Battle of the Bush


The holly bush grew larger and larger, the wild sprouts taller and more difficult to reach. Each time I seemed to have to climb to a higher step on the ladder until there were no steps left, at least none that could be navigated safely.

It started a few years ago when I had new landscaping done around my house. Most of my bushes were old, overgrown, and not the right kind of shrub anyhow. The new shrubs were small and beautiful. My house looked like new again. But the landscape guy left a few of the older shrubs that were established and fit into his plan.

One of the older shrubs was a large holly bush at the corner of the house. The shrub guy trimmed it and it looked very nice with the new ones – except for one thing. After being trimmed back, it developed the tendency to get unsightly tall branches springing straight up out of the top. These sprigs seemed to have a mind of their own and developed much faster than the rest of the shrub.

The holly bush became my nemeses. I would get the trimmers and cut off those shoots – in a month or less, they were back and had to be cut again. They were worse than weeds.

But the really terrible thing about this bush was that it was a holly bush and had thorns. If I get too close while trimming, it bites back. Every work session became a cat fight. Regardless of gloves and sweatshirts to protect me, I came inside after a gardening session with claw marks all over me.

In the battle with a thorn bush, the bush always wins.

The bush grew wilder and I became more depressed. Finally, I could stand it no longer. I got out my sheers and duct taped broom sticks on the handles so I could reach the tall sprigs. I’d show that bush who is boss!

But when the shears opened, the sticks were so wide apart I couldn’t manage them. I got my daughter to hold one pole while I held the other. It didn’t work. We couldn’t see the top of the bush and coordinate enough to trim off the sprigs.

Finally, my daughter had to tell me, “Mom, this isn’t going to work. Let the landscape guy come trim them.” She was right. I put away the stuff and went inside, hating to admit I’d been beaten by a bush.

But the lawn guy thought the weather was too hot for bush-trimming and suggested we wait until fall and do all the shrubs at once. That made sense, but what about the ugly bush?

I thought on it for a while, then I remembered – tree pruners. I needed a tree pruner! I checked online and Home Depot had one that was lightweight and 12 feet long. That should do it.

The next day I was off to the hardware store to buy the tree pruner. It was twice as much as I wanted to pay, but I justified it to myself by saying the bush is an ongoing problem and I would be using the pruner often.

The thing was so big it barely fit in my car, but I put part of the pole between the front seats and finally got the hatch to close.

“You are going to love my new trimmer,” I told my daughter.

“Mom, I thought you gave up on that idea,” she said.

“Give up? Me? I never give up. I refuse to be beaten by a bush.”

So, we went outside and tried it. The new pruner worked great. I lobbed off those ugly sprouts in no time, and didn’t get close enough to be scratched by the holly thorns.

So, I now have a new weapon in my arsenal of lawn tools.

Don’t ever tangle with a determined woman, especially when she is armed with a tree pruner.

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss
Posted in Humor, Plants/Gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Backseat Driver

backseatIt’s getting harder and harder to back seat drive these days, but I get a lot of practice with life in the fast lane while commuting to work every day. The speed limit on the Interstate is 70 miles an hour, but that seems to be merely a suggestion. The actual speed limit is as-fast-as-you-can-go-without-hitting-the-car-in-front-of-you. This offers excellent backseat driving opportunities.

When I see red tail lights coming on, I somehow have the idea that our car should be slowing down instead of accelerating. Mentally willing the car to slow down doesn’t work well, and we fly up on the car in front of us before screeching to a stop. Sudden braking episodes make me draw in my breath quickly and nearly choke, just one of the hazards of backseat driving.

People from out of the area seldom drive fast enough. They probably think the speed limit is actually the speed limit. I hold on the seatbelt with one hand as it hurts my shoulder when it clinches. I’ve not figured out what causes it to do this, but it seems to have something to do with fast braking.

My backseat driving skills are challenged the most when brake lights on a car in front come on, and I’m not sure whether they intend to stop or are just aggravated because our car is too close. Usually a car will pull over and get out of the way. A few of them refuse and have to be tailgated mercilessly.

I really hate it when the brakes on my side of the car don’t work, probably because there aren’t any. I’ve tried stomping the floor with both feet and nearly standing up, but the car just keeps right on going. Backseat drivers are so powerless.

I try to concentrate on something else: the lines in the road, the trash along the highway, the cloud formations, anything other than how fast we are going and how quickly we could stop. I try not to grind my teeth, but the tight muscles in my shoulders give me away. I look into the right side rear-view mirror and watch the car behind to see how far away it is. Not many cars can keep up with us.

Then there is passing. The idea is to get as close as you can to the car in front and swerve suddenly into another lane, narrowly failing to hook the bumper of the car while holding your breath. That should be a familiar move to any backseat driver.

Playing the radio is another good way to keep a backseat driver annoyed. Preferably the radio should be a rock station so that the steering wheel can be used as a bongo drum. After all, if you have to be in the car for 30 or 45 minutes while commuting, you might as well enjoy it. If the radio is loud enough, it will cover up the backseat driver’s screams of terror.

I am absolutely certain that the only thing that has saved my life so far is holding onto the car door as tightly as I can. If they ever find me in the wreckage of a terrible accident, I’m sure they will say, “If she had only been holding on to the car door tighter, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Another challenge for the backseat driver is waiting until the last minute to get over to the exit lane. Moving over into tight spots between speeding cars in time to get off is really harrowing. I have practically passed out many times. We probably save a whole 2 or 3 minutes by not getting over ahead of time.

I’ve tried to keep my eyes shut as a way of blocking it all out, but somehow that just doesn’t work. As soon as I feel sharp braking, my eyes fly open. I guess if I am going to die I want to see it happen. Backseat drivers don’t like surprises.

Another day, another commute — it couldn’t possibly be as bad as I think it is. I haven’t died yet, so I have to think my backseat driving must be better than I think it is.

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss
Posted in Automotive, Humor, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Soapy Sunday

bubblesMornings! I hate ’em. I headed for the kitchen for a cup of coffee, hoping it would help open my eyes so I could see how to brush my teeth.

I stopped at the kitchen door and rubbed my bleary eyes. Bubbles drifted in the air and my daughter floated by. I must still be asleep.

I rubbed my eyes again, but she didn’t go away. She was in the kitchen dancing with the mop. Why anyone would be mopping at this hour, I wondered as she and the mop danced by again. Why are there bubbles in my kitchen?

“What’s going on?” Obviously something was. My kitchen doesn’t suddenly decide to take a bubble bath.

“You should have seen it before,” she sobbed, in tears. “I walked in this morning and it was sea of blue soap. It came rushing at me in a big wave, like a tsunami.”

A tsunami in my kitchen? Surely, I must still be asleep, I thought. Unfortunately, I was not.

She continued the story. “It was the cat — the stupid cat. I’m going to kill it!”

It seems that we had left the brand new 60 oz. bottle of liquid laundry soap setting on the kitchen counter when we unpacked the groceries. Somehow, the cat had managed to knock it off and when it hit the floor, the bottle split and a flood of liquid soap flowed out.

“There was too much soap to mop up,” she sniffed. “I had to shovel it up with the dust pan. I’ve been shoveling for an hour. When I started mopping it only became worse,” she continued. “The more I mopped, the more bubbles there were.”

So she looked on the Internet to see what to do.

You mean this happens to other people? People besides us spill entire bottles of liquid detergent? It’s on the Internet? By now the bubbles were starting to subside a bit and my daughter was only up to her ankles instead of her knees.

“It said to add cooking oil.” she said. “I was a little bit leery but figured what could be worse than this?”

What could be worse? Maybe an oil spill? I can’t believe it, a tsunami and an oil spill in my kitchen on the same morning. Is this a disaster movie?

But the oil worked and the bubbles were finally contained. She and the mop skated away on the oily new skating rink I used to call a kitchen floor. “Do you need some help?” I asked. I guess I didn’t sound too enthusiastic.

“No, I’ll do it. It’s my cat.” Glad she remembered that. Speaking of the cat, we never did figure out how he escaped from the kitchen without even getting soap on his feet.

Eventually most of the soap was gone, but the floor remained sticky. Our shoes clung to the floor with every step. “How can I get rid of this stuff?” She asked.

Good question. Maybe vinegar? Vinegar will clean just about anything, Actually, I wasn’t sure if it would work on a tsunami, but we were desperate. So, she tried vinegar and finally was able to get rid of the last of the mess.

I have the cleanest kitchen floor in town now, and it smells wonderful. Something about that oil and vinegar smell makes me hungry for a tossed salad, though.

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss
Posted in Creatures, Home, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Afflicted by Arthur


I used to think my mother-in-law was crazy when she talked about her friend, Arthur. But I was young and that was before I met him for myself.  Arthur is quite the character. He loves to play pranks. He thinks he is hilarious, I suppose, but the objects of his little practical jokes do not always find him so amusing.

I first met Arthur several years ago when he hit me in the shoulder so hard that it hurt for a week. That was when I first began to suspect that Arthur might be a problem if he stayed around very long. I rubbed some liniment on my sore spot and in a few days it felt a little better. Boy, I hoped I never saw Arthur again. What kind of a prankster is he anyhow?

Well, Arthur just kept coming to visit whether he was welcome or not. I had heard other people talking about him, how he jumped them when they were not expecting it, leaving them stiff and sore for days.

Arthur has become a terrible nuisance, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to get rid of him. He just keeps nagging and nagging once he finds a target for his little gags. The only way I can get any relief from his antics is by hiding in the shower. Of course, I can’t stay in the shower forever, and as soon as I am out, he is ready to strike again. I wish I had a hot tub. I would drown that pest if he didn’t leave me alone.

There are pills available that help with the soreness a little bit, and even cortisone shots for the really bad periods. But they are only a temporary help. Arthur always returns, and usually with a vengeance. He seems to especially like cold, damp and rainy weather, the times when you least feel like fooling with him.

Here lately, Arthur has taken a special interest in my knees. He ties my legs in knots when I’m asleep. Sometimes I can hardly walk in the mornings until I stretch my sore muscles. Arthur is falling all over the place, rolling on the floor laughing. Frankly, I do not find this sort of stuff funny at all.

People everywhere are suffering from Arthur’s little tricks, some more severely than I am. One sweet lady told me that she used to love to dance, but now Arthur won’t let her. Arthur has no mercy. His favorite victims seemed to be older people. The more you hurt, the more hilarious he seems to think it is. What a creep.

Folks tell me that if you exercise on a regular basis, it will help build up your resistance so Arthur can’t bother you as much. But it’s hard to exercise when Arthur is constantly pulling on you, trying to do something to make you miserable.

He won’t let tennis players play tennis, golfers golf, or runners run. The more agony he can spread around the happier it appears to make him. He somehow affects the immune system of your body and makes it difficult for you to resist him.

Somebody needs to do something about Arthur. Maybe one of these days he will get slapped with a restraining order and thrown in jail. The world would be a better place if there was a magic potion that could make him disappear.

But until that happens, I guess we will just have to keep putting up with him. Arthur befriends a lot of people. We all know him well. I hope you never meet him, but if you do, keep smiling and try not to let him get to you.

One of these days maybe there will be a way to get the best of Arthur — Arthritis, that is, of course.

Copyright 2009 Sheila Moss
Posted in Health, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bluer than The Blue Angels

It’s not every day that the Blue Angels come to town. It was the weekend for the big, every-once-in-a-while air show in my hometown — nationally known flyers from all over and a high-profile flying group too.

Saturday was a clear day, blue sky, puffy clouds, a chilly wind, but otherwise pretty good weather. Did I go on Saturday? No, of course not, I decided to wait until Sunday when it would be cold and damp and I would freeze to death while watching the show.

Sunday broke cold and cloudy, but I already had tickets and was determined not to miss it. It was Spring. How cold could it get? Not frigid, but when you set outside in the cold wind for a couple of hours, it begins to chill your bones.

The crowd was smaller than usual. All the warm-blooded fans were there the day before. Only the die-hards with more stamina than brains had elected to wait for day that was cold and rainy.

Speaking of rain, we had our pants scared off a couple of times, and not just by the low flying planes. It would sprinkle just enough to make everyone run for umbrellas. That was all we needed, pouring rain to go along with the cold weather. But, it was just a little weather joke and shortly after the clouds sneezed on us, the showers stopped.

The planes were fantastic! Any good southerner loves an airshow, and I’m no exception. Lots of whooping and swooping, plenty of noisy and smoke, loops and spirals to keep us cheering, it would have been wonderful on a warm day. But what made it really special was freezing to death to see it, nothing else could be quite as special as that.

We shivered in the wind, watching, teeth chattering. I gave up taking pictures after a few ground shots, too cold to hold the camera steady. I pulled down my stocking cap and pulled up the hood on my jacket. My fingers were freezing. I had an extra pair of socks that I turned into a pair of makeshift gloves.

What a great day for an air show. The announcer kept telling us what a loyal crowd we were to come out in this weather. “Don’t leave; the Blue Angels are still coming up.” Leave? Was he kidding? We were frozen to our chairs. Bi-winged planes doing upside down passes with wing walkers didn’t impress us at all. What we were there for was one thing — to freeze to death waiting for the Blue Angels.

The Blue Angels finally did fly. I don’t know if we saw their full show or not. I doubt it as I understand they have three shows and the one they fly depends on the weather. With the clouds getting ready to pop at any minute, we were lucky it wasn’t canceled.

The minute they finished their routine, there was a surge of humanity making a giant exodus for the parking lot. I don’t know why as we were having such a great time and had only spent five long hours outside in the cold.

Later I saw news reports on T.V. about what a good show it was. I noticed, however, that the pictures always showed blue sky with puffy white clouds, obviously made at the Saturday show for wimps.

What they need to do is get insulated underwear and an umbrella and come out and freeze to death in the rain like us real fans.

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss
Posted in Entertainment, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wall to Wall

floorRemember when wall-to-wall carpet was all the rage? Rugs were out, the kind that could be turned around to even out the wear and sent out to be cleaned when dirty. I remember having a 9×12 rug in my first apartment. When the corners became raveled, we simply rolled it up and sent it out to be bound.

Ah, those where the good old days.

Then wall-to-wall carpet came along. Everyone had to have the luxury of carpets that were nailed to the floor. We liked these carpets so much that we covered up beautiful hardwood floors to install them.

I remember having a perfectly good hardwood floor in my home and having it covered up with wall-to-wall carpet — green shag carpet, at that. Oh, the luxury of deep green shag all over the house, like walking through grass we thought.

We liked wall-to-wall carpet so much that we even put it in the kitchen. It wasn’t green shag, of course, it was some sort of carpet that was supposedly resistant to spills. The kitchen carpet trend didn’t seem to last too long. Regardless of how resistant to stains the carpet was supposed to be, a hard floor was much more practical in an area like a kitchen.

When I moved into my current home, the bathroom was carpeted — wall-to-wall, what else? It wasn’t long before water leakage took its toll, the floor rotted, and that particular luxury was exchanged for a more durable ceramic tile.

And so it has gone thru the years. You name it, and it has been carpeted, whether it was the basement, the patio, or even the garage at one point, crazy as that sounds. I must have been out of my mind.

Builders wised up about flooring. Looking to save a buck, they quit putting hardwood floors in new homes and put wall-to-wall carpeting right over the plywood subfloor. Who cared if there was hardwood under it? No one was ever going to pull it up anyhow.

And that’s what I was stuck with, carpeting over a plywood subfloor, carpeting that gathered dust to aggravate my allergies, carpeting that had to be cleaned by paying a professional  or with do-it-yourself backbreaking labor, carpeting that never seems to stay clean, that shows wear in traffic areas, that has historic stains left by accidents that I’d rather not recall, carpeting with a nostalgic tear made when the dog decided to bury a bone inside the house, carpeting that never quite fit right after the bathroom floor was replaced, carpeting that was horrible and needed to be replaced.

But what did I decide to do instead?

Well, the new trend is, guess what? Hardwood. Wood that can be cleaned and will not harbor germs, dirt, dust and grime. There are new engineered hardwood flooring materials now that are easy to install and don’t require the maintenance that the old wood flooring required.

I am burned out with carpet. I want engineered hardwood, even in the kitchen, even in the bedrooms. I saw it in a magazine and it looks great. If I have a spot that needs covering, I’ll get an area rug. Imagine getting rid of the years of dust, grime, and allergens imbedded in the carpet. Imagine cleaning with a dust mop instead of having to drag a heavy vacuum cleaner around.

Yes, wall-to-wall carpeting is out, and hardwood is back in. Somehow I can’t help but notice that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Copyright 2009 Sheila Moss
Posted in Home, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

False Teeth Fiasco


For those whose natural teeth have received a rejection slip from the tooth fairy, plastic choppers are somewhat better than the alternative of being a toothless old geezer. The thrill of being able to flash beautiful, white, plastic, pearly teeth when you smile is unknown to those who still have their own natural choppers.

Assuming you have already been in the torture chamber and experienced the bloody, bone-cracking process of having your personal ivory collection extracted, you know about the waiting period between the chain saw massacre and the time when you can cancel the call to the blood bank and look forward to being a medical student’s next assignment.

“Don’t remove them,” you are told, “or your gums will swell and you will not be able to put them back in. “So, you endure the burning, throbbing pain, like demons from hell having a camp-a-roo and wiener roast in your mouth.

Eventually, the swelling subsides and the dentures begin flopping around in your mouth like the tongue of a duck. You then get to have your floppies re-lined and begin looking over the selection of powders, pastes, amazing goop, and super glue so the teeth will stay in your mouth and not fly across the room at the next church ladies’ social.

Like the legendary wooden teeth of George Washington, commercially produced nibblers never seem to fit properly, and relief only comes when a corner cracks off and it is time to have a new denture made.

You were under the influence of Novocain and laughing gas the first time, and believed that artificial teeth are made by magic elves that left the shoemaking business for better working conditions in a hollow tree.

It won’t be that bad the second time around you decide. So, you go back to the dentist where a concrete truck is backed up to the dental chair and your mouth filled with plaster of Paris. After the plaster has dried and is jack hammered from your mouth, a second mold is made from Silly Putty and you try not to gag, vomit, or kick holes in the ceiling while the dentist molds it to fit your mouth.

Bite,” says the dentist. “Ouch! Wait until my finger is out of the way.” (Biting the dentist is the most pleasurable part of the process.)

At last, “done,” you think. But no, you must return to the dentist for a fitting in which a denture the size of Hoover Dam is shoved into your mouth. Adjustments are made and the set is chipped down to the size of a mortal mouth.

“Next time we will have the real denture,” proclaims the dentist, very pleased with the torture sessions so far and with the down payment you are making on his vacation home in Bermuda.

Next time arrives and you are presented with a denture only twice the size of your mouth. While the dental assistant tells you how great you look, the dentist climbs into your mouth with a pick and digs for gold.

At long last the final fitting. After all the torture you have endured, you just want to get the thing done and get out of there. But something spears you in the roof of your mouth like Captain Ahab has mistaken you for the Great White Whale.

“It hurts!” you scream.

The doctor takes the denture to the back room and mysterious grinding sounds are heard that vibrate the dental insurance card in your pocket. Done at last, you go home and your new oral meat grinders begin the process of rubbing blisters and carving ulcers in your mouth like the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. You pray that you will be lucky and the blisters will become calluses before they become cancer.

And that is all there is to having pearly white false teeth so that you can eat without worry – at least for a few years until they wear out and crack again.

Copyright 2009 Sheila Moss
Posted in Health, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Where Do They Come From?

WalmartWhere, oh, where do they all come from? When I worked during the week, I presumed that everyone else did too. From the looks of the Interstate in the morning going into the city, the whole world commutes to downtown.

Imagine my surprise the other day when had to make a trip to the local Wal-Mart. Everyone will be at work, I thought. The place will be empty. I’ll park at the front and run in and grab what I need in no time.

Wrong, wrong, oh, so wrong! The place was packed! It was almost as bad as it is on Saturday.

I was there because I had a sick daughter. They can’t all have sick daughters! What’s their excuse? Who are these people and why are they not at work?

Well, I suppose some of them might be retired. That could explain the older folks that I saw. Really, it didn’t seem as if I saw that many seniors, though. Who are the rest of them?

Could they be women that do not work outside the home? Homemakers? But 50% of all women do work. Surely the entire population of the world that does not work could not have decided to come to Wal-Mart at the same time.

Maybe these people were on vacation? That’s not likely. Why would you spend your vacation at Wal-Mart? It’s not like it’s DisneyWorld.

Could they be home from work because they are sick? If you are sick, why are you not at home in bed?

Who are these people?

I suppose not everyone in the world works a 9-5 job. Some people work shift work and are off during the day. But at least a third of the shift workers are sleeping during the day. That means only one-third of them could even think about going to Wal-Mart at that hour.

Maybe it is people who ARE working, or supposed to be. Maybe they have jobs flexible enough to allow them to shop while at work. Must be nice. hope they don’t run into their boss or they will have plenty of time to shop — maybe more than they want.

Speaking of which, I suppose some people are unemployed. I know the unemployment rate is higher than ever. Even if you are unemployed and don’t have any money, I supposed you have to buy a few things.

Some people are disabled and cannot work. I see them riding around in three-wheel carts. A few might be on welfare or in some sort of government program that provides support too. Some could be college students who are not in class all day.

Some people are self-employed and can do what they want to do. However, unless they are buying something for the business, I still need to question their motivation for shopping instead of working.

Maybe they are all independently wealthy and don’t have to work. Yeah, right, and that’s why they are at Wal-Mart instead of Neiman Marcus.

Now that I think of it, someone has to be shopping during the day or else the stores would be closed. It must be an assortment of people who keep the stores almost as crammed during the day as they are on weekend.

I just had the idea that no one would be there because I was never home to see the day people, those who do not have to cram living into the weekend.

The shock of it all.

There was life out there while I was at work. The world went right on without me at a rip-snorting pace. They didn’t know I was elsewhere slaving away and didn’t even miss me. They went right on living as if I did not exist.

Come to think of it, I don’t miss them either.

Copyright 2009 Sheila Moss
Posted in Humor, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Wart Has Got To Go!

elizabeth-jamieson-jlslZBMTJ9Q-unsplashYou’ve seen pictures of old women with warts on their nose. Soon that may be me. I have this nasty wart on my leg. I’ve tried to ignore it, but it will not go away. I’ve tolerated it about as long as possible. The wart has to go!

Warts are an ancient plague, the sort of thing that legend and folklore are made of. Medical people say that warts are caused by a virus and stress. Folklore says they are caused by toads and curses.

There are all kinds of folk remedies from apple cider to duct tape. I’m not sure if you put the cider on the wart or drink it, but either way sounds better than letting a doctor burn it off. I’ve been there and done that before.

I decided to ask a group of my humor-writing friends how to get rid of a wart. They came up with much funnier solutions for wart eradication than apple cider. “Divorce the bum,” suggested Alice Masci, or “Pack you mother-in-law’s bags and get her on the plane as soon as possible.”

Don’t expect a serious answer from a humorist. So much for any help from this bunch. I might as well stick with banana peels, dandelions, and castor oil.

Ben Baker not only agreed with the duct tape idea but added that it makes an attractive fashion accessory. I hate to admit this, but I have seen prom dresses made of duct tape on the internet. I wouldn’t call them attractive, though.

“Rub a penny on it and give this to a homeless person,” Ben suggested. Are you kidding? I would probably get mugged if I insulted a homeless person with a penny. I might rub it with a five dollar bill and try it, but I’m not sure if the magic would work that way.

Brenda Birmelin suggested I try Vicks Vapor rub. “It’s great for almost everything including ingrown toenails.”

Really? I didn’t know that! I’m starting to believe this stuff. Next thing you know I’ll be boiling the moss from the northwest side of a Black Gum Tree and rubbing it with turpentine, as my good friend Ren Summerlin suggested.

Cathy Gregor said, “That duct tape really does work.” But just as I was starting to get hopeful, she had another suggestion: “A girlfriend of mine told me to find a frog and lick it.”

I don’t think I’ll be licking any frogs. A wart on my leg is bad enough. Besides, kissing frogs turns them into princes. Don’t you believe in fairy tales? I don’t need a bunch of lazy princes sitting around the house.

Cloudchaser Sakonige suggested Dr. Scholl’s Wart remover. “Make sure you get the kind with the salicylic acid discs, not the liquid stuff.” You would think with a name like Cloudchaser, he could at least come up with a medicine man’s remedy — or maybe medicine men use salicylic acid these days.

Now, I’ve heard tell there are people with special powers who can remove warts, but I don’t know any witches, at least not the broom-riding, magic potions, wart-removing kind. I’m sure it would take one with some really special powers to cure this stubborn wart.

Finally, I broke down and bought some Dr. Scholl’s freezing stuff at Walmart — guaranteed to remove it in one application. Strangely, the package contains six applications. They don’t seem very confident in their product. It must be potent stuff, though. It sat off the buzzer at the door when I left.

So far, the wart looks the same in spite of duct tape, cider vinegar, turpentine, and Vick’s salve. I’m going to give the freezing stuff one more try before I give up and go to a medical doctor for a ritual wart burning.

Maybe if we all stand in a circle and chant, it will help.

Copyright 2009 Sheila Moss
Posted in Health, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Time To Call the Plumber

unsplashIt had only been about a year since the dastardly deed had been done, so imagine my surprise when I heard strange gurgling noises coming from the plumbing.

A few days later, Honey came screaming into the bedroom at 4:30 in the morning, “The water won’t go down in the shower and the toilet won’t flush.”

It’s 4:30 in the morning, I can’t deal with this. “Get the plunger!”

Finally, the water went down and things returned to normal for a day, but a few days after that we had a repeat performance. This time the water ran over onto the floor.

It’s time to call the plumber.

I envisioned the worst possible scenario — septic tank failure.

Those of us who live in the suburbs without city sewers have to deal with the grossest of tasks called “getting the septic tank pumped.” Since it had been only a year since it was cleaned, there must be something dreadful going on.

City dwellers have not the foggiest notion what I’m talking about, so let me tell you. A septic tank is sort of a mini household sewage treatment plant. From what I’ve read, about 25% of American households are on a septic system.

No shower and no flushing for me that morning.

My daughter was off work, so she agreed to call the septic service. I left a blank check for her to pay them — envisioning my bank account going down the toilet, if you’ll pardon the expression.

All day long, I bit my fingernails, getting periodical calls from my daughter. “I’ve called and left a message.” “They called back.” “They are on a big job today.” Finally, at 4 PM after waiting all day, “They are on the way.”

By that time, I was off work. When I arrived home, the tank trunk was in the driveway and my daughter was running from room to room turning the water on and flushing. I don’t know what the septic guy was doing and was afraid to look.

Eventually, he came to the door and I went outside so he would not have to come in. I introduced myself but did not offer to shake hands. I hope he understood.

“It was just a plugged up tee,” he said.

“Oh,” I replied, wondering what a tee is and trying not to look as stupid as I am.

“Sometimes the solids pile up at the end of the line and block it,” he said, writing out a bill for $125.

Oh, gross!

“You can just open up the tank and push the stuff down with a stick to clear it if it happens again.”

Not likely.

“I think I would rather pay you $100 to come and do it,” I joked.

He laughed. I guess he must hear a lot of very tasteless jokes about his line of work, so I tried to avoid saying anything obnoxious. I was just relieved that it was not as bad as I expected.

Most things as expensive as a septic system come with an owner’s manual, but not  the septic tank. It is a mystery, so I decided to read up on the subject on the internet.

Suffice it to say, what should go into a septic tank is the obvious. What should not is anything else from kitchen, bath, nursery, or laundry, whether it says flushable or not. I already knew that.

I decided that my selection of TP was probably the culprit. What seems “charming” to people, is not so charming to the septic tank.

I visited my favorite discount store for a supply of scratchy toilet paper that says “septic safe,” and liquid detergent for clothes washing and dishwasher.

I’ve become a septic use expert.

Honey has been in the shower long enough. He is flooding the system. I’m knocking on the door. He may have to go to work with shampoo in his hair today.

Copyright 2009 Sheila Moss
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