Monday, June 25, 2007

It's Bunkhouse Bob Again!

Well, Ol' Bunkhouse Bob won't be doing much riding for a while. Seems he's been a little careless while outdoors. And just so's all you little buckeroos won't get yourselves into the same sort of pickle, Ol' Bob has written this little ditty for you to keep in mind.
Yep, he's just that kind of pal.

When out in the wilds and the woodlands,

Without the aid of a pot,

To avoid an embarrassing case of the ivy,

Be careful wherefore you squat.


clipart by

Friday, June 15, 2007

I've Grown Accustomed To Your Face

I think there must be something about my face.
I keep checking to see if ‘Tell Me All About It’ is stamped on my forehead.

During a recent trip to K-Mart I was deep in thought in the sock department, contemplating the advantages of crew style as opposed to the tube. A woman approached and pulled her cart up next to mine. She randomly pawed through the sport socks with the little pom-poms on the heel. Then all I did, and I’m not lying, is look up and acknowledge her presence. With me, that’s all it takes.

She began.

“Had my cat neutered and declawed this morning.”

No “hello, nice day, these prices are really good”, nothing in a preliminary manner. She just started right in as though we were continuing a conversation we might have begun over coffee a few minutes earlier.

She went on.

“You know, I waited 14 years for my first cat to die so I could buy new furniture, they scratch things up so bad, you know. And now Harvey he brings home this new one, wouldn’t you know it. I’m not waiting another 14 years, oh no, not this time.”

How does one reply to a harangue such as that? Being a common occurrence for me, I decided to go with the moment, I said, “Well, you deserve new furniture after all those years.”

That’s what she was hoping to hear. However, my response is the wrong one if I happen to be in a hurry or don’t feel like having company on my sock expedition. For now she has followed me around to the other side of the sock department, almost into the shoe
department, and I didn’t even want to look at shoes. But I pretended that I did.

“We had the fish fry at the diner last Thursday,” she said. “You know, before bingo, Harvey and me. Do you think that’s strange, having fish on Thursday instead of Friday?”

She wanted an answer. “Do you like fish,” I asked?
“Sure, me and Harvey do,” she replied.
“Then I guess any night’s ok for fish fry,” I said confidently.

That was the answer she was looking for. Instantly I became her new best friend. And as such, my opinion was required, the barn boots for Harvey or the insulated Timberlines?

And on it went until a teenage boy sidled over from the men’s shoe department, another total stranger. He waited for the woman to stop for breath, then asked my advice on the best type of laces for his dress shoes.

“I have to go to my Uncle’s funeral and my mother won’t let me wear my Nikes, couldn’t find the laces for my shoes, think I used them to fix my basketball net, she said go buy some new ones and get the right color, do you think these are oxford, what color is oxford anyway?”

I turned to answer him, which obviously ticked-off the fish fry woman who took this as a snub. She mumbled something to the effect of “buttinsky kid” and said she needed to find the cat food department. She whirled her cart around and didn’t look back. Shoeless Joe and I are left to ponder the myriad color choices of shoestrings.

In the next four and a half minutes he told me that his Uncle died of cirrhosis of the liver and his grandmother is coming in from Pocatello, Idaho for the funeral and that no one knows where his Uncle’s wife is so they can tell her he’s died and that he thinks he’ll get out of school for the services and that’s ok except that he’ll miss his girlfriend and what do I think, should he ask her to the funeral, would that count as a date?

I think I have a new best friend.
Must be something about my face.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bathtub Blues

It has occurred to me that I might have left all you Front Porch readers hanging in rapt anticipation, waiting for the next installment of Bathtub Blues. That is, if you haven’t given up on this column altogether, in lieu of some other that doesn’t constantly prattle on about a middle-aged woman’s bathing difficulties. I daresay, there are more important matters in the world, and quite possible I should be editorializing about them, but for the life of me, I just can’t think of a single thing to say about Paris Hilton and whether or not she looks fat in her new orange prison jumpsuit.

So that leaves me with little else than to bend your ear for another four hundred words or so, on how I have managed to take a shower without going into anaphylactic shock due to vinylhydrophobia.*

Believe it or not, one faithful reader actually stopped me recently and asked how the bathtub situation was going. Of course that person and I are kindred spirits, which makes her, by today’s standards, as mentally-tilted as I am--it just makes sense that she’d be interested.


Previously, on Bathtub Blues. We left our heroine (That would be me. Hey, it’s my column; I get to be the heroine.) balancing precariously in a space approximately the size of a Pop Tart, partially blinded by shampoo suds, and desperately trying to keep the shower curtain from sticking to her ankles.

I’d love to say that I made it through that shower without incident, but let’s be realistic, remember who you’re dealing with here. However, to be fair, I have to admit there were a few moments of relative calm when the furnace kicked on, and the warm air blowing into the bathroom somehow caused a reverse suction of the shower curtain making it draw away from me in blissful, but all too brief, phobic relief.

No, there had to be a better way than praying for intermittent blasts from the furnace or only showering on the coldest of days when I’d be assured that the furnace would be running pretty steadily. Yes, to solve this problem I would have to devote my next shower to research. I would sacrifice my ankles for the sake of science. And personal hygiene.

So after considerable cogitation (good word, look it up) and a lengthy, raisin-finger inducing shower, I made my calculations. The results were undeniable. The source of the problem came down to my only having two hands. Yes, even with my mentally-tilted reasoning abilities, I had to see that I couldn’t do what needs to be done in the shower while at the same time keeping the billowing shower curtain off my ankles. The solution was clear. I needed another pair of hands. Ok, I know what you’re thinking, but showering double was out of the question. There simply wasn’t room. Remember the Pop Tart-sized area. What to do, what to do?

Then, like Wylie Coyote dropping an Acme anvil on my head, it came to me. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? How could I have been so blind? (Well, shampoo suds, for one thing.)

The answer was clothespins*, what else?
For me, the solution to almost any problem has always been clothespins.

~Tangent Alert~
Never, never leave home without a few clothespins. You know how hotel drapes always have that one-inch gap? No matter how hard you pull on the cord or yank them together, they will not meet in the middle. The motel industry can give you mints on your pillow, whirlpool bathtubs, that strip of paper across the toilet seat, Continental breakfasts and wake-up calls—but do you think they could measure a window correctly? No, you’re stuck with a ground floor room looking out on the parking lot with lonely truckers walking past your window at all hours of the day and night while that one-inch gap seems to gape even wider.

And, of course, the neon motel sign is positioned just perfectly so you get flashes of red and blue VACANCY! VACANCY! through the gap until it becomes imprinted on your brain and you hope like anything for a migraine to take your mind off it.

Before you spend the whole night in the lobby chatting with the desk clerk about her persistent toenail fungus, I suggest you clothespin those drapes together and get some sleep.

And if my memory serves me correctly, I may even have used clothespins when my children were babies and I misplaced the diaper pins. (Yes, I’m enough of a dinosaur to have used cloth diapers.) My children hopefully were too young to remember their clothing being held together by clothespins or at the very least, have worked through these childhood traumas with a trained counselor.
~End of Tangent~

So simple was the solution to my shower curtain dilemma, that I’m almost ashamed to admit it. All it took was to clothespin the offending, billowing shower curtain to the windowsill and voila; a little wooden springy thing doing the job of an extra pair of hands. Sheesh.

Stay tuned, gentle reader, for the next installment of Bathtub Blues, when our heroine (me again) will attempt to do something about that space approximately the size of a Pop Tart.

*Ok, once more. And really, I must insist that this be the last time I give you this definition. I’m afraid some of you are just not listening. Don’t be ashamed to take notes. It’s how we learn. Vinylhydrophobia (n) the irrational fear of being in the shower and having the force of the water create a suction thereby causing the shower curtain to draw inward toward the bathing subject, resulting in the slimiest portion of the curtain affixing itself to said bather’s ankles and calves further resulting in a wild case of the heebie-jeebies.

*For a gripping article (pun intended) on the history of clothes pins, check out magazine online, fall 2006, vol. 22, iss. 2.
I was particularly fascinated by the group at Did you know there are places in this free country of ours where hanging your laundry on a clothes line is prohibited! Nope, I’m not kidding.

clipart courtesy