Painting the Town Green

bucket of green paint

In the continuing saga of home ownership, it becomes obvious from time to time that certain menial tasks are necessary for maintenance and often such tasks are not worth the time and expense of hiring a professional. Such was the case with my patio furniture and me recently.

Over the past several years, I’ve watched the furniture slowly depreciate, putting the inevitable in the back of my mind. Finally, I could no longer deny the obvious – the wrought iron furniture was desperately in need of a coat of paint, AND it was a do-it-yourself type project.

“Maybe we could just throw it away and get new?” suggested my partner when I brought up the subject.

“Why? It’s perfectly good!” I replied.

That wrought iron stuff is indestructible. It lasts forever. It has survived three children and years of major abuse. It has moved with me from one end of the country to another several times. It is like part of the family. How can I even speak of throwing it away? Besides, it is so old that it is back in style again. I’ve been seeing practically the very same thing down at the fancy garden and patio shop. Painted green and antiqued with black like the high-priced stuff, it will look great!

I don’t know why I’ve procrastinated so long. One short morning of manual labor and it will be over. I already have a large selection of slightly used brushes; some of them even have bristles. Down at Discount Depot, I select the paint carefully: Gloss or semi-gloss? Latex versus oil based? One quart will do the job – I know from years of experience.

I’m in danger of being thrown out of the store for fondling the paint cans by the time the perfect shade is finally selected, hunter green in latex semi-gloss. Clean up for latex paint is with soap and water, no mess versus the turpentine or paint thinner required with an oil base paint. You can see that I am very knowledgeable in these things, practically having a degree in the study of paint charts since the time I repainted the interior of the house.

This furniture has been painted so many times in the past that I scarcely remember the original color. It has gone back and fourth, black to white to black. Green is a totally new experience – a venture into sheer decorating madness. The first coat goes on as smooth as water and covers about that well. “A second coat won’t take long,” I think, barely able to wait the 30 minutes for the first one to dry.

Three coats, four coats, and I wonder, “How many coats do I need anyhow?” I don’t know if it is the choice of latex for painting metal or just cheap paint, but hours later I am still painting. Afraid of vapor lock if I stop for even a few minutes, I send my honey back to the store to buy more paint for me.

How is it that some people paint and never spill a drop? I try to avoid stepping the green drips, but it is impossible. Paint is on my hands, my clothes, and my hair. The plastic drip cloth sticks to the bottom of my feet. I’ve given up even trying to stay clean and am beginning to look like I stirred the paint with my elbow. If the Jolly Green Giant comes by, I could easily be selected as a suitable mate. On second thought, he could never see me with all this camouflage.

After the fifth coat, the paint is starting to dry up in the bucket. I’m afraid to close my eyes as I remember what happens when you paint around windows and forget to break the seal. I finally decide the furniture looks good enough. The bumps and drips are hardly noticeable from a distance. Move over Picasso and make room for another masterpiece. With all those coats of paint, I’m no longer sure if there is furniture inside at all, or whether it has disintegrated into rust and we are using a hundred layers of twisted and hardened paint.

I found out that latex does not wash off with soap and water if it dries long enough on the skin. Soaking in the bathtub and scrubbing myself with a Teflon pot scrubber and a can of powdered cleanser, I know I will never, ever have a second career as a professional painter. Those dudes earn every penny they make.

The thing that really worries me, however, is that today I noticed some rusty spots were starting to develop on the garage door.

©2000 Sheila Moss
Posted in Home, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

NFL Fever

football

A severe affliction is sweeping the nation. It manifests itself in the fall of the year in a mysterious syndrome which usually lasts until about February, although in a few especially vulnerable people, it has been known to continue in sporadic episodes throughout the year.

There is little or no hope for those individuals who contract the ailment. While women are not immune, it seems to strike the male gender more frequently and with greater severely. Often the sick individual fails to recognize the disorder and will insist that he or she is perfectly well and everyone else is sick.

While this syndrome has no agreed upon medical name, it is sometimes referred to as “NFL Fever.” Here are the danger signs:

You have more than one big screen TV.

You record one game while watching another.

You argue with instant replays.

You spend every vacation visiting NFL cities and checking out sports stadiums.

Your beer bill during football season exceeds the family grocery bill.

You need a day off work to recover if your team loses the game.

You have a tee shirt with a sports logo not only for your favorite team, but for every team in the league. (Yes, hats count too.)

If someone asks you a question, you do not answer until half time.

The remote control button for ESPN is worn down to a nub.

Your life ambition is to go for an entire season without missing a single game.

You want to paint your house in your team’s colors.

You bought a fridge for your den to keep the beer cool.

You channel surf , you watch the game both on TV and on the Internet, or you watch more than one TV set at the same time.

If someone says, How are you?” you say “Three points behind.”

You would rather watch football than eat.

You think the Super Bowl is a national holiday.

You can’t carry on a conversation without bringing up sports.

You are offended when someone likes a different team and want to argue about which team is better.

Your dog is named Peyton Manning.

You only speak in sports lingo.

You think being called a “sports fanatic” is a compliment.

You hit the TV or yell at it when your team misses a play.

Your three favorite things are: sacks, blitzes, and red dogs.

You can’t remember your spouse’s birthday or anniversary, but know the score of every game for the season and what teams played.

And worst of all, when you make love, you yell “touchdown!”

If you believe you or someone you love may be afflicted with this illness, call 1-800-TICKETS and go to a real game for immediate symptomatic relief.

WARNING: This cure may be habit forming and should be used only with extreme caution. Long term effects have not been studied, and symptoms may actually increase or worsen with long term usage.

©2000 Sheila Moss
Posted in Humor, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Election-Go-Round

flag

I want this election to be over. I’m tired of an election circus that continues to drag on and on. I want to be able to see the news on TV without having to hear all the accusations, denials, and just plain lies. I want to vote for the candidate of my choice because he or she is the best person for the job, not the lesser of two evils. I want to wave my flag and feel proud of living in a democracy instead of embarrassed about an election process that  has turned into the best reality show on TV.

I want the fat lady to sing. I want the cows to come home. I’m sick of hearing about Hillary’s emails and Trump’s wall. I’m sick of hearing about immigration and big donations. I’m tired of the fighting over who is the biggest bigot, who tells the most lies, who needs to turn over medical records or tax returns. I’m sick of the electoral college and voters lack of knowledge. I’m sick of opinions, talking heads, racial bias, and prejudice.

Is really a surprise that elections have come to this? Is it really a surprise that people disagree about which candidate can be trusted? Is it really a surprise that people are sick of mud-slinging and dirty politics? Is it really surprising that we are tired of worrying about Russian hackers and Wall Street backers? Is it really a surprise that Hillary is ahead in the polls and Trump wants to discount the polls until he is ahead?

I’m sick of blue states, red states and key states. I’m sick of polling counts, recounts, and no accounts. I want to go on with my life. I want to forget about politics and move on to other matters. I’m sick of endless speeches, rallies, and  interviews that drag on and on while nothing really changes. I’m sick of seeing a nation becoming more divided against its self than ever. I’m exhausted with an election process that goes in circles like a merry-go-round.

I’ve become a cynic. This election is a carnival – hysterical history made in the USA. Its enough to make me want to burn my voter’s registration card and stay home on election day. But I’ll listen, evaluate,  and go vote like everyone else who is civic-minded. I will hold my nose and push the button knowing that the best person probably isn’t even on the ballot and hope that I’m doing the right thing.

I’m tired of endlessly hearing about it. Thank goodness it will soon be history. I’ve got other things to do.

©2016 Sheila Moss
Rewrite from 2000


NOTE: Although I don’t usually write about politics, sometimes I just can’t stand it anymore.  What about you?

Posted in Humor, News & Current Events, Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Ode to Cigarettes

smoking.jpg

 

I hate being a non-smoker. It is so boring! It occurred to me the other day that I really would be a lot happier if I smoked. When someone says “good morning” to me, I cannot just ignore him or her and go have a smoke. In fact, I seldom get an extra break in my workday. I cannot stop what I’m doing to have a quick cigarette. I do not get to go outside and hang around talking to the other smokers at regular intervals on the pretense that I’m having nicotine fit.

I’m not able to use nicotine as an excuse for my grouchiness in the morning. I just have to admit that I’m a grouch. If my nerves are jittery, I must have some sort of psychological problem. I cannot say it is because I have not had a cigarette. I cannot even go to a psychologist and pretend it is for help to stop smoking.
I do not have anything to hold in my hand to calm my nerves. I do not get the satisfaction of throwing my butts down for others to clean up. No one praises me for trying to quit because I never smoked in the first place.

I cannot wear the nicotine patch as a status symbol. Nobody asks my opinion of whether it works or not. I obviously don’t know anything about the patch or have an opinion. No one is proud of me when I go without a cigarette. My calmness is taken for granted, as I supposedly have the ability to control my behavior.

I cannot brag about all the money I’m saving by cutting back. I do not get to shop for cute ashtrays to accessorize my home. I do not get to buy nice leather cigarette cases or fancy lighters to support my habit.

I do not have an excuse to buy new furniture because I accidentally made a burn mark on something. The candles on my birthday cake smoke more than I do.

I do not have anything with my coffee in the morning unless it is food. I have nothing to do in a bar or club except drink. I do not have to sit in the smoking section at a restaurant and so I am always in the family section with people who have their kids along. At the theater, I do not have a reason to go out to the lobby during intermissions. I never have an excuse to get out of the house and run to the store for a package of cigarettes.

I don’t take a work break until lunchtime, so I have to do more work than a smoker. I cannot avoid doing what I am supposed to do by using the excuse that I’m addicted. I can’t leave meetings early to look for the smoking area. I can’t excuse myself to hunt for a package of cigarettes. I have nothing to give up for the Great American Smoke Out.

I do not get to be offended about my right to smoke being violated. I don’t get to complain about being persecuted for smoking. I can’t throw a fit and blame it on nicotine withdrawal. I do not have nicotine to stimulate me and keep me going.

My three favorite things are allergy medication, clean ashtrays, and good chest x-rays. How boring can life get?

I can’t use my poor health as an excuse to miss work. My life goal has to be something besides just to quit smoking. I do not have an emergency pack of cigarettes in the refrigerator just in case. And worst of all, I have nothing to do after sex but just lay there.

Yes, smokers are much happier people. If it was not for that nagging little question about cancer, I’d smoke too

Copyright 2000 Sheila Moss

What do you think about smoking or tobacco use? I would like to know.

Posted in Health, Humor, Work Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Bless the IRS

1040-form

There it was in my mailbox.  The dreaded official looking envelope with the hateful return address, “Internal Revenue Service.”  What could this be, I wondered?  A thank you letter from my Uncle Sam?  No, he doesn’t send thank you notes for paying what is perceived as due him.  He doesn’t send love notes either.

He DOES send party invitations – only he calls them “tax audits.”  With trembling hands I picked up the envelope. Oh, God!  I’m being audited!  I instantly felt a sense of dread.  I hate dealing with all that financial stuff anyhow. I’m creative, not detail oriented.  I thought I had sorted all the deductions and credits and shuffled my official papers for the last time this year.

I had carried my brown envelope of receipts faithfully to my tax accountant, unable to deal with the torture of filling out a return myself. I brainwashed myself into believing that “CPA” after the tax preparer’s signature was insurance to keep the auditors away, similar to the way the cross is protection from Dracula.  So much for that fallacy.

I coughed up my tax dollars, sent in my neatly prepared return and filed away my receipts in the legal folder way back in April.  So what now?  Visions of hungry auditors danced in my head like demons. I made my quarterly payments – on time. What did they want?  Blood?  I rushed to the files where I keep important papers, head spinning. I must have made a terrible error some place.  I thought I had been careful. I meant to be careful. What if I hadn’t been careful?

I recall the time years ago, in desperation for a job, I went to interview with the IRS. No joking around there. By the time I got out, I felt like I’d been audited, though I’d actually only been interviewed. I must have flunked miserably because I didn’t get the job, or even a second interview. Thank goodness it was a job and not an audit. I’d probably still be paying.

In my limited circle of acquaintances, the people who seem to get in the most trouble tax wise are those that are self-employed or try to run their own small business, make a few bucks, and don’t have the expertise or inclination to keep up with things adequately. It all goes okay for a while, then one day the IRS catches up with them. By then they are thousands in the hole, the business has gone under from poor management, and they are broke. They cut a deal for payments and end up paying every month for the rest of their natural life.

I couldn’t be thousands behind.  No way.  I even hired an accountant.  I’m a good American.  I pay my taxes.  God bless the USA.  Where’s the flag?  So what is this danged envelope doing on my table?

Okay, I’ll open it. Hum, doesn’t mention anything about an audit. Five pages long, very impressive. None of it makes much sense, though. Sounds legal. They must send the same word processing letter to all of us tax evaders… er… citizens, whether it applies to our particular case or not. They just fill in the different figures from individual returns.

“We have refigured your taxes.”

Delightful and what possessed them to do that?

“You claimed an incorrect amount as credits.”

Huh?

“You owe $146.92 as shown in your tax statement below.”

I’m so happy it isn’t an audit, I practically kiss the envelope and can’t wait to send the $146 (including penalty) and get them off my back. Never mind that I can’t figure out what I did wrong.

“If you think we made a mistake, please call us,” it says.

Oh, right!  I’m gonna argue with the IRS and get audited every year for the rest of my life.  Funny thing, though, the money they say I owe was from the rare time that I ever actually received a refund. It was suppose to be applied to the next year’s taxes. It says so right there on line 67. I just don’t get it.

I stew for a while, and finally decide I’m paying an expert. If the CPA can’t protect me from Dracula, maybe she can at least explain the bite marks. So, a desperate FAX and a phone call later, and guess what?  She doesn’t get it either.

“Don’t pay yet,” she advises.

Easy for her to say.  I’m the one going to jail.

“Give me your power of attorney.  I’ll call them.”

So… here I am in a dilemma.  Do I pay money I don’t think I owe?  Do I argue?  Do I hope it can be settled amicably?  Do I dig in my heels and fight?  Is my sanity worth more than $147?

God bless America.  I love the IRS!

©2000 Sheila Moss
Posted in Finance, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

A Yankee in Nashville

travel trailer

 

A fellow humorist and writer always looking for a easy pun, made an interesting comment the other day:

We would love to go visit my niece in Nashville, but I’m afraid we probably wouldn’t all fit in her apartment and we’re too cheap to spring for a hotel. I wonder if there are any trailers for rent in the area?

Naturally I took offense.  There it is again, a pun about the South and the insinuation that we all live in trailers.  Interesting question, though.  Wonder if he COULD rent a mobile home?  I decided to pursue the question.

I was somewhat amazed at the ingenuity of thinking of renting a mobile trailer home.  A quick check of the Metro Nashville yellow pages directory revealed a few choice locations with mobile home rentals.  We cover our bases here. Before y’all come down, though, be aware that they require an application, credit check and expect a 90-day lease.  Be careful what you call a trailer too.  Unless you want something to haul your boat around with, or have a semi-tractor that needs a back end, you could end up with something other than what you have in mind.

Nashville, contrary to popular opinion, is nothing like the image portrayed in popular culture.  Actually, it is a rather modern, cosmopolitan city.  Metro Nashville includes the entire county of Davidson, having expanded years ago to take over the surrounding small suburban communities.  We still have a “country” image.  Nashvillians work hard maintaining this image and keeping the tourists coming. There’s big money to be made from entertainment and tourism.

Too bad you are gonna bypass the Opryland Hotel. It is one of the largest and most touristy places you’ll ever see. Numerous walkways through atrium gardens, including fountains, canals, and waterfalls are the main focus of the multi-billion-dollar complex called a hotel.  Even though are staying at the trailer park, I suggest you at least go look at the hotel.

Opryland Park, the amusement park where I used to ride roller coasters, is gone.  They bulldozed it down to build a fancy new shopping mall for you tourists.  You probably have seen malls before, so I’d just skip it. By the way, most of us locals are still mad about Opryland Park being torn down.  It’s a sore subject around here, so I wouldn’t dwell on it too much.

The Grand Ol ‘Opry is still here and it’s what most of the tourists come to see.  Even if you hate country music with a passion, don’t fail to see it while you’re here.  It is the best professional entertainment show in town – plenty of country music folks all doing their best hillbilly entertainment routine, just for you.  Don’t expect to see them after the show, though.  They probably don’t live in Nashville, and if they do, they have well guarded estates.

You might enjoy a trip to 2nd Street. It is a seedy old section of town that has been refurbished, more or less, for tourists.  You can two-step at the Wild Horse Saloon or buy an overpriced hamburger at Hard Rock Café. The Ryman Auditorium, former home of the Opry, is in the area. Stop in at Tootsies Orchid Lounge, a famous dive bar on lower Broad, where country music stars used to quench their thirst in the olden days. The Tennessee Titans’ new stadium is downtown. When there is a game, the locals flee downtown for their lives while herds of sports fans take over the city.

We are a historic city. General Grant’s army occupied Nashville for most of the war, you see.  We avoided much of the devastation incurred by other Southern cites and also established the useful skill of being able to endure Yankees.

So y’all come, ya hear!  Bring your families, bring your boats, bring your campers, bring your cameras, and especially bring your money!  Our Southern hospitality runs just as deep as your good credit. Do we take care of our tourists, or don’t we?

©2000 Sheila Moss
Edited for length
Posted in Entertainment, Southern Humor, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dollywood Dolly

dollywoodsign

Hooray for Dollywood! Okay, I got that out of the way. Just had to say it. I did it, went to the Mecca of Tennessee tourism, the redneck Disney World, Dollywood, number two tourist attraction in the state in be-u-ti-ful Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Why Dollywood? Cause this is Tennessee, folks, and Ms. Dolly herself owns it – Dolly Parton. Yes, THAT Dolly

My partner, bless his heart, never quite grew up and he still just LOVES these adolescent havens of hedonist thrills. We were in the area anyhow for other reasons, and being so close to a theme park was more than he could stand.  Actually, I’ve gotten to where I rather like roller coasters too, so I went along, just in case they had one.

Now, to the park’s credit, there are plenty of things that mature adults might enjoy there. They focus a great deal on musical shows and entertainment.  Tennessee is well known for its talented musical folks and they were there in abundance, singing, dancing, toe tapping and guitar plunking – normal entertainment fare in these parts. Even Dolly’s family had a show.

Unfortunately, not being normal mature adults, we hit only a couple of the shows. Yes, we rode the rides – like teenagers, like idiots! Problem is that most of the rides were water rides. I don’t mind getting splashed. That’s part of the fun. DRENCHED is another matter. SOAKED is another matter. HALF DROWNED is the reality of the matter.

The water racing coaster, the Slidewinder, I think they called it, was fun.  Whoopee! Like a bobsled. But, stay out of that Blazing Fury fire and water ride thing. It seems harmless enough. But I was sitting in the front seat when we hit the water. A tidal way hit me right in the face. I didn’t even see it coming. As I went down for the third time, I wondered how I’d missed the diving board. Floating out the door, I waved goodbye to the friendly attendants. As I emptied a small lake out of my tennis shoes and blew my nose, I wondered if Dolly ever really rode this thing.

Only one thing to do at this point, get on the roller coaster and blow dry.  They had one, a metal triple upside down loop type, called the Tennessee Tornado. Funny, if  I shut my eyes tight enough, I can’t even tell that I’m upside down. Kinda like being in Australia, I guess.

The souvenirs are slightly above average. The Smoky Mountain area is famous for  crafts and craftsmen. Problem with buying stuff at a theme park is carrying it around all day, or getting it wet. I looked, but saved my bucks for elsewhere. Well, I guess you could count the caricature I bought from the street artist. I looked so stunning all soaking wet with my big hair plastered down that he had to use a LOT of imagination.

Personally, I like to go out to the nearby craft community and try to cut a deal with the craftsmen. Heck, I found a place in Cosby with fantastic quilts, all homemade, not the imported kind. They saw me coming with tourist written all over me, of course. Probably the camera around my neck. I did manage to escape after buying only one country quilt.

While, I’m on the subject of Dolly’s East Tennessee enterprises, I might as well admit that we also hit her “Dixie Stampede,” a music show with horses.  Something about trying to eat and watch a glitz and glitter horse musical didn’t work for me. The food was good enough, though it was all eaten with our hands, hillbilly style. I think it was just the horse smell and food together.  Actually, I spent most of the evening trying to figure out how the horses did all that running around in the dirt without making any dust. I’ve still not figured it out. Frankly, I enjoyed the pre-show better than the main attraction. The bluegrass banjo picker and fiddler were just plain talented.  The county is “dry,” i.e. serves no liquor. You know, family oriented. Ever had a virgin frozen margarita?

So, that’s the scoop on Dollywood. I’d rather spend the day hiking. Smoky Mountain National Park is just right over the hill, but if you’ve got kids or a honey like mine, they are gonna make you go. Hey, at least I didn’t do the discount mall. If ya go, stay away from that fire and water ride or take wetsuit and a snorkel.

©2000 Sheila Moss
Posted in Entertainment, Southern Humor, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Brand New Woman

de-stress.jpg

Everybody could use less stress, so I’ve formulated a plan. Yes, I’m gonna get the stress outta my life. I’m gonna be a brand new woman in 12 easy steps:
Before I can take care of anyone else, I have to be okay myself. It is easy to be caught up in doing for others and forget about myself. So, I’m gonna buy myself a new dress. I’m gonna go the doctor for a checkup, and then I’m gonna have my hair done.
I’m gonna wash my hands of other people and quit trying to fix them.  I’m going to quit dropping hints and making helpful suggestions. I’m gonna let my family deal with their own problems, and my life is going to get a whole lot simpler.
Why do we get away from doing things that give us pleasure in life? I quit doing art a long time ago. I don’t know why – it seemed like there wasn’t enough time. But it gave me pleasure to create. I’m going to take a giant step BACKWARDS and see how it feels.
Alcohol might make problems seem better for a while. However, it does nothing to get rid of whatever is causing stress. I’m going to avoid “self-medication.” I know drugs make problems worse, not better.
I’m gonna cut myself some slack. Does anybody care if the closets are cleaned except me? I’m going to be more flexible. I’m going to take time to enjoy a sunset, play with my pet, or call a friend. I’m gonna quit demanding more from myself that I would from others.
I’m going to accept that I can’t always be in control. Some things are like the weather; we just have to live with them. It doesn’t really matter whether I always have things MY way. Let someone else have his or her way. What does it matter? In fact, let it be nobody’s way – but just the way it is.
I’m gonna plan ahead for events I know will be stressful. I’m going to allow some time to unwind after it is all over. I’m gonna do like the income tax accountants who give themselves a mini vacation for making it through April 15th.
I’m going to set small goals, something I can manage with driving myself nuts. I’m leaving a few things till tomorrow. Instead of trying to spring clean the whole house, I’m gonna clean out one drawer per day. I feel relieved already.
I’m going to take more breaks. When I achieve something, I’m gonna reward myself. When I went to college, I studied for a test and after a certain amount was studied, I stopped and ate a fudgesicle. Life needs more of these fudgesicle breaks.
I’m not going to feel sorry for myself. If nobody gives me a compliment, I’m going to praise others and compliment their achievements. I’m gonna get a big glass bottle and a bag of marbles. Every time I accomplish something, I’m gonna put a marble in the bottle. When I feel unappreciated, I’m gonna look at the bottle and see my accomplishments.
I’m gonna do the best I can and not try to be a superwoman. I’m going to quit worrying about what I “should” do. I’ve spent most of my life doing what I “should” do. Now it’s time to do what I “want” to do.  Even superheroes have their critics.
I’m going to keep my sense of humor. I’m going to laugh at myself and my own human weaknesses. If I can’t do anything else, I’m going to make a joke about it and go on. I’m making humor a part of myself and my attitude toward life. If I can do this well enough, maybe I won’t even need the other eleven.
©2000-2016 Sheila Moss
Edited for Length
Posted in Health, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Brown Bag Crisis

bag

My honey was on a diet.  He was doing pretty good, losing weight, and wasn’t too cranky any more since he got used to it. It was a nutritionally planned and balanced sort of thing, not a crash diet. He was on the … well… shall we say “fluffy” side. Since starting the diet, his blood pressure has gone down, his cholesterol is normal, and his clothes have all become large.  He looks great!

Anyhow, today he left home for the office before I did. As I closed down my computer and got ready to leave, the phone rang. I immediately knew it was trouble – nobody calls at that hour of the morning.

“I forgot my lunch,” said the voice on the cell phone at other end.

“Okay, want me to bring it?”  I asked.

It seemed like a small problem. It so happens we work close to each other. Often we even share a ride, but this particular day we were commuting separately due to after work commitments. Shows how dependent on me he is, I thought. He can’t even remember his own lunch if I don’t put it in his hand…  MEN…!

Dutifully, I rescued his lunch and mine from the refrigerator and toted them in to the office. I always “brown bagged it.” Though I was not on a diet, the daily fare of grease in the office cafeteria and the fast food alternatives are just not what I wanted to eat every day. Fortunately, we had a refrigerator at the office where we could keep lunches, so I deposited them there. I figured when he had a break in the day, he would come by.

Then things at the office began to get hectic as they usually do. The speakerphone in the conference room died, and I had to run all over the office looking for another empty conference room with a phone that was working. It was necessary to rework all the careful plans I had made two days before to try to be sure that a crisis like this wouldn’t happen – so much for planning ahead.  By the time I “put out the fire” and got back to my desk, there was a note on it.

“I’ll be back later!”

Uh, oh, I missed him. Well, sorry, but it couldn’t be helped. There was also a note with his name and phone number taken by the secretary who answered the phone while I was out having my little fun crisis. I figured he must have called before he came, so I didn’t call back as things were really starting to pile up, the emails were flying, and phones ringing.

An hour or so later the phone rang and I answered it.

“Why didn’t you call me?” said the terse voice.

“Well, I thought you were coming back to pick up your lunch.”

“I didn’t know if you were back, or not. Now I’m busy and I don’t know when I can come.”

He was like a raging bear without food. I could tell he was angry.

“Okay, but I’ve got to leave again after while. I have an appointment to get my allergy shot during lunch.”

“Well, where’s my lunch?”

“In the office fridge.”

“I don’t know where the refrigerator is. Just put it on your desk when you leave.”

“Your yogurt will melt!”

“I can’t help it, just put it out. I have to have something to eat!” he snapped.

Only a man could turn a minor thing like a sack lunch into a major crisis. No point arguing with a hungry bear. Being a man, he could not possibly ask someone for help or directions to the refrigerator. So when I left to go the employee clinic, I put his lunch out on my desk. When I came back, it was gone. I guess he had wilted salad and melted yogurt for lunch. Boy, is he gonna be mad tonight!

Somehow I just know this is all going to turn out to be MY fault. It’s ALWAYS the woman’s fault, isn’t it? Even though it is the MAN who forgot his lunch in the first place. Should I strike a blow for women’s lib, I wondered, or just let it go? Blame, the woman – just like a man!

Later, at the dinner table that evening I asked, “How was your lunch?”

“Okay,” said he, seeming not to remember.

Pressing the issue, I asked, “Whose fault was the problem today?”

“Mine,” he said, “for forgetting my lunch.”

I couldn’t believe my ears! How can I be militant and stand up against the unequal treatment of women when he refuses to be a chauvinist? Just my luck, all wound up and nothing to yell about.

Could it be that men are not so bad after all?

Copyright 2000 Sheila Moss
Posted in Humor, Work Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Ms. Natural Woman

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Taking a long puff on her cigarette, she gave me a hard look. “You have pretty, big hair,” she said, as I went through the door of the building where I work.

The smokers hang around outside to pursue their nicotine habit since it is not allowed inside in the workplace. This particular morning I was trying to get to work on time and sliding under the wire, as usual. I was totally off guard with my mind on the million other things waiting on my desk inside.

Big?” I heard. BIG hair? I guess it was meant as a compliment.

“Er, thanks,” I murmured, while making a mental note to go straight to the ladies’ room and assault the problem with the hairbrush.

I forgot about the incident until later in the day at lunch. A bunch of us gals who work downtown get together once a month for lunch. It’s a “girl thing,” chitchat, a chance to socialize, and a break from the routine.

One of the ladies had just redone her hair in a new lighter shade. Of course, everyone noticed and commented on how nice it looked. Then one of the other ladies speculated on how much she would like to have a new style. The discussion eventually turned to whether or not to “color” your hair or leave it natural – whatever that may be. First thing you know, all eyes are looking at my hair. Good grief! “What is it with my hair today?” I wondered, trying to slide gracefully under the table where they wouldn’t notice me.

Why is that our society seems to be fixated on hair? Billions of dollars are spent advertising and promoting hair products to make our hair softer, curlier, another shade, straighter, shinier, or to add texture. You name it, and if it has to do with hair, there is a product for it. Curly haired women want straight hair and straight-haired women want curls. Go figure.

The one thing most women don’t want, however, is gray hair. When the first few gray hairs come, we pull them out and pretend they were never there. Then others start coming like an avalanche of dirty snow. A man is merely “distinguished” when his temples turn gray. A woman is mature, aged, a senior.

So, we attempt to turn back the clock with a bottle. It used to be called “dye,” but someplace along the line the term fell out of fashion and became stigmatized. So now we “color” it instead. Most women admit to using “hair cosmetics.” You don’t see too many middle-aged women with gray or graying hair these days. It has been “washed away” secretly at home in the bathroom sink or shower.

Finally, one of the lunch ladies asked the dreaded question, “Is that your natural color?

The bitch! Obviously I’m old enough to have gray hair. Now, there is a little white lie that many women use to answer the question about “natural” color. Their “natural color” is the color their hair used to be. Gray is “unnatural.” Go figure.

That reminds me,” I said, “As I was coming to work this morning, there was this lady who said, ‘You have pretty BIG hair’. It made me think of the country music stars and their big hair. I ran as fast as I could to find a brush and visit the ladies’ room to make my ‘big hair’ into ‘little hair.'”

Everybody laughed and they forgot about whether I did or didn’t “color.” Whew! Close call. That opinionated big-mouthed person saved my day.

One acquaintance of mine has long gray hair. I guess she likes it that way – but she would look 20 years young if she would do something with that mop of hers. Sure, once you start you have to keep it up, but so what? Females look better with makeup – barns look better with paint. Shows how brainwashed I am by advertising.

Now if I can just figure out a way to tell the Ms. Natural Woman with the gray mop that she needs to join the twenty-first century, I’ll be okay. Wonder if Ms. Opinionated Big Mouth could talk to her?

Copyright 2000 Sheila Moss
Edited
Posted in Fashion, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments