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Friday, April 12, 2013

A Costly Smile


It wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been concentrating on smiling.  Two women I’d never seen before were coming toward me across from the Inn.  I figured they might be staying in one of the guest cottages.  As a prime representative of predawn walkers, it was my duty to make them feel welcome.  There is an art to predawn greeting, one that so far defies definition.  You don’t want to look at a face too early, but you shouldn’t leave it too late, either.  At just the right moment, you should catch the eye of the oncoming person, smile, and say hello.  In my case, the standard greeting is good morning.  The words came out properly, but I hope they didn’t see my smile take a nosedive.  As I said “ing” I felt my right foot slip a bit.  I knew before I lifted the foot that a dog had been there shortly before me.  It was confirmed when I slipped a little more with the next step.  Ugh!!!  Somebody had not picked up his doggie’s doo – diarrhea doo, at that!  I realize it was unpickupable, but I wish they had put out a cone or yellow tape for warning.   

I was close to the car and almost ready to go home, but not with that extra baggage.  I looped around the parking lot and walked on the beach to the singing stones, determined to make the sand and grit cleanse my sole.  Hopefully no one saw my chicken dance, twisting and turning the right foot for maximum abrasion.  I told Snot, the car, to hold his nose as I drove home.  The sneakers came off at the door, and I used a pointed instrument to clean out the treads.  I made the shoes do their own dance as I clapped them forcefully together to remove the remaining bits of sand.  I parked them on the edge of the wastebasket in my bedroom for a final drying.  The shoes had their own silent comment.  When I looked at them an hour later, they had jumped inside the wastebasket.  I believe it was attempted sneakercide.  Knowing how much I paid for them, I hauled them out and promised them counseling if necessary.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Hate Yoga Pants



My track suit was wearing out, and I looked on line for a cheap replacement.  The only item that seemed to come close was a pair of slacks with stripes down the leg.  I never heard of yoga pants before, but surely they would be good for walking.  The name implied the clothing would stretch with you, no matter how outlandish the pose.  Besides, they were on sale.  How bad could they be?  Only days later, I found out.

Exercise clothes are worn in rotation, and I’ve come to dread yoga days.  Those silly things fight me unmercifully.  They are fine once they are on, but what a struggle they are to get into!  You can step into a normal pair of slacks by standing on one leg and inserting the other into the garment.  You pull it up a bit and repeat the process, and you are dressed.  Not so with yoga pants.  Go back to step one.  Balancing on one leg is easy, but then the war begins.  Foot #1 aims at the fabric leg.  So far, so good.  Foot meets insidious inside pant and gets stuck.  The miracle stretchy stuff grabs a toe and won’t let go.  I shake my leg to show it who is boss, and that would straighten out normal clothing.  Mischievous yoga takes the opportunity to stick to my heel as well as my toe.  Yes, it has a toe hold and clamps as tightly as a wrestler in a title match.  The dance that ensues is not a victory dance, not at all.  It is a near fatal death struggle.  Going in circles accomplishes nothing except to increase the possibility the idle leg will wrap around an ankle and bring me down with a thud.  I let out a sigh of frustration.  Instead of admitting defeat (defeet in this case?), I angrily dance another round.  The second sigh of frustration helps convince me to sit on the bed to renew the attack.  Believe me, pulling the material is more likely to dislocate a toe than advance the pants up the leg.  I kick the fabric into the approximation of a straight line, bend down, and inch by slow inch coax the fabric over the defiant toes and heel.  There is no quick way to do this.  I was once fooled into thinking the second step was to repeat the process for the other leg.  No.  Step #2 is to concentrate on not losing ground.  If I’m not extremely diligent, the first leg tries to descend to the level of the second, something like water seeking its own level.  Don’t mess with Mother Nature!  Keep one eye on the first leg and the other a few inches away on the second.  This takes practice and is not for the fainthearted or easily dizzied.  On a good day, both legs are equally covered, and one last tug is all it takes to be dressed.  On bad days I’m lucky to get to the village before everyone has left.

My daughter patiently explained to me that yoga pants are so named because you will have assumed most yoga positions before you get them on.  Now I know.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bluetooth !!!!!!



The post on which my new tooth will be attached was implanted in a short session.  Extracting a molar takes a lot longer than preparing to replace it.  The dental surgeon showed me a sample implant the first time I saw him months ago, which I remembered as looking metallic.  I had no reason to think one would look any different in my mouth.  For three days I wouldn’t let my tongue touch the area, nor would I let myself find an explorer and look.  Curiosity got the better of me, so I aimed the camera in my mouth.

Wow!!!!  Will you look at that!!!!  I have a BLUE TOOTH!!!!  For real!!!!!

I’ve heard about Bluetooth technology for years but never expected to see it inside my mouth.  What a shock!    Consulting The Wireless Directory, I learned that it was invented to rid us of wires connecting telephone accessories in 1994 and took off rapidly several years later.  It was named for a 10th century Danish Viking king, Harald Blatand (Bluetooth) -- a codename that stuck.  Moral: be careful when you are tempted to name anything in case it gets popular and becomes a ridiculous household name.

Handicap for Dining



It’s a well known fact that husband John eats faster than I do -- always has and probably always will.  He teases about it, saying things like, “If you had started five minutes ago, I’d still beat you” or “Think I have time for a nap before you finish?”

I ignore the ribbing, knowing we both like to eat at our preferred speeds.  I have no need to finish a meal before the house could burn down, and he might be afraid of going to sleep in his plate if he kept pace with me.  Of course, right now he has a real advantage.  He has more teeth than I do.  I have a hunch he eats twice as fast as I do; therefore, we should be able to finish a meal at the same time if I started earlier.  The trick would be to estimate my time before saying grace.  Come to think of it, he can pray faster than I can, too.  If he has his mind on going somewhere, he zips through his prayer as quickly as I say my three-syllable Tennessee Amen (Ah-me-in).

I can see, the way this is going, that choosing a start time would not be a simple 2:1 ratio.  Speed could depend on the menu.  For instance, I have made a small bowl of ice cream last three or four times as long as he did.  Forget tough meat.  I can chew a bite interminably while his goes down whole – five chomps and a gulp. 

Timing a dinner party might be a bit easier, since people tend to be on their good behavior.  There shouldn’t be racers and dawdlers.  Here is my plan.  When guests have removed their wraps, they will be handed a Ritz cracker and shown the timer starting.  Swallow time will be entered into a computer program devised by my math happy relatives, and all will be assigned their handicap for the evening.  This will allow for short term variables, such as having a lingering cough, keeping a recent appointment with the dentist, or wearing clothes that are too tight.  With cell phones visible on the table, all will know what time to start eating each course.  Social pressure should also keep texting at a minimum.  Conversation should flow easily, since the faster eaters will be alert and not too sleepy from having over indulged ahead of everyone else.  Anybody want to volunteer for a practice run?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Absurd Challenge



I wanted a ballpoint pen for two reasons – to address an envelope and to work the Monday crossword puzzle.  John was nearby, so I said I was looking for a pen, not specifying one that would work.

“There are a bunch on the dining room table,” he said helpfully.

My eyesight wasn’t the best, or at least the connection from eye to brain wasn’t working well.  I walked around the table and finally spotted a packet with a bunch of black pens.  Taking one, I scratched on the edge of the newspaper without result.  The second pen made deeper grooves in the paper corresponding to my impatience.  The third one was also totally unresponsive.  Leaving the useless instruments on top of the package, I went to my pocketbook and withdrew one that worked a week or so ago.  Success!  I addressed the envelope and opened the Times to the puzzle. 

John strolled by and picked up one of the non-writing pens.  I thought I ought to tell him that they didn’t work.  He was already poised to scratch when I finished my sentence.  What is it about defunct ballpoint pens that one is compelled to make an attempt to conquer them?  I worked on three, and after my warning, John was satisfied with testing one.  He said he’d found this bunch when he emptied one of the drawers in the buffet.  He was more ready to write them off than I was.  He thought he’d found a treasure trove, but they must have dried up.  Still in battle mode, I offered to look up remedies.  The tablet was handy, so I Googled a question, “How do you make a ballpoint pen work?”

I began reading some of the answers as John finished his writing task using a functioning pen.  You can hold a pen under cold running water, soak it in warm water, or put it in a Baggie and leave it in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes.  Rubbing alcohol might work.  Shake it like a thermometer with the point furthest away from your hand.  Apply your mouth – suck on the tip or blow on the open end, if it is available.

Now at the computer, I asked the tablet the same question to refresh my memory.  This time I must not have spoken clearly, because the first answer was, “How to perform a tracheotomy: 5 steps (with pictures) – wikiHow”.  That seemed to be overkill.  Correcting the question, I found a suggestion to rub the pen on the bottom of your shoe or write on an eraser.  You could rub the tip on an emery stick or, more dangerously, sic a lighter to the tip.  I dismissed a paragraph that suggested using a drop of nail polish remover on a wire because it warned outright that it gets messy.  The article ended with sage advice: remember to carry an extra pen with you, and don’t be afraid to buy another one.  If I were smart, I’d go down the stairs right now and throw away all 7 dried up pens before they send out another silent, compulsive challenge to ruin my day.