Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Ever since we moved into our house we've had problems with the downstairs toilet. It always seems to take multiple flushes to, uh, clear the bowl. My husband, who is known affectionately to our family as "Ten Thumbs" when it comes to home repair, actually replaced the entire interior workings in pursuit of one flush. Poor guy. Even that didn't work. So, no matter how desperate I may be, I run upstairs where one flush guarantees success. But today, I just couldn't do it. I knew I'd never make it upstairs. I reached for the handle and crossed my fingers. Then I reached for the plunger that lives next to the bowl.

By jove, why don't you just try flushing again? (What James Mason was doing in my bathroom was beyond me. But that's exactly who the plunger sounded like - James Mason from "North by Northwest" [see].)

P-pardon me? (Not only was I shocked by the voice, but I couldn't help thinking what an awful job it must be for something that sounded so debonair.)

You lot are frightfully quick to reach for the trigger, as it were. (He was frightfully patronizing, as it were.)

Well, I hardly ever use this bathroom so I don't really know the protocol.

So naturally one would assume that one attempt would be sufficient? (I felt he was mocking me.)

Naturally one would. (That second flush he recommended was swiftly being thrown aside for a good, long plunge.)

Not that I object to providing you any necessary assistance, mind you. I was simply considering your time and effort. (Okay, I admit it. The veddy British accent got to me.)

Well, since you put it that way... (I gave the handle another push. The sloshing and whooshing was music to my ears.)

Well done! Superbly enthusiastic attempt! (I didn't know if he was congratulating me, or himself.) Cheerio!

Yeah, right. Cheers.

(From now on, I don't care how desperate I am, I will force myself to run upstairs. The last thing I need is a suave plunger bowling me over.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I have never ever been one to hop out of bed the first time the alarm goes off. I shamelessly admit that I am a habitual snoozer. Usually hitting the snooze button just once is good enough for me, but on chilly, rainy mornings it takes at least two hits to get me moving. This morning was particularly tough because the sound of the wind and the rain from the Nor'easter pounding at our windows just made me want to get even cozier and forced me to pull the covers up closer under my chin for just one more snooze. By the time I finally crawled out of bed, I was already 15 minutes behind schedule. While this is really not such an unusual occurrence for me, I also had the additional burden of having to iron my dress for work. By the time I got downstairs I had exactly 10 minutes to fix my two coffees (the giant one for work and the slightly less giant one to wake me up), slap on some make up and dash out the door. Imagine my horror when I looked out back and discovered that the wind had torn our pool cover up on one side, making it likely that our pool cover would soon take flight. I threw on my shoes and rushed onto the porch. That's when I discovered that the rain had turned our yard into a lake. Standing on the bottom step, I heard an ominous warning:

Ah wouldn't take one more step, if ah was you. (I looked down and noticed a deep, deep puddle which, oddly enough, sounded just like Al Gore.)

Thanks for the warning, but I really have to go fix that cover. Maybe I can just jump over you.

And end up in the bushes? Ah rather think not. (He definitely spoke an inconvenient truth. By this time I looked and felt like a drowned rat - my freshly ironed dress was soaked, but unwrinkled. I'm afraid I took out some of my frustrations on the poor puddle. )

What's with all this stupid, lousy weather anyway? I've lived in this area all my life and NEVER experienced weather like this. I mean, we even get tornadoes here now!

Ah know what you mean, believe me. But ah am just a small result of the global community's failure to take quick action to curb the continual polluting of the atmosphere thereby making it probable that major natural weather catastrophes will likely occur more regularly and in unexpected places.

(I stood there in the wind and the rain, awestruck by the wisdom of the puddle in front of me.) Wow. That's really deep.

Well, ah am a deep puddle.

So, um, any idea how much longer this particular Nor'easter will keep up? I do have the pool cover to consider, you know.

Ah'll put it this way. Ah'd just go to work if ah were you. The rain's going to get pretty hard over the next four days so it'll just weigh the cover down so much that it'll be too heavy for the wind to blow it away.

Great. Thanks. Now I'll just worry about the pool overflowing.

(I went to work, weary that it seemed that there was nothing else I could do. Then I went to Blog Action Day and realized that I, too, could be as deep as that puddle.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hula Hoop

In order for me to put the pogo stick back in the corner of the garage, I first had to move the old wooden screen door. It's actually quite lightweight but, to be honest, I have no idea why we're still keeping it. As I was carefully placing it against one of the bikes, out rolled an old hula hoop - which made it all the way to the garage door before finally and slowly falling over. I walked over to retrieve it, and as I bent to pick it up, I started to wonder how many rotations I might be able to do - if any at all.

Oh, c' ain't really thinking of trying, are ya? (The unknown voice sounded sort of ditzy - kind of like Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday [see].)

Well, I thought since nobody was around...

Yeah, lots of people think I'm a nobody. (I could almost hear the sound of cracking gum.)

I didn't mean it that way.

Well, just because I ain't as smart as that thing over there (she looked toward a dusty abacus, which gave us a beady-eyed stare), don't mean I'm dumb.


Hey, wait a you mean I absolutely ain't as smart as that thing, or that I ain't absolutely dumb?

(I was very tempted to just say "Yes.") Absolutely not dumb.

Why, thanks. That's real swell of you. Sometimes I think I get a little confused. I just go round and round in circles! It must be from the whirlitosis.


Yeah, that's what the doctor bag in the playroom said it was. From my brain being spun around so much, y'know? She said it's just a mild case, though. You ever seen hula hoops that can't stay up?

Well, yes I have. Quite often, actually. (I was definitely the voice of experience.)

Bet you thought it was the people who weren't no good. Didn'tcha?

(I nodded in agreement.)

Well, ain't you the dumb one! It's because of the whirlitosis. Severe cases, that's all. There ain't nothing wrong with the people, the hula hoops is just loopy!

(At that point, there was a huge crash as the screen door knocked over the bikes which fell over the lawn mower and ended up on the hula hoop. I hurriedly pulled the hula hoop out from under the pile. It had a huge crease in it. I placed it safely back in the corner of the garage, and covered it with an old, warm blanket.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pogo Stick

My son is a talented filmmaker who frequently recruits family members to aid and abet him in his hilarious endeavors. Today, it was my turn to help on his short film about pogo-sticking. (Or is it just pogoing?) I was the taxi to the park, the hitter of the power button on the camera and the holder of the pogo stick during set up. We were a great two-man crew...well, crew-man and crew-mom crew. At least I thought it was just the two of us. But when my son went way, way down the hill for me to film (is that even a word anymore?) him running up the hill, I realized I was not alone.

Ohhhhhhhhhhh. (I heard a distinct moaning to my left. I thought maybe a jogger had fallen, so I quickly turned to see if I could help.)

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. (No jogger. It was definitely the pogo stick.)

Oh my gosh. Are you okay?

Ohhhhhhhhhh. My foot is killing me. (The poor thing sounded so frail and weak, I could barely hear what he was saying. I leaned a little closer.)

I think he's almost done. It shouldn't be much longer now. (Why I was whispering was a mystery to me.)

Why, oh why, did he have to find me in the garage? I was so happy behind that crushed cardboard lemonade stand. (He sighed heavily.) But, no...time to clean the garage for the winter. It's all your fault, you know. Do you really have to put your car in the garage in the winter?

Um. Yes, I do. I don't have time in the morning to scrape my windows and stuff. I'm really sorry.

Oh well. It's too late now, anyway. He's found me. poor aching foot. It's throbbing.

I called to my son to ask if this was the last shot. I relayed the good news to the pogo stick.

Oh, thank goodness. Maybe he'll just put me back and I can recuperate in peace and quiet.

We finished up and I gently placed the poor pogo stick on the back seat. As we were pulling out onto the main road, my son suddenly realized he had forgotten one important shot and asked me to go back into the park. I glanced into my rearview mirror, and I'm almost positive I saw the pogo stick shudder.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


We have a problem at our house with a liar. Now, I've never been one to tolerate lies. I've always told my children that it's much better to tell the truth straight out, no matter how difficult that may be, than to have me find out from someone else. Finding out from someone else would not only make the punishment worse, it would seriously damage my trust in them. So, imagine my disappointment at having to live with a perennial liar. An unrepentant liar. A denier of lies.

Look. This really can't continue. You've lied again today. Every single day this week I've caught you lying.

I am not lying. I've said all week that I'm not lying. You just think I'm lying.

The evidence is there for anyone to see. You are lying to me and you just won't admit it.

You won't admit that I'm NOT lying!

Lying about a lie is not going to help you, you know. (I was really trying to stay calm and increasingly difficult task.)

Can you prove that I'm lying? Huh? Because I can prove that I'm not!

Oh, and how exactly do you propose to do that?

Just ask Daddie or Emma or Zack if I'm lying. They'll all tell you I'm telling the truth.

At this point, realizing that I was getting nowhere fast with my little liar, I left the room to search out the corroborators. A quick interview with all three left me quite demoralized, and I went back to speak with my fibber.

Well, apparently you have not lied to any of them. So, my question is...why do you continue to lie to just me?

For the umpteenth time, I AM NOT LYING TO YOU!!

I stared in utter disbelief. A wave of consciousness swept over me. It just couldn't be true. It had to be a lie. I simply couldn't have gained over six pounds in one week! I stared down at the scale in front of me. Tears welled up in my eyes, and at that moment, I knew I owed my scale an apology.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Toaster

Yesterday as I was passing our Michael Graves designer toaster (okay, so it's from Target), I started to wonder what our toaster might be thinking. So I asked it -

So...what are you thinking?

Not much. (She sounded a little gloomy, very much like Eeyore [see Winnie the Pooh].)

Oh, are you having a crummy day?

Ha. Ha. Ha. You couldn't wait to say that, could you?

Well, actually....

Go about, "Not feeling too hot?" or "Got a slot on your mind?" I've heard them all. That food processor over there's a real cut-up.

I'm really sorry. I honestly wanted to know what you were thinking.

Don't mind me. It just burns me up when everybody seems to think life's just a stupid bowl of cherries. Like that bowl of cherries over there by the paper towels.

Oh, I know what you mean. I had no idea, though, that you were so deep down in the pits.

It's just that I want more. I can see the TV from here, you know. I saw "The Brave Little Toaster" last week. I want to go on a quest, too. Just because I'm not shiny and have no one to search for doesn't mean that I can't dream, does it?

Absolutely not! Do you have any idea what you'd like to do, or how we can help?

Oh, I don't know. I guess I'm just letting off steam. It's probably only a reaction to that pumpernickel bagel I toasted this morning. Pumpernickel never agrees with me.

Well, quest or not, we all think of you as our own brave little toaster. After all, those Toaster Strudels and Everything bagels can't be easy. And we'll try to ease up on the pumpernickel.

Look, come back tomorrow. I'm just having an off day. Maybe tomorrow I'll be more perky. (I quickly glanced at the coffee pot and am positive that I detected an evil glare directed at the poor little toaster.)

Sure thing.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Oil Spill

I have to be backing out of our driveway by 7:17 or I will be late for work. So I was quite proud when, for the first time this week, I actually left the house at 7:15. Imagine my surprise when I approached my car and heard a nasty, "Hey, You!" directed at me. I looked around and there was no other person on our street. "Hey! You there. Yeah, I mean you!" The voice sounded way too close to my car, and I have to admit that I was sort of scared. Hurriedly fumbling to open the door while juggling my ceramic 10-cup coffee cup (specially ordered for me by my thoughtful daughter), the voice suddenly shouted, "DOWN HERE!" I glanced near the left front tire and there, glistening in the very early sunlight, was an oil spot.

I'm sorry, but are you talking to me?

Do you see anybody else? (His tone was extremely condescending and quite rude. Since I really wanted to be on time, I decided to return the arrogance.)

Quite honestly, I didn't expect to be accosted by an oil spill this morning. I'm in a hurry. What do you want?

Excuuuuuse me. Here I was trying to alert you to my presence, so that your precious shoes wouldn't get soiled and this is the thanks I get?

Well, you could have been a little nicer, you know. You practically made me drop my coffee.

Heaven forbid you drop your coffee. It might get on your shoes, then what would you do?

My, my. Sounds like someone is just a tad jealous of my shoes.

Are you kidding me? Have you looked at me? Honey, I make rainbows. Kids love me.

That's just great, pretty boy. Now if you don't mind, I'm going to work.

Who's stopping you? But, hey, if I were you, I'd check my gauges before hot-footing it off to anywhere. I'm just saying...

My Shoes

Back in October 2007, my family took a short (and pretty much disastrous) trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida to experience Halloween in the most magical place on Earth. My daughter and I both got such sore feet that we splurged and bought ourselves black Crocs with little Mickey Mouse cut-outs instead of the regular holes. Well, I haven't worn any other shoes since then - to this day, they are still like walking on air. I don't give a hoot that my co-workers besmirch their chunky clunky look, or that on the coldest, snowiest winter days my feet are air-conditioned. I did start to wonder, however, how they feel about the abuse they must suffer (not to mention that I also tend to have seriously stinky feet).

So, you've been a part of our family for nearly 2 years now. Has it been a good experience?

I'm a shoe. I'm vulnerable to chewed gum, doggy droppings, squashed bugs (new and old), spit and oil spills, just to name a few of the hazards. I must say, though, that under your deft direction, I have managed to avoid most of them. You are quite a wonderful dodger.

Why, thank you. I really had no idea I was such a good walker.

Not only that, but, for the most part, I've enjoyed the places you've taken me. Vermont, New York City, the beach, the backyard. The apple orchard was a little tricky, what with all that spoiled, rotting fruit scattered all over the ground. And the mud. Yech, I do hate mud.

How about when it snows? You are from Florida, after all.

Well, it's not really so different from those tropical afternoon downpours...snow's just a prettier kind of precipitation, after all. Colder, of course, but with the warmth of your feet that really isn't such an issue.

Speaking of my feet...they tend to, um, smell....

In all the time I've had the pleasure of being your footwear, I have yet to experience a calamitous odor. Oh, once in awhile, especially in the summer, there was an inkling of an unpleasant aroma, but overall, I'd have to say the rumors of your odiferous feet are just that...rumors.

Trust me, they're not rumors. Just ask my family. Or my slippers. Anyway, do you have any particular memory that you'd like to share?

Well, let me see. I really enjoyed walking on the beach the evening of your birthday. The sand was so cool and soft and brushed off me so smoothly. And when you placed me on the guardrail to get a better view of the fireworks, well, that was quite lovely. I wasn't too fond of the boardwalk, to be honest. I was afraid of splinters. But, yes, I think maybe the beach was my favorite.

I hope you don't mind my asking, but shoes come in pairs, and yet you refer to yourselves as the singular "I." Why is that?

We refer to ourselves as "I" because we are one with each other. One can not exist without the other. We are I.

Is there any particular place or thing you'd like to experience before, uh, well....

Before I am replaced?

Yes, that's the word I was searching for....

I am happy to say that I've noticed a box of new Crocs ready to fill in when my retirement is at hand. Knowing how much I've been loved is a great comfort, so my only wish would have been to see Europe with you. It's been, what, over twenty years since you've been there and I know I won't make it another twenty! I only hope that when you do make it back, you're wearing Crocs.

You better believe I will. Thank you so much.

Laundry Basket

(Sitting casually in front of the couch, the lime green plastic laundry basket seems quite relaxed and ready to accept anything I throw at it.)

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit with us.

My pleasure. (I was immediately startled by his deep, gravelly voice. I certainly was not expecting a laundry basket to sound like Lionel Stander [see].)

Can you briefly describe what a typical day is like for you?

Well, most days I simply relax in the pool in the Master Bathroom.

There is a pool in the Master Bathroom?

Why, yes, of course. My pilots typically refer to it as a bathtub.

Pilots? Who are they?

We Laundry Baskets refer to the humans who transport us from room to room as "pilots." You see, we do actually fly wherever we go.

Yes, I see.

My busy days, however, typically begin with a very short flight out of the pool. After a hard landing on the floor, the cargo is loaded - most often over-loaded - and off we go for a short flight downstairs to the Spa. There, my cargo is unloaded into the Therapeutic Massage Machine, and I rest on top.

Therapeutic Massage Machine?

Certainly. The tranquil sound of swishing water accompanies the gentle vibrations and quite honestly, I often find myself dozing. Once or twice the massages were incredibly brisk and I actually toppled off and landed upside down on the floor - quite an uncomfortable position, I must say.

Gee, that's a shame.

But it's oh-so-nice when the sauna begins. It gets cozily warm with just a hint of moisture in the air. And the hum generated by the sauna machine...well, it's almost transcendental.

Sounds very relaxing. What happens next?

Usually I'm abruptly flown down to the floor again, but it's worth it because this time my cargo is nice and warm and it feels so comforting. Then I'm flown out of the Spa into the Talking Box Room - where we are now, actually.

You mean the den?

Oh, is that what pilots call it? I've never been in here when the Talking Box was quiet and dark. Look - it's showing pictures even now, though there seems to be no sound coming from the pilots on the screen. (At this point, I grabbed the remote and hit the "off" button.) Oh my! Did you do that?

Yes. It's quite simple, really. You just....

What power! Imagine if I and my cousins had the Object Gathering Extensions that you pilots have. (Just then I thought I heard the remote groan, but surely I must have been mistaken.) Oh well. Anyway, then my pilot dumps my cargo on the Cushioned Raised Floor and proceeds to flatten it and then replace it. It seems a very odd thing to do, but who am I to pass judgment? Then I'm flown back upstairs, where I am usually placed on one of three Sleeping Platforms and my cargo is again emptied. I am then placed back in the pool.

One last question: you're green, but you're not actually "green." Does this bother you at all?

"Green is in the eye of the beholder," is what I say. Though I may not biodegrade as quickly as my natural cousins, my pilots use my older brothers and sisters to hold toys, papers, recyclables and other objects. So, even though we may be old and unable to fly anymore, our pilots still make us feel useful. What more could you ask?