Tuesday, June 29, 2010

One Million Channels...and Spongebob's On

With kids around, there's really no need for a remote control.

Five televisions, each with 1000-plus channels, and we are perpetually watching Spongebob Squarepants.

Time Warner Cable really should offer a parental discount. Most of us never get to see ESPN, let alone ESPN2, with kids ruling the show. Lifetime, HGTV, the History Channel - I hear they exist, but I have yet to see anything but Spongebob, his famous square arse and his little network friends.

So we keep buying TVs, putting them in new places in the hopes of having a set of our own. We've tried sneaking into other rooms, looking for a television without a child planted in front.

But here they come, racing behind us, beating us to the couch. The males of the house, my husband and son, both lunge for the remote at the same time. Click! Guess what's on?

That's right, you nailed it - Nickelodeon.

This especially irks my husband, who wants to watch ALL the channels ALL the time. Like many men, he has another woman - her name is Remote Control. His faithful lover R.C. offers him hundreds of choices and hours of flicking fun.

Yet the television continually blares shows rendered in primary colors.

Couple this with today's studly program offerings - Sportscenter, Cops, anything on the Military Channel - and you can see the guy's dilemma. His colleagues often ask him what he watched the night before.

''Hey, did you see 'Rock of Love' last night? Chicks were fighting - in a Jell-O pit!'' says friend one.

''Nah. The kids were watching the TV,'' says my man.

''You been watching Shark Week on Discovery Channel?'' asks friend two.

''Couldn't watch it - iCarly marathon,'' says my husband.

''Dude - you watch the Buckeyes Saturday?'' says friend three. ''Double overtime!''

''Nope. Five brand-new episodes of Spongebob, all this week,'' he says.

Way back in the day when we were kids, if the sky was clear, the planets aligned and the foil-covered antenna aimed just so, we had three choices: ABC, CBS and NBC. That little plastic RCA only showed children’s programs on Saturday mornings. Pop Tarts in hand, we sat bundled in our footie pajamas watching Superfriends, Speed Buggy, Schoolhouse Rock and Grape Ape, their vibrant colors reduced to shades of gray on the black and white sets.

Our moms and dads slept in while we were glued to the TV all morning, and no doubt some of our parents can thank Scooby Doo and his crew for the chance to conceive our younger siblings.

The rest of the time, we got stuck watching whatever the grownups watched - the news, Kojak, Chico and the Man, All in the Family. If we complained, we were told - in profane terms - to take our plaid-polyester-panted behinds elsewhere. If we kept griping, we had a good chance of a swift parental smack.

Ah, the good old days. A kid could be a kid, and a parent could be abusive

Fast forward the VCR, and here we’ve landed in 2009 with all these color televisions, and thousands of channels. But not much has changed for us: we still have no TV rights.

So guys? We are old and tired, and we quit. Here’s your remote. Your Dad and I will be in the bathroom, hanging the new flat-screen.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Your A$$ Called. It Wants the 70s Back.

(Thank goodness for Facebook. Or I would never have found my college friend Robin again, a girl with whom I spent many hours at the bars working hard in the Kent State newsroom. (Check out Robin's awesome blog at http://almostbutnotquiterobin.blogspot.com/) I'd also never know that we are two of the three people in the world who like the cheesy 70s soft-rock band Ambrosia. (Don't be a hater - you know you've hummed along to "Biggest Part of Me" while shopping at K-Mart...) Unfortunately for our readers, all ten of them, our embarrassing love for this schlock led to our Great Idea! A Duet Post! Read on...)

Copyright 2010, by Robin Daugherty Suttell & Dawn Weber

The other day, I found myself in one of those “Candid Camera” sort of moments. I had stopped by our church to pick something up from the office there, and while I walked back to my car, I kept hearing the faint strains of music coming from somewhere nearby.

But, I couldn’t figure out quite where. I looked over my right shoulder. Saw nothing, but I still heard music. I looked to the left. Same thing. The music continued to play. Little tinkling, muted notes.

“Where in hell is it coming from? I asked no one else in particular, seeing that I was alone.

I paused and looked around again. Then it dawned on me. The music was coming from my backside. My right back pocket, to be exact. From my phone – and its Pandora app.

Some how I “butt dialed” the app when I put the phone in my pocket. And there it was, playing my favorite cheesy 70s station, “Ambrosia Radio,” and fittingly enough, “How Much I Feel,” by none other than Ambrosia.

Apparently my butt needed to hear a little saccharine 70s goodness. Right then and there. So it helped itself to my phone.

I’m no stranger to butt dialing (or purse calling, depending where the phone is at the time of the incident). My mother says her answering machine often is full of these garbled kind of calls from me.

Do I just have poor phone management skills or do others have the same issue? I took to Facebook and posted a synopsis of my Ambrosia incident on my old journalism pal Dawn’s wall to find out.

You posted it on my wall, alright. But you were all classy about it, using the word "butt" instead of "ass." Of course, I had to take it right to the gutter, and throw in some ass. I can't help it! It's a funny word.

Ass! Ass! Ass!

(Disclaimer: Robin is not responsible for the ass-ing that just, and is about to, occur.)

I reminded Robin that I have "ass-chatted" with an application on my touch-screen phone while walking to my car one evening with device in pocket. A bunch of nonsense, said my ass, to anyone who happened to be on Facebook that night.

Our deep, meaningful thread drew the attention of some of our old Kent State University pals. We are a classy bunch.

Rick said, thanks to butt and Blackberry, he has "ass-Tweeted" nonsense to a prominent journalist. Sammie added that he has arse-activated his Ipod in both grocery stores and meetings, wondering where that awesome Madonna and New Order music was coming from.

Uh, Sam? It's coming out yo butt.

So see, Robin? You're certainly not alone.

And I won't even tell you what happens when I tuck the phone into my bra in the restroom. Butt-dialed? How about boob-dialed? Let's just say my Barnes and Nobles have run some apps!

My classiness, as you call it, is all a sham. A thinly veiled screen to hide my true nature from the world, and any clients and professional contacts who routinely read my blogging efforts. Are there really any of you out there, anyhow? Anyone? Anyone?

My question to you With whom did your ass chat and what did it say? You have a talking ass. That’s pretty awesome. Rick’s is talented, too – his Tweets, and I bet it has something pithy to post, knowing Rick.

Sammie and I are more into musical butts, apparently. I can't decide which is better, however: His Madonna or my Ambrosia. Some might say both equal monumental musical fails. I (and Sammie, I imagine) beg to differ.

Speaking of these fine folks, would you expect anything less than such deep and meaningful conversation from the DKS crew of the late 1980s. Just think about the players involved -- and our former newsroom hijinx. In the immortal words of Edith and Archie Bunker, "those were the days!"

And, for the record, I'm so glad you confessed that your "girls" get unruly with your phone when using your bra for more than a boobie holster. I've done the same thing when I am lacking pockets or an appropriate handbag. I have to admit, my cleavage is pretty secure in such a capacity. (See, classiness does not prevail, as much as I pretend it does.). Now, I think mine want their own lines of service and an iPhone. Or so they say.

You mean your chi-chis can talk? Woman, that is talent! My mammies just run apps...

This Droid phone is a lifeline to my kids, so I take it EVERYWHERE, including the staph/swine-flu/death-infested public bathroom stall.

But I don't always take my 20-lb. behemoth purse with me. So the device gets stuffed in my cleaner-than-the-can-bra with my super-sanitary-stackers while I, er, do my thing.

Once inside the hooter-house, my coconuts get creative with the smartphone. No simple calls for them, no way. Those crazy fog-lights have run all kinds of Android apps: the calculator, the barcode scanner, a quick little game of PacMan...

Busy little beanbags, ain't they?

Oh, and BTW, you asked what my rear had to say the evening I ass-chatted while walking to the car? I'll give you an exact quote, for journalistic integrity and all:

"@&($(()mskhfhi kks * )lsakfj%!( ) mksh*j mm."

Brilliant, no?

Robin, my ol' friend, one thing's for sure: We may be staring at middle age. But our T n A's are still a turn-on. For our phones.

You know it, sistah! And quite literally, too. Hold on for a sec. My phone’s ringing. Hello? Hey, Dawn, it’s for you. it’s your butt. No wait, alright, ass. Do you want to talk to it or should I take a message?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Beware the Sunscreen Nazi

My children complain, loudly and vigorously, that they're the whitest kids in class.

That? Would be my fault.

Because look, across the yard - here I come! More annoying than Coppertone in the eyes! Faster than a screaming first-grader! Able to leap small-ish dogs with sunscreen can in hand!

I am pale! I am pasty! I am...the Sunscreen Nazi!

No kid, spouse or casual acquaintance of mine ventures into that searing sun unless I have slathered them in a slick coating of at least SPF 45. Reapplied to complaining faces every two hours...

Used to be they'd see me with the ol' bottle of Hawaiian Tropic and take off running.

But they have given up. They are no match. They cannot get away from me and my trusty chemical weapon. Not a Weber? Doesn't matter. I've chased other people's kids around swimming pools with the SPF. I've chased grown men on lawnmowers with the SPF.

Watch out - I'll chase you with the SPF.

Aging, like shit, happens, whether we approve of it or not. We really don't need the blazing sun, wrinkling and killing us any faster than necessary. Just like Truvy says in "Steel Magnolias:"

"Honey, time marches on, and eventually you realize it is marchin' across your face."

Also, haven't you read 'The Reports'? The sun is the devil, people! Statistics from http://www.skincancer.org/ state that this disease is now the most common form of cancer in the U.S. In fact, there are more new cases of skin cancer than cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon, combined. One person DIES of skin cancer almost every hour.

Sigh. 'The Reports' scare the be-jeepers out of a professional-grade, nut-case-neurotic worrier like me.

Kids aren't much for 'The Reports.' My daughter, especially wants to know why, why, WHY! I won't let her tan to the color of Cheetos. Here are my Top Five Sunscreen Nazi Reasons to Slather Up:

5. "Leather should describe an accessory. A skin tone? Not so much."
4. "Today's bronzed, brown teens are tomorrow's wrinkled, chain-smoking barflies."
3. "I have already changed 3,559 of your baby diapers. The next person wearing diapers should be me. Not your melanoma-covered butt."
2. "A lady should carry a classic bag. Not become one."

And the Number One reason to wear sunscreen needs no words...

So! My kids, my husband and anyone else within my reach, will remain as pasty as possible. Little whitey-white breads. They'll complain, moan and gripe, and the Sunscreen Nazi will chase, pester and slather. I'll keep their faces as pale as their little white arses.

 After all, I want some grandchildren someday. The chase must go on.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gone to the Dogs...Again

Have a baby, adopt a dog. The end results are just about the same.

Take your average household. Add spit-up, pee and poo at random and completely inconvenient intervals. Subtract sleep and sanitary floors. Shake well. Repeat for a decade plus.

Now, now - don't get me wrong. I love dogs, I love babies. Both offer boundless unconditional affection, hilarity and a more fulfilling life. I have even had babies, two to be exact. They are growing up. Fast. And except for the last two years, I've had dogs my entire life.

Our last one, a German shepherd mix, died in 2008 at age 15. He left behind tears, memories and broken hearts.

He also left behind fur I'm still discovering, scratches on the hardwood floors and a rainbow of stains on the bedroom carpet from his frequent, unpredictable vomiting. In his later years, he woke us several times a night with his various annoying habits and old-age maladies. He had breath that could peel paint.

Sometimes? I still smell it.

Never, ever again, I said. Ever. I wanted to sleep through the night again . I wanted a fresh-smelling house again.

I wanted new, pristine bedroom carpet again.

Two years flew by. I have yet to buy new carpet. With a job, two kids, their sports, a husband...and Facebook, who has time?

So there I was, merrily minding my own business - not buying carpet - when it happened.

Brown eyes...short, stubby body...and all alone.

Sounds a lot like me during my single years. But it was a dog at our babysitter's house - a beagle. Dropped off, probably, by a hilljack who didn't like his hunting skills.

He'd slouched by our sitter's front door for days, apparently unfamiliar with abandonment, apparently waiting to be invited inside.

The babysitter's family named him Roscoe. When I reached down to pet him, he flinched, cowered and squatted, waiting for a beating.

I was heartbroken. I was smitten. I called the husband.

He proceeded to remind me of my 'Never Again!' rants. He proceeded to remind me of the bedroom carpet. I proceeded not to listen, hung up and decided text message-pestering the best medium for the situation:

Me: "I love Roscoe. Roscoe loves me. Do not come between us."
The Hub: "I am the only man in yo' life!"
Me: "Roscoe is not man. He is dog. This is better. He can't talk."

I continued to pummel the husband all day with Roscoe-related text-pestering, eventually wearing him down, per my plan. I brought my new buddy home.

He gave the house a good beagle-sniffing, while I waited for the old outdoor-dog leg-lift. It never came. Seemed as if he already knew the general rules.

He spent his first night huddled on a blanket, as close to my side as he could without getting on the bed. He seemed terrified I'd leave him. That dog made it through the entire night without a potty break. This is a feat I haven't accomplished in 13 years.

The husband, Mr. "I-Like-German-Shepherds-Not-Beagles," brought him fancy-pants Kibbles n' Bits, not the cheapo Wal-Mart Ol' Roy he used to buy. He also turned a blind eye when he found Roscoe asleep on our white coach.

Our previous dogs were never afforded such high-falutin' luxuries. And, in the front yard, surely they've turned over in their graves...

And so the house will stink again. The hardwood floors have braced for more scratches, the couch for more hair, the carpet for more stains.

Doesn't matter. Against my will, judgment and all good common sense, I am in love.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ma'am This

Someone at work is trying to kill me.

Or, I may kill him. I’m not sure.

How’s this happening? Death by ma‘am.

"Morning, ma'am."
“Afternoon, ma‘am.”
"Have a nice lunch, ma'am."

He works there in the lobby, sees me several times a day, ma‘ams me constantly. I’m ready to blow, it’s getting to that point. Here’s what I’m going to tell that little man:

“Stop the ma’am-ness. Now. I’ve got a good ten years, 20 pounds and two inches on you. I think I can take you. Keep it up, and you’re goin’ down.”

Because with every ma’am he lobs my way, I grow older, I grow angrier. First ma’am of the day? Blood pressure rises, right eye begins to twitch. Next one? Wrinkles spread, collagen breaks down. Lunchtime ma’am? Osteoporosis. After that, the effects are cumulative, spiraling out of control.

By 5 p.m., I’m a goner.

He can’t seem to stop himself. I’ve tried to hide, tried all the best evasion tactics - the duck and run, the no eye-contact, the fake cell phone conversation, Ipod earbuds.

But it never fails. He hits me with those ma’ams anyway. Bullets to my youth.

I’ve told him, in a reasonable fashion, of my deep disdain for the word.

“Please don’t call me that. It makes me feel old. My name‘s Dawn,” I said.

“It’s a sign of respect,” he said.

Respect? How about truth - you want the truth? Ma’am is a verdict. The ma’am-user has made an age-judgment based on appearance. And this conclusion is generally not welcomed by the ma’am at hand.

It’s a downright four-letter word.

Four out of five of my girlfriends surveyed also hate being called ma'am. We miss ‘Miss.’ Sunny, happy days those were, not so long ago, when waitresses, store clerks, little lobby dudes looked at our then wrinkle-free skin and saw a ‘Miss’ and not a ‘Ma’am.’

But somehow, someway, despite our best exercise and SPF 45 efforts, we went over Ma'am Mountain anyway. That is, according to little lobby dudes, the guys at the BP station and most other minimum wage employees. Geniuses all.

Since I fear for the safety of these folks, I’m calling for a national m-word re-education policy. According to all the guys behind the counters, I am quite the expert. I’ll be glad to help. Here are some occasions when it's OK to call a woman 'ma'am':

-When checking her into the nursing home
-When helping her shop for a walker
-When giving her directions to her great-granddaughter’s baptism
-When she's unconscious
-When assisting her in finding just the right dress for her 65th wedding anniversary
-While changing the tire on her Buick, which flattened on the way to her weekly hair appointment

And the very best time to call a woman ma’am?

The day she’s forgotten her hearing aids.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Welcome to the Diner

Hello! My name is Mommy, and I'll be your server this evening.

I will also be this eatery's chef, hostess, manager and busboy.

Yeah, Mommy is talented like that. That's how Mommy rolls.

Tonight we'll be serving chicken nuggets, pizza and some sort of dead animal for your Dad. Oh - and a dinky-dang-diet-meal for me.

That's right. Chef Mommy here will prepare FOUR different meals for FOUR different people! Just as she has for the last SEVEN years...

Mommy is amazing like that. That's how Mommy rolls.

I won't bother you with The Chef's Special. It's irrelevant. I haven't prepared a recipe since you were born. Recipes, in general, don't come from a box. And we all know, if it doesn't come out of a box, it isn't going into your mouth.

You say you'd like chocolate milk, and not the plain variety I've set before you? So sorry, sir! Here - let me fix that. No, really. Don't get up. Serving you is one of life's great pleasures.

Again - that's how Mommy rolls.

What's that, young miss? You say you don't like the service here? Not enjoying Mommy's mood tonight? You say you want to go to Grandma's house?

I tell you what: Let's go to Grandma's house. Only, not the cookie-baking, junk-making granny you know today.

Let's have some fun. Let's go back...way back to the 70s and see what Granny's making for dinner, when she was a mom like me. Close your eyes, now...

Hmm...what's this? Why, it's pork chops - with (gasp!) bones in-tact, fried in a skillet. And - (yikes!) - lima beans. Rounding it all out, we have (horrors!) baked potatoes, with salt, pepper and a little butter. No sour cream in sight.

Still four people. But guess what, kids? ONE meal. Mmm-hmmm. Don't like it? That's fine with Grandma.

Don't worry. She does offer choices. You can:

1. Eat the pork chops, beans and potatoes, or
2. Go right to bed.

Because that? Is how 70s Mommies rolled.

Well...look who's returned! Welcome back to 2010, kids.

Enjoy your meals.