Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bowl Me Over

Once upon a time, the bowling alley near us got a makeover and bowling actually became trendy. This is a true story, and I am not making that up one bit. In an attempt to break out of our rut and do something new/fun/adventurous, we decided to go bowling Saturday night with some friends.
The experience begins before we even enter the building--the streets outside are packed. People are parking a couple of blocks away and walking. To bowl. Wrap your mind around that for a second. We parked at a nearby TCBY and in retrospect, I should have just stayed there and had myself a giant cup of fro yo and called it an evening.

I have seen Walmart less crowded on Black Friday. We move along this sea of people, shoulder to shoulder, and find our friends. We head to the check-in desk and are told there is a three hour wait for a lane. Ha, ha, ha, I am laughing to myself. No one in their right freaking mind would wait that long to bowl. Oh, but it appears that we will. This is shaping up fantastically.

The bowling alley is supposed to have a restaurant that actually serves good food--barbecue, macaroni and cheese, all sorts of comfort food. I was looking forward to that part of the evening--I may not be a big bowler, but you say macaroni and cheese and I will come a-running. As it turns out, the "restaurant" is really more of a refurbished snack bar. There are three tiny booths and two zillion hungry people milling about, waiting to pounce. There is no wait list and they don't take reservations. You just hang out and wait.

We make the executive decision to go next door to the new Tex Mex place, and my evening is looking up. Chips, salsa, queso, fun. I had forgotten all about the over hyped, over crowded bowl-a-rama next door, when Clint gets the text that our lane is ready. Um, it's 10:00. Are we for real here?

We walk back to the rent-a-shoe desk. The girl working the desk is about as excited about this whole process as yours truly. She drops four pairs of the most heinous shoes ever produced on the counter and sprays them with some mystery spray that is supposed to make wearing community shoes seem hygienic. I look at my friend Amy's shoes and they are not terrible: red and blue and classic bowlers, if you will. Mine look like Forest Gump's special shoes. They are as big as clown shoes even though they say they are a six and a half, and it is very hard to feel good about oneself sporting these babies. Please compare Amy's shoes on the left and my bowling beauties on the right:

Dressed for success (and yes, those are my leopard print socks showing). Let the good times roll. Now, Amy is sweet as pie and cute as a button, so I am going to forgive her for lying to me about her bowling ability. When we made plans, I believe she commented something about employing the granny roll method with her ball.  Pure deception. The next time I go to their house, I am checking their closets for bowling league shirts with names like Spare Bear and Lightening Strike embroidered on them. Everyone, save for me and my sock hop shoes, is really good and taking it kind of seriously.
We paid for two games. There are ten frames in each game and you get two chances per frame. Let me do the quick math on that: that means I had to hurl that fricking ball 40 times. There were four of us, so we stood there watching a bowling ball do it's thing 160 times that evening. Oh, the excitement, the thrill, the adrenaline rush. I want it over, like 72 bowls ago.
Moonshine is, for some unidentifiable reason, now trendy again as well. The bowling alley prides itself on having different kinds of moonshine on tap. Knowing my affinity for anything gimmicky, Clint sets out to get two moonshine drinks for us to try. Only the place doesn't have a list of what the moonshines are and the bartender can only remember two of them: blueberry or strawberry. Clint orders two strawberry moonshine margaritas (I am cringing as I type those words...ewww). They are served in (get ready for this) iced tea glasses. Where are the mason jars? Isn't that the whole point? You don't drink beer from a champagne flute and you don't drink moonshine from anything but a mason jar. Of course this place is 63 people over the fire marshall's building capacity, and they have run out of mason jars. Good. To. Know.
And then, my super fun outing takes a turn for the even worse. I suddenly feel a splash against the back of my (new) skinny jeans akin to being hit with a water balloon. It's beer. Yucky, very cold, someone else's beer is all over the back of my entire left leg. I look around to see what the hell has happened in this den of craziness and immediately spy the culprit: Bama Bangs (if this term isn't yet familiar, here you go) has been bowling in the lane next to us all evening. He is so drunk he can barely stand, he has been using my choice orange, girlie eight pound ball, his preppy Southern hair is covering his entire forehead, and he is wearing a sweater which I am sure is the school colors of his unwarrantedly snooty alma mater.
Rather than apologize, Bama Bangs looks at the ceiling. Like he is oblivious to what has just happened. Amy finally makes eye contact with him and gestures to the empty cup lying beside his feet, asking if he is the beer spiller. He looks at us through half open eyes (or what we could see beneath the waterfall of hair), and slurs, "I meant to throw that beer at my girlfriend, but I guess I missed. Can I buy you another beer?"
In hindsight, I should have started a scuffle and possibly gotten myself kicked out of this ridiculous place. My blood was boiling--everyone knows how hard it is to find a good pair of jeans, plus this charming person is not the least bit sorry for what he did. With all the disdain I can muster, I glare and hiss, "I am already wearing one beer--why in the world would I need another one?" Bama Bangs is scared now, and his friend perfectly sums up the encounter by adding, "Duuuuuuude."
It is beyond crowded, a DJ is playing, drunk girls are dancing. Basically, we are at a low rent rave. I appoint Clint my DB--designated bowler--and wait for the three Professional Bowlers Association members I am with to bring this one to a close. Almost five hours after our bowling fiasco began, we put on our normal people shoes and head for the exit.
Richard and Amy, a.k.a. Lightning Strike and Spare Bare, you are good sports. And even better bowlers. And despite the good company, I am going to let someone else have my spot next go 'round. And my shoes. 


Friday, January 25, 2013

Daddy's Girl

WARNING: If you are my dad, do not read this post. It is so not about you, and you are not going to enjoy the content. Try again next time. You've been warned.

So you thought this was going to be some sweet post about my childhood with an ode to dear old Dad? You know me better than that (if not, you will).

No, this is about my encounter yesterday morning with Mr. Mom. As in, is it hot outside, or is it him? It's twenty nine degrees out, so it must be him.

I was out walking Cotton, the Stevie Wonder Dog (he's blind, in case the reference didn't give that away), when what to my wondering eyes did appear but this gorgeous creature looking like something straight of the Brooks Brothers Winter/Adonis catalog. I thought I might be fantasizing until I realized he was pushing a stroller...and that would not be part of my daydream.

Gray sweater, jeans, loafers. I think the sun was shining a little brighter on that man than on any other part of the neighborhood. Thank you God for this early morning eye candy. Clearly, this man must be visiting because I know of nothing in my neighborhood that looks like that.

As this magical creature approached, he smiled and showed a perfect row of pearly whites. I attempted a coy smile, which I am quite certain was really me grinning like a deranged maniac and showing off my molars. Like those poor awkward faces Britney Spears always throws out. Hello, handsome.

Divine Dad looked down into the stroller (I can't say if it was a little boy or little girl--there could have been a chimp in there wearing baby clothes) and said, "See the pretty doggy?" Cue the Wonder Dog, who began one of his favorite, least charming tricks. That very moment, Cotton began scratching and kicking the ground. Spastically. Furiously. He does that to try and show he's in charge of the situation, and he does it all the freaking time. And virtually every time he does it, he kicks grass and dirt all over me, as I am standing behind him and begging him to stop. It. Now. Today was no exception, and the dew on the grass really helped it adhere to my pants, coat and shoes. Lovely.

At this point, I look down at said pants and realize they are the worst pair of sweatpants that I own. Warm, comfy and horrifically ugly. They have bleach stains on the thighs and a paint smear across the tush. (Don't judge. The people I usually encounter on morning walks during the work week all have cataracts and they think I look smashing.)

I am wearing no makeup, and I have a charming habit of my own: my skin breaks out in red blotches when I get nervous/embarrassed/angry/greeted by a male supermodel. Some people blush, I look like I am having a severe allergic reaction. Yeah, so I had that going for me. I was the lunatic lady with hives out walking a crazed little dog, with grass falling around my head like confetti in Times Square on New Year's Eve. My only hope is that the sparkle rays from his bright, shiny, white teeth ricocheted off my forehead and hit him in the eyes, making him temporarily blind.

Gorgeous guy and I'm sure future gorgeous offspring strolled on, and the Wonder Dog and I continued with our walk. I spent the rest of the route planning better clothing options and thinking of witty banter for our next encounter. Which I am sure will probably never happen. And even if it doesn't, I'll never think of being a daddy's girl quite the same way again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The King and I

We spent an almost embarrassing amount of time watching episodes of the Showtime series the Tudors over the weekend (that's what a free one month trial of Netflix will do to you). While watching all the exploits of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, a few curious things occurred to me. Royal musings, if you will.

First, Harry sure did have his share of women. I'm talking a wife, a mistress, and a different damsel pretty much every evening. I realize there was no TiVo or Real Housewives episodes to keep these people occupied, but seriously. It tires me just to watch. Of course, when I pointed this out to Clint, he told me that of course Henry had a different woman for every day of the week. Because he could just snap his fingers and get a new one, and every man would do that if they could. Good to know. However, snap your fingers around here and you will not get yourself a new woman. You will just get to hear the sound of your snazzy snapping while getting looks that could kill from your spouse. Please enjoy.

When you are living in the king's England in the 1500s, pretty much everyone gets a title. My Lady, your Lordship, Majesty, Eminence, Marquess (Anne Boleyn got that one because she was too skanky to be queen. Henry finally got around it, but it did make me laugh--Marquess was Elizabethan for ho). Duke, Earl, Count. I have decided that you all can refer to me as Your Grace. It has a nice ring to it and it's humbler than Majesty. You know me: all about humble.

The other thing that struck me is the clothing. While the men seem to have cast aside their encumbrances like the tights, bloomers and thigh high riding boots, we women are pretty much at the same level of discomfort as we were back then. I mean seriously, in 500 years, we have not made much progress. In place of the corset and bustle, we now have Spanx and padded shapewear. Our shoes are still like stilts, and we have traded dressing gowns for slinky lingerie. Men are walking around in khakis and loafers, and we are still trussed up like a rack of lamb.

And while on the subject of clothing, I feel led to discuss accessories. Ol' Henry and company sure did a good job with the jewels. As a token of my affection: a ring. To remember me by: a necklace and tiara. It's Tuesday, how about a ruby brooch? Can we get back to that please? Because it's Tuesday, and I would not turn down a ruby brooch. Or a tiara. Or anything jewel encrusted--hey, Your Grace is easy to please.

It looks like, for now, the closest to nobility that I will come is the bottle of Crown Royal collecting dust in our liquor cabinet. Or a bowl of Count Chocula. Wait--does Duke's mayonnaise count? The Earl of Sandwich and I certainly think so.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Not a Fan-uary

I took Spanish and French in high school instead of Latin (dead language...bo-ring), so I can't say for sure, but I'm pretty sure January is a Latin word for "the fun is over." It is my least favorite month of the year; it's like the hall monitor that shushes you for having laughing too loudly with your friends on the way to class (jealous, much?). It's the Sarah McLachlan song that comes on in the car and interrupts your jam, and now all you can think about is that ten minute long ASPCA commercial--that starving puppy! The kitten in the cage! January is about as much fun as Gwyneth Paltrow at an all-you-can-eat-buffet (no thank you, she's on a cleanse).

My house (and everyone else's) looked so much better with decorations. Cover that bare space in lights and garland. Hide that flaw with a wreath. Bask in the warm glow of Christmas lights. Now that they are all boxed up in the attic, my surroundings look so plain and unadorned. Where is the sparkle, the glow, the festiveness? January said no.

I stepped on the scale last week and did a triple take. Saw a number there I have not seen in a while, and holy Richard Simmons, it was not a friendly number. Part of the magic and wonder of the holiday season is that calories do not count. However, January monitors calories like the Count on Sesame Street (two...two hundred calories! ha, ha, ha, ha!). So now it's back to the fire drill cardio I despise (let's face it: sweat is SO not me). Thank God I work out at home because the gym is almost as crowded as the checkout lines at a Trader Joes. Good-bye Combos and kettle chips, hello apples and oatmeal. I'd love a cup of eggnog, but January said no.

Gone are all the parties and celebrations and seasonal goodies. Starbucks doesn't come out with special flavors for January--there is no resolution flavored latte, which would be cold and bitter, I'm sure. The peppermint bark has disappeared along with all the gingerbread and Christmas cookies. Would you like a holiday cocktail? Reindeer rum runner, sleigh full of Schnapps, peppermint-tini? Well, January said no.

The best thing I can do in January is put on a brave face and while I wait for the least fun month of the year to end, I hope for snow. Although: snow in Charlotte in January? After a weekend of 70 degree weather? It'll probably say no. I'll be here with my rice cakes, celery sticks and P90X, checking for flurries.

And if you see that hussy January, tell her not to the let the door hit her on the way out!

Monday, January 14, 2013

There She Is....

I don't know if you were watching, but Saturday night was my Super Bowl...the 2013 Miss America pageant. My personal favorite, Miss South Carolina (who was both a Clemson Tiger and a sorority sister) came in first runner up, and it's always fun to have a horse in the race. Plus a friend told me that, due to all the overlaps, if Miss SC had won then I would have won, too, by proxy. So close.

Some people will try to tell you that pageants are aged and sexist and out of fashion. Those people are probably unattractive and ever so slightly jealous of the fabulous, and they are also wrong. Aside from world peace and twirling fire batons, beauty pageants can teach us a lot.

For starters, let's talk about the one thing everyone fixates on: "butt glue." It's an adhesive spray that keeps your swimsuit from riding up and showing things that shan't be seen. Metaphorically speaking, we all need butt glue in our lives. These are the people who not only cover your behind for you, they will speak up and let you know when you are, perhaps, being an arse and letting those too true colors show. Charlie Sheen, Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan--where are your butt glue people? Your behind is  hanging out there in the wind and no one is doing a thing to try and keep you covered.

In the Miss America pageant, there is what is called the "sash factor." Basically, if your sash says Texas or California you are probably going to be more strongly considered as a contender than say, Delaware or Idaho who have never produced a winner (bless). Girls with a strong sash factor are automatic favorites before the competition begins. We all know people who have that intangible "it" factor, those who seem to show up and just claim their prize, easy breezy. The lesson is: even girls who don't benefit from the sash factor still show up and play the game. You can't win them all, and sometimes you are there for the experience rather than the prize, so enjoy it. You never know when a Delaware or an Idaho may catch everyone by surprise (well, probably not, but you catch my drift).

Another tried and true beauty pageant trick is putting Vaseline on your teeth, keeping that smile going when your mouth is dry and you have been flashing those pearly whites nonstop for hours. What's the Vaseline for your teeth--the things that make it easier for you to keep a smile on your face? Revenge of the Nerds, blue cheese olives, a good Walking Dead zombie apocalypse, anything orange that reminds me of my alma mater--those things are my Vaseline. Find things that make life less of a chore and put a grin on your chin, and keep them close at hand.

The last take away? You know that pose, I call it the "crown collapse," where the winner doubles over, then throws her hands up and thanks the Lord for the win? Yeah, we should all have those grateful moments. You never see a beauty queen just grab that tiara and say "I worked my buns off to win this, I am deliriously tired, and I haven't eaten in eight months, so gimme!" That's not how it works. No matter how much you deserve it, be humble, act surprised, and thank everyone you can.

Now, adjust that crown, put on your winningest smile, and give a wave (elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist) to the crowd. There she is...and there you have it. Pageants can be a beautiful thing.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Oldie but Goodie

Yesterday, while reaching into the pocket of a coat I hadn't worn in a while, my hand found a piece of candy. A peppermint, left from last season. That's hardly news breaking, unless you consider that the day before I discovered a cinnamon disk in my fleece and upon checking my dress coat, I came upon a couple of cough drops. You guessed it: hard candy, in every coat pocket. How very grandma of me. At least it wasn't Pep-O-Mint Lifesavers or Beech Nut gum like my PaPa used to always carry, but it's close.

I laughed it off, and then the realization started to hit: I seem to be going granny lately. A few weeks ago, I told Clint not to throw away the aluminum foil I used cooking our dinner. It was still in good condition and so I folded it and put it back in the drawer for future use. Who under the age of 70 does that?

I'll go another step further and embarrassingly tell you that I wrapped a gift last week with a super cute ribbon from a gift I got months ago. And SAVED. Oh my lawd, I have a drawer of used aluminium foil and a closet storing old ribbon. Nanaville, I am running for mayor.

When we got the new car, the salesman said something about hooking up Bluetooth or installing some card for us, and/or syncing up an iPod or some such. Ladies and gentlemen, I have no idea what he was saying or why one would want these things. Yours truly doesn't own an iAnything. My cell phone is at least six years old and stays in the console of my car in case I need to call AAA. Otherwise, it's never even on and I certainly do not text. I know it's what all the kids are doing these days, but I don't get into newfangled stuff like that.

I suppose another geriatric trait of mine is my devout love of mail. One of the high points of my day is checking my mailbox. Not email, mind you, the snail mail. Christmas makes me giddy because there is the constant possibility of cards awaiting for one glorious, envelope-filled month.

Where do I go from here? The next thing you know, I will be using words like beauty shop, housecoat, and watching my programs. I guess I will be tucking Kleenex into my sweater sleeve like James Dean with cigarettes in his white t-shirt (they must teach you the Kleenex stash in Old Lady 101, because they do it to sheer perfection). Or saving tennis balls for the tips of my walker.

Watch out, AARP. I may not be 50 yet, but since I'm a housewife, I'm technically considered "retired" and if I keep on the path I'm carefully walking so as not to break a hip, I may petition for early membership. I can use my discount in addition to the early bird special at Piccadilly cafeteria, yes?

In the meantime, I need to get out of this housecoat and over to the beauty shop, so I'll be home in time to watch my programs. I'll meet up with you later tonight at bingo.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Eye, Aye, Aye

"What do you need to be doing for me now?" Those words, an actual quote from Clint, were the mission statement for our Lasik adventure last week. I should have had t-shirts made. After all, this extraordinary event kicked off his 2013 first quarter surgery spree (this was one of four elective surgeries; there is another eye muscle surgery, a nose surgery, and a throat surgery--are you tired yet? Deep sigh with me, all together now).

We started off on the wrong foot. I was told the surgery was Thursday morning. For some reason, I wrote down 10:00 a.m. and then planned my day around it. Then when I mentioned my other plans for Thursday, Clint throws me a quizzical look and explains that he will not know until the day before the procedure what time we are to be there. Laser eye doctor, we are at your beck and call. I reschedule my day, some appointments, and White Out my calendar. I fricking hate to White Out my calendar (and yes, I am old school and I still use a paper calendar and White Out...do not try to change my technology hating ways).

The appointment was at 1:00. A friend told me the surgery takes five minutes. Um, no. The actual laser surgery takes about 10 or so minutes, however, the cattle call at the doctor's office will require you to fall in line with the laser seeking masses and shuffle through a three hour hellish process of eye exams, anxiety medicine (I wanted some for myself, but noooo), eye drops, three different waiting areas. I met and made small talk with numerous other strangers and wore myself out discussing dogs, kids, cataracts, glasses, hearing aids, scuba diving...I was actually tired of talking and friends, that never happens.

He finally has the surgery. For some reason, the very rich busy doctor comes out and makes chit chat with me about the speed of the laser, the details of the procedure, the amazing healing powers of the human eye. Eye, aye, aye. Upon hearing the phrase "eye flap" for the second time, I finally gave him the palm and told him I am extremely squeamish about my eyes and can't even put Visine in them, so thank you so much for this informative process, but we have already given you an aluminum suitcase of small, unmarked bills--can we be excused? Clint is tired and I have today's Days of Our Lives waiting in the TiVo.

Nurse Susie is given a shopping bag full of medicine and instructions (two different kinds of drops every hour for the first six hours, given 5-10 minutes apart, sleeping pill for Clint, more drops every two hours--I needed an Excel spreadsheet!) and a groggy and somewhat dramatic patient.

I spent the rest of the day treating him like a Red Cross nurse with a wounded soldier. No eye rolling, no getting impatient. Just eye drops, medicine, soup and sweetness. Turns out, the sleeping pill packed such a punch he doesn't remember a thing. I could have gone all Joan Crawford on him and he would have been none the wiser.

I slept in my guest bedroom, which is frigid and heated with the aid of a slightly broken, not helpful space heater, to avoid the drug induced snoring. I'm sure it rattled our neighbors windows all night. Our recheck appointment was at a very reasonable (those words are drip-ping with sarcasm) 8:00 a.m. and, after viewing the population in the office the day before, I settled on my dog walking fleece and some sweatpants, ponytail, and a minimally made up face. It was more than sufficient in an environment where Crocs are semi formal attire.

Even though he was given the all clear from the doctor, Clint sported dark glasses channeling his best Ray Charles for most of the weekend in my den, which was already dark since he did not allow lights. Better safe than sorry. A girlfriend told me her husband wore goggles in the shower after his Lasik, which is pretty much the most hilarious thing I've heard in 2013, so at least Clint didn't go Scuba Steve on me.

The patient is doing well, seeing almost 20/20, and the nurse is still (forcibly) cheerful. I was also told that since he is not allowed to lift anything over 25 pounds for a week, it will be that long before he sweeps me off my feet again. Pass me the eye drops and be still my heart.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Belle on Wheels

Has anyone ever given you a really fantastic gift "just because?" Do you get amazing "I love you gifts" for no other reason? Yeah, me neither. Until New Year's Eve. Better late than never, and if it only happens once, I will take it.

You see, my husband, who at the time of blog publication is being referred to as honey, sweetie, precious, darling, planned a great New Year's Eve for us this year. He took me to the car dealership and got me (please say this aloud in your best game show host voice): A NEW CAR!

New Year, new wheels!

The interior is nicer than my living room. Seriously. I'm barely tech savvy enough to drive it.

We all know that happy wife equals happy life. An ecstatic wife will get you a get-out-of-jail-free card until the new car smell wears off. You want to watch football, dear? Go right ahead. Snoring? It happens to the best of us...sweet dreams, snookums. You made a mess and didn't clean it up? Watch it...it's a car, not a miracle worker.

If anyone needs me, I am probably out driving. Or sitting in the car. Or sleeping in the car.

It looks like 13 might just be my lucky number. Beep, beep!