Friday, May 27, 2016

Potty Talk

Photo © Ichtor | Dreamstime Stock Photos

 Most of us are painfully aware of the nastiness found in public bathrooms. 

But we wash our hands! Of course we do! 

But what about the 36% of Americans who don’t? And sometimes it’s worse than that. In a study at the Atlanta Braves stadium, only one-third of the men washed their hands. Only one in three! (See ABC news story for all the nasty details about hand-washing.) And it’s not like people don’t know better. Lots of people don’t wash, but lie about it. (See story: Ten percent are lying

I picked up a nasty infection a few years back so I’m even more of a nut about washing my hands (or using hand sanitizer) after potty breaks, when coming home from being out in the world, after touching a menu, before preparing food, in the middle of preparing food, after I accidentally touch my face or hair while I’m preparing food… You get my drift. 

In public restrooms, I wash and dry my hands—of course I do! Then I face that door. The door that 36% of the users opened with their nasty potty hands. 

Some public bathrooms offer trash cans at the exit so you can open the door with a paper towel and then toss it. But some provide automatic dryers—so then what do you do?

Some smarty-pants establishments sought to solve this problem by installing push-open doors without handles. That 36% of the people before you touch with their nasty hands.

What does germ-phobic me do? I shove the door open with my arm. And then I have arm cooties. 

I can’t win.

So if you’re part of the 36% who doesn’t wash your hands, or the 10% or more who are downright liars, I don’t actually wish a nasty e-coli infection on you. 

But it would be potty justice.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cowboy Arms

Photo courtesy of

I have old-person arms. 

I spent two months repeatedly lifting my mom during her final illness, developing impressive biceps and ropy blue veins on the backs of my arms like a cowboy. Every time somebody wants my blood and struggles with my rolling, collapsing, needle-shy veins, I point out the huge, raised veins. They look, comment on the ones that run across my hand instead of lengthwise with the finger bones (I guess that’s weird), and stab me in a pink, fleshy-looking spot again. 

There are so many other old-age signs to worry about—Nana flab under my arms, teeth and crowns snapping off like limbs in a windstorm, my father’s under-eye bags—that veiny arms are minor. But I seldom see the underarm flab or the bags under my eyes. I notice those ropy arms every time I open a door or put my hands on a keyboard. I assumed they’d fade when I no longer lifted 135 pounds multiple times a day.

I assumed wrong.

It’s okay, though. I’ve realized that those veins are evidence that I pushed myself beyond my usual limits to take care of Mom. 

Evidence of love.