Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tales from the Girls' Bathroom

The other day, while visiting the luxurious girls' bathroom at school (which is equipped with high-sensitivity automatic hand dryers that freak me out by turning on every time I walk by them), my 3rd-grade daughter had this encounter. 

A tiny little kindergarten student approached my daughter and said, "Can you help me wash my hands?"  So, my sweet daughter hoisted up the little girl so she could wash her hands. 

Once her hands were washed and dried, she turned to my daughter and asked, "Can I have a quarter?"  I'm not sure why my daughter had a quarter in her pocket, but she is very generous, so she gave it to little Miss K, who proceeded to ask my daughter if she would help her get something from the mysterious machine in the bathroom. 

My daughter wasn't quite sure what was in the machine either, so the girls put the coin in the slot and turned the handle.  Little Miss K turned out to be a good reader, because when she pulled the box out of the machine, she said, "What the heck is this?  It's a napkin."  The little girl then tried to shove the box back into the machine, probably wondering why on earth there were napkins in the bathroom.  She asked my daughter if she had another quarter so she could try the other slot, but my daughter decided it was time to get back to class.

When my daughter told me this story, we were driving home from school, and could barely see the road through my tears of laughter.  I thought I may just need a similar product for bladder control.

I have other fond memories of children discovering the joys of femine products.  When another of my daughters was two, she went through a stage where she would climb out of bed after we said goodnight, and she would "explore" the upstairs.  One night, Al and I heard some rustling around in the upstairs bathroom.  I went up to investigate, told the quizzical two-year-old to go back to bed, and then subdued my immense laughter while I called for my husband to come upstairs.

Lying on the toilet were about 10 of those adhesive strip covers used for feminine napkins, in nice neat little lines.  When Al joined me in the bathroom, I asked him, "What do you think she did with the pads?"  I envisioned having to scoop soggy, saturated napkins out of the toilet. 

But I looked around the bathroom and slowly realized that my creative little daughter had "redecorated" the bathroom.  There was a pad wrapped neatly around each of the many handles of our cabinets, and an artistic array of pads arranged on the wall under the towel bar.  I could just imagine her fascination as she embellished the bathroom::  "Mom never told me we have STICKERS in the bathroom!"

By the time I finished surveying the bathroom, I was laughing so hard that I couldn't even catch my breath.  I tapped Al's shoulder - he was still staring at the toilet - and pointed to the dainty decorations placed around our bathroom.  We both burst into further rounds of gasping laughter.  Meanwhile the two-year-old was yelling from her room, "What's so funny???"

I wholeheartedly oppose the TV commercials showing femine products - it's always so embarrassing when in mixed company. (Besides that, we all know that women never wear white during that time, no matter how good your protection is.)  Everyone either stares at the TV in discomfort, starts picking bellybutton lint, or tells a ridiculous joke to try to draw attention away from the disturbing content coming from the TV.

But in this context, feminine products make for wonderful storytelling and maniacal laughter.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


What do you think that number means?

"190 proof" means 95% alcohol.  Everclear is a brand of neutral grain spirit and is available in 151 and 190 proof.  In contrast, other hard liquors, such as rum and vodka, are typically 80 to 120 proof, which contain 40 to 60 percent alcohol.

Being a sweet and innocent Yooper, I have never tasted beer, wine, peach schnapps, Boone's Farm, Asti Spumante, MD 20/20, brandy, whiskey, rum, gin, Blue Curacao Everclear.  I'm not entirely sure it was ever intended to be a beverage.  According to Wikipedia, 190-proof Everclear is in regular use amongst fine woodworkers and luthiers (lute repair guys) as the shellac solvent in French furniture polishing.  Everclear can be used as an antiseptic, as a fuel in camping stoves, and as a cleaner for the restoration of smoking pipes.

Due to its high alcohol content, Everclear is illegal, unavailable, or difficult to find in many areas.  In the US, it is illegal to sell the 190 proof variety of Everclear in California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan (shoot!), Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

After that interesting vignette, I will tell you the real reason that I labeled this post "190" is because I have reached a new low; uh, I mean high.  I am embarrassed to admit this, but I hope it will force me to do what I've needed to do for a long, long time - lose a LOT of weight.  I discovered the horrible truth at my doctor's appointment today - I now weigh as much as I did when I was hugely pregnant with my second child.

Holy crap!

It is truly time to do something about this.  During the year before I turned 40, I set a goal for myself:  40 by 40.  I wanted to lose 40 lbs. by the time I turned 40.

I failed miserably.

Now I've got 60 lbs. to lose, and I'll be darned if I'm going to wait until I'm almost 60 to lose it!

Wish me luck, and please tell me where I can get some Everclear.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Batteries and Catnip

 I posted this yesterday, but it got lost in my birthday wishes (THANK YOU!)  So, here it is again.

 (Photo credit: not mine!  I found this

I got a wonderful birthday surprise yesterday morning:  I convinced my son to put his tongue on the end of a 9-volt battery.  Yes!  I never thought he would try it!  That's why I didn't tell him what would happen.  He thought it was funny, though, so no harm done.

Next, little Power Puss decided he would try to convince his sisters to do it.  "No way", I thought.  "There is no way that the girls will try it - they're too. . . .girlish".   However, he succeeded in convincing the 9-year-old first, then the 12-year-old.  It took the 11-year-old a little more time to work up the courage, but she finally did it.  We all had a good laugh at everyone's reactions, and especially the fact that they kept wanting to do it again and again.  It's kind of like touching the electric fence back on the farm.  You can't do it just once.  They started to get creative, sprinkling water on other areas of skin to see if they could get a zap, which they didn't.  Then someone suggested, "Try it on your uvula!", at which point I confiscated the battery.

Also of note is the fact that the kids made us breakfast in bed - pancakes, eggs, toast, orange juice and coffee (I ground the coffee the night before and left instructions on how to make it - you can't leave these things to chance.)  Ev brought me a sweet hand-painted picture of him and myself.  I wish I was that skinny in real life.  But I'm glad I don't have green skin.

But enough of the feel-good birthday bits:  Back to batteries.  I told the kids that their next experiment should be to try their tongue on one of those huge 4.5-volt square batteries.  However, does 4.5-volt mean it's less powerful than a puny 9-volt?  How is that possible?  Anyway, I do not concern myself with such things.  I just think it would be fun to watch.

Oooh, how about a car battery?  My husband, for some suspicious reason, contributed a very quick NO to that idea.  I guess it's because kids don't have long enough tongues to reach across both connections.  Ohh, but cows do.  Have you ever seen how long a cow's tongue is?  Get a cow's tongue across a car battery and you could have instant steak.

Then we came to the idea of cats.  Cats have very long tongues, and although they're not as stupid as cows, we could possibly get them to lick a battery.  "Get some catnip", I yelled.  As the kids raced off to find the cat treats, I thought better of it and decided that, no, we should not actually try to electrocute the cats.  Not sure what the outcome would be.

I assume that now everyone can relate to what Al has to deal with every single day when he straps on his electro-stim equipment and sends not-so-tiny electrical currents through several muscle groups to get his paralyzed limbs moving.  According to the words he's used - zap, fry, tingle, sizzle, sear, fricassee - it's not the most pleasant process.  And now we can all have some solidarity with him, at least for the brief moments that we see fit to stick 9-volt batteries on our tongues (which, by the way, I didn't try because 1. it IS my birthday, and 2. I've given birth to 4 children).

But I just don't think the cats would understand.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Pimple Popper

Last week, I took one of my daughters to the doctor.  She had a rash on her face, which I thought was contact dermatitis, but we wanted to get it checked out anyway.  (By the way, I am right approximately  90% of the time on my "home diagnoses".  I wonder if I could be a doctor?  I mean, really, if I can get it right by checking symptoms on the internet, I could make some good money in a few years, at least before encountering a malpractice suit - don't you agree?)  It turns out, I was right about the dermatitis, too, so bring on the cortisone cream or whatever it is (so, I may not be very good with drugs. . . .that's what pharmacists are for). 

Doc also noticed a patch of acne in the middle of Dear Daughter's forehead, and I said, "yeah, that's been there for about 4 months and just won't clear up."  He said he had a tool to remove all the blackheads, and then he would prescribe an antibiotic/anti-acne cream to clear it up completely.  How cool is that?  Better than paying mucho bucks for expensive acne treatments, right?  But then he asked about our insurance coverage - whether we have a per person deductible at the beginning of the year or simply copays per visit - because popping her pimples would be billed as a "procedure". 

Shut up! 

Man, I could make so much money just popping pimples for people - I love doing that!  He brought out his little tool, a metal tool with tiny hole at the end.  He pressed down on each zit and OUT popped the blackhead.  I was so fascinated that I asked if they sold such things in drugstores or on Amazon, and how could I possibly have NOT known about these tools before now?  Yes, of course.  You can even get them at Meijer, he told me.

No kidding.  I went to Meijer to pick up DD's prescriptions and found my very own pimple popper, which was on clearance, oddly enough.  I can't believe more people aren't cashing in on this.  Now I regularly chase my pre-teens down with the tool in hand so I can pop their zits.  I look forward to getting up each morning so that I can see if I myself have a new blackhead. 

Now, please tell me that I'm not the only one here.  I can't possibly be the only one who enjoys popping pimples.  I actually know I'm not the only one because Doc admitted that his own mother had a fascination with popping zits, and his wife does as well.  He called her "Sally Scissorhands."  I just wonder if any of my readers will have the courage to own up to their own pimple popping pleasure.

And by the way, I'm offering a new service out of my home.  Only $10 per pimple.