Pop Quiz! Or, There’s Nothing To See Here, People. Everyone’s Virtue Is Intact. I Think.

1.       Lynnette’s husband is a handsome man.  He is tall and has no unaddressed dental issues.  He’s also a snappy dresser.  He fully and faithfully belongs to Lynnette.  Jimmie met him once and treated him with respect and friendliness, talking to him and including him in the conversation and festivities.  What is your assessment of Jimmie’s behavior with Husband-of-Lynnette?

          a.      She was being true to herself by being friendly and chatty, hoping to include Husband and make him feel welcome

          b.      She is a dirty filthy skank who was clearly hitting on Husband and is the reason why Lynnette never brings him to parties and such

2.      Freddie’s husband is a handsome man.  He is tall and has no unaddressed dental issues.  He’s also very generous in lending his bicycles out to his friends.  He fully and faithfully belongs to Freddie.  Jimmie met him once and treated him with respect and friendliness, talking to him and including him in the conversation and the festivities.  What is your assessment of Jimmie’s behavior with Husband-of-Freddie?

          a.      She was being true to herself by being friendly and chatty, hoping to include Husband and make him feel welcome

          b.      She is a dirty filthy skank who was clearly hitting on Husband and is the reason why Freddie never brings him to parties and such

3.      Martie’s husband is a handsome man.  He is tall and has no unaddressed dental issues.  He’s also one of the nicest men you’ll ever run across.  He fully and faithfully belongs to Martie.  When Jimmie first met him she treated him with respect and friendliness, talking to him and including him in the conversation and festivities.  What is your assessment of Jimmie’s behavior with Husband-of-Martie?

          a.      She was being true to herself by being friendly and chatty, hoping to include Husband and make him feel welcome

          b.      She is a dirty filthy skank who was clearly hitting on Husband and is the reason why Martie never brings him to parties and such

4.      Casual Acquaintance’s date is  . . . .  interesting looking.  He is tall and has loads of unaddressed dental issues.  Loads.  For starters, the teeth he does have are not a normal color but more blackish. He’s also greasy and shy.  He fully and faithfully belongs to Casual Acquaintance as far as Jimmie can tell.  Jimmie met him once and treated him with respect and friendliness, talking to him and including him in the conversation and festivities because he seemed intent on holding up the wall for the duration of the evening and she felt kind of bad for him.  What is your assessment of Jimmie’s behavior with Date-of-Casual Acquaintance? 

          a.      She was being true to herself by being friendly and chatty, hoping to include Date and make him feel welcome

          b.      She is a dirty filthy skank who was clearly hitting on Date despite the fact that unaddressed dental issues turn her off completely and the fact that men who are already romantically attached hold no appeal for her.  Her behavior was so bad that she deserved an email stating that she is the reason why Casual Acquaintance never brings him to parties and such. 

If it helps, you can do this test Open Book.  The Book reads like this:  All husbands and attached men are 100% safe around Jimmie, even the hottie ones like Dwayne Johnson and Tom Selleck and Denzel Washington.  No exceptions, especially for ones with very bad teeth. 

BONUS QUESTION:  Jimmie was at her café, writing and being quiet and obviously busy.  A man who smelled quite strong although not unpleasant arrived and set up shop near her.  He worked diligently at his computer for a while and occasionally peeked back at Jimmie.  He asked a question or two of her, and when she was packing up to leave, he started a full blown conversation.   

“Can I get your help with something?” asks the man.

“Sure, what’s that?” asks Jimmie. 

“Come look at this?” he says and points at his computer screen which is emblazoned with the header for DATEHOOKUP.COM.  A profile has been started.

“Oh,” Jimmie says faintly.   

“You see what I’m doing here?  My wife, well she left, and I don’t want to be alone.  What should I say here?”  he says, looking up with hopeful eyes.

“You see what I’m doing here?” he says again. 

“Ah, put your picture on it, leave out the baggage because no one wants to date someone who talks about how their spouse did them wrong all the time, and talk about what you like to do. Those are my suggestions. Good luck.”  says Jimmie.

“You see what I’m doing here?” he asks. Again.

“Yep,” says Jimmie and she left. Quickly.    

What say you – was she hit on?     

          a.      Yes, of course.  Stop being so naive.

          b.      No, of course not.  Ego is out of control.

For real, Jimmie has no clue.  Please weigh in.  

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You Can Now Eat Off My Floors

I just did the laziest thing ever. Or the smartest thing. Depends on how you look at it but I’m going to say it’s a little of both.   

I hired someone to clean my house.

Normally I’m not a very messy person.  Normally I’m very neat.  This was not always the case.  When Martie and I were little, we shared a room.  You could tell which side was hers and which was mine.  It was almost like tape had been run down the center of the room – the floor to the right of the “tape” was pristine and held Martie’s bed and dresser.  The floor to the left was chaos and held my bed, dresser, every outfit I owned, magazines, books, nail clippers that I borrowed from Madre and then had to search for in a panic when she asked for them back, stuffed animals, shoes, hair accoutrements, school books, notebooks, craft books, trophies, ribbon, and a lot of dust.   

Martie learned the neatness lesson the hard way.  Madre always said that we could do whatever we wanted in our room as long as it didn’t creep down the stairs (remember, we were in the sweatbox called the attic bedroom). Once it crept down the stairs, though, whatever was on the stairs and the bedroom floor was free game.  We were in high school, full of angst and daily drama about our clothes and hair, and one week our room became unmanageable enough that a bunch of crap ended up on the stairs.  Madre swept through the stairs and room with a few garbage bags and within 15 minutes Martie and I lost everything we had to wear, only excepting the clothes we had on and the unfortunate, unflattering, ill-fitting wardrobe choices still left in our closet.  Oh, you’d have thought the end of the world had come we were so dramatic about it.

It took us a few weeks to earn back everything we had lost and we eventually stopped looking like homeless people in school.  It was embarrassing and one would think after that sort of experience, one would learn to keep one’s room picked up.  If one were Martie, one would have learned it after the first time.  If one were Jimmie, one would not.     

After a few years of losing clothes due to stair creepage, I learned lessons and now like a home that is clutter-free and clean.  I don’t mind cleaning.  Some days I find it relaxing and kind of enjoyable.  However, judging by the state of the dust in my house, I have not found cleaning to be relaxing or enjoyable in recent weeks.  Evidence:

 

Eek!

I heard a rumor about a cleaning crew in Nashville that does such excellent work that you can eat off their cleaned floors and that they do this work for not a lot of money.  Needless to say, I called them up and begged them to come out and give me a quote. 

Want to know what will send you to the floor with embarrassment and shame?  When the cleaning man comes over and makes comments like this:

     “Ooh, look at all that dust!” – said with genuine excitement. 

     “Wow, that is some nice dust – do not worry.  We can get it.” – said with a certain amount of glee.

     “Maybe we should come more often at first, just until we get established.” – said with a slight look of panic. 

     “How many cats did you say you had?” – said in disbelief whilst looking at the accumulation of cat fur on everything.

     “Do not worry.  We can manage this.” – said reassuringly, as I melted in a pool of shame.   

Then you know what else will send you to the floor with embarrassment and shame?  When the cleaning man sends you an email after he is done cleaning your house detailing everything he had to do:

     1. Clean the carpet

     2. Dust the blinds and clean windows in every room

     3. Dust furniture, pictures, pictures frames and a big bed upstairs.

     4. Clean both bathrooms

     5. Dust the fan located in the living room

     6. Clean the main glass door at the entrance

     7. Clean the kitchen floor including microwave, stove and the white trashcan.

     8. Dust the AC unit vents.

     9. Clean baseboards and handrail.

     10. Play with the cats (just one) 

You know, I felt almost a compulsive need to clean last night before his arrival today, yet I restrained myself.  It wasn’t all that hard. I’ve practiced restraining myself in the cleaning arena for quite some time.  Plus I don’t really understand why women feel the need to do that – clean before the cleaning people come.  What is that? 

When I got home to survey my sparkling clean house, I noticed that all of my toilet paper had been folded into a point.  I suppose I’ve just hired myself a permanent housekeeper.  I luff him. 

A Rant. Oh, Goodie.

Hey guys.  I know I wrote a small post last week but before that, I was absent for a while.  Nothing’s wrong.  I just didn’t have anything to say.  I know it is difficult to believe, but it does happen.  Now, however, I have something to say and that something is a direct result of two things I recently did. 

  1. I watched television.
  2. I read a magazine.

 “Ooh,” I can hear you saying.  “Racy. How adventurous of you.” Let me explain. 

There’s a back story for the television part. It is important so pay attention.  This will surprise some of you and some of you will recognize this as old news but I don’t have a television.  I grew up without one for the most part.  (Not for any weird religious reason.  I mention that because it is my most often asked question as to why. My mom simply wanted us to go outside and play. So we did.)  In my adult life, I’ve owned a television but a few years ago, I realized that when I turned it on, I became a zombie and was completely unproductive.  I cancelled the cable, moved the t.v. to the garage and only got it out to watch the occasional dvd, but soon that got old too, so I donated all that stuff to Goodwill. 

Now because I’m not really used to watching television anymore, I find that I am easily fascinated when one is on near me, like at the gym or at a friend’s house.  I’ll catch myself staring with my mouth open, ignoring people that are talking to me.  Also, because I’m not used to televisions, especially the newer technology ones, I sometimes find myself in a position of not knowing how they work or more importantly, how to turn it off. 

It was this position I recently found myself in at the gym, on the treadmill.  Someone before me had not turned the treadmill television off.  I couldn’t hear anything but I did watch the morning news and all the commercials that come with it while I listened to my iPod on my three mile trek.  That explains thing one, sort of. 

Here’s thing two.  My neighbor, Luke, asked me to pick up his mail for him while he spent the week in Hawaii. (He’s a sorry dog and I don’t want to talk about how jealous of him I am.)  One day I gathered his mail and happened to notice that he gets Men’s Journal.  I also happened to notice that this month’s featured artist is Mark Wahlberg and while I agree that his 9/11 comments were way out of line and deserved an apology, I’ve often admired his arms, so I read the magazine.   

Wow.  Men’s magazines are very different than women’s magazines.  Oh, I couldn’t make fun of it enough!  There were ads in there for bean bag chairs in “righteous” colors that you could “groove” on.  All the food ads were for some kind of red meat (grunt, grunt) and there was at least one bone poking out of every piece of meat on every plate pictured.  The testosterone fairly oozed off the pages.

It was when I saw the ad in the back of the magazine for testosterone supplements that something in me clicked and started a slow burn.  The ad used words that were jumbled and jargoned and scientific-sounding but it felt like they had no real back up or meaning.  I imagine that they leave every man feeling slightly stupid and more than a little weak and like they are getting way less sex than every other man out there.  A second ad all but stated that men are to add pheromones to their cologne because obviously they cannot lure in the ladies with their personality alone.  The question loomed – why in the world would a woman want you for you?   

I got mad.  Really mad. 

You know what pisses me off? What happened to real people?  Where are they?  Where are the wrinkles that are not strategically placed but real?  Where are the people with hair that is just hair and not some glossy horse tail woven out of twinkly lights and sparkles?  Can we stop with the photo shopping and the sex in everything? 

You want to know why we have all of these self esteem issues?  We define ourselves the wrong way.  Everything we see on television and in magazines and on billboards and in music videos is fake.  It is glorified and glamorized and tweaked and snipped past the point of recognition.  We are not seeing reality.  We are seeing fantasy but that fantasy is promised to be your reality if you just buy this dog food or eat that square of chocolate or pay for this nice home gym equipment.  So we do.  We shell out our hard earned dough and place our hopes in a dream that someone else gave us.  When our reality does not change because of what we bought or did or ate, we feel defeated and somehow less.

You know what?  I don’t want my cats so refined that they only eat parboiled shrimp out of a crystal serving bowl.  I don’t want them to delicately dance with a butterfly in a rainforest.  I want them to be cats who sleep most of the time and occasionally play in a frenzy with the bathroom rug (or Christmas tree).     

You know what else I don’t want?  I don’t want my man to be so cut that I could shred paper on his hip bone.  I don’t mind if he only has to shave once a day instead of five because his testosterone levels are through the roof.  I want him to be human with human skin that is going to wrinkle and droop like mine will. I want him to age like I’m going to age.  I don’t want him to feel less because we don’t have sex like rabbits until we both keel over from old age like it seems we are supposed to do.  I don’t want to feel less because I am never thin enough, fresh enough, have long enough hair, know enough sexual tricks or because I can’t frost a cake right.  Also, I have cellulite so you might as well just shoot me now.  It’s exhausting.

Also, I’m sorry, but if you have a cactus growing out of your butt, a tiny tube of Preparation H is not going to help you.  You have got bigger problems. 

I began this min-rant at work.  I said all of this to my co-workers in probably a voice that was too loud.  I was upset and it was on my mind.  I yelled out, “Food is not magical!” among my other rants and the guy who sits next to me, usually quiet and unassuming, piped up.  He said plaintively, “My wife’s food is magical.”  He was sincere and sweet and defending her honor.  And that right there? That is what we should look for.  A normal human man, loving a normal human woman and praising her for cooking in a way he likes to eat.  I could have hugged his neck. 

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I am here for a purpose.  I am loved beyond all measure. How about I define myself that way from now on instead of by what’s on the newsstand this week.  You in with me?    

No, I Did Not Die.

See this here picture?  I took it at Kroger one day last week. 

 

Is it because I’m a woman that my thought process went like this as I walked by? 

Wow, that’s a LOT of M&Ms.  Gosh, they look good.  What a colorful display.  Kind of wasteful though.  I wonder how many bags they had to open to get that thing full. What are they going to do with them once they take the display down?  Hopefully, they will put them in the break room and the employees will get them but they’ll have to include a scoop because no one will eat them once everyone has had their paws in them.  Gosh, that is just SO wasteful . . . all that chocolate . . . Cute, though. 

Is it because he’s a man that the guy in the store who stuck his whole grubby mitt down in the jar had this thought process: 

Ooh, snack! 

And after he finished the first handful, he must have thought Yeah, that was tasty because he went back for a second handful.

FYI, men, public decorative displays of food are not for snacking.   I just thought you should be aware. 

I’m Just A Stereotype Waiting To Happen

Picture this:  A woman goes into a convenient store and purchases a Dr. Pepper.  She opens it, takes a swallow, gets into her car and puts the Dr. Pepper into the cup holder with the lid still off.  Her car is FULL of dogs and every one of them makes a beeline for either her mouth or the Dr. Pepper, licking both with full open swabs of the tongue.  She doesn’t seem to mind at all that she shares her bottle of Dr. Pepper and her kisser with all of her dogs and their germs. 

What is your initial impression or assumption?  (I mean other than “Gross!” of course.  You can tell me all you want how dogs’ mouths are cleaner than ours but when I see a dog with his tongue all the way down inside a Dr. Pepper bottle, I’m not going to listen and I will make judgments.)  Do you automatically think she is single and assume that those dogs are her family and that she gives them liberties that other dogs don’t have?  I’ll be honest – I did.  Call me what you will but that was my first thought.   

Now picture this:  A woman owns two cats.  Those cats tend to hog the bed on a regular basis and can spread out like nobody’s business, even though they only weigh 10 and 14 pounds, respectively. She is not wired mathematically on a good day, much less in the middle of the night.  She cannot figure out the logistics of spreading out in a nice slumber with the two cats and spends most of her nights huddled into one corner of the bed with one foot awkwardly bent under one cat’s butt and the other tentatively touching the other’s head in an effort to keep everyone all unharmed and comfy. 

What is your initial impression or assumption?  Single, right?  Crazy cat lady?  She gives them liberties that other cats don’t have?  That this is Jimmie and she is this ( ) close to being a stereotype?  I’ll be honest – that is my impression too.   

Look at this picture. 

 

Do you see?  Do you see how I can’t even say all the stuff that single people say like “I love being single!  I get the whole bed to myself!”  Because I really don’t.  I have to share it with two cats, one of whom invades my personal space so very much so that I’ve woken up with his nose on mine and the other of who regularly snores in a loud squeaky honk. 

By the way, I refuse the stereotype.  I won’t be the single crazy cat lady who shares her Dr. Pepper with her cats.  I’m gonna get married.  I’m not really sure to whom yet, but I’m gonna.  I’ve got plans for that man, and I know his name is not Chuck.  He does have nice teeth, though. 

This One Isn’t For Everyone. Also, Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I fully intended to write a more serious Christmas post and had one started.  I worked at it a couple of times but it never came together and on one of the most special of days, I didn’t want to turn in shoddy work.  Jesus deserves better than that on His birthday so it will wait until next year when I can hopefully get it right. 

I trust that if you are reading this, you survived the holidays and the ball drop.  I almost didn’t, you’ll be happy to know, because there is a story and I’ve written it up for your entertainment.  However, this post is not for the faint of heart.  If talking about blood makes you squeamish you should probably skip this one.  Seriously.  I won’t be offended. 

On my About page, I told you all about why I started writing in the first place.  I received a Christmas letter a few years ago that could most likely be classified as the worst Christmas letter ever.  One of the topics was “Illness” and in it, the author discussed in minute detail all the sicknesses her family had over the past year.  I got all arrogant and thought that I could do a far better job and write something that people would want to read so three years ago, I began that tradition.   

This year I wrote a beautiful letter detailing all that I had learned over the past year about home maintenance and the injuries I received in that learning process.  In all fairness, I only lost one toenail and had only one pretty serious bout of nausea when I learned how to snake a drain for the first time.  Still, I think Daddy-O and JiJi realized that I was going to continue to make small home improvements on my own and bought me two really nice gifts to help me along:  an electric screwdriver and my very own pocketknife (a pink one) which I had mentioned wanting more than once. 

With great excitement, I realized that my new pocketknife would be helpful in opening the mountain of gifts I had.  See, JiJi likes to use the curling ribbon on all her gifts and getting that off the package is no easy feat.  (She also likes to shop. See: mountain of gifts.)  I whipped out my knife, cut off the ribbon and promptly sliced my finger open.  The blade was so sharp and the cut was so clean that I barely felt the cut so it took a few milliseconds for my brain to catch up.   

“Oh,” I said and then realized that I really had quite a lot of blood to contend with.  Like really a lot.  I had cut the index finger on my left hand and so when I cradled my left hand in my right, I started collecting a nice little pool of blood in my palm. 

JiJi immediately sent Pooh and Tigger into the bathroom to get me something to compress the wound and off they went after staring for a moment in total fascination at the blood that was nearly fountaining from my finger.  From the bathroom we heard all manner of clanging and banging and opening of cabinets yet no child appeared with a wad of gauze or a box of tissues. 

Overall, I’m very good in a crisis.  I’m calm and level-headed when catastrophies happen.  I rarely panic until it is all over.  But this time we all became slightly panicky as the pool of blood became harder to contain, you see. I was starting to worry for the state of the couch and my clothes when someone, I can’t remember who, asked in exasperation, “Girls, what are you doing?” 

Tigger innocently replied, “Getting the first aid kit.”  Aren’t they the cutest?  They have learned all the safety rules and will be the first to yell “STOP, DROP AND ROLL!” when the smoke alarm goes off.   

Anyway, JiJi roared, “Just bring something,” and Pooh, after another enormous clang, ran into the living room with two squares of toilet paper. Two tiny little squares for the fount of blood that was now gushing forth from my finger and pouring down my arm.  Tigger finally dug out the first aid kit and brought me a tiny band aid.  I couldn’t help but think it was like someone set me in front of a full bathtub and gave me a single cotton ball and instructions to soak it all up.

We finally got me all squared away.  JiJi and Martie had a look at my injury, told me I wouldn’t die and slapped some band aids on it so tightly that I could feel my every heart beat.  Daddy-O said jovially from his perch in the living room, “Well. She’s bifurcated her finger.”  It was such a statement; it spoke volumes.  I don’t think anyone expected any less of me.  I do know that for the next few months, I will explain away every dumb thing I do with my new electric screwdriver by saying, “I lost a lot of blood that one time.  I can’t help it.”