Category Archives: Humor

Repost: How Farrah Fawcett Almost Ruined My Childhood

It’s almost summer, and that means dealing with humidity and frizz for those of us with curly hair.  In light of that, I thought I’d repost this entry from 2013 (with an updated final photo that’s more current).

I’m also considering a fairly short haircut for the summer, thanks to this inspiration:

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I think my face is a similar shape to the girl in the white tank, and I could probably pull it off.  We’ll see.

* * *

In 1976, I was 12 years old.  I had a head full of wild brown curls and a body full of hormones that were wreaking havoc on said hair.  All the magazines I read gave advice on how to care for your hair, but they assumed that everyone had stick-straight tresses.  Following their advice, I would brush my hair over and over to make it sleek and shiny.  Instead, I ended up with this:

sixth grade

Not exactly sleek and shiny

Later that year, Farrah Fawcett’s famous red swimsuit poster came out.  It was everywhere.  There she was, in poster-sized glory, with her gleaming smile and those lush, voluptuous…feathered bangs.  While all the boys studied other aspects of the poster, all the girls were asking, “How can I get that hair?!”

Pretty soon, just about everyone in school had feathered hair.  You couldn’t walk ten feet without seeing somebody whip out a comb from their back pocket and run it through their hair, which would ripple and settle into a beautiful feathered pattern.

I was in 7th grade that year, just starting junior high at a brand new school.  I was desperate to fit in, and I begged my mom to take me for a feathered-hair haircut.  I think I vaguely remember the hair stylist telling me that she wasn’t sure my hair would cooperate, but I was young and naïve.  If you just got the right hair cut, your hair would look like the hair in the picture…right?

Um….wrong.  Here’s my class photo:

Junior High

Huh…how come I don’t look like Farrah Fawcett?!

I ended up with wings.  I could take flight with the things sticking out of the sides of my head.  It was the first truly disappointing and embarrassing hair moment of my life, and I had to go through a whole school year like that.

By the time I reached high school, my hair was growing out and I was learning to use a curling iron to straighten it.  (Yes, young whippersnappers, they didn’t have flat irons back then.)  Instead of curling my hair around the curling iron barrel, I would snap the barrel over my hair near my scalp and then slide it straight down to straighten it.  After going through my whole head of hair to straighten it this way, I would go back and curl the sides back in a big flip.  It was the closest I could get to the feathered hair effect.

Since my hair was so curly, if it was humid my hair would immediately begin to curl and lose the shape I had worked so hard to achieve.  Forty-five minutes of hair styling could be undone by a five minute walk outdoors in the humid summer weather.  I bought a portable curling iron as my weapon against humidity, and I kept it in my purse all the time.  You pulled the top of it and a plug would magically pop out of the base.  In between just about every class, I would stop off in the bathroom, pull out my curling iron, plug it in and fix my hair.  After my friends and I went out for a walk around the neighborhood, I’d stop back in their bathroom to fix my hair.  I probably spent more than half my day trying to keep my hair straight and feathered.

Here’s hunch-shouldered photographic evidence of my hard work, circa 1980:

Sophomore Year

Looking at this photo, I can tell humidity was getting to my hair. Time to fix it (AGAIN).

In my junior year of high school, something magical happened.  Curly hair started to be popular, and people were getting perms.  Perms!  I wanted to embrace this new hair movement, but I was still absolutely clueless about taking care of curly hair.  I had clued in to the fact that you never, ever use a brush on curly hair (I used picks) but I had no idea how to use hair products to help tame my curls.  In their natural state, my curls were still unruly and not uniform – definitely not a pretty sight.

By now, my mom was working as a hair stylist and she came up with a way to give me a perm that wasn’t a full perm (since I already had some curl).  I’m not sure what voodoo she worked but I think it involved a shorter processing time, and maybe she used less of the chemicals.  The end result was magical.  I had uniform curls, all over my head.  No longer did I have a curl spinning in one direction away from the others, or a section of my hair that was merely wavy and not curly.

Behold the hairstyle I rocked for many years, starting in 1981:

Junior Year

It’s actually hard to tell but it’s all CURLS here!

Finally I was free of the straight-hair envy I’d been fighting for so long.  I totally embraced my curly hair, and even when perms fell out of fashion and straight hair came back, I stuck with my curls.  I was older and wiser, and happy to be different from most other people hairstyle-wise.  I felt so much freedom compared to my days of spending over an hour doing my hair.  I had discovered hair products that helped keep my curls in check, and doing my hair now took all of 10 minutes.

After I had my first baby, my hormones once again went wild and my hair became much more curly…so much so that I no longer needed the ‘light’ perms.  My hair was doing naturally what I used to need a chemical to achieve.

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March 2016

I haven’t straightened my hair since I was 19.  It took a while, but I learned to embrace what God gave me and not fight it.  I’m proud to be a curly girl!

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A Confrontation I Didn’t Ask For

I’ve talked before about my cell phone number being an old one that was recycled from Sprint. It’s a little weird, but not too annoying because most of the calls I was getting for the owner of the old phone had died down.

Yesterday afternoon, I got a text from an unknown number: “Hey what the fucks your problem?”

I had a brief moment of ‘OMG who did I piss off unknowingly?’ … and then I remembered that my phone number used to belong to some guy. I showed the text to Dave, we laughed, and I decided to just ignore it.

A few hours later I checked my phone again (I just leave my phone on my desk and forget about it half the time). There were more texts, so I decided to answer the guy. (I assume it was a guy – I did a search on the phone number and came up with a page that showed a guy, maybe high school or college age – but for all I know someone else could have HIS number by now!) Our conversation went as follows:

text1  text2text3

(I have to admit, my first instinct was to text back ‘You kiss your mother with that mouth?’ … hehe … but I decided not to play with the kid too much.)

In the midst of our texting, he called my cell phone. I have my cell phone calls all automatically forwarded to our house landline, so he would have heard our voicemail message and realized I was telling the truth. (I have the calls forwarded because 99% of them are either spam or for the person who had the old number; if anyone I really need to talk to happens to call, I can read the captioning on the house phone and understand them, hopefully.)

Things have been quiet ever since. To be honest, I’m not sure what is more offensive … being sworn at or repeatedly being called ma’am! 😉

Not Exactly the Mother’s Day Gift I Was Looking For

Sung to the tune of ‘Eleanor Rigby’:

All the baby spiders
Where do they all come from?
All the baby spiders
Where do they all belong?

Auuughhhh, look at all the baby spiders …

I opened the bathroom cabinet the other night, grabbed my bottles of Clear Care and saline solution, and then noticed something hanging off the saline solution bottle.  Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a baby spider — black, no bigger than the head of a pin.  I killed it (I’m not afraid of the teeny tiny ones) and didn’t think much of it.  Then I went to put the bottle away.

AAAIIIIEEEEE

Heavens!

Next to where the bottle had been was a stack of Dixie cups.  I saw about six baby spiders making webs and hanging off the stack, so I grabbed it, rinsed off the cups (and the spiders) and gave an involuntary shudder.  Then I inspected the bathroom cabinet more carefully.  After picking up a few more things, I found and killed a couple more spiders.  Then I went to the bedroom, where Dave was reading, to have a gentle freak-out session.

He came and inspected the cabinet more thoroughly, pronounced it spider-free, and went back to bed.  Ever since, I open the cabinet a few times a day and peer around.  (All of my toiletries have been moved somewhere else for the time being.)

I’ve killed a couple here and there since then, but nothing like that first night.  STILL.  Spiders have hundreds of babies!  Where the hell are they?  (Do I want to know?)

And before you get your knickers in a knot, I am not about to let hundreds of baby spiders mature in my home.  Sorry — they get killed if I find them.  I hate spiders.  HATE them.  I know people are all, ‘Blah, blah, they kill flies!’ But you know what?  I’d rather have a fly in my house than a spider.

Trying to decide if perhaps it’s better to burn the bathroom down than to try to find the rest of them.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Dream Big, Kids!

In light of the recent measles outbreak, I was curious whether I’d ever been vaccinated for the measles.  Dave and I were talking about it and I was pretty sure I had been, but not positive.  Then I remembered the School Days book my mom used to keep for me, which I still have.

This book is one of my treasures — it has school photos, report cards, awards, my class schedules, teachers’ and friends’ names, and anything else I deemed important that year (my first speeding ticket, my bus pass).  My mom kept it updated through first or second grade, and then I took over.  I still pull that book out when I can’t remember for sure what classes I took sophomore year, or what teacher I had for first grade.  (Dave, by the way, remembers all of that stuff effortlessly.  How does he do that?!)

In the back of the book is a record of my immunizations and illnesses, which was filled in by my mom until 1970.  I was, indeed, vaccinated for measles (and mumps, diptheria, etc.)  The two main illnesses I had were roseola, which I don’t remember having (I was only two) but may have contributed to my hearing loss, and chicken pox, which I still remember as one of the most miserable experiences of my life.

What really stuck out, though, was this little section at the bottom of each school year (through sixth grade), called When I Grow Up I Want to Be – .  I never really paid much attention to it before, but apparently in kindergarten I wanted to be a mom, a nurse, and a school teacher.

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Dream big, kids! One day you could be a cowboy.

Back in the late 50s / early 60s, apparently most boys aspired to be either a policeman, fireman, cowboy, astronaut, soldier, or baseball player.  Girls could choose from mother, nurse, school teacher, airline hostess, model or secretary.

I could never have used this book for my kids.  When Eric was in kindergarten, he wanted to be a Power Ranger when he grew up.  Paige wanted to be a veterinarian.  (Well, in the book’s defense … there is a blank line where you can fill in a custom occupation.)

I think it’s kind of sweet that I did get to be one of the things I wanted to be in kindergarten — a mother.

Bargaining with the Tooth Fairy

Earlier today I heard Dave chuckling. “Oh, this is totally you,” he said, pointing to his computer screen. I leaned over his shoulder to read the Reddit post he was talking about.

“That is absolutely something I would have done,” I agreed. It was a passive-aggressive note from a young girl to the Tooth Fairy … a very forgetful Tooth Fairy, apparently. (I did sympathize because I can easily remember at least two instances of ‘Oh crap, I forgot to be the Tooth Fairy last night!’ that involved me handing Dave some money and begging him to perform his magic – he could always slip that money under the pillow better than I. I’m pretty sure we forgot to retrieve the tooth at least once as well.)

I was a bit of a bitchy, dramatic kid. My mom would leave aggrieved notes reminding me to empty the dishwasher or whatever; I would correct her spelling and punctuation with a red pen, then leave the corrected note for her to see when she got home from work. I can also remember writing woe-is-me poetry when I felt I’d been wronged. I would shape it into a paper airplane and fly it into the living room where my parents sat watching TV, then run back to my room and slam the door. (My mom saved those notes, bless her heart – a few years later, I found some of them under the pot holders in a kitchen drawer.)

After I saw the tooth fairy note, I walked into our guest room and checked one of my jewelry boxes. When we moved, I got rid of a lot of childhood papers I’d saved from both kids – mostly graded worksheets, anything impersonal. I kept their stories, drawings and poems though, and I was pretty sure I had some Tooth Fairy notes. Sure enough, I found this, from Eric:

He wrote this when he was in a stage where he slept on the floor in my room -- had to make sure the Tooth Fairy could find him!

He wrote this when he was in a stage where he slept on the floor in my room — had to make sure the Tooth Fairy could find him!

And this, a year or two later (I can tell he’s older by the handwriting):

"I lost I think a big tooth. Please give me $10 $5 or in the middle"

“I lost I think a big tooth. Please give me $10 $5 or in the middle”

... and he offers some more monetary suggestions.  :)

… and he offers some more monetary suggestions. 🙂

Not to be outdone, Paige also left the Tooth Fairy a clever note:

"I would like 50c or more for my tooth because it is cute."  :)

“I would like 50c or more for my tooth because it is cute.” 🙂

I can’t remember for sure but I believe these notes did net bigger payouts from the Tooth Fairy, although not $10 per tooth. I think Eric was probably angling for 25 cents, not 25 dollars, in the first note … but I did teach him to dream big, so who knows.

The Generation Gap, Music Version

Last month I wrote this (long) Facebook status:

There’s a 9 year age difference between me and Dave, although I rarely notice. It really shows up, though, when it comes to music. He recalls the Creedence Clearwater Revival version of Proud Mary; I remember the Ike & Tina version. For Dave, Spirit in the Sky is by Norman Greenbaum … but he patiently watches as I show him the (CLASSIC OMG) video for the version I know and love, by Doctor and the Medics. And I present the following conversation (which took place earlier this week as we watched The Voice, and a contestant sang ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’):

Me: Who sang that song? Was it Bad Company?

Dave: Um…I don’t know, I think it was some kind of soul/R&B group.
Me: No, it was southern rock kind of stuff. (pauses TV) Can you check? It’s driving me crazy.
Dave: (gets tablet and searches) Oh yeah, it was the Drifters. Now I remember.
Me: What? That can’t be right, let me see. (Dave hands me the tablet and I scroll down)
Me: There it is – Grand Funk Railroad!
Dave: (takes tablet back) That was in 1974, you were only 10 years old. How do you remember that?
Me: Oh, honey. All I did in 1974 was listen to the radio. I kept a cassette in the tape deck and my mission in life was to run fast enough across the room to hit ‘record’ when my favorite songs came on the radio. I probably had 5 or 6 cassettes with multiple partial recordings of this song.

Ah, those were the days.

* * *

It wasn’t just songs on the radio. I would also carefully read the TV Guide to see if any of my favorite singers were going to be on TV. This was about as close to seeing them in concert as I could get, and it was a huge deal. I’d put a fresh cassette tape in my portable tape recorder, then set it next to the TV speaker and record their performance. I think I may have taped at least half of all the Sonny & Cher shows that way; if someone had told my 10 year old self that in the future, I could push a button and record not only the sound but also the video … well, I think my little mind would have been blown.

So anyway, last night we had a replay of almost the exact same conversation that I had described on Facebook. We were watching The Voice and a contestant sang ‘Without You.’ After it was done, I asked Dave how he liked it and he said he thought it was a terrible version of that song.

“Well,” I said, “I think someone like Celine Dion covered it and turned it into a ‘diva’ song. She was probably singing that version.” (We can’t stand that, by the way.) “It was originally kind of a rock ballad from the 1970s. Who did that song anyway?”

Dave said, “LeAnn Rimes? Trisha Yearwood?”

I stared at him.

“I think maybe we’re thinking of different versions,” I said carefully. I mean, I don’t think LeAnn Rimes was even alive in the 70s, was she? I grabbed my phone and did a search.

“Okay, yeah. It was done by Badfinger in 1970.” I scrolled down on the Wikipedia page. “It was covered by something like 180 people, though. OH – it was Mariah Carey who did the diva version, not Celine Dion.”

I kept looking and didn’t see any reference to LeAnn Rimes, so I did a separate search and we found out she did a completely different song with a similar sounding name. (Makes sense that Dave thought it was a terrible rendition of her song … since it wasn’t her song.)

Then Dave was acting like he didn’t even know the original song, so I made him suffer through a tiny Youtube video played on my cell phone, lucky guy. But he did admit to recognizing it though once he heard the original.

The other day I read somewhere that Angus Young from AC/DC is 59 now. I did the math and thought, “Oh, he’s only nine years older than me.” Back when I was really into AC/DC, he seemed so much older, you know? Then I realized he was Dave’s age.

“Did you know that Angus Young is the same age as you?” I asked.

“Who is Angus Young?” Dave said, confused.

“You know, Angus Young from AC/DC.”

“OH,” he said. “Isn’t he the one who tried to have someone killed?”

“Oh my god, no. That was the drummer. Angus Young is the guitarist, the one who usually dresses in a British schoolboy’s uniform.”

Go, Angus, go!

Go, Angus, go!

And, well, then I started giggling. Yes, Dave is his age. But I can’t picture Dave dressed as a British schoolboy.

At least I don’t think there would be any confusion over who did “You Shook Me All Night Long.” It hasn’t been covered by Merle Haggard or Charlie Pride, has it?!

Where the Streets Have Too Many Names

We’ve been living in our new town for about a month and a half, and I have yet to drive anywhere. I’ve been driven, you see, but I haven’t been behind the wheel of a car myself. Partly it’s because Dave knows his way around town and I don’t, and partly (mainly) it’s because his only ear with some hearing is on his right side, so if he drives then we can still carry on a conversation. (If I drive, his deaf ear is next to me and it’s very difficult for us to talk to each other.) But there’s another reason: I can’t figure out the street names.

I had no problem tooling around in my Chicago suburb, with the traffic from hell and crazy drivers on the expressway who get exasperated if you’re only driving 80 mph in the slow lane. You’d think moving to a small town bordered by farmland, with dirt roads here and there, would be super-simple. You would be wrong.

Every street seems to have a minimum of two names, and most have three or four. And all the names are used interchangeably. We had a couple of streets near us in Illinois that had two names – Rt. 53 was Rohlwing Road, for instance – but nobody ever used both names. We called it ‘53’ and that was that.

I tend to be a lazy passenger, and I’m terrible with directions to begin with. I mean, I can follow directions with no problem and work a GPS like a champ, but if you tell me to go west or east, I will just stare at you. Then I’ll say, “Um, so do you mean turn left? Which way is east?”

When we drive around (and believe me, we spend a lot of time driving around because it’s fun checking out the area), I don’t pay any attention to the roads Dave is taking. I don’t remember, ever, how to get somewhere. Now, this isn’t totally my fault because Dave has a habit of taking a different route every time we visit a specific destination. “Hmmm,” he’ll say, “I wonder where this road goes?” And off we go, until we reach a road familiar to him. He says it’s his way of figuring out the street layout in town. It just confuses me, so I enjoy the scenery and trust that he can get us where we need to go.

Yesterday, though, I decided to pay more attention to how we get to town. I mean, if I ever had to run to Shelton’s for some groceries or go to the pharmacy in town, I would have no idea how to get there. NONE. I’d have to look up the address online and then rely completely on the GPS.

I pulled out my notepad as we headed to Goodwill to look for funky lamps for the living room. “I’m going to write down how to get to some of the places in town,” I told Dave confidently. “I really should know my way around by now, you know?”

I carefully noted whether Dave turned left or right (no east, west, north or south for me) and the street names. A couple of times I had to catch myself because I started daydreaming and gazing out the window, not paying attention, but all was well until we got near town.

“So this is Oak Street?” I confirmed as I wrote.

“Well, it’s also Main Street.”

“Oh, like Main Street where downtown is? Okay.” I added ‘Main St.’ in parentheses after Oak Street.

“It’s also M-51,” Dave continued.

At this point I was getting confused and a little frustrated as I said, “And isn’t 51 the same as North Fifth Street?”

Let me just pause here. As I was writing this, I asked Dave to confirm that North M-51 and North Fifth Street were the same. He said yes, and then added that it is also the same as 11th Street.

See what I mean?!

My directions stop at that point, not only because I was getting a little excited as I argued my point that it was ridiculous for one street to have three or four names, but also because Dave did another one of his detours to find out if we could get to Broadway Street from there.

Did I also mention that M-139 is the same as 51?

Even the GPS gets confused. When we punched in the address for Lehman’s Orchard, she directed us to a home about a quarter mile before the actual destination. “You have arrived!” she announced cheerfully, and Dave obediently turned into the driveway while I said doubtfully, “Um, this looks like somebody’s house.” As we pulled up and stopped, their (very large) dog trotted over and stuck his head in Dave’s window. We carefully and nervously turned around, continued on up the road (no longer expecting to find the orchard) and … there it was, just a little ways up.

When Dave tried to enter the address for the Battle Creek VA Hospital (we’ll talk in another post about how I feel about the VA’s handling of his appointments), Maggie the GPS refused to accept it. According to her, there were no addresses above 5100 on that street, even though the hospital was pretty darn sure their street number was 5500. “I bet the street has a different name that Maggie doesn’t know,” I said helpfully. In the end, I printed some directions from Google Maps for Dave to use.

So anyway, at least I can get myself out of my general neighborhood. Anything beyond that, I just hand Dave the car keys and enjoy the ride.

Let's see where this road takes us ...

Let’s see where this road takes us …

The Curse of the Digital Scale

Up until now we’ve been using an old … manual scale (is that what they’re called?) – you know, not a digital one.  The kind where you get on and the needle swings up and then you squint and try to figure out which line it’s on, exactly – is that the second little line or the third?  You lean down and then the needle swings to a different position, so you stand back up and DAMN, you can’t really tell.  Our scale even has little plastic marker thingies that you can move around, and those make it a little easier.  You can put the marker thing on 152, for instance, and then if the needle lines up with the plastic marker, you can tell it’s on 152 and not 153.  Even that isn’t perfect, though, when you have Old Eyesight.

It’s all beat up and nasty looking, but it’s accurate and you can’t beat that.  (It’s a Taylor, by the way.)  I kept testing it by stepping on the scale just before I left for a doctor’s appointment, and then comparing the doctor’s office weight with my home scale weight.  It always matched.  So even though the scale was huge, bulky, ugly, and hard to read with any kind of precision, we put up with it.

It’s so big that we were keeping it in the bathroom downstairs; there was just no room for it in our regular bathroom.  That was getting inconvenient and COLD, frankly, because our lower level is a lot colder than upstairs, where we do all our living (our house is a raised ranch).  I ended up bringing the scale into our bedroom and sliding it under the dresser, so we could just pull it out when we wanted to use it (and not freeze our butt off in the process).

Something possessed me last month and I decided I was just tired of trying to figure out what I really weigh.  I’m in that period where I’m trying to lose my last ten pounds, and it’s taking f o r e v e r.  Like, a-pound-a-month forever.  So I spend weeks weighing myself and trying to see if I’ve lost that elusive one pound or not.  I figured a digital scale would be a lot easier on my tired, old eyes.

After a bit of research, I decided to get an Eat Smart scale, the precision digital one, like this:

Our Eat Smart digital scale

Our Eat Smart digital scale

(This is not a sponsored post, by the way – nobody knows I exist, and they definitely don’t give me free stuff in exchange for reviews!)

So we calibrated it and set it up in the bedroom, because you really need to put it somewhere fairly permanent; you have to recalibrate it if you move it around, so no pulling it out from under the dresser or whatever.  There just wasn’t a place in the bathroom where it wouldn’t be in the way, even though it’s far, FAR smaller than our manual scale.  It’s pretty, though, and unobtrusive, so I don’t mind leaving it out in our bedroom.

The problem, however, is that it’s always there, taunting us.  “Step on me!  See if your weight has changed in the last hour!”  For someone who struggles with compulsive tendencies, this is torture.  I know, I know you aren’t supposed to weigh yourself every day.  But I’ll be damned if I don’t step on that scale every single morning because COME ON, I have to know.  What do I weigh today?

You’d be amazed how much your weight fluctuates daily, even hourly.  I’ve gained and lost as much as three pounds in one day.  And you can obsess even more with this little beauty because it gives your weight in .2 pound increments.  So if you weigh 142.8 pounds, do you call it 142 pounds?  (YES, YES YOU DO.)  Or do you say well, I’m only .2 pounds away from 143 so it’s really 143?

Even Dave is getting into the fun – he hops on the scale all day long, usually when he’s wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt.  One day I finally convinced him to take off all the extra so he could see what his BODY weighs, not his clothes (plus, it’s fun to order your husband to take off all his clothes).  He lost over three pounds instantly!

I was definitely freaked out the first time I saw a big weight jump, but I’ve been doing it long enough now that I know it’s just how my body is.  The pounds come back off, sometimes in just one day.  I can definitely see why they tell you not to weigh yourself daily, because it can be alarming and discouraging.  I just can’t help myself, though; I look at it as more of a science experiment than a failure on my part somehow.  (Or I try to; I do have days, like today, when I tell Dave how unfair it is that my weight jumps around so much.  Today is an ‘up’ day, can you tell?)  Since I’m not dieting per se, it’s not like I’m going to abandon my diet.  The most I might do is feel discouraged and disappointed, but I keep on keepin’ on.

So don’t mind me – I’m just over here trying to resist the urge to step on the scale just One. More. Time.

In Which My Husband Tries to Explain Car Things to Me

Have you ever noticed that certain things seem to come with their own vocabulary?  This is especially true with hobbies or newly-learned trades.  I remember adding selvage, seam allowance, chain piecing, fat quarter, and in-the-ditch to my vocabulary when I learned how to quilt.  When we first started roasting green coffee beans, we discovered a world that included first and second crack, City and Full City, and chaff.

I’ve been getting an education the past few days, not really in new terms per se but rather new meanings for words I’ve been saying but not really understanding.

It all started a few days ago, before the Polar vortex swirled its way into the western suburbs of Chicago.  Dave and I had ventured out in the snow to Ross and TJ Maxx in search of linen sheets, a traditional gift for our upcoming 12th anniversary.  (We didn’t want silk sheets, ick.)  I was hopeful, but all they had were the usual cotton sheets.  (We did end up getting these sheets from Restoration Hardware, at $100 off the regular price, so our search is now over; I’m excited to find out if sleeping on real linen sheets is all it’s cracked up to be.)

As we trudged back to the car, I glanced at the tire on the front passenger side.  It was hard to tell with all the snow, but it looked flat to me.  I stopped and called out to Dave, “Hey hon, this tire looks flat.”  He glanced at it and said, “Nah, it’s fine – I just checked them.  It just looks that way because of the skinny tires we have.”

When we first bought the car, the wheels were one of the first things Dave noticed.  They do make the car look sporty, and they’re definitely attractive.  Dave has had quite a few guys stop and comment on them, which really surprised me at first, but I guess wheels are the kind of thing guys notice.  The thing is, the tires are super skinny, 17” versus the usual 15” tires you’d see on a sedan like ours.  This does make it hard to tell if the tire is going flat, and it doesn’t give them as much cushion when we’re driving.

Shortly after we bought the (used) car, we replaced the tires.  Dave kept the same wheels because they were expensive and cool-looking, but it made him uncomfortable.  He really didn’t like the skinny 17” tires that much, but they were the only ones that fit on our wheels.  We don’t do that much driving, though, and he decided to leave well enough alone.

Yesterday he noticed that the tire on the passenger side was, in fact, flat.  He filled it up, figuring it was a slow leak.  We’ve had those before; the wheels get dented from hitting potholes and then we’d get a slow leak in the tire.  He’s always keeping an eye on the tire pressure because of that.  This time, though, the tire kept going flat.

This morning he sat me down for a chat.  “So, that tire keeps going flat.  I think I’m going to have to fill it up, run to Wal-Mart for some Fix-A-Flat so we can drive on it, and then we’re going to need to go somewhere for new tires.”  I interrupted him to confirm that he didn’t mean today, because the temperature at the time of our conversation was -11 and I had no intention of leaving the house.

After he agreed that we would stay house-bound for another day, he continued.  “Now, I know you like those wheels.  But we’re going to be doing a lot of driving this year, and if we hit a pothole we could blow the tire.  I think it’s time to get new wheels.”

“Okay,” I agreed.  “But you already told me you need new tires — that’s cool.”

“No, not tires, wheels.  We need both tires and wheels.”

I frowned.  “Well, what’s the difference?”

“The wheel is what attaches to the car and the tire fits onto the wheel,” Dave explained patiently.  “The wheel is the part that everyone thinks looks so cool.”

“OH!”  I nodded.  “But I thought those were the rims.

“Well, rims and wheels are the same thing.”

At this point I thought I had the terms down pretty well.  Dave did some research online and found the tires he wanted, as well as a local place, with good ratings, that carried them.  He showed them to me before he made the phone call.

“Now, this is what the wheel looks like.  You’ll probably want to get wheel covers later on,” he warned.

“Wheel covers?” I asked.  “Why don’t you just get a wheel that looks good and save the hassle of buying something else?  And wait, is a wheel cover the same as a rim?”

He grinned and explained again that wheels and rims were basically the same thing.  “The wheel cover just makes it look pretty, and you can get them at a lot more places.  You can put them on yourself.”

I frowned.  “Well, what’s a hub cap then?”

“That just covers the hub, a small section in the middle of the wheel.”

Then he went back to my earlier question, explaining that he wanted steel wheels so they wouldn’t bend as easily as the pretty, sporty wheels we currently have.  I still don’t really understand it, but I think he was trying to say the steel wheels are all pretty ugly.  But sturdy!  And sturdy is good.  I guess.

In any case, I have had to stop and ask him to clarify every few words as I wrote this.  I feel like I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole, to a world where none of the words I thought I knew actually make any sense.  I want to call them tires, darn it – the whole round thing that spins on my car is a tire.  Once you add in wheels and wheel covers and rims and hub caps, my eyes glaze over.

We still haven’t picked out wheel covers yet.  Heaven help us.

Smash & Grab

Earlier this week, the hospital called to confirm an appointment.  We missed the call, so Dave listened to the voicemail while I watched the captioning scroll by on the phone.  They were confirming my Friday morning screening mammogram (the one I get every year at this time), and at one point in the captioning I read, “Please be here at 8 am for chicken.”

The captioning on our phones is usually good for a laugh, and this was an especially good one.  I even joked about it on Facebook, envisioning a mouthwatering meal of chicken awaiting me when I arrived for check-in (what I assume they really meant).

Alas, there was no chicken … just your standard boob-smashing.  This is my ninth mammogram, and before I got my first one I was a bit anxious.  As a woman, you lose a certain amount of modesty once you reach the childbearing years; if you aren’t getting an annual breast exam and pap smear, then you’re submitting to frequent pelvic exams (and then some) when you have a baby.  There’s just no way to go through these things and be shy about exposing your body a bit.

As a kid, I was horribly modest.  I wouldn’t wear halter tops and felt self-conscious in a bikini.  If a dressing room had no doors, I refused to use it.  This last one drove my mom crazy because we used to frequent a few stores that had this setup.  There was just no way I was taking my clothes off in a room full of strangers, with no privacy.  Sometimes she could get me to change clothes if she hung up all my stuff in such a way that it gave me a de facto curtain, but more often than not I dug in my heels and refused.

If you’d told me then that someday I’d let someone manhandle me for about 15 minutes during a mammogram and I wouldn’t even blush, I would never have believed you.  (I also would have sworn, at that tender age, to never have a mammogram, the same way I swore to never have babies because it meant I had to have blood drawn.)

Mammograms don’t bother me at all, really.  They don’t hurt; the technicians are always really nice and laid-back, and have a way of putting you at ease in what could be an uncomfortable situation.  The hospital I go to has a really cushy center for mammograms that I kind of enjoy visiting, so it’s all good.

The waiting room is fairly huge (with a kitchen and snacks and all kinds of goodies) and I never know what direction the technician might be coming from to call me back.  Usually when I’m in a waiting room, I’m on high alert.  I might hold a magazine and glance down every now and then, but I always make sure to position myself where I can see as they come in to call people.  I look up at any sign of movement and read lips to see if they’re calling my name.  This time, though, I sat back with a magazine and became engrossed in an article.  I did get a little nervous because technicians were coming from both directions, usually where I couldn’t see them at all, and oftentimes I couldn’t really understand what name they were saying.  Someone else always jumped up, though, so I knew they weren’t calling me.  Just when I was in the middle of a really interesting article, I heard my name.  The tech was around the corner where I couldn’t even see her, and I still caught my name with no problem at all.  That was a first for me!

Afterwards, we went home and Dave started coffee.  I had just turned on my computer when I heard him talking.  Turns out our bald squirrel friend was on the deck, eating sunflower seeds, and Dave was having a one-sided conversation with him.  This broke my heart because it was so cold that morning, right around seven degrees F.  I was glad he’d made it through the night, but I knew we had a bitterly cold weekend coming up.

Dave set a cat carrier outside, put some peanuts and pecans way at the back of the interior, and left the carrier door open.  He left our patio door open a crack, and waited for the squirrel to take the bait.  He was holding a long wooden stick that he planned to use to slam the door shut once the squirrel was fully inside.  The whole time, he talked to the squirrel and encouraged him.

I couldn’t watch, but I hovered in the periphery.  After about ten minutes, just as the water for our vacuum pot coffee maker was beginning to boil, I heard the cage door slam.  Dave held it shut with the stick, stepped out onto the deck and latched the carrier all the way.  The squirrel was strangely calm, which surprised us both; no chattering or foot stamping, just hanging out on the piece of berber carpet in the carrier.

It was about ten minutes after 9 am and Willowbrook Wildlife Center had opened at 9:00.  After we high-fived, we carried him out to the car, buckled the carrier in, and drove him over.  About 20 minutes later, he was in triage and we were giving our information to the admittance clerk.  She came back to let us know they were thinking he had mange, which is treatable.  After we talked for a while, we gave them a donation (not required, but we wanted to) and headed home, a little stunned that it had all happened so quickly.

It was a pretty great way to end the week.

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