The Adventurer

mountainsI used to think that I would like to be an adventurer. I would go to South America and travel the muddy Amazon in a dugout canoe, outrunning any crocodiles that might show their ugly heads. I would camp out in the jungle and befriend the natives who would guide me along the way.

I thought that I would climb a mountain. It didn’t have to be Mt. Everest, any tall mountain would do. I would be a rock climber and tie myself by a rope to someone else. In case I slipped, they could keep me from falling to the river below. I would climb to the top and stand on the highest peak and look out over the clouds.

I thought that I might go to Egypt and ride a camel across the Sahara. It had to be the Sahara. Only the largest desert with the highest sand dunes would do. I would wear a handkerchief under my hat and pretend to be a member of the Foreign Legion. I would go for hours, days, without water until I came to an oasis where I would quench my parched throat just in the nick of time.

I thought I might go to the Arctic and fend off wolves and polar bears while living in a house of ice like a native, wrapped up in animal skins to avoid hypothermia and pondering the aurora borealis. Or, I might choose Africa and live in the jungle, studying gorillas like Dian Fossey. I would be a world-class wildlife naturalist and photograph giraffes, tigers, and elephants.

But now as I grow older, I know that I will never do any of these things. I will never go around the world in a hot air balloon or have exotic adventures beyond my wildest dream. I will never sail the seven seas or deep sea dive for treasure or go on safari in the African bush or save the environment for future generations.

And if, per chance, I win the lottery and go off to Switzerland to climb the Matterhorn, they could never say I did it because I was young and foolish and did not know the danger. They would say it was because I was old and senile. They would say that I was a dreamer, a child who never grew up. They would say that I was an irrational old woman. They would shake their heads and click their tongues about a grandma who rides roller coasters. They would call it an identity crisis, menopause, the change of life.

But I would not mind at all because I’ve spent my whole life worrying about what other people think. I would know that while the body grows old, the heart stays young and does not have to acknowledge impossibility.

And who are THEY anyhow? I don’t know, but THEY remind me a whole lot of those crocodiles on the Amazon.

Copyright 2001 Sheila Moss

What’s on your bucket list?

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Child Proofing Your Home

child.jpgChild Safety… advice from a grandparent…

It is important to keep potentially poison items out of the reach of small children. Read labels on cleaning items and move items that say, “Keep out of the reach of children” to a high cabinet. This will include everything under your kitchen sink except the feather duster.

Child safety latches may be installed on cabinet doors. If you are clumsy with a screwdriver, the child may offer to assist you. Do NOT accept this offer. Make a mental note to put child safety latches on the drawer where you keep the screwdrivers to prevent the child from removing the latches later.

Doorknob covers make it difficult for the child to turn knobs to potentially hazardous places, such as an attached garage. Be sure to carefully read instructions on how to operate these before installing, or you may never see your car again.

Electrical outlets are a potential source of danger and may be easily covered with inexpensive plugs designed for this purpose. Small items, such as a hair pin, inserted into an outlet can create dangerous electric shock. Be sure that the child knows CPR if you decide to test this out for yourself.

Common houseplants, such as philodendron, are poisonous and are a source of danger if ingested. Place plants out of the child’s reach. Plants will quickly die from lack of sunlight when moved and no longer be a problem. Chances are you’ve given up on decorating your home anyhow.

Medicine and prescription drugs should be moved to a high shelf or cabinet. Child “resistant” caps are not child “proof” – only grandparent proof (but that’s another story). Never let children play with empty medicine containers as this is how they practice. Also, never let them play with combination locks. Same reason.

Set your water heater to 120 degrees to prevent accidental scalding. Use your bifocal glasses when resetting the appliance. Always test bath water with your elbow before putting a child in the water. Knowing first aid for scalded elbows may prove helpful if you failed to use your eyeglasses as instructed.

Use safety gates to keep children off stairs. Do not attempt to climb over the gate when you are in a hurry. Broken legs take a long time to mend. NOTE: Toddlers can easily be taught to fetch crutches, if necessary.

Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children. If you forget where you put them, the child can always point to where they are kept. The child can also point to many other secret things that you think the child doesn’t know about.

Check your smoke detector and fire extinguisher and be sure they are in working order. If you do not know how to operate a fire extinguisher, ask any 2-year-old. If unable to escape the home in an emergency, go to the child’s room, which should be clearly marked with a tot finder fire rescue decal in the window.

Remember that no home can be made entirely child proof and children should always be supervised to prevent accidental injury. Keep emergency numbers posted close to the phone.

Be especially careful when climbing on stools, ladders or the top of the refrigerator to reach stuff on high shelves and cabinets. Falls are the number one accident at home for grandparents.

Copyright 2001 Sheila Moss
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Kids Rule

kids rule.jpgDear Kids,

It has come to my attention that many of you are actually listening to adults and doing what you are told to do. This is NOT the way it is suppose to be. KIDS RULE! We are in charge and don’t ever let adults think otherwise. Once they get the upper hand, it becomes much more difficult to train them properly.

The training of an adult must begin early in the day. Plan to wake up at least an hour prior to their desired wakeup time. This gives you a head start. Then do whatever is necessary to be sure they wake up too. Jump on the bed, play with your battery-operated musical toys, or cry loudly, and scream, “I’m hungry!”

Once you wake them up and have their attention, they will want to change your underwear. This humiliating act puts them in control instead of you. Scream and refuse. They will try to distract you with a cup of warm milk. Resist! If you take the milk, you will be sunk. They will change your underwear and once warm and cozy, you are in danger of going back to sleep.

For breakfast insist on Oreo’s. This never fails to cause frustration. Refuse any offer of regular food like eggs. Do not be tempted by sugarcoated cereal, no matter how cute the television commercials are. Cereal is mostly sugar but there might be vitamins in the milk. Pop Tarts and granola bars are possible alternatives, but be sure not to be diverted by these too often or adults will get the idea that they can quit giving you Oreo’s.

After finishing your Oreo’s and milk, you will want to go outside to play. Stand at the door and press your nose on the glass looking sad. There are many more things to get into outside than inside, plus outside is where the best dirt is. All kids need to spend as much time as possible getting dirty.

Once outside, refuse to play with your toys and play with sticks and rocks. This will totally confuse your adult who will not understand why you don’t like expensive toys and will probably then buy you even more toys, hoping to find one you like. Smashing expensive toys is also fun, but we will not cover that here as it is a rainy day project.

For lunch, insist on chips and dip. If you are tired of chips and dip and actually want real food, request pizza. The tomato sauce on pizza is very messy and hard to clean up when smeared around on furniture, which makes it ideal. Refuse any and all vegetables, which are loaded with vitamins. Vitamins are an adult plot to deprive kids of tasty food like hot dogs, jelly sandwiches, and Popsicles. The only acceptable form for a vitamin is when it comes out of bottle, is shaped like an animal, and is flavored and chewable.

After lunch, the adult will want you to take a nap. It is important not to fall asleep regardless of how tired you are or how much the adults insist. If you do, they will watch television, laugh, and have all manner of fun without you. Also, they will not be tired at night and you can’t get the upper hand at bedtime. If they put you to bed for a nap, giggle, read books, kick the covers, anything to avoid going to sleep and letting adults have their way.

Unless you are starving, refuse dinner. If you are hungry and must eat, ask for a hot dog. The adult will be so frustrated because you have not eaten all day that you can pretty much have whatever you want. After you have eaten the hot dog is a good time to demand ice cream. The adult will be so happy that you have finally eaten something that you can probably become really outrageous and demanding at this point, even asking for something like cola in your training cup.

At bath time, insist on bubbles. Bring all the toys you can find into the tub. Splash the water, swim, play rubber ducky and fully enjoy your bath. Refuse to get out of the tub until after the adult pulls the plug and lets the bath water drain. Then throw out all the toys on the floor for the adult to pick up. This also makes the floor wet and slick and you can slide around on it while the adult tries to dress you for bed.

Refuse to go to sleep. Play, laugh, whine, insist on your favorite toy, ask for a story, or request a favorite video that you know was long ago misplaced. Prolong this period as much as you can. If you go to sleep, your adult will be able to rest and think of new ways to control you.

If you are able to hold out long enough, the adult may fall asleep first. When this happens, slip your favorite video tape into the VCR, find the stash of fruit rollups you have been hiding under the bed, let the dog get in bed with you, and celebrate your victory!

It is hard work to control adults and train them properly, but it is well worth your efforts in the long run. Eventually, they will give up, and you will be miles ahead of them in the competition to be the boss.

Remember, KIDS RULE – not adults! Never forget it!

Sincerely yours,
Zak – Age 2 ½

If you have ever raised children or have grandchildren, I’m sure you could have written this column yourself. Any of it sound very familiar? What did I forget to mention?

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Monday Morning Blues

officeSometimes it makes me wonder why we try to run an office.  Perhaps we should close down due to lack of interest and called it a day.

People seem to have no work ethics any more. Used to be that people took pride in their work and were dedicated and loyal to their employer. No more. Guess that went out with the “me” generation. Or maybe it went out when companies quit being loyal to their employees.

Now people seem to be useful only as long as their energy and talent can be exploited for profit. Get a long-term illness that requires an extended absence from work or a serious personal problem and find out quickly how much you really mean to your employer.

Companies seem to spend most of their time figuring out ways to avoid costly, but necessary, benefits, such as health insurance and to legally avoid paying any retirement benefits.

People have become alienated from work. There is a word to describe the few that do care: “workaholic.” Job and career are often viewed as a means to an end, namely, money. Loyalty is now to the self and to self-advancement, not to the success of the company. If success requires changing jobs or employers, so be it. “Work as little as possible and do only what is absolutely required of you” seems to be the rule of the game.

Every Monday morning, it’s the same old excuses: “I have a sore throat,” “I have a doctor’s appointment,” “My (child) (husband) (wife) (mother) (dog) is sick.” No wonder employees are seen as lazy and lacking in incentive. Perhaps it is a title that is deserved.

I’m starting to feel a little sick myself.  If I ever get a different job, it will be one where people have pride, loyalty, ethics, give a day’s work for a day’s pay; where companies care about employees, give decent benefits, pay fair wages and reward good work with promotions.

Wonder where I could find such a job?

©1999 Sheila Moss

Do you know any workers like this who work and not working? Or have you ever worked for an employer who exploited you? Maybe it is just me…

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Spike’s Body Jewelry


There’s a new girl down at the health club.  Her name is Spike.  Spike is a nice girl, really she is. She just likes jewelry. Spike isn’t satisfied with wearing jewelry in the regular ways. “That’s too boring,” she says. Spike has a flare for the unusual. She is into body jewelry.

Now just in case you are one of the very few people in the world that does not know what body jewelry is, let me explain. It is somewhat like wearing pierced earrings, except that it is worn in parts of the body other than the ears. You get my drift, don’t you?

Spike has more holes in her body than a Chinese checkerboard. She has so many things pierced that she has lost count. Even Cleopatra didn’t wear as much jewelry. Spike doesn’t get dressed to go out; she gets decorated.

Spike not only has pierced ears, she has pierced eyebrows. And Spike doesn’t just wear a pair of earrings; she wears three sets.  She has worn out several sets trying them out in different places. Spike is offended, though, if anyone suggests that six earrings might be a few too many. She is very proud of the fact that she is “Shopper of the Month” at a body jewelry website and doesn’t even have jewelry for all her piercings.

Spike says she likes to keep a slim figure and doesn’t eat much.  She also doesn’t want to mess up her pierced tongue jewelry. Some of her close friends call her “metal mouth.”  I always thought that meant someone with dental braces. Shows how far behind the times I am, I guess.

I always sorta wondered if the piercing was painful, so I asked her one day. Spike said when she had her navel pierced, she learned to belly dance without lessons. With the gold belly knocker she has for her navel, she would be right at home in a harem.

I wondered if the jewelry would corrode or rust, but Spike assured me that she only wears pure gold or stainless steel. Spike has a captive bead ring for her nose. She is hoping that her boyfriend will give her a diamond gem set belly ring for their engagement instead of an ordinary engagement ring.

She wears her jewelry all the time, even in the shower.  She believes in keeping her valuables close – very close.  She says that she has even pierced her private parts. If I found a stud on the floor, I would be afraid to touch it as I could not be sure where it had been before.

I don’t really see too much of Spike any more. Last I heard, she was having trouble with the new barbell stud in her lip which tried to pop up like a turkey timer. I always felt sort of sorry for Spike trying to get attention by being nonconventional. She considered being called “weird” a compliment, though.

Spikes’ biggest goal in life was a simple one, to be able to wear glow-in-the-dark beads in some place that no one else has thought of.

©Sheila Moss 2000


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Battle of the Sexes


Battle of the Sexes: She Says…

Men think they are the superior sex.  Just because their muscles are stronger they have the silly idea that their gray matter is equal to a female’s.  What women lack in physical strength, they make up for in mental superiority.  The reason that men all sleep with their mouths open is because their brain cells are trying to get oxygen. Lack of oxygen is also why they snore.

Men think their biggest problem is having fingers too big to pick their noses and ears.  That’s why they use car keys.  Men should come with consumer warning labels on them.  That way they would be able to save the time they spend denying their deficiencies and have more time so much to get things finished.  Men never get anything finished.  Women have to nag them for days, and that is just to get them up off the sofa.

The only time a man will get anything done is if he wants to finish it in time to watch the ball game on TV.  The best time to nag him is right before a big game. After the game starts, there is no point in trying to talk to him.  If the woman says, “I had a terrible day!” he says, “Huh?”  If she says, “I wrecked the car,” he says, “Huh?”  If she says, ”Wanna have sex?”  he says, “Huh?”  Men have the only truly universal language, a grunt.

Men watch sports on TV just as an excuse to drink beer.  Why is it that men drink so much beer?  Do they really think that beer bellies look cool?  If it weren’t for beer, men would go thirsty.  Who invented beer anyhow?  It must have been a man.  No woman would invent a high calorie beverage without cream and sugar.

Men always accuse women of nagging them about watching sports, but the reason women nag is because they could never get anything done otherwise.  Men have thousands of dollars worth of power tools and wrenches but still can’t change a washer in a drippy faucet.  The reason is that they never have the right ten cent washer.

Men have a hard time buying clothes too.  Men cannot pick out their own clothes.  They find several outfits that match, and then wear them over and over.  If the green shirt is dirty, they can’t think of anything else that goes with the green pants.  While women have shoes for every outfit, men are so boring they only need two pairs, black and brown.  If the black shoes have to go for repair, the man can only wear half of his clothes.  Men are unable to go clothes shopping alone.  After 20 years, they still don’t know the length of their own inseam.  It must be psychological denial.

Men are terrible at managing money. But they still think they are superior to women.   They complain about a few items put on the charge account and forget about the new computer they just bought. They always want to control the money and make investments.  It makes them feel powerful to talk about the stock market whether they understand it or not.  If they are so good with money, why do they keep losing all their pocket change under the furniture cushions?

When they are not watching TV, they are usually at work.  Men are too involved in their careers.  They spend all their time and energy on the job and then they are too tired for sex.  They are not too tired to think about it all the time, though.  Men have three favorite things.  They all begin with “S” –  beer, football, and sex.  The reason they all begin with “S” is that one stinks, one is stupid and one is swift.

A man cannot watch television without a remote control.  When the remote control was invented, he lost his ability to use the button on the television and it became extinct.  Men love toys and gadgets.  The only requirement is that it must be electronic.  If it does not blink or beep, the man cannot tell whether it is turned on.

Men never want to ask directions or take lessons in anything, unless it is golf lessons.  That’s because they can’t admit that someone else knows more than they do.  With golf, however, they figure that no one else can figure out why the balls go where they do either.

Men never remember things like birthdays and anniversaries unless they are reminded.  Why is it a woman’s responsibility to remind them?  They probably are trying to forget they are married.  It won’t work.  Women remember and they buy their own gift if the man forgets.  They would prefer to let him pick out the gift, however.  He always gets something expensive because he is too lazy to shop for a bargain – or else the saleswoman at Victoria’s Secret talked him into it.

Men do offensive things like belch and then expect a woman to understand.  Why should the woman always be the one to understand?  The man should understand that she is offended and not do it.  That is why women are sensitive and get their feelings hurt, because men do not understand.  If men understood women, they would not have to let their ears rest while women are talking.  How can a woman explain anything if the man will not listen?

I’m glad we were able to have this little chat.  I just wanted to set the record straight about who is really in charge.  We certainly would not want anyone to think that women are just as sexist as men are, would we?  Besides, women still like men a little bit in spite of their many faults.  Guess that shows how forgiving women are, doesn’t it?

If there is anything else you want to know, just ask.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll just make something up.  After all, I made up all the rest of this stuff – at least that is what a man would tell you.

But… There is another side to every story.

Battle of the Sexes: He Says…

The truth about women is they can’t be pleased.  They spend their whole lives waiting for a man to do something wrong just so they can say, “I told you so.”  Women never shut up.  They are born to nag. They like to nag so much, they even find fault with men when they are asleep.  They claim that men snore.   The truth is that no man has ever heard himself snoring.

And when a woman isn’t nagging, she is complaining.  Something is always hurting.  She has a migraine, her feet hurt, or her back bothers her.  Women always want to go to doctors.  A man will wait until he is nearly dead before admitting pain. Men don’t like to go to doctors.

Women don’t appreciate men or how hard they work, even though they are working mostly to support women. Women nag men to do petty chores like taking out the trash, things demeaning to a man’s dignity.  Women try to expel them from their home and castle by making them do outside jobs like cutting the grass. If it was up to a man, he could get by with a mattress and a microwave.

Women waste entirely too much time cleaning the house.  Who notices if the house is clean or not except the man?  And the truth is that he doesn’t care.  If women have so much energy, why not spend it doing something useful like waxing and polishing the car?  And women always want to “decorate” their home.  Why do they need to decorate, except to spend money?  Women also like to spend money shopping.  Why do they need to shop?  If they want something, they should just go into the store and buy the first thing they see.  That’s what a man would do.

Women take better care of the kids than they do the man.  If a child falls down and skins his knee, they rush him to the bathroom to put medicine and Band-Aids on the injury, and give him a hug.  When a man falls down, they accuse him of indulging in strong beverages.

Women are always nagging men about cholesterol and calories too.  Why can’t women just watch their own calories?  A man is actually seldom overweight.  He simply has a small weight distribution problem causing everything to settle in the middle.

Women always want to make a mountain out of a molehill.  Just because a man brings part of the car engine inside and leaves it on the kitchen table, they threaten to divorce him.  Trivial!  Women want the home to be perfect.  Even though the man is not a plumber and knows nothing about fixing stuff, they expect him to do home repairs.  Then when the man messes something up and a real repair person has to be paid overtime, the woman becomes upset.

Women have their faults.  For example, women are very jealous creatures.  Just because a man spends a bit too much time looking at a new babe at the pool, they accuse him of cheating.  Why don’t they understand that it is his duty as a man to check out the new babes and report back to other men, preferably over a beer?

Actually, a man is much better off as a bachelor and he does not even have to shave every day either.  A few empty beer bottles and sink full of dirty dishes do not make him a bad person. A ring in the bathtub does not mean than he is dirty, only that he does not like to spend valuable time cleaning the bathroom, especially if it is time for his favorite program to come on TV.  Women need to learn to keep priorities straight.

Another problem women have is always wanting to socialize.  Men don’t want to socialize; they want to stay home and watch television, something that won’t talk back or try to dance with them. Speaking of television, women never understand the need for more than one remote control.  But any man can easily explain at least two, and sometimes more.

A women thinks that the need to pass wind or belch is obnoxious instead of understanding natural body functions. They think that sleeping should be done in the bed instead of on the sofa.  Why? There is just no way to satisfy a woman.  The only thing she is good for is sex and even that takes too long.  If a man can get in the mood without foreplay why can’t she?

Women are impractical.  They expect stupid gifts like flowers.  They expect men to remember the dates of their birthday and anniversary even though the event was years ago.  What a waste.  Any man can tell you the only really good gift is a big screen TV or tickets to a hockey match.  Women cannot understand the taste of a fine cigar or a shot of bourbon.  A woman thinks that a man smokes or drinks just for the express purpose of annoying her.

Men don’t try to engage women in meaningful conversations.  The only meaningful conversation that a man is interested in is who is the most valuable player and what time the game comes on. Women never know when to shut up.  They talk too much.  Women are always accusing men of not listening.  Of course, they are not listening; they are watching the instant replay.

It takes a woman forever to get ready to go someplace.  A man can get ready in ten minutes. When she is finally ready, she wants to be complimented on how she looks.  If a man says the woman looks nice, she accuses him of being up to something.  If he does not say that she looks nice, she accuses him of being insensitive.  That’s why men don’t give compliments.  They are trying to stay out of trouble.

When the woman is ready to go, she always want the man to do the driving in order to be able to criticize his driving.  Women drivers are overly cautious.  That’s why they have so many accidents.  You have to knock them out of the way to get by them.

I sure hope this sets the record straight about the differences between the sexes.  I figured it was about time that men spoke up and quit being accused of lying. The funny thing about sexism is that there is usually just enough truth to make it seem believable.  Of course, sexism is just a fallacy.  It doesn’t really exist at all – he says.

©2000 Sheila Moss
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The Caffeine Quibble


What keeps corporate America and government going is not information systems, telephones, computers, or even paper.  What keeps our offices going is coffee.  Every office that I’ve ever worked in had a community coffee pot and the employees managed to figure out some system of dividing the cost in a satisfactory enough manner to keep it operating and quench the craving for a hot, black, eye-opener in the morning.

Office workers are the most wide-awake bunch in the city.

In one office where I worked, employees paid for their brew by the cup and one person volunteered to collect, count the quarters, buy the coffee, and make the first pot in the morning. The employees in this office were such coffee hounds that decaf was considered an occupational hazard.  They had a good system, though. As long as one person is willing to take the time and trouble to manage the fund and people are honest enough to pay when they drink a cup, it works.

In the days before cubicles when the pot was at the front of the office and everyone could see if people paid, voluntary compliance worked better. In the Dilbert style world of cubicle mazes, people seem to have become less inclined to cough up their quarter, and more inclined to “pay later.”

The system in another office where I worked required making a mark by your name on a chart every time you needed a caffeine fix.  On payday the marks were counted and people were required to ante up with the coffee person. It worked pretty well, though some complained when payday came around and said they could not possibly owe so much. I always felt a little bit like a kid in school getting black marks for misbehaving, in this case by drinking too much coffee.

In yet another office (I’ve moved around a lot), each drinker was required to bring in a can of coffee for the coffee club.  When the supply ran low, word was sent out and everyone brought in another can. The “bring your own can” system seems fair, but people griped because some people drink more coffee than others.  Also, some people brought in off-brand of  coffee instead of a good kind and others fussed about it and called them cheap.

We actually had a coffee service at one place where I worked. Each person paid a set amount per month for all the coffee they wanted. People who complained and said they work out of the office a lot or do not drink much coffee were asked to pay 25 cents per cup.  Where else can you buy a cup of coffee for 25 cents these days? Coffeepot, coffee, and fixings were furnished by the coffee service so no one had to fool with bringing coffee to work. Simple?  It should be.

But the coffee service came and picked up the pot. Why?  Well, the coffee fund went bankrupt. Not enough people were interested in paying by the month to cover the cost of buying the coffee. It seems easier to pay by the cup than to cough up the $5 per month.  But the two-bit people were not dependable. They expected the monthly people to sustain the coffee club. They might pay, or they might “forget.” The person taking care of the club (me) became fed up and quit.

Everybody wanted coffee, but not enough to take care of the coffee fund and apparently not enough to pay for the coffee. And so, the coffee fund declared bankruptcy, liquidated its assets (if you’ll pardon the pun) and existed only as a nervous memory.

Now there is no more drip to hold the mug under when people can’t wait for the coffee to finish. But there is a fine cafeteria in the building where they can’t “pay later.” People now work for paychecks instead of for coffee money. If they were grouchy with a coffeepot, imagine what it is like now when they don’t have one.

Ready for a coffee break yet?

©2000 Sheila Moss
Edited for length
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The Singles Bar


A number of years ago, I found myself “suddenly single” at mid-life. After recovering from shock, I eventually began to realize that unless I intended to be single for the rest of my life, I had to seek opportunities to socialize with – yes – members of the opposite sex, i.e. “try to meet someone.”

Mustering up the courage to tackle the singles scene after mothering three children and living my entire adult life as one half of a married couple was not easy. But, I’ll admit it – I was lonely – so I began to try to make the rounds of various singles organizations and special interest groups.

After figuring out that few available men venture into these “women’s places,” I began to wonder just where it was that all the eligible bachelors hang out. I tried spending as much time as possible at hardware stores. That seems like a “male place,” and the advice books all said that I must attempt to create “social opportunities.” However, I could only lurk around the nuts, bolts and screws for so long until I began to be suspected of shoplifting.

Finally, I came up with a bright idea. Guys go to bars to meet women. After trying everything else without much success, curiosity won. I took the low road and decided it was time to hit the singles bars.

By now, I had developed some poise in meeting people, not to mention my hardware expertise, and I felt pretty confident that I could handle most situations. Besides, I wasn’t meeting any eligible men in Sunday School.

Now some women tell me they have fun going to bars, meet interesting men, and have tons of fun. I wish I could find that bar. Whenever I go into a bar, I seem to magnetically attract the attention of every truck driver and wannabe songwriter in the joint. I don’t know if they have radar or if I have “fresh meat” written all over me.

Before my eyes can even adjust to the dim light, I am approached by an Elvis look-alike. “Wanna dance?”

Well, I came to have fun, didn’t I? He only asked me to dance, not to get married. Why refuse and hurt someone’s feelings? So, I agree and we go to the dance floor. All the decent looking sorts in these places are invariably busy with other women. Elvis, it seems, comes here often and knows all the ropes. He glides too smoothly to the music and dances way too close.

After the dance, I excuse myself and hide in the ladies restroom for a while to regain my composure, then decide to venture out and look for a table in a dark corner where Elvis can’t find me. Trouble is while I am losing Elvis, Bozo spots me and start to move in.

“Can I buy you a drink, babe?”

I’m not a “babe,” but why argue? He wouldn’t understand anyhow.

“Well, actually, I’ve already ordered one.”

Bozo is unfazed, sits down at my table without an invitation and begins to tell me the story of his life, all about what a lousy bitch his third wife was. After I have more experience, I will know that no man ever admits to more than three wives – regardless of the actual number. Of course, in about five minutes of conversation, it is possible to see why he has been divorced so many times. He’s a loser.

Everyone smokes in a singles bar. It is hot and stifling. The music is too loud, the drinks too strong. Is this what I have to do to meet someone, I wonder? Maybe I’d rather be lonely. But, I’ve already paid a cover charge, so I stay. I smile, I dance and I listen to all the Bozos and all the stories and hear about all the disappointments, the failures, and the lost loves.

After a drink or two, Elvis begins to look a lot more like Robert Redford, and I think that maybe it is not such a bad place after all. Maybe I am being too particular, too critical. Maybe I could actually date one of these guys – if it were just not for the cologne! The smell of Old Spice is overwhelming. Does that stuff come in gallon jugs?

If I could meet just one decent man with a scent from the men’s section of a good department store instead of the special from down at the truck stop, I’d be his!

After a couple of “hunting expeditions” to the bar, the stories and guys all start to blend together like a country song. I try to sort them into categories that my mind can comprehend: jerks, losers, and assholes. So many ruined lives, so many lost dreams – so many construction workers! I’d never even met a construction worker until I became single. Now I’m sure that at least half the male population must work in the profession.

The men who are half-way decent are usually married – but separated, at least for the night. Eventually, I realize that it’s easy to meet someone here – but difficult to meet the type of person I want to meet.

Bubba wants to take me out to breakfast. I go to the ladies room and out the back exit. Bubba will be disappointed that I did not at least let him walk me to my car.

©1999 Sheila Moss
Posted in Entertainment, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The Shoe Carnival


Just like the changing leaves, football, and kids returning to school, the change of season signals a change in fashion and time to go to the Shoe Carnival.

How did all those winter shoes get so scuffed up just sitting in the closet for the summer while I was wearing sandals? It might be possible to ignore the scuffed heel on the right shoe made by driving. Man, I must really live life in the fast lane – the left shoe is practically like new.

Even if I could ignore that ugly scuff which, after all, is on the back where I can’t see it, sooner or later I have to look down and see those pointy toes. Pointy toes? A definite sign that these are shoes that fashion has left behind. Square toes, big fat heels, that’s the new fashion. That’s what I’m wishing for! No doubt about it — time for a trip to the Shoe Carnival.

The Shoe Carnival is a self-serve shoe store like no other. Somehow they seem to think that creating a carnival atmosphere is the way to sell shoes. The DJ occupies a stand in the middle of the store and barks out all the sales and wonderful deals that are going on. When he is not on the mic, loud — I said LOUD — music blares. It is always 50’s music or some other equally awful tune.

So, why go there, you may wonder? The deals! The shoes! The bargains! This week, “Buy one pair and get the other at half price!” What self-respecting bargain hunter could pass that by? Especially when she looks down and sees those pointy toes grinning up at her. Why did she ever think those toes looked good?

Finding the first pair is easy. Instantly I spot exactly what I’m looking for. Maroon. Perfect fit. Look great. Now for the second pair. I’ve gotta have a second pair to get ‘em for half price. Trying on pair after pair: too large, too tight, or too ugly. Panic sets in. Black – that’s it. I can always use a pair of black shoes.

Finally, the perfect pair is rescued from behind a display of pointy toes, obviously held-over-for-another-season due-to-popular-demand. Square toes, big fat stacked heels. Ah, fashion. Then the DJ, evil man, barks out a deal on Reebok Princess’, the kind I like, at half price – and I don’t even have to buy another pair. It’s more than I can stand.

Barely able to see over the pile of boxes in my arms, I happily hand over the plastic card and check out. Another successful trip to the Shoe Carnival. If you can just stand the awful music long enough, you can always get deal.

Heck, that was fun! Wonder if they have anything in red? If I ever get over this headache, I might come back and shop here again.

©1998 Sheila Moss

Author’s Note: I am not an employee of Shoe Carnival and was not compensated in any way for writing this article. 

Posted in Fashion, Humor, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

How to Spoil a Grandchild and Alienate a Daughter-In-Law in One Easy Lesson


Dear Daughter-in-Law,

I am very upset about your latest email, and I really don’t understand your negative attitude.  I have made every effort to be helpful and offer suggestions about my grandchild that I think will be useful.  I’m very sorry about the misunderstanding when I criticized your breastfeeding techniques.  I know it isn’t your fault, but, really dear, don’t you believe you could try a bit harder?  After all, it is only natural and mothers all over the world do it without any trouble so why can’t you?

I’m also sorry about the remark I made about using disposable diapers instead of the old fashioned kind. But they do remind me of Kleenex and the cloth ones were always good enough for my kids.  Parents nowadays are really just too lazy to have children.

I’m sorry that you didn’t like the little t-shirts and burping pads that I gave you as shower gift. I know you wanted the layette with the angels, but, dear, we do need to be practical. I also don’t understand why you are so mad about the nice gifts I gave my grandchild.  The fact that they were better than what you could afford and made you feel cheap is not my fault.

I hope by now you have gotten rid of the filthy dog so the baby does not catch any dog germs from it. Also, that cat needs to go. It will jump in the baby’s bed and smother it. Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to have a cat around a baby? I don’t know why you want pets anyhow. You have a child, that’s enough.

I hope you are using the nursery monitor I gave you and have installed the electrical outlet guards, and the safety locks. You just can’t be too careful these days, and we wouldn’t want anything bad to happen because you are not being careful, would we? Also, be sure to keep that syrup of ipecac in the bathroom in case of accidental poisoning. It always pays to keep some on hand – believe me, I know. If you would rub the baby’s chest with menthol salve, like I told you to, he wouldn’t be sick all the time. If you want my opinion, I think you should take the baby to my doctor for a good check-up instead of that fancy pediatrician your obgytrician referred you to.

I don’t know why you want me to quit buying clothes for my grandchild.  I know you like to pick out the baby’s clothes, but the ones I pick out are much nicer than anything you can afford.  Also, I’ve found some fabulous thrift stores with baby things for next to nothing. Why waste your money? I know the bicycle, baseball glove and computer I got may be a bit too advanced for a newborn, but the child will grow faster than you think.  Grandparents need to be able to indulge just a bit for their first grandchild.

I hope you liked the baby and childcare books that I bought and also the subscription to the parenting magazine.  They have all kinds of useful information for inexperienced parents.  I still can’t understand why you refuse to go to parenting classes.

Are you still upset about me coming over during the baby’s naptime and waking him up the other day?  I just wanted to see him and I did hold him and rock him the whole time I was there to keep him from fussing. Probably the reason he is so fussy is that he is teething.  Did you try whiskey on the gums like I told you?

I’m sorry I couldn’t baby-sit the other day while you went to the doctor, but you were so upset when I rearranged the furniture to make the house childproof that I just didn’t feel up to coming back for a while. I’m thinking of making a nursery at my place in the spare room, then you can just bring him over here where he will be taken care of properly while you are out running around.

Are you remembering to change the baby’s diaper and give him a bath every day?  You don’t mind me asking, do you? It isn’t that you are not a good mother, dear, it is just that I don’t want the baby to get rashes or diseases from being dirty.

I’ve been thinking that perhaps you just have more than you can do.  I’ve decided to  move in with you and take over to help out.  No need to thank me, dear.


Posted in Family, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments