Friday, May 31, 2013

968. War of the Elbows

I was scrunched in my middle seat, saying futile prayers to The Gods of Travel that nobody would sit in the aisle seat.   

The Window Person gets the window, they get all the power, right?  Shade up, shade down.  View, no view.  Blinding sunlight ruining the movie, or complete darkness combined with a burnt-out reading light when you have a brand-new book.  The Window People are a menace. 
And those damn Aisle People.  They jump up and go to the bathroom anytime.  Right after take-off, right before meal service, during the movie, whenever.  They have more power than the Window People.  They practically own the plane. 

This power goes to their heads.  They suddenly think they have rights to both armrests.  Theirs and mine.  Isn’t it enough that they have one armrest on the outside and that they can get up whenever they want?  And if the plane crashes, they are getting out to safety 15 seconds before me?  By laws of adverse possession, they claim the middle armrest.      
The Middle Loser (me) is clearly not a planner.  By the time the Middle Loser got around to buying a ticket, all the good seats were taken.  The Middle Loser deserves to sit folded over like a broken umbrella for five hours. 

I stage a coup.  When Aisle Person gets up to stretch, I pounce.  I adhere my elbow to the armrest like a very strong magnet.   
Now I notice Aisle Person is holding two full glasses of white wine.  He must be an alcoholic.  Drinking while flying, stretching his legs, hogging up armrests.  How did this freak get through security?  He has absolutely no consideration for—

“Excuse me, miss?  I brought you some wine.” 
He hands me a glass. 

“For … me?”
He nods.  “Middle seats suck.  You deserve a free glass of wine.” 

I smile and thank him.  I accidentally lift my elbow for a second when I take a sip.    
Just long enough for him to regain access of the armrest. 


trifecta writing challenge/ I shortened and edited a piece I wrote a few days ago/ exactly 333 words/ required word is "freak"

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

967. That Anthropologie Dress

In a departure from financial reality, I wandered into Anthropologie.  A cobalt silk dress with a geometric pattern beckoned.    

The sale price was in the realm of my Checkbook Acceptance Program.  Why had no one snatched up this gorgeous dress yet?  I decided to try it on.    
The dress made me appear tall where I was short, and skinny where I was fat.  I petted the smooth fabric, and that’s when I realized what it was really made of:  magic.  I imagined I was Cindy Crawford.    

There was a problem:  Cleavage.  This dress had mistaken me for a Playboy playmate or possibly a hooker, and dipped down lower than I had allowed my college boyfriend. 
But honestly, on sale?  Anthropologie?  Magic silk Cindy Crawford dress? 
Maybe I could pin it. 

I noticed the salesgirl was wearing a rather low-cut top herself. 

“I’d like to buy this,” I said, handing her the dress. 
“I love this!  I tried it on, but didn’t buy it because it was too …”

Her words hung in the air, like saline implants. 
“The dress was too what?”

“Never mind.”    
I swiped my debit card while she wrapped my new dress in crinkly silver tissue paper.  In my head, my environmentally-conscious sister whispered, “You don’t need any tissue paper!  Save baby whales from forest fires!”  Instead I asked the girl if I could have extra tissue paper because the dress looked fragile. 

And let’s be honest:  it was an expensive dress, I deserved a few sheets of tissue paper. 
I wore the dress to work the next day. 

When it was lunch time, I ordered my usual deli salad, Coke, and a brownie.  I watched the clerk give me the largest brownie from the tray and put extra ice in my drink. 
“Sir,” I gasped, “I forgot my wallet!  Can you cancel my order?” 

He handed me my order anyway. 
“Don’t worry about it, miss,” he grinned wide.  “It’s on the house.” 

This might be my lucky dress. 
trifecta writing challenge/ I have modified a story I wrote a while ago/ 333 words (including the word in the picture), required word is "appear"

Sunday, May 26, 2013

966. An Open Letter to My Mailman

Dear Mailman Postal Delivery Carrier,

Was it the heavy catalogs?  I need to know.  I am writing you on behalf of myself and my husband because we are flummoxed puzzled frustrated irritated annoyed wondering why you have repeatedly delivered our mail to the dead person living next door who used to reside next door.  I have met the new owner, and although she has fabulous renovation plans for the house, she and her family will not be moving in for at least 6 months.  She alone has the key to the place, no one else has the key.  This means that when you drop my mail through the mail-slot in the actual door and deposit the mail (my mail!) directly onto her entry way floor, I cannot always reach the mail (my mail!  did I mention?) with my hand or even a stick with gum on the end of it (believe me, I have tried), and so I am forced to call the new owner and sometimes it might take days to get ahold of her.     
Please can you maybe possibly buy some glasses and try to read the actual address and attempt to deliver the mail to the correct address so that my American Express bill does not sit over there for weeks next to my Netflix movie, mocking me?  I like to get my mail in a timely manner, as do most human beings, and possibly even dead people.

I am very appreciative of all your hard work and I am sure that your job is stressful what with the yappy dogs and all, but there is no need to take it out on me.  I would still like to get my mail.    
Thank you in advance for your attention in this matter. 

Best Regards,
P.S. There is no friggin way I am baking you cookies at Christmas time this year, just so we’re clear. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

965. Open Letter to Target Corporation

Dear Target Corporation,

You have ruined my life, on multiple levels. 
First, I must point out that although your uniform of a red shirt and khakis is attractive and pleasing to the eye, it is also an outfit that I myself used to favor, but can no longer wear because if I happen to wear it to shop there, other customers inevitably confuse me for a Target employee and start badgering me about where light-bulbs or kitty litter are located (aisle 17 and aisle 19b respectively, since I do happen to know those two).  Anyway, it is disconcerting to be doing my normal shopping and repeatedly have people coming up to me, when I at first think I might know them from my kids’ schools, and I start out cheery because I think they just want my opinion on something (green leaf printed beach towel or flamingoes?) when they actually want information.  They get very rude when I say “I don’t work here” and I even had a woman once accuse me of lying. 

So, right off the bat, you need to change the uniform. 
Next, you have too many choices of cookies, all of them good.  This should be self-explanatory:  you are making me fat.  I do not weigh 118 125 140 my goal weight like I did in college, and it is all your fault.

Third, we need to discuss the dollar section.  I, for one, love the dollar section and can quickly spend multiple dollars on useless junk that I do not need just because you have arranged it in a flattering way and have good lighting.  Everything there is colorful and persuasive, and instantly turns not-as-good the second I get it home.  WHY IS THAT? 
Last, the Starbucks.  When I initially saw that you had built a Starbucks inside your hallowed walls, I was super-excited.  But now, just like the three things I have listed above, it is merely another way that you are wreaking havoc on me.  The question becomes, do I get my Starbucks coffee right when I walk in and start to shop, or do I get it at the end?  A smart person would get it at the end so that they would not spill it all over the toothpaste and deodorant and paper towels that are in their basket as they are shopping.  But I am not smart.  Therefore, I normally buy it first and then have to juggle it around like a hot potato as I shop.  You need to post very clear signs, signs that say, “We will not serve Starbucks to patrons entering the store, only those leaving it.”  It’s the right thing to do and you know it. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.  Feel free to send me some coupons for compensation of having ruined my life.  I like coupons for Mint Milano cookies. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

964. Open Letter to a Loyal Shirt

Dear Loyal Shirt,

I remember when we first met, at the mall of all places.  You beckoned me over from a metal rack where you were hanging out with your colorful comrades. 

I noticed you right away—your basic black hue, your stunning embroidered neckline, and your flattering boxy cut. 

You were different somehow, longer.  You offered more coverage than is typical, obscuring not just the tumucular region, but even offering a respite from the viewing of the hips.     
I knew I had to have you, and when I found out you were on sale (!), well, that was just the proverbial cherry on the whipped cream of my shopping expedition sundae. 

I got you home and for years you behaved even better than expected.  You had no qualms about accompanying me to work, school functions, even doctors’ appointments.  You could be counted on for holidays, vacations, sporting events, or trips to the grocery store.  You unilaterally embraced every climate; every raindrop or snowflake or ray of blazing sunshine was your pal.  You were flexible and could be paired with virtually anything in my closet:  denim jeans, floral print skirts, cotton khakis, plaid shorts, striped capris, even a formal interview suit.  You made numerous appearances in several family photos.   
You were my silent workhorse, my prized clothing chameleon. 


There’s always an “until,” isn’t there? 
You know what I am talking about.  Don't pretend you don't.  The Husband made the grave miscalculation to …

No.  It’s too painful.  I can’t talk about it yet. 
… he made the grave miscalculation to put you in … the washer … and then … the dryer. ON HIGH HEAT. 

Has he never had a wardrobe component like you, Loyal Shirt?  I always dry cleaned you.  In fact, I know for a fact, factually speaking, that The Husband had accompanied you to the dry cleaner (for drop off AND pick up) on several occasions.  I have witnesses!  Gray Skirt and Navy Linen Dress had seen you there.  Red Cashmere Sweater Made In England told me you two stopped and had lunch.  Even Black Work Jacket had cozied up to you in the very same plastic bag. 
So what is one tumble in the dryer between friends, hmm?  After all we have been through together?  Why would you insist on shrinking up like that?  Why?  I always did treat you well, before this one isolated incident, I swear.  And you know it was not my fault anyway!  So why punish me?  Isn’t that like blaming the victim? 

Tell The Husband you are mad, don’t take it out on me when I am getting ready to have a conference with my sons’ principal and need to match you up with Boat Print Skirt.  You know that White Rayon Sweater shows every bit of deodorant or cat fur, how dare you even mention such a substitution. 
What I am saying is:  It’s over.  It is.  I, for one, wish it could be different, we all do.  The kids do (who wants to see their mom with deodorant or cat fur at school conference day?).  I know that deep in my heart of hearts, even The Husband wishes things turned out differently. 

Why?  Because I took his credit card and I am headed to the mall. 
It won’t be easy to replace you, but I’ll try. 

Your Loving Friend,

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

963. Oh, Great, You Get to See Me Sweaty

I leaned over and groaned.  Why should I have to pick it up?  I wasn’t the one who dropped it.  It must've weighed 40 pounds.  

“Bend your knees!” he shouted. 

From everything I’d read, lifting weights would extend my life, make me stronger, and oh yeah, make me look better, too. 

“I said, bend your knees, MOV!”  
I did as I was told, while I was silently cursing the day I had signed up for my One! Free! Training! Session!  I knew it was a ploy to get me to register for a full month of personal training, but I was a sucker for things that were free. 

Right then, Carla walked by.  You know, Carla?  From the bus stop?  She looked like a cover model for Shape or Fitness magazine:  healthy glow, perfect outfit, cooperative hair. 
I, on the other hand, was wearing wrinkled shorts, a faded t-shirt, and a frayed baseball hat.  I looked like I had been dragged in the mud by wolves.  Wolves with rabies and a mean streak. 

“MOC!” she squealed, getting my name wrong.  “How are you?  I didn’t know you belonged here!” 
“It’s MOV,” I corrected, under my breath, but she had already walked past.  Hers was a drive-by greeting, not meant to be responded to. 
“Shoulders straight, MOV, shoulders straight.” 

I tried to focus and do what Jared said, but it was hard.  There were so many damn mirrors in this place, and none of them were aimed at me. 
Out of my peripheral vision I watched the reflections of the other moms.  I saw Sally from basketball camp.  There was Marina from the PTA.  Danielle from swim class.  Pretty much everyone I had ever met in the past nine years and chatted with about school and sports while waiting for my children all belonged to my new gym. 

I had joined in a hasty moment when I thought it would be good to escape and go sweat and take a break from my reality.  Apparently, 688 local moms had done the exact same thing. 
Except they all looked like Carla—perfect. 

For a brief moment, I thought about dying my hair purple so as to make myself non-recognizable.  The Husband might not respond to that positively, though. 
“Not like that, MOV!  Stop!” interrupted Jared.  “Let me show you the proper form.” 

He demonstrated the lift, and I pretended to pay attention.  Denise belongs to this gym?  And Wendy!? 
“I used to be athletic,” I said to Jared, but more to myself.  “Back when I was … younger.” 

“Everyone says that, MOV, but don’t be so hard on yourself!  You are doing great for someone who is 50.” 
FIFTY!  Did he just say 50? 

“Jared, I am only 44.”  I gave him a look, a look that said, I will definitely not be signing up for a full month of personal training and if I did, it would not be with you. 
“I was rounding up.” 

I studied Jared in the mirror.  How did he not know that an error of rounding up 6 years was punishable by imprisonment, death, being fired, or at least a dirty look from me?
I set the weight down and took a deep breath. 

“MOV, let me get you some water.” 
He disappeared and I stretched like I knew what I was doing. 

Sally walked over to me. 
“Hey, MOV!  I almost didn’t recognize you.”  She smiled genuinely.  “I always see you with your kids, doing the mom thing, and without kids, you just look, so, well … young and unencumbered.” 

I made a mental note to invite her to lunch.  She was my new best friend.

Monday, May 20, 2013

962. I Have a Really Good Sense of Direction ...

“Mom, turn here! I know a shortcut!” 

I made a right. Then a left. A u-turn. Another left. I circled the block. I was getting dizzy. What should be a three-minute jaunt turned into a 20-minute epic journey of every street, alley, boulevard, or cul-de-sac within a two mile radius.   
What the heck are they teaching my kid in first grade in public school, I wondered, because it certainly isn’t navigational skills.

For the first time in seven years, I was having doubts about my genius child and his future as an airline pilot. If the tower told him to fly from Denver to San Francisco, who’s to say he wouldn’t take a little detour to New York and perhaps Canada? He would get fired on his first day.

Don’t panic, MOV, don’t panic. It’s a joke! He’s messing with you!

“Tall,” I began, “Who taught you this shortcut? Was it Grandpa? Because he lives in Colorado and doesn’t know our streets. If you drove this way with him, he might’ve been lost.”

“Mom, don’t vilify me yet! I know exactly where I’m going. Trust me.” And then the kicker: “I’m trying to do YOU a favor.”

Maybe he was unclear on the definition of “shortcut”? Maybe he thought it meant something about wasting time and making other people in the car lose patience?

“Sweetie, what do you think the word ‘shortcut’ means, exactly?”

“It means ‘a shorter way home’.” And then to his brother in a whisper, “Why does she have to be so pedantic?”

Right-left-left-turn-right-across-back-right. I glanced at the gas gauge: it was on empty now.

“Look, Mommy!” piped up Short, “We’re almost home now! You’ll recognize this next street. Just look around and think hard.”

All I did was look around and think hard. My whole life was look around and think hard. I was afraid my brain would explode.

“Okay, Mom, last turn,” announced Tall triumphantly. “There’s our house … this is precisely the way our school bus goes.”

this is a modified version of a story I wrote a while ago/ trifecta writing challenge / exactly 333 words, required word is "pedantic"-- meaning unimaginative or pedestrian

Saturday, May 18, 2013

961. This Is What Heaven Looks Like

I topple
underneath waves,
gulping Pacific foam, like honey. 
Surfers romance me with their ocean ballet. 
Dolphins compete for my attention.  I marvel at my luck,
my front row seat to
their dance. 

Trifecta writing challenge/ 33 words/ the bold words used were from list of required

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

960. The Day I Found Out I Wasn't Married

“What do you mean, we’re not married?” 

“Just what I said:  Not.  Married.”  He shrugged nonchalantly, as if he said, Hon, we’re out of toothpaste.   
 “Sweetie, I paid the minister.  Signed papers.  Ate cake.  It’s a done deal.” 

“According to the Los Angeles’ Registrar, it’s not a done deal.” 

“Don’t worry, I’m petitioning it.  But in the meantime, we’re not married.” 
“Is this your way of telling me you have a girlfriend?” 

“No.  This is my way of telling you not to go to the ER.  You’re not covered under my insurance if we’re not married.” 

“Please don’t get sick.”  He gave me a deliberate look that said, I hope you’ve been saving because you’ll be paying your own medical bills out of your Starbucks’ latte fund. 
“What if I die?” 

“Dying is not covered.  Don’t die.” 
“Ooh, if we’re not married, can we get remarried, have a big party?  That would be fun.” 

“What about a honeymoon?  I deserve it for putting up with you for 13 years.” 

“Sure, we can go on another honeymoon, as long as we go separate places by ourselves.” 
I was flabbergasted that he said that.  Although I agreed completely.  I was mentally picturing myself in Hawaii and him at the Grand Canyon.  Separate honeymoons was an idea whose time had come. 

“I’m kidding.  You know we’d have to take the kids.  Or maybe they could go somewhere by themselves.  Hmm, that could work.” 
This was the first time I considered our (il-) legitimate children.    

“Sweetie, what will become of our illegitimate children?”  
“They can get sick.  They’re covered.  But you’re not.” 

Suddenly, I felt a violent headache coming on. 
“I think I have a brain tumor.  Maybe I should get it looked at.” 

“You have to wait until the State of California straightens out this mess.  No brain tumors this week.”          
I turned and walked out of the room.    

“Where are you going?” 
“Online.  I have four separate vacations to plan.”   


trifecta writing challenge, the word is "deliberate," essay is exactly 333 words

Monday, May 13, 2013

959. I Like to Shop

So, Readers, I don't have a clever new blog post today, so I am re-running a favorite (maybe you missed it the first time around?).  Enjoy! 

Today I went to my local J.Crew store to stock up on a few necessary wardrobe items.  I instantly fell in love with everything in the store.  All those rich autumn colors, all that glorious wool and cashmere and tweed … it’s like the mannequins were calling my name.  Before I knew it, my arms were overloaded with shiny essentials.  The friendly clerk—I named him Johnny Crew in my head—asked if he could start a fitting room for me. 

“Sure,” I gushed, “that would be awesome.”  I may no longer be the appropriate age of the J.Crew desired demographic, but I am at least within a decade (or three).  I knew that “awesome” was still the right word to use.    

Johnny Crew walked me back to the dressing room area, which was surrounded by full-length mirrors.  I immediately noticed that I looked about six feet tall and a size 2 in these mirrors. 
“Johnny?” I said, noticing how he did not flinch when I called him that even though his nametag read Wyatt, “Johnny, what is the deal with these mirrors?” 

“So glad you noticed!” Johnny-Wyatt enthused.  “The new slimming mirrors have, like, tripled our sales since they were installed.” 
I stood there gazing adoringly at myself in my attractive black sweatpants and Target t-shirt, red flip-flops, baseball hat, and still-wet hair.  I looked good.  These sweatpants did not even have a hole in them (that I could see from the front anyway).    

Johnny had hung up all the Fall essentials on the narrow metal rods lining my dressing room.  Just this morning when I was back at home, I had looked at my pathetic wardrobe and decided something needed to be done.  With that in mind, I glanced at my (typed) list: 
·        Khaki pants
·        Jeans
·        Black pants
·        Basic black skirt
·        Leather belt
·        Tan skirt
·        White blouse
·        Tweed jacket
·        Silk top
·        Black sweater (pull-over)
·        Red cardigan sweater
·        Striped t-shirt
·        Black ballet flats
·        Gray tights
·        New socks

I had mentioned to The Husband that I would be going to J.Crew to stock up.  He replied predictably, “Well, now that you finally have a job, I really don’t care what you waste your own money on.”  That meant I could buy whatever I wanted!  
Luckily, everything I tried on fit and looked great (thanks to the new mirrors, which I was internally vowing to have installed all over my house as well).  I went to the cash register to pay for all my goodies. 

“Wow,” said a different clerk (I had named her Jane Crew in my head), “you are being so smart to buy everything mix and match so it will all coordinate.” 
I smiled at Jane.  She was right about me and my smart shopping skills. 

She totaled up the prices of the clothes and started to get out some tissue paper so the delicate sweaters could safely make the difficult trek home in my car to my house a full five miles away.
Then she turned to me and said something really, really mean.  Something I could not believe a salesperson would be allowed to say to a shopper. 

“That will be $3497.65, please.” 
“Wait, how much?”  I was shocked.  This is apparently what I get for not looking at the price tags when I shop, a somewhat new habit I had adopted half an hour ago. 

She cleared her throat, like a stage actress.  “I said, $3497.65.” 
I looked in my walled at the four crisp twenty dollar bills I had just taken out of the ATM for this specific shopping excursion. 

“Umm, well, I think I went over budget a tad,” I mumbled.  “Please remove, uh, can you take the socks off?” 
Jane re-scanned the socks and set them behind her on a shelf.  There, I knew that would make all the difference! 

“Okay, ma’am, then your new total is $3411.42.” 
Whew, that had helped, but not as much as I needed. 

“Please subtract the black sweater, I think I might have one already that would work.” 

“Your new total is $3218.09.” 
This went on for quite some time until the people in line behind me were shuffling around impatiently and whispering to each other.  Yeah, like they had never gone over budget by $3000. 

Finally, we were left with just the khaki pants. 
Jane squinted at the register total.  “This can’t be right,” she said.  “I have a negative $266.  That means I owe YOU $266 plus the khaki pants.” 

I was not about to argue with her, as she clearly knew what she was doing. 
“Okay, Jane, that sounds good.  And I would prefer my refund all in fifties if it is not too much trouble.” 


Friday, May 10, 2013

958. My Kids Are Bionic

I never wore glasses.  I can usually hear when a bus is driving up behind me.  I am able to outrun elderly people any day of the week.

Sure, I consider myself gifted.      
But my children?  They’re bionic. 

PROOF:  They tell me when my cell phone rings.  We are in the living room.  I left the phone in the car.   
PROOF:  I go to get a step-stool to retrieve something on top of the refrigerator.  When I return, they have already scaled the refrigerator.  Like Spiderman. 

PROOF:  I sniff the milk to see if it has gone bad.  Short yells out, “Throw it away, Mommy!”  He is upstairs. 
PROOF:  I glance at a timeshare thing that just came in the mail.  My 3rd-grader, Tall, snatches it out of my hands and declares, “You don’t want to do this, Mom.  The fine print says 50K down and then an APR of 21%.  That’s highway robbery.”  Fine print?  Where?  That black squiggly design at the bottom of the postcard, is that what he’s referring to? 

It is humbling to be outdone by your peers, but more so your own children.
I used to watch Lindsay Wagner as the Bionic Woman, with various limbs made out of wires, and artificial eyeballs inserted into her head—eyeballs that could see 500 feet away.  I would watch the 6 Million Dollar Man and scoff at the audacity of those producers to give us such unrealistic garbage to watch.  He can run a mile in 2 minutes?  Yeah, right.

But now I know it was not fiction after all.  Someone in Hollywood was just writing about their kids.