Monday, April 12, 2010


Picture a cross between the Web site and your grandmother. That’s me, on a healthful, bracing (cursed, painful) walk. I wear whatever is hanging on the closet door (too clean to put in the laundry), a hat, big old walking shoes, crew socks (the little ones slip off my heel), and usually have a tissue in hand, due to the cold or to allergies making my nose run. Excited yet?

I’ve never been fashion-conscious. When I worked, I wished for a uniform I could throw on each day, instead of having to fuss about getting ready. Never got the shoe bug. Or the purse bug. Or the shopping bug. When I need something (i.e., when my favorite black Capri pants begin to fray in awkward places) I go shopping—for another pair of black Capri pants that will go with most of my tops. Now that I think about it, it’s almost a uniform. Hmm.

How about you? Mad for shopping? Love new styles and trends? Or happy just to find a pair of pants that fit?

By the way, check out Pretty funny stuff, like the picture above. But you might not want to read some of the T-shirts or side ads. I don’t dare wear my “I’ve been to Hell (Michigan) and back” T-shirt down here in the Bible belt for fear of offending someone. Apparently others have a, shall we say, broader view of what’s acceptable. Vulgarity aside, it’s a funny Web site.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Did I Tell You This Already?

I hate when I shower, including leg shaving, and then stand there wondering if I’ve washed my hair. It’s wet—is it clean?

My memory problems are not age-related; I’ve always had a terrible memory. Performing my job required checklists and reminders for everything but starting up the computer—that I could remember. The rest, iffy.

My husband understands this. For the first few years of our marriage we fought about things I’d forgotten: “Did you call about the ___?” “Did you remember to _____?” Eventually we worked out a system; he either did it himself, or gently reminded me (code for nagged) until whatever it was got done.

A college-aged daughter, working a summer job at my husband’s place of work, came to me saying, “Mom! Dad is driving me crazy! He reminds me of things constantly! I’m twenty years old—why does he keep treating me like I’m four?”

I thought about it and said, “He’s lived with me a very long time.”

A minute later he walked in and said to her, “Honey, don’t forget, you have a dentist appointment tomorrow so you’re going to have to drive separately to work.”

She rolled her eyes at me and told him, “I know I have a dentist appointment! I made the appointment! Why do you remind me of things over and over?”

He considered the question for a moment, then said, “I’ve lived with your mother a very long time…”

I’ve told everyone who’ll listen my dream is to publish (no, not self-publish) novels. Hand-in-hand with that is the fear that I’ll have a book signing and forget names: “Umm, how did you want me to make that out? Oh, sorry, Mom!”

Like I said, I’ve always been this way. I rehearsed and rehearsed before introducing my entire eighth-grade class to my cousin, who was joining us for a party. Somehow I made it around the entire room—all fourteen kids—and then said, “This is my cousin…” I’d forgotten her name. Only for the moment, but it was a horrible moment.

In the usual way of things, I married a man who seldom forgot anything, who seemed to have a “tickler” file in his brain that kept things forefront until they were completed and he could file them away. But now he’s experiencing senior moments and seems to have forgotten that I forget everything. He’ll say, “Remind me to put out the garbage tonight,” and I just laugh. “Sure. Hold your breath.”

What about you? An elephant’s memory? Or like me, each day is a new adventure because you can’t remember yesterday?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Cleaning

My favorite appliance is my double oven. Not because of the convection cooking option, or the built-in temperature probe, or even because there are two of them. No, it’s my favorite because it’s self-cleaning. Cherry cobbler spills over, and burns on like charcoal, and all you do is push a button. In the morning you wipe out a little white ash and you’re done. It’s a miracle!

It’s also an idea that could catch on. In the past I’ve eagerly anticipated the delivery of new appliances, but within a week was sadly wondering where the shiny glow went. You used to be able to count on the washing machine, at least, taking care of its interior, but even the new front-loading washers have to be cleaned or they stink of mildew. Nasty! Self-cleaning could help in lots of areas: When the girls were small I used to wish I had a big floor drain in the kitchen so I could simply hose down the room—maybe the babies, too—after the pureed peas hit the walls. And don’t get me started on soap-scummy shower walls. Thank God and “As Seen on TV” for microfiber cloths.

Someone after my own heart invented the little floor-cleaning robots, Scooba and Roomba. Do they work? Would it be worth it to hock my diamond and buy them, or would they ultimately be as disappointing as the automatic sprayer that promised chubby, rubber-gloved ladies to descend on the bathroom each time we exited?

What’s your favorite cleaning aid? (Mine is my friend Chris who used to clean my house faster than I could do the kitchen. She gave up scrubbing other people’s toilets a few years back; can’t imagine why.) What’s your grand, affordable idea/discovery for streamlining housecleaning? Share, please! I can hear the tiny screams of the dust settling even now. Or is that me?