Of Airport Elevators and Australian Cattle Dogs

When Hubby & I were first married, one of the requirements of a program we were piloting* was to have a golden retriever and buy it high-end dog food from one of those boutique pet stores.  Check and…check!

What was particularly fun about the pet store we frequented was that it had a pet!  See – fun, right?!  The pet was one of those Australian Cattle Dogs.  You know the type: coarse, mottled fur; looks like it’s made out of two different dogs fused together in the Frankensteinerator; mad herding instinct that cannot be domesticated out of it.

As soon as you walked into the store, the dog would come over and herd you in.  To the store you were already coming in to anyway.

It would just get behind you and follow you down whichever aisle you were going to and then, when it was convinced you were safely on your way to your destination, it would break off and go back to the door to await its next herding assignment.

Well, when I was coming home from a recent trip to Cal-i-for-Nigh-Ay, I encountered a man who TOTALLY reminded me of that Australian Cattle Dog.  He was waiting outside the parking garage elevator.  Anxious to help move forward a process-which-was-already-moving-forward.

His physical characteristics had nothing to do with why he struck me as Dog Man.  Rather, it was the herding mannerism which kicked in when a bunch of travelers walked up and the elevator arrived.

Dog Man turns to everyone in the general vicinity and announces that the elevator is here and asks who’s getting on.  Like allofasudden he’s Elevator Welcoming and Loading Committee or unnecessary herding dog or something.  We’re all here, Dog Man, because we were already committed to the elevator process in some way.  But thanks for asking.  The other travelers straggle on and give Dog Man – who somehow teleported from outside the elevator to INSIDE the elevator and is now manning the number panel – their floor numbers.  I’m also in the elevator by now but I know of the top-secret SECOND number panel on the OTHER side of the door, so I just press my OWN floor number thankyouverymuch!  Having spent the last three hours sharing half my airplane seat with a bobbing, weaving stranger http://newstayathomemom.com/?p=2523 I am no longer interacting with humans at this point.

We get to Floor 4.  And the doors open.  And no one gets off.  Uh…

Dog Man turns to a particularly loopy lady whose head remains attached to her shoulders only by grace of the bohemian scarf she has wrapped three times around her gullet and says, “This is 4.  You asked for 4.  Are you getting off now?  Who else is getting off?!”  Oh my gosh, he memorized everyone’s floor number?!?  Yikes.  Someone is super committed to elevator running.  Unless he just wants her OUT already!  ‘Cause I know I want her OUT already so I can go home.  Get OFF, LaLaLoopsy!  In fact, EVERYONE off!!

When the elevator is finally empty, it’s just the two of us.  And he’s staring at me manning my Control Panel for One like I’m a rival for Elevator Person of the Year.  Hey, Homeslice.  You were the one who was herding people you didn’t need to be herding.  So don’t give me that look.  To defray the tension, out loud I say, “I’m just tryin’ to get home so I appreciate you keeping everyone on track.”

He gives me a relieved smile.  And then ding!  The elevator door slides open.  I pretend to look around, like there’s lots of people still on and yell, “Everyone OFF!” making Let’s Go!/Come on! motions with my hands.  Hee-hee, me funny.  We chuckle as we head down the aisles of cars.  He’s subtly following behind me.  Until he breaks off.  I didn’t actually see where he went.  But I suspect he went back to the elevator. 

 

*We were part of the DINK pilot program.  Do you remember that yuppie term that came into popularity in the late 80’s/early 90’s?  Dual Income No Kids??  It turns out that unbeknown to us, we were actually part of the DINKY program.  Surprise!  Dual Income No Kids…YET!  And an even bigger surprise??  We are now part of the SITCOM program – single income, two children, outrageous mortgage.  SURPRISE!!!!   

Pine-y Fresh Scent!

Ok.  Before we go any further in this “Airport Experience” series of blogs, we need to address the stank elephant in the room…

For the love of all that’s holy, WHAT is going on in the women’s bathroom at the airport?! 

Because the faux pine scent that’s being used to cover up whatever is happening in those bathrooms??  It actually has the opposite effect and instead makes the whole experience a million times worse.

It’s like Bizarro World Narnia.  You step through the door at the back of the wardrobe, and you suddenly find yourself in a deep, lush woodland of primeval evergreens.  But something’s…off.  Not.  Quite.  Right.  Is the gas lantern burning at the edge of the woods?  No.  Is it the snow that’s softly falling??  No.  Not that either.  It’s hard to describe.  It’s more of a…[SNIFFFFF!]

Accck!  GAAAACCKKKKKKK!  What is that SMELL?!? 

Wait a second!  This isn’t a magical land!!  This is an AIRPORT BATHROOM!!!  And it smells like they just dragged an entire fake pine-forest-in-winter through here in order to dispose of the…dead bodies.  Not only did it NOT “freshen things up,” but it tipped you off to the fact that something so horrific has happened in here, that it must never be mentioned.

But I’m breaking the silence!

[chanting, with fist raised] No more pine-y fresh scent!  No more pine-y fresh scent!  No more pine-y fresh scent!

At a minimum, find a better scent!  At a minimum, find a better scent!  [petering out because this no longer lends itself to chanting]

Oh!  And also?  My Dear Sisters in Travel: whoever is making the bathroom SMELL like a bathroom?  Stop.  Now.  ‘Cause when they say “take the show on the road,” they didn’t mean THAT show.  Leave THAT show at home.

 

P.S.  Hi Hubby.  Happy Birthday!  Aren’t you glad we’ve spent the last TWENTY SIX of your birthdays together?  Isn’t this fun??  Aren’t you so happy you married someone so…insightful?  I know, I know.  I love you too.

Armrest Airspace

Are you aware of this concept in airplane travel?  [Yes, it’s a thing.  It’s an actual thing.  I said it’s a thing and therefore….it’s a thing.  Very Good, Grasshopper.] Armrest Airspace is where there’s an invisible line that extends from the center of the passengers’ shared armrest all the way up, up, up.  It also extends forward and down, down, down.  It’s totally like a force field separating the other passengers from you.  But without all that jolting and shocking and such.

And if a fellow passenger’s elbow (foot!, thigh?!) extends OVER the imaginary line, they have now entered your airspace – and are in direct violation of airspace regulations.  And you are authorized to send out MiG fighter planes to take them down.*  

Ok, kidding about the MiGs…but I totally WISH there were MiGs you could sic on these airspace violators.  Or, at a minimum, some alarm you could sound to have a swat team of flight attendants wrassle the violator to the ground.

But there’s not.

And so I have to content myself with an eyeroll at the flight attendant about the guy on my right who is basically sitting in half of my seat.  The flight attendant contents herself with an eyeroll back.  Not helpful. 

Wrasslin’?  Helpful.  Eyerolling??  Not so much.

Eventually the seat-and-a-half guy decides to purchase the t.v. program option.  But first he has to get his credit card, which is in his wallet, which is in his right back pocket, which necessitates him leaning left, further into my airspace.  But it’s not just a slight upper body leaning motion which nudges my shoulder.  Oh no!  Instead, he leans ALLLLL the way OOOOOOVER, until his head is almost resting here [she says as she waves her hand in a circular motion indicating the highly valued area of the lap-to-breastesses continuum].

And this, my friends?  This is much MORE than a mere violation of Armrest Airspace.  I’m not sure WHAT this is a violation of (OSHA?  Hazmat??  EEOC?!?  All of the above??!?), but it’s a violation all the same.  MiGs!  MIIIIIIGS!!!!  WHERE ARE YOU, MIIIIIIIIGSSSSSS?!??!  SEND IN THE MIGS…NOW!!!!

 

*And it’s baaaaack!  Remember that fun game we were playing where an 80’s song would pop into our heads? Triggered by nothing more than a word, a phrase, a moment in life??  Well, it’s baaaaack!  And now that highly acclaimed Kenny Logins’ song is playing in my head: “Highway to the Danger Zone.”  Do you remember that song?  From the movie Top Gun with Tom Cruise?!?  The song was recorded and released in 1986!  And yay!  I win!  Again!!  What are the odds of that?  That I would continue to win this game that I invented and am the sole participant of?!?  But why am I thinking of this song?  Because there’s a scene in the movie where Maverick and Cougar are being chased by MiG fighter planes over the Indian Ocean.  One of the MiGs gets a lock on Cougar’s plane and…ok.  I could go on and on here.  But I won’t.  Other than to say it was the liiiiiittle tiiiiiiiny mention of MiG fighter planes that got me started down that particular path.  Or should I say highway?  Hey, speaking of HIGHWAYS!  Highway to the Danger Zone…Gonna take you right intoooo the DANGER ZONE!… 

All Aboard!

In honor of a recent trip to Cal-i-for-Nigh-Ay, over the course of the next few blogs, I’ll be sharing with you a some witty insights on the airport experience. 

Up first?  United Airlines’ boarding process:

Taking a page out of Southwest’s book, United has started using Zone Signage to corral passengers.  Now, we know they’ve been doing the Zone Thang for a good long while, but they just recently got hip to displaying signage that allows people to line up in an orderly, anti-bar-room-brawl type fashion ALL while keeping the common areas clear for people NOT flying on United. 

Are you in Zone 3?  Then you can begin to line up in the special place marked Zone 3.  Hint: It’s to the right of Zones 1 & 2 (which is where all of the escapees from the Island of Misfit toys line up) – and to the left of Zones 4 & 5 (this is the area reserved for the hoi polloi* although everyone is careful not to actually SAY “Zones 4 & 5” and “red-headed step-children of airplane travel” in the same sentence.  But it’s heavily implied when the ticket agent makes an announcement every 3 minutes about how the folks in Zones 4 and 5 are basically S-O-L when it comes to overhead space and they should just check their chickens and summer sausage coolers now).

And there you are.  All safe and snug in Zone 3.  But, shhhhh!  Shhhhhh!!!  The show is starting.  Quiet, Everyone!  QUIET!!  You don’t want to miss the show!!!

The boarding of Zones 1 & 2 could be considered Performance Art.  And anyone NOT in Zones 1 & 2 watches in amazement as one-by-one the Escapees from Misfit Toy Island shamble on board. 

Well, well, well.  Who do we have here?  It’s Charlie-in-the-box who is trying to simultaneously conduct a phone conversation while putting his phone (which contains his electronic boarding pass) on to the ticket scanner.  He crouches low like he’s got a busted spring somewhere in the rear compartment.  He’s still saying, “uh-huh…yeah…uh-huh”  And quick! he slams the phone down over the red eye and then pop! he’s right back on the call like nothing ever happened.  But dagnabbit! that didn’t work.  And the boarding agent’s stern, “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to disconnect your call and focus on the boarding process,” keeps the line moving.  But that was fun while it lasted.

And then there’s that dude who’s vaguely reminiscent of the cowboy-riding-an-ostrich, complete with hat and neck kerchief.  A buzzing sound goes off and lights start to revolve when he scans his…gasp!…PAPER boarding pass.  “Sir, we’re not boarding that Zone yet.  Can I please ask you to step to the back of that line?”  Ack!  Snagged, Cowboy!  In front of Zone 3 AND the hoi polloi.  That was totes mcgotes awkward. 

Eventually we get the spotted elephant who’s carrying his OWN seatbelt expander and is announcing proudly that he has purchased an upgraded seat so as to not inconvenience others with his “girth.”  Ok, sir.  We weren’t judging you.  Until you mentioned about the stuff we might be judging you on.  And now?  NOW some might be judging you.  Either way, keepitmovin’.  Some of us want to get home this century, so keepitmovin’.

After the bird-who-swims-instead-of-flies and the water-pistol-that-shoots-jelly get through Scan Tron Central, finally…FINALLY…they call Zone 3 and you board.  You’re thoroughly exhausted from watching the Performance Art.  You’re unsure, quite frankly, whether you paid too little for the show – or too much?

    

*Hoi Polloi?!?  Ooooh, New Stay at Home Mom is bringin’ her A game when it comes to describing her fellow air travelers, isn’t she?!  And no, she won’t tell you what hoi polloi means.  You’ll have to look it up yourself.  And you’ll remember it far longer that way thankyouverymuch and you’re welcome!  Because if she GIVES you the answer, you’ll forget it by the time this is over.  Wait.  What?  What was she talking about?!?  Hottentot?  Hottentot, I think.  Yes, definitely Hottentot, which is any of the Khoisan languages spoken by the pastoral people of Namibia and South Africa.  Phew!  So glad we got that cleared up! 

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

Hubby and I went to an 80’s party this week-end. 

What did he wear?  A pink polo layered over a turquoise polo (with both collars turned UP), and tan wide-wale corduroys.  He topped the ensemble off with MASSIVE tortoiseshell glasses from the 80’s.  You remember these glasses, don’t you?  They were HUGE and ROUND.  The lenses started in the middle of your forehead and extended all the way down to the corner of your mouth, practically.

The glasses were actually mine.  My original prescription glasses from the 80’s.  I let him borrow them because I’m nice that way.  And it was also as punishment because he didn’t know about the whole layering-pastel-polos-over-each-other-with-both-collars-turned-UP.  The trend was 30 years old, yet totally new to him.  Bad boy!  Bad, bad boy!  How could you not know that?!?  Now wear MASSIVE prepster glasses as penalty.

And me?   

Let’s just say my outfit was a take on Madonna from that era – black capri leggings, tutu-esque skirt, white tank underneath a hot pink shirt that said, “Frankie say RELAX.”  And was mostly comprised of original 80’s items: white triangular earrings, hot pink mesh glove, lace bow for my hair, looooong strands of fake pearls bought on an NYC street corner.  ‘Cause really…why NOT keep that stuff for 30 years?  They’re jam-packed full o’ memories, but they also come in handy at some point in the future.  (See, Mom?  And you wonder why I never throw anything away?!?)

When we arrived at the party, my Swatch watch said 7:30.  On the dot!   (YES!  My SWATCH WATCH!!!  How fun am I?!?  Again, an 80’s original.  It has the one with the royal blue band and the semaphore-flags-in-place-of-numbers on the face.  I know you wanted that watch when you were my age, didn’t you.  Do I ROCK or what?!?)

Hubby & I proceeded to win the 80’s trivia contest, natch.  Lots of questions were focused on stupid sporting events and some political blah-blah-blah.  But since Hub is a baseball/sports aficionado AND a poly sci major, we rocked that category.  We agree that typically his is a deadly combination of interests when it comes to making casual chit-chat with the ladies, but it sure comes in handy when you’re gunnin’ for a do-it-yourself Jello Shot Kit. 

And what was my value add?!*  Well…first off, I looked CUTE!!!  So that’s something.  And in fact another attendee even said I looked so young!!  So that’s something too.  (I decided it was the HUGE white, lace bow on my head.  That always makes a gal look young.  In fact, as I’m sitting here blogging, I’m wearing it, and I do have to say it’s put a pep in my step.  Can you see me?  Through that little camera at the top??  Don’t I look YOUNG?!?  I know, right?  Just wait until I go pick up the kids at school.  EVERYONE’S gonna be talking about the magical power of the white, lace bow on my head!  Yipppeee!)  So in addition to being CUTE, I’m also FUN!  In fact, my theme song is “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!”  While my theme song started back in the 80’s, I’ve found that if it’s a good, quality theme song, it will hold true for many years.  And yep!  Here I am.  Still fun!  Er…still wanting to have fun, at least.

Sooo….where are we going with this?  I’ll mention “smart” here as well…but…oh yeah!  That’s right.  My value-add in the trivia contest was in answering all of the more “social” questions – anything pertaining to movies, songs, clothes, movies, songs, and songs.  Oh!  And the Fall of the Berlin Wall (November 1989.  I was there!   Perhaps you remember me starring in the role of the girl chipping away at the Eastern Bloc with a butter knife “borrowed” from the youth hostel?? http://newstayathomemom.com/?p=2153 )

Anywhooo…Fuzzy Navels and White Wine Spritzers are just as terrible now as they were then, so once the regulars started showing up at the dive bar where this party was being held, we decided it was time to skidaddle.  Hubby put on his massive-shoulder-padded leather bomber jacket.  And I put on my massive-shoulder-padded full length jean coat.  And we headed out.  But not before some twenty-something-dive-bar-regulars accosted us to tell us that we NAILED it!  NAILED IT!!!  Even down to the jackets.  NAILED.  IT.

Hmmm…thankyou, thankyouverymuch, People-who-weren’t-even-alive-when-I-nailed-it-the-first-time-around.  But I’ll take your compliment.  And for posterity’s sake, I will note the time on my Swatch Watch.  7:30.  On the dot.

 

* So you can truly understand the difference between me and Hubby – one of the trivia contest questions was: Who was Michael Dukakis’ vice presidential running mate in the 1988 presidential election?  The answer: Senator Lloyd Bentsen out of Texas – said in just that way by polo boy in the corner wearing the MASSIVE glasses.  Now if someone had asked ME what was Dukakis’ theme song?  I coulda told them it was “America” by Neil Diamond.  And then I could have sung the WHOLE FRICKIN’ THING.  We’re comin’ to America.  Today!  My country ‘tis of thee!  TODAY!  Sweet land of liberty.  TODAY!  Of thee I sing.  TODAY!  Of thee I sing…TODAY!!!  See??  Fun, right?!?

Part 2 – What does the fox say? (Subtitled: Knife Fists)

Did you spend the whole day with that stupid “What does the fox say” song in your head?  Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringerding!…Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-paw!…

You’re welcome!  Don’t mention it.

And yes, it was in my head the whole day too, so we’re even.

I even took it a step further and posed the question to the kids, “If they made a song about you…and about what you say…what would be ‘your saying’ that they would sing about?” 

Sissy replied that they would sing, “Munga, Munga!” about her.  [Ok.  I can see that pretty much this WHOLE blog is going to need an explanation.  So here goes: When she was little, she called all four of her grandparents (and Dick Cheney), Munga, Munga.  Don’t ask any more about it.  I can’t give you further explanation.  Especially that part about Dick Cheney.]

Then – unprompted – she proceeds to say that what they would sing about me is, “Get started on your homework!  Get your homework started!”

Really?  Really??!  This is the ONE thing they would sing about me?  Clearly I’m going to have to step up my nagging game and move into more well-rounded hassling territory to include room cleaning and dog walking.  Challenge on.

About Hubby she said the song would go like this, “Sports, sports, basketball, sports.” 

Uhh…ok.  He clearly has the same challenge I do: Become a little more well-rounded in his annoying conversational topics.

About him, Sonny said that they would sing, “He gives his mother Knife Fists!” and as he’s saying that, he moves in quickly and gives me a series of Knife Fists to my ribs. 

At this point you’re saying to me, “Hmmm… what ARE Knife Fists?!  They sound like loads of fun!  Do explain!” 

Ok.  Will do!

My husband started the whole Knife Fists thing.  I think he did it so that we could be prepared to defend ourselves should Ninjas attack.  And I – thinking that Ninjas only attack under cover of darkness – initially thought they were called Night Fists.  Until it occurred to me that when someone is conducting this technique on your personage, it feels like KNIVES in your ribs.  Light bulb.

But that whole explanation is useless unless I describe for you HOW to make your OWN Knife Fists.  To make up for getting that song stuck in your head (frog goes croak…and the elephant goes toot…ducks say quack…and fish go blub…), here’s a do-it-yourself guide to Knife Fists:

You extend your hand like you would for a handshake.  (Note: For ease of explanation, I will be describing how to conduct Knife Fists with your right hand.  But you would follow the same instructions for your left hand.  And in fact you would want to involve BOTH hands simultaneously for maximum effectiveness.  It is Knife Fists plural, after all.  Although traditional ‘fists’ are not actually involved.)  So your hand is extended, but instead of having some space between each finger, you clamp them together as tightly as possible.  Your fingers should not overlap in any way, but instead should be parallel to each other and pointing forward.  Bring your thumb down so that it’s in a tucked position.  It should now be parallel to your pointer finger, and also pointing forward.  (We don’t want any bent-back or broken thumbs in Knife Fists now, do we?)  Proceed to jab your hands in a rapid, pistoning motion into your opponent’s ribs.  Channel your inner angry robot while shouting, “Knife Fists!  Knife Fists!”  Surprise is key here, so it’s suggested that you approach your opponent from behind when employing this technique.  If that’s not possible, then a rapid frontal or side assault is recommended.  Do not shout “Knife Fists! Knife Fists!” until you are actually striking your opponent’s ribs.  Again, surprise is key.  And if they think you’re coming in for a hug, what-feels-like-knives-in-their-ribs will totally surprise them.  SURPRISE!

And there!  You are a successful student of Knife Fists 101. 

That WAS fun, wasn’t it?!!  Now feel free to carry on with your day.  But beware of Ninjas!  And…FOXES!!!

Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho!… Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho!… What does the fox say?… Joff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff!  Joff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff!…

What does the fox say?

Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringerding!   Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-paw!

Have you seen this video by Ylvis that I’m quoting from?  It’s hard to describe; It’s too bizarre to be believed.  It starts out with a cocktail party where all the attendees are dressed as animals whose ‘sounds’ can be clearly defined.  (For example, the elephant goes “toot.”  Yes, “toot.”  Why?  How do YOU think an elephant goes?!)

Then we switch to a shot of waitresses-from-high-end-steakhouses dancing in the woods and wearing fox ears while the lead singer (in full fox regalia, natch) asks the eternal question: What does the fox say? 

At some point Santa appears.  It’s dress-down Friday and he’s sitting in a rocking chair with a boy on his lap and they’re reading from a book about what the fox says.  (Joff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff!) 

Eventually a query is made as to how the fox would communicate should it ever meet a friendly ho-o-o-o-rse.  (Hint: It would communicate by mo-o-o-o-rse.)    

Oy vey.  Ok, I can’t go on anymore with this.  It makes it sound like there was a bad “trip” somewhere in my recent past.  So suffice to say, you’ve gotta see this video for yourself, if you haven’t already: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jofNR_WkoCE.

Hey!  Speaking of foxes…heh-heh-heh, funny how that works.  Get your own blog if you want a smoother segue…we have two foxes in our backyard that spend their days tormenting my dog.  Especially when they tip-toe along the top of the fence like massive, overgrown squirrels. 

In return, the poor dog spends his whole day gazing out the window.  Or sitting on the back porch.  Waiting…waiting…sniffing…sniffing the air…and waiting…for these creatures to show up and 1) totally ignore him or, 2) drive him bonkers.

[And if you think the dog’s day sounds eerily similar to mine, then you can just shut it!  SHUT IT!  Because – while there may be some “waiting for creatures” and a good deal of “being driven bonkers” by same – there’s NOT actually a lot of “sniffing” in my day.  So there.  Well…except for when I’m cleaning the bathrooms.  But I’d consider that more “gagging” than “sniffing.”  So, SHUT IT ALREADY!]

As a side note, the foxes’ fur is GORGEOUS.  Now I can see why people would wear it wrapped around their neck.  With the little foxy face still attached.  ‘Cause that’s what I’d do if I ever got my hands on a fox.  And its fur.  Or maybe I’d go in more of a muff direction?  So I could have a place to stick my cold hands??  It’s hard to say.  But it’s nice to know I have options.  (Settle down, PETA.  I’m joking.)

But even after all this quality time the dog and I have been spending with the foxes, I still don’t know what they say…but I do know how they smell.

The secret of the fox?  The ancient mystery??  Is that it smells like hell.  Skunk-hell to be exact. 

Ok, I lied.  Are you happy?  Turns out there IS sniffing in my day.  Especially  when I kiss the dog’s face after a long day of mutual bonkerific waiting, only to find that it smells like…SKUNK!  What?  WHAAAT?!?  What has been going ON??!??   

GAAAAAACKKKKKKKK!!!  Ok, and now gagging…sniffing AND gagging…gaaaack!…yep, definitely gagging.  At least I told you the truth about the gagging…gaaaaackkkkk

The foxes are cute, but they REEK!  Who cares what they say – they have to go!  

And we’ve reached our final decision: Barkeep, I’ll have a muff for me and one for all my friends!*

*PETA, I am still totally kidding.  Who would give fox-fur muffs to their friends anyway?  That’s a terrible gift since they smell like SKUNK.  (the fox-fur muffs, NOT the friends hopefully)

Grace Gold

When I was in my early teens, my friend Carrie would come for a visit during the summer.  We would go to the library and get enough Harlequin Romances to last us the whole week.  (We would also do hairstyles and make prank phone calls – back when you COULD make prank phone calls – so that tells you what we considered a perfect storm of fun!)

And one summer, having read every Harlequin-there-was-in-the-library-that-had-a-cheesy-70’s-cover-on-it (and some even twice) we decided to branch out and WRITE our OWN Harlequin Romance.  But really more of a parody of one – because even at that tender age we knew that love doesn’t actually happen the way it did in those books.

The hero of the story was the state governor.  (Hey, if they’re not some English Lord, they have to be a high-ranking government official.  It’s the law of 70’s Harlequin Romances.)  His name was Dirk or Lance (we never quite settled on which one).  And being kind-hearted under his brusque, manly exterior, when he assumed office, he wanted to “see how the common man lived” by trying out a variety of public servant jobs.  He was in the midst of a stint as a firefighter, when he met the heroine during a house fire.  It was the middle of the night.  She was in her nightie (gasp!) watching her low-rent apartment go down in flames.  (Naturally there has to be an exciting “rescue” scene right up front in order to get this true-love couple together.  It’s the law.) 

And that’s as far as we got.  The story never got written (beyond that first paragraph) because we spent so much time agonizing over the heroine’s name.  So that by the time we decided on a name, our visit was over and Carrie had to go home. 

Don’t keep you in suspense, you say?  What WAS the heroine’s name, you ask??

Purity Perfect.  That was the heroine’s name in our Harlequin Romance Parody.  And if you know anything about Harlequin Romances from the 70’s, then you would agree with me that this was the most perfectly named heroine of all time.

Until…Grace Gold.

Cut.  It.  Out! 

Grace Gold?!?  You HAVE to be kidding me with a name like this!  Have you heard of her?  What if I told you she’s tall and slender and has a goldenish bun on her noggin’ that only Cinderella has been able to pull off until now.  She wears a flirty little dress and dances to music.  On ice.  And just made the American Women’s Ice-skating Team. 

Yes, Grace Gold is going to the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Grace Gold?  Case closed.

And if we could all be so aptly named as to completely reflect our destiny, my name would be “Fun stay at home mom megabucks craftykins queen-with-green-eyes.”

What?  What’s that look for?!  Don’t give me that look.  Why, what would YOUR name be?

Doing It All

I was running on the treadmill, reading a book for book club on my Nook (font size HUGE helps with the reading while your noggin’ is a-bob, bob, bobbin’ along) and watching the Today Show.  The Jersey Girl who went to grad school full-time while working full-time brings the same amount of dedication to her Home Mom exercise routine.  Whoop, whoop! 

Now, I typically don’t watch the Today Show due to all of the nonsensical nattering (preferring instead to catch up on what all the Housewives-across-the-land are doing), but for some reason I had the t.v. tuned to the Today Show Monday…when Maria Shriver, complete with glorious hair and aggressive jawbone, pops up.  She’s got a thing going about the state of women today called “Doing It All.” (#doingitall)

Come on!  Seriously?!?  Are we STILL discussing this?  After all this time???

She’s playing a video clip of women giving their opinion about how hard it is to “do it all.”  Some truly annoying woman is going on and on about how hard it is, “Getting ready for school, school conferences, grocery shopping…” (Yeah.  Yeah.  Super hard ‘cause the rest of us don’t do that too??)  And then she goes on to say, “When you work full-time as a mother, you don’t get to give away your motherhood responsibilities to anyone else.”

Ok.  And now?  Now I’m PISSED OFF!!! 

This is EXACTLY why I can’t stand these women.  They think THEY have it so hard, and are so self-righteous in their stay-at-home-momness.  And so derogatory to anyone not on that same path.  And while I may SEEM like a stay-at-home-mom right now due to a trick of the light, in my heart I suppose I’m a working mother.  Well…AND a full-time mother.  And that’s why this nonsense gets me so p.o.’d.

“Don’t get to give away your motherhood responsibilities to anyone else.”  Take it back, Girlfriend.  ‘Cause if you don’t, I will meet you in the parking lot.  There’s no “getting” to “give away” your motherhood responsibilities when you work full-time!  I don’t know why you think there is. 

Because until you’ve pumped breast milk for your 3 month old during a lay-over in your business trip (in the dingy bathroom of a nondescript airport with or without the benefit of a stall door knowing full well there will shortly be a fight with the TSA agent about changing his gloves before he touches…and then SNIFFS!…your bodily fluids), then you do NOT need to be telling me about “getting” to “give away” my “motherhood responsibilities,” Homegirl !!!!!”

It is NOT easy-breezy beautiful Covergirl over here.  Trust me; the grass is NOT greener on this side.  I mean that side.  I mean whichever side.  ‘Cause I’ve been on both sides – and I can even see them now from where I’m sitting.  Nope.  Not greener.

And the ONE thing missing in all of this back-and-forth??  Is tennis team drills.  It’s puzzling to me why no one has mentioned tennis team drills.  How is everyone fitting THOSE in? 

Speaking of which, I’m off!  Can you guess where I’m going?  After all, I’ve got things to do, places to go, (tennis) balls to juggle!  Instead of meeting me in the parking lot, meet me on the court.  In your cutest skirt.  And we’ll see who’s doing it all.

Go Broncos!

I don’t get the nation’s obsession with the Broncos.  I mean, I get it (in a marketers dream-come-true sort of way), but I don’t.

Case in point: since the Bronco’s football game on Sunday against the Chargers, the radio stations have been full of conversation over Peyton Manning’s miked calls on the field.  His “Omaha, Omaha!” play has prompted the mayor of Omaha, NE to see if he can get Manning to do some sort of plug for his city.  Really, Omaha Mayor?  Have at it and best of luck with that effort.  I personally wouldn’t take advice from football dudes about where to visit with my tourism dollars.  And if I did, then the calls would have to start out, “Paris!  Paris!”

And Manning’s comments after the game about having a Bud Light have prompted a variety of artisan beer companies to send him their wares in the hopes of supplanting Budweiser in his heart and mind and subsequently getting a positive word out of him about his beer-of-choice at the NEXT press conference.    

[As a side note, the one thing about football I am on board with is the beer drinking afterwards.  And before.  And during.  Especially during.  Lots and lots during has the surprisingly positive effect of making football bearable.]

Broncos-fever has gotten to the point where even the PRIEST is announcing God’s football team preference from the pulpit on Sundays.  Knowing the rules about the separation of Church and Football, he wouldn’t come right out and say as much, but he did tell the following joke which I will repeat to you now.  Because it was kinda funny…

After living a long and full life, the coach of the Chargers (I can’t remember his name – why would you think that I could?) dies and goes to Heaven.  He meets God at the Pearly Gates and God shows him to a little cottage with a faded Chargers lightning bolt flag hanging off the mailbox.  [Hi.  It’s me talking now.  Anyone else think the Chargers lightning bolt looks like a banana from far away?  They should NEVER have formed it into that semi-circle.  Because lightning-in-the-wild is more jagged and not as tidy as that tame-half-moon-shaped lightning they got goin’ on.  Which has the unintended consequence of making it look like everyone on the Chargers sidelines has bananas on their ski hats.  Or are supporting some Middle Eastern country.  That one with the crescent moon and star on their flag.  Or maybe it’s just me??  Naw!  Couldn’t be–not possible.]    God talks very highly of the cottage the coach will be in because the cottage is special.  Not many people get their own cottage.  But from the front window, the coach can see a huge mansion.  The sidewalks and driveway are blue and orange and there’s a horse-head shaped pool in the back yard.  A huge Broncos flag is flying from the flagpole out in front of the house and there’s a big Peyton Manning jersey on the front door.  The Chargers’ coach (nope, still don’t remember his name) turns to God and says, “Well, I’m a Hall of Famer and have gone to Superbowls and have led a winning football team blah blah blah [Me again.  The deets get a little fuzzy here because I don’t even remember the guy’s name, much less his football accomplishments].  So why do I only get this little cottage and Peyton Manning gets a house like that?!?”

God turns to the coach and says, “Oh, ho-ho, Chargers’ Coach.  That’s not Peyton Manning’s house.  That’s MY house!”

See?  Funny.  Because we all know God doesn’t really live in a house.