Thursday, June 05, 2008

Odds 'n' Ends

It's the time of year when busy and conflicting kids' schedules, concerts and performances, whirlwind cleaning, debilitating back pain competing with asthma, and a deluge of quick turnaround editing have kept me away from the blog. Most days I just look at the computer and growl at it for wanting something from me.

It's not that I haven't continued to think and collect ideas during this time. Before I forget them all because of the mental fugue that accompanies the "M" word, I'll offer them up in a completely disjointed way today.

Neologisms that occurred to me during a bout of insomnia:


A friend of mine offered
(did you forget assholiterians? )
and I countered,
What about "antidisestablisha$$itarians"? Or a butt-lift surgeon--an a$$thetician?
Wheel of Foolishness:

While I was cooking the other night, I didn't get a chance to change the channel to Jim Lehrer's NewsHour before the news I had been watching switched to "Wheel of Fortune." I have wanted to set this "show," along with Pat and Vanna, on fire ever since I first accidentally saw it decades ago. When I so much as hear the theme music, I go ballistic and run for the remote. My hands were mixing up breadcrumbs, so I couldn't flip to Jim (and sometimes Ray Suarez, who in my opinion is a total hottie). So this woman has the following letters:


and she freaking cannot imagine what the missing letters are! And bless your heart, you will never guess in a million years what she did next. She elected to buy a vowel! I wanted to knock her upside the head. I'd have slapped my own forehead, but my hands were crumby. Mind you, she already has the opportunity to see most of four vowels. If any wheels had been turning inside her numb skull, what was she thinking? Uhhhhhh:

"SUMMER SITSTILL LEAGUE . . . ?!! Did I win?"

Fortunately one of the boys rescued me and changed the channel. Not only do they know how I hate "Wheel of Fortune," but they know that having to be under the same roof with me when it's on is even worse.

Overheard on the sports segment of news when I wasn't looking at the visuals:
"What is WRONG with WANG?????!!" [Raucus laughter issues from boys.]

Dweeb and Dweebier

My Tyke is going through a phase of deep morning sleep that renders him incapable of waking up to his brand new, top-of-the-line, perfectly functional clock radio (with environmental sounds--he likes the frogs). He seems to think that instead of M-O-M, my name is spelled B-U-S. Dad, a former Northwestern U. math professor, decided we should make a nerd grid on the family room white board to chart Tyke's bus-catching success and lack thereof. That's Dweeb #1. Over five weeks we have recorded failure two or three days a week. In our public district that's out of a possible five days, but the trend is statistically even worse when you consider that some weeks, such as Memorial Day week, have Monday holidays.

It's because Tyke can't get out of bed that I have to be up earlier than I normally would so that I can chauffeur in the inevitable event of bus-missage. Believe me, he pays for this. I'm nocturnal and it's a serious understatement to say that do not function effectively as a "morning person." Not only do I typically call him names (Dweeb!) and snarl, I also make him wait for me to get ready. He has to know that I can't simply roll out from under the blanket and directly into the car. I have to wake up and smell coffee first, take asthma meds, instill allergy eye drops, etc. If it makes him late, I let the ladies in the office, one of whom is a friend, know that his unexcused tardy was well deserved and that he earned it himself.

Here come more Dweebs. It's because I had to chauffeur Dweeb Tyke yesterday morning that I was out and about at an unusual hour. As one who detests inefficient errand running; I am not going out without getting several things done in a fuel-conscious order. I stopped at the grocery store before it even opened and rushed the door when it did. When I got to the checkout, I noticed two new employees--the cashier and the bagger. New to me, anyway. I know everybody else. Perhaps they're always there before 7:30 a.m., but I wouldn't know, since I am barely conscious at that hour. Both were teen boys, possibly enjoying a summer job.

Bless his dropout heart, the cashier did not know what my produce was. Now, I ask you, are LEEKS or CURLY PARSLEY exotic vegetables? Checkout Dweeb stared at the leeks as if they were a Close Encounter of the Allium Kind. My basket also included the type of Swiss chard called "Bright Lights" for its red, orange and yellow stalks. I could tell as he examined it that he was pretty sure it wasn't even edible, but at least he didn't code it as rhubarb or something. When the thought balloon with the big question mark in it hovered over Checker Dweeb's head, Bagger Dweeb would say with a snicker, "I dunno man, I'm just a bagger." Therefore I was obliged to dictate the items so that Checker Dweeb could look them up.

It was not until I arrived home and started unpacking that I realized the extent of Bagger Dweeb's intellectual deficiency. As you may know from a previous post, I hoard canned goods and am very fond of Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes with Basil in the really big can. I'm unable to get near them without taking some home. They stick to my cart magnetically. To my surprise I discovered all the heavy cans of tomatoes organized together in a single bag--with my large bag of fresh tomatoes ON THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG. What was going through Bagger Dweeb's mind? "Oh, she likes crushed tomatoes, so we'll just crush the fresh ones for her, too"?

Thanks so much, Bagger Dweeb, but we don't really like crushed tomatoes in our salads.

Remind me not to go grocery shopping at 7:30 a.m.


Ever the kid to articulate interesting ideas, Tyke came up with a new one. Yesterday I heard him scream in the downstairs guest bathroom. "Mo-o-o-m-m-m! There's a giant spider, no two giant spiders! And they're going to eat me!" This is annoying, not because I am the family's designated spider-rescuer (I love them), but because only a couple of days ago I had carefully de-cobwebbed the downstairs ceilings and apparently all that work had gone for naught. Upon discovery of spiders, other people expect me to capture the leggy things immediately and take them outside. I went downstairs with my rescue jar.

"What are they, Mom?" Tyke asked, terrified.

"Oh, for heaven's sakes, Tyke! They're just Daddy Longlegs." And slow and dumb and non-menacing. A quadraplegic chipmunk is more ferocious.

"Wait . . . the females are usually the ones who spin the web, right? So shouldn't these be 'Mommy Longlegs'?"

Touche, Tyke!

Unfortunate Phrasing

My big kid, G, attends not only a regular high school but also the nearby city's regional arts academy, where he was selected on a competitive basis and then won the lottery to get in. He got in for musical theater and vocal music. He's young, but has many senior friends and mentors who are graduating and going to music schools and performing arts colleges. In honor of them, he asked me to take him to their senior recitals. Acquaintance A is a musical theater major, but G warned me that he doesn't sing very well, which I had deduced from the Jazz 'n Ribs celebration at a restaurant in which G sang last weekend. This came to light in the auditorium when A sang the solo, "Try to Remember" from "The Fantasticks." He stumbled all over the rhythm of followfollowfollowfollowfollowfollow and ended flat. Then, when it came to the lyrics, "the kind of September that---made--us--mellow" (my emphases), he slightly botched the phrasing and pronunciation and sang
try to remember/the kind of September that made a----smell-o
G flinched in his seat and I could not believe my ears. But my digital voice recorder confirms it. The poor kid. I don't think he even knows made a smello in front of all those people.

Apology to Nature

The other day I was driving Tyke to his baseball game, and a bird smacked into the windshield. I didn't even see it coming, and what could I have done, anyway? It's nesting time around here and the birds are flitting around helter-skelter. They hit the family room picture windows all the time and it knocks the poop right out of the poor buggers. My car wasn't going very fast, but I assume the bird wound up dazed on the road getting hit by someone behind me. I couldn't check and felt terrible. This is the third time in my life I have had a windshield-bird encounter. The first was a big redbird in Texas, who despite his size, was no match for my aircraft-carrier-sized 1969 Mercury traveling at 55. The second was a dove in Tucson (I wrote a sonnet about that one). I just absolutely hate the thought of hurting living things, and am worried that the karma of possibly killing three birds is going to come back to me.

OCD Much?

In the previous post about my sicko non-perishable-goods acquisition, I failed to mention that when I retrieved all the black beans from the cupboard, I had noticed that EVERY can was dented. Last week, I went back to the bean aisle to replenish the depleted supply. I started to put three cans of house-brand black beans into the cart, but then noticed that every one was dented. This was clearly a job for Weird OCD Can Woman! Out of curiosity, I felt compelled look for a can that was not dented. The black beans were on the bottom shelf, so I sat myself right down on the floor and went to it. At one point I had pulled off 62 cans of black beans before finding a single can that was not dented. After checking every last can of available inventory--I forget how many in the final tally--I found only two undented cans. I took them and put all the dented cans back and rudely left them for other people. Yes, such are the droll amusements of a nutcase. It was too embarrassing a discovery to mention to the store manager.


I'm all for recycling, and participate religiously. However, I am tired of the amount of time it takes to search for the recycling numbers on plastic items. Also I'm maybe just a bit blind as a bat. This town is exasperating in that it only accepts #1 and #2 items, and they have to be a certain size, and they have to have certain-sized openings, and it's frustrating. Furthermore, I've trained my sons judiciously in how to sort and set out the recycling, but in the past SIX YEARS they have never done it right, and there's always a set of leftover junk in the garage that sits and waits for the next pickup day. I give lessons and supervise, and I've even written an illustrated manual (which they intentionally lost), but they always surprise me with a mistake. This week it's a clear #1 pizza lid blatantly left in the kitchen. Okay, I've vented on this subject. Onward.

Enduring Questions and Odd Opinions

I think blue is not a valid color for M&Ms. They disturb me. I don't like the blue dye that melts onto my hand. Also I think it was the blue M&M that replaced my childhood favorite, the TAN colored M&M, and I resent it.

Why do we have to take money out of our wallets to spend money on a wallet to put our money in? Something's fundamentally wrong there.

Huge question: why are there no such things as plain 'A' and 'B' batteries? And why are there multiple kinds of 'A's but no "single 'A'"? We have triple 'A,' double 'A,' leave 'B' right out in the cold, and skip directly to 'C.' What is up with that? And then there's the completely anomolous 9v. What dweeb exercised the power to change the nomenclature?


At 6/13/2008 1:49 PM, Blogger Nance said...

Holy crap. I blogged about the blue M&M ages ago, and how it totally screwed up the color aesthetic. I, also, was a devotee of the now AWOL tan M&M.

At 6/13/2008 6:14 PM, Blogger sputnik said...

Wow, Nance! A fellow tan M&Mer! I never knew anyone else who favored them. I wonder how many of us are lurking out here disgruntled.

At 6/20/2008 5:14 PM, Blogger CGHill said...

I hate plugging my own stuff, but this is the story of the A and B batteries.

The 9-volt jobs still perplex me.

At 6/23/2008 1:32 PM, Blogger sputnik said...

CGH--well, there you go! I would never have figured that out. Thanks. Still, it seems so perplexing, keeping the general public in the dark. To the average Joe it looks like some sort of blunder. And I didn't know about the George Carlin thing, either!

At 6/26/2008 3:31 PM, Blogger Calamity said...

For me it was the day the earth stood still! Blue m&ms, no way! Even quit buying them for a time in protest, but cravings overcame common sense. Did I say I hate blue.... As an old conspiracy nutcase, it must be a plot to overthrow good old American values. Blue m&ms, still disgusting! Bring back the Tan!!! I used to separate by color then devour one at a time saving tan for last! And blue wasn't in my early color palette! Did I mention I hate blue....

At 6/30/2008 6:29 AM, Blogger Tuesday said...

Ha! You make me laugh.

I also dislike the blue M&Ms and miss the tans but realistically they all taste the same and provide an excellent sugar high, aided by artifical food colouring speed. What more could you want?


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