Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Bongo Congo

On my drive to work this morning, a rat ran across the road in front of my car. At first I though it was a squirrel. Then I noticed the ratty tail, and knew this was no squirrel. A name popped into my head - Biggie Rat. Hmmm... Where did that come from? I gave it some thought, and started to remember a long-forgotten cartoon show from my early childhood. The cartoon was set in the Bongo Congo, where the king was a lion named Good King Leonardo. Seems to me he was kind of a doofus. His sidekick was a skunk named true blue Odie Cologne, who sounded like actor Ronald Coleman. There were two bad guys who always wanted to take over the kingdom. Biggie Rat was a gangster rodent. His partner was the king’s ne’er-do-well brother, Itchy Brother. I remember him as scruffy and not-too-bright. The evil plots were crazy, but the good guys always won. There were a couple of other cartoons in the half-hour show. Tooter Turtle always wanted to be somewhere else. A magical lizard (with a German accent) named Mr. Wizard would zap Tooter into a situation he thought he wanted. Then things would fall apart, and Tooter would yell for Mr. Wizard to bring him back. “Trissle tressle trussle trome, time for this one to come home”. Tooter would be back to normal, having learned his lesson. It sounds kind of dorky describing it now, but I enjoyed knowing that Tooter would soon be in a world of hurt (what does that say about me?). The other feature was The Hunter, a detective dog with a southern accent and a horn. His arch-nemesis was the Fox. I got a real kick out of the Fox because his crimes were so outlandish. He stole stuff like the Eiffel Tower, and then disguised it as an amusement park ride or put it at the bottom of the ocean. The Hunter was kind of dumb (seems to be a pervasive theme among the good guys) but would beat the Fox in the end by accident. These cartoons were imaginative and fun to watch. I’m not sure if I’m remembering them accurately. The memories I do have make me smile, though. That’s what counts.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Don't Go In The Water

I saw a news story about a teenage girl in Brazil who survived drowning only to be killed in a shark attack. Bummer for her. The photo that went along with the story showed a giant sign on the beach. The warning, in two different languages (Portuguese and English), said “DANGER RISK OF SHARK ATTACK”. There was also a silhouette of a shark, smack dab in the middle of the sign. If you ask me, the graphic of the shark was extremely sinister, its mouth parted in an evil smile. So, with this sign planted prominently on the beach, riddle me this... Why in the hell would anyone step even a pinky toe in the ocean there? Also, why would anyone want to be a lifeguard on that beach? You couldn’t pay me enough to risk being eaten on a daily basis. I wonder if they get full dental. I think they need full mental instead. I have a fear of deep water. I’m not sure why. The handful of times I went waterskiing on lakes in Utah, I didn’t encounter any sharks. I didn’t fall too often because I thought something might nibble on me if I did. Fear can be a good motivator. Maybe I drowned in a former life. That’s as good a reason as I can come up with. When I ride a ferry, I generally sit inside and read or view the scenery from afar. I don’t enjoy looking over the railing. It gives me the heebie jeebies. I’ve only seen the movie “Titanic” once, due to the part where Leonardo DiCaprio’s character sinks into the freezing depths of the north Atlantic. I makes me shudder just to think about it. I’m perfectly happy to be a landlubber. I do well in a pool, just not in a body of water where I can’t see the bottom. Give me chlorinated water inhabited by people any day. My sister has swam with dolphins more than once, and lived to tell about it. Good for her. Glad she didn’t get eaten. In my world, the scariest reality is being seen in a swim suit at a public pool. Braving foreign blobs of hair in the locker room is terrifying enough for me. And totally survivable.

Monday, July 22, 2013

De-stenchifying

I spent much of my Sunday afternoon trying to de-stenchify my living room carpet. My little Yorkie, Stella, uses it quite often as her personal toilet. She’s a very smart little dog, and has several pee pads strategically placed throughout the house for her use. For reasons unknown, at least to me, Stella likes to mix it up a bit and pee wherever the hell she wants. I know it’s time to shampoo the carpet when I notice not only my nose hairs, but my eyebrows are burning from the inside out. So, the process began with the assembly of my new Dyson vacuum. I did it all on my own. Hooray for me (OK, in truth it was a no brainer). There is a learning curve to the Dyson. It’s a weird shape, and doesn’t feel or work like all my previous vacuums. I assume I will get used to it. It really sucks... in a good way. After vacuuming, it was time for the shampoo step. I made one pass with the soapy water, but found there was no dirty water to empty when I was done. Hmmm... strange. I should have stopped there, but I went on to step 2 - another pass with just clean water. Again, there was no dirty water to empty. Obviously, the shampooer needed a sucking lesson from the Dyson. I looked online for troubleshooting tips, and could only find a recommendation to make sure the dirty water container lid was shut. I did that, and ran the shampooer over the carpet one more time, without water. Again... zip, nada, nothing. I had to leave the fence up that was blocking the living room. My three doggies parked themselves next to the it and stared longingly at the couch and their toys. I gazed longingly at my nice big TV. Stella was probably busy deciding where her temporary toilet would be. Upstairs? Downstairs? On the stairs? So many choices. In the meantime, Rick took the shampooer to the repair place. Turns out it was operator error (me). Some hose I never use had become detached, therefore no suckage. This afternoon, I ran the water only step again, and voila! It totally sucked! An awesome turn of events. We should all get back to actually living in the living room by tomorrow. Who knew I would ever wish for something to suck???

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Foreign Tongues

I read an article about an American man who woke up from a coma speaking only Swedish. Wow, how very strange and inconvenient. I took several years of Spanish in high school and college, but not much of it stuck. I can say “Hello”, “Good-bye”, “Where is the bathroom?”, and a few sentences from a dialogue I had to learn - “Luisa has a cold. I’m sorry. That’s too bad!”. I met a girl named Luisa about twenty years ago, but she didn’t sound like she had a cold. Otherwise, I would have dazzled her with my bilingual observations. The summer after second grade, I took a French class with two neighborhood girls - my best friend Deb, and a really mean girl named Susan. My mom had found out about the class a week or two after the session began, so I started at a distinct disadvantage. I was shy, and felt like a freak while everybody stared at the new kid. Mon Deiu! It was torture. I can still count to ten in French and remember a couple of songs. I must have learned out of fear. I think some people have a penchant for picking up new languages. I’m not one of them. Maybe the way I was taught was part of the problem. We learned Spanish through memorization, and lots and lots of grammar. We conjungated verbs until our eyes crossed. We did very little actual speaking, which seems like that was missing the point. How is knowing I am speaking in the Pluperfect Tense going to help me navigate my way through shops in Acapulco? Or comforting poor Luisa and her snotty nose? I think my kids also didn’t have a great time with their foreign language studies in school. I don’t remember Ben struggling with Spanish that much, but Molly had a horrible time with French. I’m sure she said “Adieu” forever on the last day of French class. These days I’m concentrating on trying to understand Dog. My doggies seem to understand me, so I guess I need to try harder to get down to their level. Fortunately, dogs don’t conjugate verbs or diagram sentences. I draw the line at sniffing butts, though.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Safe Deposit Box

I detest Chase Bank. They are the worst of the worst of the bastard bankers. A year ago I had had it with Chase Bank. Our safe deposit box was coming up for renewal, so I grabbed a grocery bag and merrily trotted down to the big vault. I emptied out the box and closed our account. It was very gratifying. A year before that we had closed our checking and savings accounts. We had paid for the safe deposit box for the next year, so I felt obliged to wait it out to finalize our relationship with Chase. We moved our money to BECU, whom I love. I put the squeeze on my kids to also move to the credit union. Molly was stoked. She had the same views of Chase that I did. We had both fantasized about hurling flaming bags of dog pooh their way. I shopped around for a new safe deposit box, which is the one thing BECU doesn’t offer. I finally ended up paying for one at US Bank. It seemed like a nice place, and not too evil. That was a year ago. Yesterday, I received a letter from US Bank, telling me that the safe deposit fee for the next year is now due. Crap... I never got around to depositing my stuff in the safe deposit box. This sack of various valuable items has sat on our dresser for a year. Time has flown, and with it, $60 down the drain. When I opened the account at US Bank, I was still collecting the things I wanted to deposit in the vault. Rick was not with me. At some point, I intended to have him go to the bank with me to get his signature on file. And there sat the bag o’ valuables on the dresser...waiting... for a freaking year. I’m not usually a procrastinator. That’s Rick’s job description. I don’t have a good reason for what happened. I guess it was more important to stick it to Chase Bank than it was to put our stuff in a safe place. Kinda dumb. Somewhere out there, the Evil Bankers are snickering. Bwah ha ha....

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Divas Giving Birth

I went grocery shopping today, and was again assaulted at the checkout stand by stupid magazine headlines. I forgot I was going to try shopping with my eyes closed. Jessica Simpson had her baby this week, and apparently experienced DELIVERY ROOM DRAMA! At least that’s what the headlines told me. I think, however, corners are being cut. I do believe that is the same headline from two weeks ago when Kim Kardashian had her baby. Only the photos have been changed. I don’t care enough about these celebutards to read the articles. Do they really encounter turmoil every time they breed? I gave birth twice, but don’t remember any drama. My husband forgot the camera at home, and left me to go get it. Pissed me off (only because I didn’t want to be photographed), but I don’t think that qualifies. Perhaps one has to be a celebrity to experience drama while giving birth. Are there photographers hiding behind an IV stand? Autograph hounds waiting outside the delivery room? I am so tired of hearing actresses talk about giving birth and raising their children as though they invented motherhood. They can afford nannies, drivers, and assistants that are not an option for the rest of us. Maybe they consider it drama when they have to actually squeeze that melon-sized object out of that too-small escape hatch. On their own... no assistant can do it for them. I’ll bet there will be no drama stories when Princess Kate has her baby. She has class, being an actual royal person. The divas on American magazines are not usually the cream of the crop. Many are just spoiled brats who demand attention. They are the lesser talents, who make a living by being in the news rather than on their own merits. I suppose there must be people who eat this stuff up. Otherwise the magazines would churn out other stories. Next week, I should try to just go through the checkout stand with my eyes closed. I can still grocery shop with my eyes open. I’m sure the cashiers will understand.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Don't Needle Me

About eight years ago I tried acupuncture to relieve pain in my knees. I’d had three knee surgeries, and ended up with osteoarthritis. I detest needles. Hate them. They are right up there with spiders. Eeuuwww, ick! Only a big, hairy spider armed with a hypodermic needle would be worse. But hey, I thought it might be worth it to solve my moderate pain. It didn’t work, but I gave it a valiant try... eleven times. The first acupuncturist was a nice lady who told me that she got into the field because it just made sense to her. It made absolutely NO sense to me, which is probably why it didn’t work. You poke a needle in my face to fix my knee pain? Isn’t that sort of in the wrong neighborhood??? The woman started out with a needle right in the tippy top of my head. That totally freaked me out, but I somehow held it together. I played it cool, like I was totally OK with someone harpooning me in the head. No biggie on the outside, but inside I was screaming “WTF???”. I think I had five sessions with her, then she passed me on to her boss who had years more experience. The second acupuncturist tried many different techniques over six sessions. Some needles hurt only a little, and others hurt like hell. I think I deserve a tee ball trophy or major award for giving acupuncture a go. I’m not sure I’d try it now. My needle phobia has gotten worse, plus I seem to be more sensitive than ever. I’m currently doing physical therapy for shoulder pain. I’m not sure if it could be fixed with a cortisone shot, but that’s not an option. I prefer to suffer rather than face a needle. Silly maybe, but that’s how I roll.