Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Bear-Moose and the Didgeridoo

“Mom! Mom! Wake up!”
“Mmmmm, what is it Krista?”
“You’re snoring.”
“Mom! You’re rattling the ceiling fan chain in my room.”

I, Heidi, a female, am now Fred Flintstone, “The Skipper” from "Gilligan’s Island", and all other barrel chest-ed MEN that come to mind when you think of snoring. I image myself in an animal print, jagged-hemmed toga, or in a hammock with Gilligan swinging above me, growling and drooling like a Bear-Moose.

Multiple sources confirm my condition. Occasionally, I’ll feel my husband Fred’s elbow drilling into my shoulder. I’ve scared myself awake with an especially low rumble, and although I forewarned them, on a recent mother-daughter sleep-over with friends, earplugs didn’t drown-out my “Midnight Weed Whacker” impression.

“You should get a Sleep Study,” my groggy friend advised the next morning. Sleep Studies help diagnose the dreaded “Sleep Apnea” and its treatment— the Constant Positive Airway Pressure (C-PAP) machine with accompanying unattractive, “alien-meets-scuba-diver” face mask. Fred assures me, however, I do not stop breathing--I just sound like all Three Stooges.

The good news is there are a number of shocking and amusing snoring cures to try:

Flexible, Sticky Strips Applied Directly to your Nose- These are used to increase the amount of air you take it with each breath. I have tried these, but “Amount of Air” must not be my problem. They also make my nostrils look like King Kong’s.

Holding Your Mouth Shut- A device whereby your mouth is held shut by bondage scarf, headgear or string. But what if my nose really IS plugged and I need to mouth-breath? I’d hate to have “Death by Chinstrap” written on my tombstone.

Sew a Cannonball into the Back of your Uniform- I got this one off the Internet. Evidently, during the revolutionary war, the Brits had this snoring prevention method in practice so they wouldn’t disturb their fellow soldiers. Lacking a uniform (and a cannon ball), I could sew little plastic revolutionary war “guys” into the back of a t-shirt instead.

Take up the Didgeridoo- Although I’ve never heard of it, two of my kids knew all about the Australian Aborigine instrument (Krista claims she heard it on "Spongebob"). This hollowed out eucalyptus tree is used to make all kinds of different sounds. Research shows that by playing it you can strengthen your soft palate and throat, thereby preventing the vibrations that cause snoring. All Aborigines must sleep very peacefully...until someone picks up a Didgeridoo and starts playing it.

Apparently, Guinness Book has tracked down THE loudest snorer. At a record breaking 93 decibels, the noise replicates a lawn mower. If I were his wife, I’d buy him a chin-strap.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Casting Pearls Before Swine (A.K.A. Seeking a Job in 2010)

“What the heck happened to the “Help Wanted” ads?” I complained to my husband, Fred, one Sunday, “the section is tiny.”

“Most jobs are advertised online now,” he said.

“Why? Does the tedious process of locating individual jobs sites, typing in statistics, and pasting resumes into vacant fields sort out the “men” from the “boys”? If you’re not internet savvy, you’re up “Unemployment River” without a paddle, aren’t you?” I ranted.

Fred cowered.

Job descriptions online are ridiculously specific now. To have all the qualifications they ask for it would be a bloody miracle. I read one on Fred’s behalf a few months ago:

MBA, BME, Lean Six Sigma. Applicant must have 14 years experience in FEA software and trimmed sideburns. Size 11 feet are a preferable. Must have off-road drilling vehicle experience and a credit rating of 750. Spouse that bakes brownies (no nuts) on Fridays—required.

If Fred’s feet were smaller, he’d have that job nailed.

If you manage to get past the “Letting your Resume Loose Online/Pray it doesn’t Show up in Arabic on the Other End of the Web” step, and do get a phone call to schedule a “Phone Interview”...don’t get too excited. They usually assign that task to the office Plant Lady. You’ll be lucky if she puts her leaf duster down to write down your answers.

If you get past the phone interview, you might get another phone call to schedule a “Face-to-face-to-face-to-face-to-face” Group Interview. These meetings definitely make you feel like a “detainee” having your cerebellum probed. I once went to a Group Interview for a lousy, 9-hour a week church secretary job and faced a grim panel of church people firing questions at me like BBs. I did so poorly, I thought they were going to yell, “WITCH!”

If you get through the “Group Interview”, you’re still not home free. With so much competition for open positions these days, managers can take their time, tease you and keep you waiting, like a rotten boyfriend. During the weeks, maybe months of waiting, it’s always good to write “Thank You” letters to all the "inquisitioners."

If a prospective hiring manager does call you in, wear a different outfit, have your references on alert and bring a pen or pencil so you can hand-write out an application with all the same information you already provided weeks ago.

Remember: You’re the “pearl” they’ve been looking for....but make sure your shell is closed.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Incident on Lawbreaker Court

I have never gotten “out” of a traffic ticket on my own, even when I was cute, thin, tan, flirting and sobbing. Years ago, my 4-year-old son Jon got me off with a warning by charming the policeman with distracting comments like, “I have a Looney Tunes t-shirt” and “I like your hat.”

Recently, an ordinary day began with manic alarm and a wild rush to deliver two kids to two different quadrants of the city, unexpectedly. I sloshed down a cup of coffee and raced. On the way home, I saw a police car coming toward me and I slowed...way...down. As he passed me, I looked in my rear-view mirror and realized he was turning around. In one, strange, maniacal, irrational and fiendish moment, I tried to ditch him by quickly turning onto the next street. So THIS is what it feels like to be a criminal, I thought, panting.

Unfortunately, it was a dead-end street.

Officer Stout came up to my window and asked me what I thought I had done wrong. A cross between “Novocain-lip” gibberish and an Elvish curse came out instead of “I think I was speeding” and sounded something like:

“Ithoobiiiiy ishop.”

Officer Stout said, unflapped, “You did not come to a complete stop back there.” He asked for my driver’s license and when I reached into the glove box, stating “Whiney pissomer istakey, see?” (which meant, “My ‘09 sticker didn’t stick to my license plate, so here it is.”), Officer Stout took a step back and put his hand on his weapon. I handed him my documents, smiled and he soberly went back and sat in his car.

I looked in my rearview mirror again and jumped. The reason he took a step back was not my barrage of “fool” words or my “glove box reach” for a potential weapon. What really freaked him was my appearance. I was wearing one of Fred’s holey undershirts and baggy pajama pants. I had brushed nothing. I had a boulder sized eye-booger in one watery eye and my eyebrows, unkempt, arched at the ends like Sir Graves Ghastly. As I looked down, damp coffee stains on my white shirt made it semi-see-thru.

When Office Stout came back to the car, I was rolling the crud out of my eye and smoothing down my eyebrow hairs with a licked finger.

“Can I ask you why you turned down this street?”

Oh God. I started to speak again when Officer Stout held his hand up in the stop position, “Have a nice day and come to a complete stop next time.”

Moral: One way to get out of a traffic ticket is to look as gross as possible.