Archive | July, 2012

Bottle Patrol

28 Jul

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Everyone has their thing.

My husband’s thing is to be OCD about windows and doors in the house, specifically windows and doors being open or closed at certain times of day. And fans being on or off at corresponding times of day, to maximize air flow in our “naturally” air-conditioned home.

And my thing is bottles. That’s right: bottles.

Specifically, it drives me crazy when people (i.e., my husband, and following in his footsteps my son) open a new bottle of something when there is already an available bottle that is not yet empty.

This is a significant issue in the refrigerator and in our bathroom. It happens with ketchup, mustard, pickles, and personal care products. I have come to believe that this issue is associated with the regular requests from my husband and son that go something like:

Where is my ___________?

Note that I get this question on a daily basis, in person, via text and voice mail. I can guarantee that if I have an early morning flight, as soon as I arrive at my destination I will hear this question from either my husband or my son.

Another variation on this same theme:

I can’t find the milk (I just bought) in the refrigerator. Where did you put it?

My response:

If you just bought it and put it in there, why can you not find it yourself? Do you still have eyes?

And,

Why do I have to know where all of your stuff is?

If I am not around to answer these questions, then a new bottle of (fill in the blank) gets opened.

I have dubbed myself “Bottle Patrol” in order to keep this problem in check. This is a real-life story about the hell I go through to keep this house organized in terms of bottles.

Two weeks ago, I had to consolidate body wash, dandruff shampoo, and conditioner in the bathroom because there were so many opened bottles of the same thing. It took me an hour to do this, upending bottles and draining them into corresponding already open bottles, rinsing out the empty ones, and putting empty and washed bottles into the recycling.

This morning, Bottle Patrol was on duty yet again. This is often the case after my husband makes the bi-weekly trip to Costco. He grew up Mormon and therefore has a natural instinct for stockpiling large amounts of supplies. The man has strong survivalist tendencies. His philosophy of “More is better” gets him in trouble with the Bottle Patrol.

Upon entering the bathroom this morning, I noticed that the problem I’d cleaned up two weeks ago had reappeared:

Three bottles of dandruff shampoo (two as of yet unopened) and two bottles of body wash (one still unopened) were overpopulating the shelf in the shower.

My response (he was not here to hear me say it):

No, no, and NO! Why do you keep doing this! We have tons of storage space for all your extra supplies. Why do you have to put the new bottles into rotation when the old one is not yet empty? Why, why, WHY?

I often go on to ask myself:

What does he think will happen that he puts so many flipping bottles of stuff in the shower? Will he for some reason be taking a shower and finish off the opened bottle of dandruff shampoo, and then have to be forced to open BOTH of the new bottles? The man has no hair. I cannot imagine this happening!

My son, as mentioned, has these same tendencies. Being a newly minted pre-teen, he is all of a sudden uber-hygiene-aware. He is stuck on Dove Men’s Body Wash EXTRA FRESH with Cooling Agent and Micro-Moisture. Promptly upon opening a new bottle, he announces:

Mom, I need more of the Dove Men’s Body Wash, THE GREEN EXTRA FRESH KIND. Can you get me three bottles?

Clearly, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to bottle accumulation.

I will train that kid, but my husband is beyond help.

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Superheroes

10 Jul

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We are all suckers for a good superhero.

Everybody has their favorite:

  • Batgirl
  • Superman
  • Thor
  • Wonder Woman
  • Spiderman
  • Elastigirl

Okay, the last one is not a bona fide superhero. But I still like her special power, plus her hairdo.

Back to the topic:

Why is it that we are in awe of superheroes and their superpowers?

While watching Thor with my son over the weekend, I was thinking about this question. Besides the obvious reasons for why I enjoy Thor, there are more respectable and legitimate reasons to explain superhero worship, based upon my less than extensive research:

  • They have back-story. Superheroes tend to acquire their superpowers as a result of overcoming trials and tribulations. By enduring adversity, they rise above and conquer. They’ve worked hard to be super, and we like them more because we’ve seen them be vulnerable.
  • Superheroes have awesome costumes. The costume-maker in The Incredibles is a classic character that makes the costumes for her superhero cast come alive. Each costume is fitted specifically to the superhero’s needs, including being fire-retardant when necessary. Note to Wonder Woman: I urge you to secure Edna’s services. She could fashion a costume that would not prevent you from breathing.
  • The characters can do everything we imagine being able to master in our dreams. Flying, catching things on fire, freezing stuff, disappearing, shooting poison arrows with our eyes, bending metal, seeing through walls, etc. Superheroes mean serious business, and they have the powers to back up their promises. This is a superhero-worthy list of superpowers that goes into depth on all of the possibilities, by category. Who doesn’t want to have that level of bad-a$$-ness?
  • Superheroes save people’s lives. An extension of the above noted superpowers, the life-saving ability cannot be overrated. Superheroes have doctor complex out the yin-yang. Saving lives makes your own more valuable. This is an automatic confidence-booster, and I encourage anyone to do it whenever possible. Learn CPR. Who knows when it might come in handy?
  • They stand out in a crowd. Superheroes often wear garish colors that go well beyond the worst combinations of sports jersey hues. They look like bugs, bats, the American flag, or mythical figures on steroids. But they rock it. Who doesn’t want to pump up the volume like this every once in a while? It certainly makes the day more interesting.
  • Superheroes are real people in disguise. I personally think this is the best reason. Putting on a mask throws everyone off. What an easy way to become something you are not.

Every once in a while, we get to approach superhero-dom in our daily lives, in the eyes of our kids or our co-workers. And we get to watch others outperform normal expectations and impress us beyond belief. Then we go back to being normal.

It’s this chance to be “super” every once in a while that makes life worth living, but being “normal” on most days is such an important part of the appeal. Striving, never giving up, and believing we can be our best…this is the power of the “real-life” superhero.

Like Riding a Motorcycle

9 Jul

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About halfway back during our return trip to Columbus from the Outer Banks, the AC died in our car. I think this was karmic payback. Since we missed all the power outages while we were playing on the beach and enjoying air-conditioned goodness in our our vacation manse, we had to pay the price.

While simultaneously being deafened, windburned, and sunburned due to open windows all through the Blue Ridge mountains, I tried to imagine myself on a motorcycle. (It worked out pretty well unless the complaining from my kids in the back seat interrupted the flow of my imagination.)

In my motorcycle dream, I looked like Penelope Cruz in a Pedro Almodovar movie, gracefully accelerating my motorcycle across the Spanish flatlands with wind turbines in the background. (To keep the dream alive, there had to be many wind metaphors, along with me looking like Penelope Cruz with windblown hair.)

The reality is that I looked more like the crazy lady riding the moped in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. My hair achieved a variety of full-volume not even possible with repeated blow-drying. I accentuated this look with a Starbuck’s coffee frappuccino serving as a functional air conditioner in the old school “before we had cup-holders” position.

Ah, the sophisticated look of a mid-40s lady. Yep, that’s me.

Family Time

4 Jul

I am currently at the Outer Banks in North Carolina, on vacation with my extended family. There are 18 of us in a four-story house, with five branches of the Edwards clan. Eleven of the group are under the age of 25. Man, this house is loud.

Some highlights:

  • Overhearing my 11-year-old son and his two similarly aged cousins having a discussion about “Monk” while hot tubbing. “Did you see the one where….?” About 100 times.
  • Grocery shopping with my husband, making quiches one afternoon in an empty kitchen while everyone was at the beach…and other fairly routine activities that are made all the better by having ZERO competing obligations or distractions.
  • There are more bathrooms in this house than I can precisely remember. I think there are eight. A real necessity with so many people. I could go on…
  • This house has fabulous AC, powered by the wonders of electricity. Back at my house in Columbus, the power has been out several times, and it has consistently been 100 degrees. Here, it is only in the upper 80s. Cue the “ha-ha” sound effect.
  • There are several children among the contingent of cousins with behaviors reminiscent of my own children’s when they were younger. I find them endearing, and at the same time am quite pleased to be beyond having to police my kids.

Probably the best part of the trip has been seeing my kids get to catch up with all of their cousins, who live in Maine, Florida, and California. It must be a very instinctive behavior to get goosebumps as a parent when all of the kids are together. Something tribal or clannish about this. I wish we all lived closer–but it’s impressive that everyone stays caught up via Facebook, Skype, and texting.

With this very large extended family of my husband’s, I often find myself being an observer. There are so many big, loud, lovable personalities to just sit back and watch. I’m thankful to experience the rollicking fun (and occasional insanity) of being in a big family. Good times.