They are in for quite a fright if they remember me at age 18.

Still—there’s reason to hope. Points in my favor include the full 90 days ahead and the good possibility that they (like me) don’t see very well anymore. In the dark of the evening, in the blur of an alcohol-induced haze, I could look like a goddess.

I’m usually not very good at this “anticipated event” type pressure dieting, but I have done it. Weddings, for instance, are great motivators in my family. I once went on this crazy “9 Diet” in preparation for “Maid of Honor” duties. You eat 9 Bananas on day 1, 9 eggs on day 2, and 9 hot dogs on day 3, then 3 of each on the 4th. I ran out and bought a bunch of bananas and at the time, knew nothing about fruit ripeness. Did YOU know you can’t even swallow green bananas? I didn’t. I’m too old for fad diets, although I know a lot more about fruit than I used to.

A big hindrance to achieving my goal is my Achilles Heel “Sports-Injury”—my very first, of which I am proud-- which flares up and inhibits my ability to walk, run, jog…basically do anything that involves my feet. So the inspiration I felt watching 4 full months of “The Biggest Loser” is for naught. My exercise regime now consists of weekly water aerobics and sitting on a giant flexi-ball at my computer desk (I’m on one now).

Another factor is my body itself. I have gained and dropped weight SO MANY times during my lifetime time that I am truly afraid one of these days my skin is just going to fall off me in a heap, like a big suit.

“There,” it would say,

“Find a pantsuit that flatters THAT!”

And slither off.

As of today, I haven’t started my diet yet and I haven’t lost an ounce. With the forthcoming reunion less than a month away, it would seem the only realistic way of losing 50 lbs. now, at this late date, is by having things cut off me and placed on a meat scale.

“We still need another 17 lbs., Dr. Jones, lop off another leg.”

Although--coming back in a wheelchair wouldn’t be bad, because I could cover myself up with a blanket….(I’m just being silly now)

But since that probably won’t happen, I need a new scheme to look 50 lbs thinner.

-I could fake being pregnant. But it would be JUST my luck that as revenge for dishonesty on that level, life would strike me like a lightening bolt and make me pregnant. Pass.

-I could make up a name and walk amongst the crowd. This would also be a good test to see how popular I was. I could say,

“Hey, has anyone seen Heidi?”

“Huh?”

“You know, that tall French Horn player?”

“Never heard of her.”

But—HELLO! Wouldn’t it be an excellent idea to have a Masquerade Reunion? We could re-meet as other objects or famous people from history, rather than folks who time, or food addiction, has favored or disfavored over the years. Personally, I think I’d make a great, giant salt shaker. The “A” line shape flatters a size “WOW.” I’ve got good legs too. Maybe I could go as a corn dog or a flamingo. Or a gumdrop.

In the masquerade, everyone would be on a level playing field. No judging body shape, seeing who’s got cold sores or wrinkles. We’d just all be people….dressed up like condiments and things. I like the idea. Any seconds?


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Irreverent Tumor Humor

Warning:


The following blog isn’t for everyone. My family has a strange sense of humor when it comes to tragedies. The reason I know this is I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of forced, polite smiles from people who don’t see anything funny about death or dying. I also know this because my husband, my “dip-stick” testing paper with regard to my level of appropriateness, is not amused at all by our “dark” humor. He uses “body language” to communicate his disapproval and I’ll see him shifting like he’s got a rash, looking the other way, rolling his eyes, and even walking away when witness to one of our irreverent discussions. If the subject matter herein makes you uncomfortable, read one of my other blogs—the one about my near-neurotic fear of rodent feces, my underwear… or the one about my farts.

The way my family gets through tragedy, death, fear, all those, is to laugh. We imagine the Grim Reaper…in his underwear…. with a “wedgie.”


My mother died of a brain tumor. In her eulogy, my brother reminded us of what she said when the doctor was talking to us about a necessary biopsy to determine a treatment. The surgeon was mid-sentence describing the operation when my Mom interrupted him and said, “You’ve got a blackhead on your nose—you should squeeze it, it’s really gross.” I recall when she said that, I felt like a cartoon character we’ve all seen, in a state of shock, whose jaw drops. I ran over what just happened for a couple of seconds, stone still. Then I blasted loud, waves of laughter. I can still picture the doctor’s face—totally worth my rudeness.

My father died of connective tissue cancer. As they were wheeling him into surgery, my father, a scholar and lover of good grammar, was correcting the nurse’s English and advising her of the proper way to say something.

“They might not give him any anesthesia if he keeps THAT up.” My brother and I said.

In the waiting room during Dad’s surgery, my brother Jeff, his wife Kat, my two sons and I passed the time, unconsciously finding ways to relieve the stress and worry. A pre-surgery discussion with his doctor described the tumor in terms of its size, relative to something else---a Basketball. It's the size of a basketball, right?? We were making up these scenarios about when they get it out, the doctor will “slam dunk" it. Maybe he’ll spin it on his finger. Later, when we were in a post-op conference room, there was a chalkboard. Now we were joking about John Madden, and how the doctor would come in and chalk his offense against the “Raging Tumors” team. More laughing, the kids laughing…stress--evaporating.

With custody of both parents’ cre-mains, my brother and I decided to place them somewhere very meaningful to them. On a hot July afternoon, we each took a bag of ashes, and simultaneously dumped them into a hole we had dug. Not accounting for the speed at which the ashes were falling, the immediate result was a giant “David & Dolores Cloud” rapidly rising up into our faces. Screaming, we both dropped the bags and took off running. This is still a source of amusement.

My husband was/is appalled.

Years ago, it was thought my son Jon had a Transient Tic Syndrome. With this arbitrary, peculiar diagnosis, we had to take him to a neurologist regularly. We were always changing insurances and by the third or so doctor, Jon (then about 8) had made up a little dance he called, “The Neurological Exam” to the song, “Let’s Groove Tonight.” He would karate chop his knee for the reflex test. Then, arms outstretched at either side, tap his nose with his index finger alternately and to the beat. In each examining room from then on, we’d be jovial, filled with fun as opposed to apprehension.

Gotta love that kid.

The seed is planted for another generation of “Laugh in the Face of Tragedy-ists.” I am well satisfied. I’ll want them to be able to deal with adversity with the same power-over that the rest of my family has. What else can you do?




Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Feminine Art of “Holding in a Fart”

All women know if you hold in a fart long enough, it goes into an appointed fart-holding area; a special female-fold in our colons. It waits there until the coast is clear, when you’re perfectly private and you’re perfectly alone. Then…on your command only….blastoff.

 

NEVER in all my years in school did I ever even THINK of squeaking a noisy fart out—not at recess, not in the locker room, not even in the high school bathroom with the burn-outs. The potentially disastrous impact on my vulnerable social life wouldn’t allow it. No girl I knew ever did. We have trained ourselves to manipulate the air …just so… to be absolutely certain that in case of an emergency, we could slip it out silently. It’s not something we’re taught—it is instinct. And… this goes DOUBLE for dating and/or wooing a boyfriend---no gas—EVER!!

I’m sure there are men out there that hold it in and pass it out silently too. But the consequences of noisy-release aren’t as severe. You might hear some snickers, and maybe see some head shaking, but boys love a fart. Men purposely eat food that makes them fart (my husband eats cold baked beans out of a can for a snack.) If you’ve ever been lurking outside a Deer Hunting Camp, you’d think there was a brass band inside.

Years ago, in my own home, if I passed a little gas within earshot of my young sons, I denied it and told them that girls don’t fart. They believed me and I heard them repeat it to one of their little friends:

Yes they do,” their friend said, “I heard my grandma fart.”
“Grandmas aren’t girls—they’re women. My mom never farts.” Jon said.


In recent years, after kids, after 40, I find that my willingness to fart absolutely silently at home is dwindling. It’s just a little ridiculous to make myself uncomfortable--what for? I’m pretty confident my husband is not going to divorce me on account of a noisy fart:


“Your honor, I want a divorce. Yes, that’s right. My wife misrepresented herself as a wind-less woman.”

Then again…

As a result of my waning desire to suppress gas, my once toned, fart-stabilizing-muscles are shrinking. Recently, I was at a spa with my aunt and cousin, having the most amazing treatments. I was in a serene room….just me and my masseuse…and I had to fart. Distractingly so. Lying on my stomach, being pushed and pulled, it was all I could do to “hike it up” and “throw it” in full-reverse fart-mode to immobilize the offending pocket of air.

“You’re awfully tense, Heidi. Let it go.”

You REALLY don’t want me to do that.

Furthermore, my skills of Pre-Fart Awareness aren’t quite as sharp as they used to be. They’ve become weary as well. I took a Pilates class a while ago and as I was attempting a Roll-Up maneuver…..PBBBBSST! No warning. No downward whiny bubble. It was a very quiet room—I would have held it in if I knew it was coming! No one laughed or said anything, but I’m sure people quickly got on their cell phones after class:

“I actually HEARD a woman fart. No, I haven’t been drinking.”

Since then I’ve become fearful of the accidental public fart due to my slacking Pre-Fart Awareness and flabby fart-stabilizing musculature. Maybe there’s a minor surgery for it?

Or…maybe I’ll just stay home.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Mouse Intrusion

Thanks to a Jiffy muffin mix box, dropped by my son in the basement, I was awakened to the notion of mice in our house. I found the box on the floor, chewed open. Once I got rid of the Jiffy mix, I started to feel safe --their food supply was gone. They will look at each other, shrug their little shoulders, line up and march to a new house, I was certain. There. That was easy.

Moments later, a nagging feeling came over me. I'd better investigate to be sure the mice had no other food sources. As I began to look around our basement, it was as if an optometrist swung a new lens in front of my eyes. The lens that makes everything “pop” clearly.

Unfortunately, with that clarity came the reality of a sensational rodent invasion.

There were little black rice-shaped droppings…ABSOLUTELY everywhere. As I moved things I heard the “ching, ting, king” --tappy noises of a hundred-billion hardened mouse turds falling onto lower surfaces. And...while I crept around, discovering little nests made out of shredded blankets and trails of bird seed(!) they'd carried in from our backyard, I heard something else too. It sounded like a train clacking down the tracks. It was kind of a cadence----rhythmic. It was the…. involuntary….continuous….rapidly-firing word…. F**K… coming out of my own mouth!!! I couldn’t help it. F**k, f**k, f**k, f**k --, f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k. My lips were pursed and curled up and together..f**k,f**k,f**k, my nose scrunched up—my two front teeth exposed f**k, f**k, f**k. My tensed mouth was contorting in the fixed position of "f**k" ---looking, I suspect, very much like a mouse face, minus the whiskers! My jaw hurt from saying f**k. Very soon, I was going to have to make up a new, just as effective swear word, to counter-act the assault on my facial structure.

I was home alone with 3 gazillion mice.

Options:

1. Run

2. Call for help

3. Die

(and my husband thinks I can’t be logical)

I was leaning towards dying….but I called for help instead—which wasn’t easy—with my mouth stuck in the “F” position—

“Fefo. Fay fi feak foo Fiv?” A moment to unwrench my mouth…

”Hello, may I speak to Midge?” (my exterminator buddy)

Midge put 32 bait stations in my home. This will kill them. Killing was o.k with me.

Because the mice had been in my house, I couldn’t sleep. The idea that I could be starring in a REAL LIFE version of some Indiana Jones movie occurred to me all night long. My senses heightened, I listened. My ears grew and pointed.

By the next morning, I started to lose my mind.

Everything that was on the carpet, every little speck of dirt, every thread, every molecule on the flooring, every crumb on the counter, every EVERYTHING in the house looked like mouse poop!! I am giddy-- hysterical. My left eye, winking.

My goal was to get everything sorted and cleaned. I bought 36 giant totes with lids, surgical gloves, plastic hair bonnets and giant garbage bags.
The Plan (based on the relative position to mouse turds):

1. Mouse Turd on it--garbage

2. Mouse Turd near it—cleaned and donated

3. Mouse Turd free---Tote-worthy

The process took two weeks solid.

I was hoping for a mass mouse-icide of the Jonestown variety. But I never saw a mouse, dead or alive. It’s possible they could have built up an immunity to the bait blocks—grouping nearby, plotting their next attack. By that time I will be ready for them….


I’ll just let them have the house.