April 28, 2016

editorial pic
Every family has moments that leave you with that puzzled look on your face wondering how in the world you ended up somewhat normal. This week, I had one of those moments with mine.
My parents, who have more crap than Sanford and Son, decided a few months back that moving, yet again, was a good idea. (After all, it has been a whole three years since the last move.) They sold their waterfront condo in a matter of days and found the perfect house vacant and ripe for the picking. Only one problem….as a foreclosure, it was a disaster.
I listened to the plans as they added up and thought to myself, “Man, I hope they are planning to hire people to do this work,” knowing that at some point I was going to be lassoed in like a calf at a rodeo. I was right. With a bid on painting the entire inside of the house coming in at $4,000, my mom said, “To hell with that. Grab yourself a paintbrush and get to work.”
I thought, “How bad can it be,” and went to work on day one with a smile on my face. It quickly faded as my back spasm and I splashed my eyes with paint.
Day three of painting arrived, and I wasn’t going to be able to join the crew to stand around talking in the kitchen about all the things we needed to get done while merely holding the paintbrushes until later that afternoon. Around noon, my phone rang. It was my brother, and I could tell by the tone of his voice that this was going to be good.
“I don’t have much time to talk, but you’re not going to believe what “your” parents are doing,” he said. I was on the line like a tuna on a herring. I asked what was going on. “So we were headed to Burger King to grab something quick for lunch. Of course Mom busted out her coupons, and Dad said he needed cheese for his Whopper,” he said. I replied, “So? What’s the big deal about that?” “He said he wouldn’t pay $.20 extra for cheese at Burger King, so we stopped at Winn-Dixie and they are inside now buying their own block of cheese,” he answered.
I sat there with a bewildered look on my face like this had to be a joke and finally I said, “You are kidding me, right?” My brother answered back with a chuckle, “Nope. They would rather spend $5.00 to get the “good” cheese.” We both cracked up laughing at the fact that we have parents who didn’t mind spending tens of thousands of dollars renovating a home, but $.20 for cheese is just cray. I shook my head.
Personally, I’m all about convenience. Instead of driving to the grocery store, getting out of the car, encountering idiots galore while perusing the aisles all to pay 500 times more for the “good” cheese…..I’ll just pay the $.20. Life’s too short for all that stress.
Today, I went over to see if they needed my help with any last minute packing as the moving trucks are scheduled to be there in the morning. With the past four weeks to pack, I expected there to be some loose odds and ends. Instead, I walked into an episode of Hoarders: Moving Edition. I packed boxes with hundreds of pens and thousands of pieces of useless papers. I packed 17 boxes of pictures spanning my entire life. I packed things from the pantry that I’m pretty sure they don’t make anymore.
When it was all said and done, (at least for me), I realized that I need to say a special prayer for that poor unsuspecting moving crew that has no idea what tomorrow is going to bring. A hundred boxes, 25 side tables, and an endless array of remnants lie waiting.
As I looked around before I walked out the door to rest my aching back after a day of hard work, nothing was recognizable in the home the once had here. Nothing except the cheese slicer on the counter. I couldn’t help but smile. At least they’ve got the essentials.
Here’s to my parents, their new home, and the best dang block of cheese they’ve ever put on a Whopper.

April 21, 2016

editorial pic
Over the years, I have been called many things, but the one recurring theme is sarcastic smart ass. In my younger years I wasn’t sure how to take this label. Now, I wear it like a badge of honor and here’s why.
Some people choose being sarcastic because beating someone up will more than likely get you arrested in today’s society. Some say being sarcastic is an emotional tool to shield your feelings. Others say that it is a way to insult the idiots of this world and get away with it. I say all of these things are true in my case.
If you don’t get sarcasm, you might need to get with the program and start using your brain. There are several studies out that are now showing that sarcastic people are smarter than you think.
I recently read an article where Dr. Shaman-Tsoory, who is a psychologist at the University of Haifa, claimed “Understanding other people’s state of mind and emotions are related to our ability to understand sarcasm.” He went on to say that sarcastic people are wizards at figuring out when others are lying and know exactly what to say to trigger the emotional response they want from the other individual.
The study showed that people who use sarcasm often work their brains just a little bit harder than those who don’t, and their ability to anticipate their opponent’s reaction makes them worthy mental adversaries. I took this to mean that being well versed in sarcasm is pretty much the closest thing to a mind-reading super power. Take that, Professor Xavier.
The study also showed that the brains of sarcastic people were clinically proven to have better problem solving skills, especially when under pressure. So basically, if the zombie apocalypse is upon us, you’ll want me on your team. I’ll probably come up with at least one crazy, unconventional way to save our lives. And if all else fails, I’ll keep you entertained to the bitter end.
Being sarcastic is like showing up to a knife fight with a gun. No matter where the conversation goes, you can be sure that you’ll never end up feeling uncomfortable in the corner with nothing to say. You’ll come out swinging for the fences no matter how awkward you feel inside. Not to mention you won’t be the one who ends up in tears when your friends all make fun of you giant zit over drinks. Sarcastic people know how to take it as well as dish it out. I’ll admit…sometimes getting picked on has hurt me inside, but I never let them see me sweat and I always have a comeback that allows me to strut right out of the line of fire.
Reports show that just being around a sarcastic person can make you smarter. Richard Chin of the Smithsonian wrote that sarcasm is a form of mental gymnastics. While the person is saying one thing, they mean quite the opposite, forcing the brain to reroute the information and decode the message. If you have friends or family who constantly subject you to their sarcastic ways, your brain is forced to work harder in turn making you sharper.
For example, if you do a few sets of 100 each night, over time, your core is bound to be toned. The “extra work” brought forth by sarcasm leaves our brains toned, too. Essentially, just being in my presence makes you all a little smarter. You’re welcome.
I know my style of wit isn’t for everyone, and that’s why as I grow older I have learned to “know my audience” if you will. Some people just don’t appreciate sarcastic humor, some are just too stupid to get it, and sometimes it’s just not an appropriate time or place. I’m still working on figuring out that last one, as I tend to find myself wishing I had some kind of filter every now and then.
Never one to have many regrets, I know deep down that I’ll always be a sarcastic person and I encourage you out there to try your hand at it as well. Not only will you be providing entertaining laughs, you’ll be providing brain training for all of those you come in contact with. And lord knows, there are a lot of people put there that need all the help they can get.

April 14, 2016

Editorial pic -fashion roadkill
This week I had the opportunity to try something I’ve never wanted to do….become a runway model. At barely 5’4” and far from a size 0, the thought had never even crossed my mind, but I suited up and tromped down the catwalk anyways, praying that I didn’t become fashion roadkill.
My friend who works in the bridal department at Dillard’s called me the night before the show in a panic. “Can you please come in and model a wedding dress for me tomorrow? I can’t find anyone else to do it, and I’m desperate,” she said. Although not flattered by her “desperate” comment, I obviously knew she was in a pinch if I was her go to runway bride, so I agreed.
When I came into the store to try on the dress, I had to admit that I was a little excited to be wearing a bridal gown. Even though I have already had the chance to do so at my own wedding, what girl doesn’t want to try them all on at least once? All of that excitement diminished like the letdown of a non-winning lottery ticket the second I saw the dress.
It was pretty, with tulle and delicate flowers, but it was short and showed off my fresh new burn scars that I’m still not comfortable with. She could see it all over my face when I stepped out of the dressing room. “Are you sure I can’t wear a long dress,” I asked. “Maybe I can swap you and a bridesmaid out,” she replied. I felt terrible asking her to change the lineup for me, but I’m pretty sure the last thing anyone wanted was a chubby bride looking like Freddy Kruger and sadness on her “wedding day” out there.
Sure enough, I was able to switch dresses with one of the other girls, but there was only one problem….the dress was extremely long and I was not. “In order for us to make this one work, we’ll have to put you in some really tall heels. Are you okay with that,” she asked. I had already made her change the program for me, so I was going to wear whatever shoes she told me to.
When I saw them, my heart started beating faster. The heels were 5 ½” platforms that looked like something straight off the pole at a strip club. I knew I was going to look like a new born deer trying to stand for the first time, but I strapped them on and headed out to meet the others in preparation for the show. Ten minutes later, I had made the 50 foot trek safely. “Don’t worry. You’ll have a guy to hold onto while walking down the runway, so it shouldn’t be too bad,” my friend said.
As we approached the fashion show site, my biggest fear was recognized when she came over and said, “Change of plans. You’ll be walking with the flower girl instead.” I looked down from my now towering stature to see a little girl about 5 years old standing there in head to toe pink tulle with a big bow in her hair staring back at me with eyes that seemed to say, “please don’t fall and kill me”. I knew I couldn’t make her any promises. Besides, kids are pretty resilient.
As the people in line in front of us hit the stage, my heart started pounding in my chest. I can barely walk in real life, how was I going to be able to prance like a gazelle in front of a crowd full of strangers down the cat walk without falling or looking like a completely awkward idiot? I took a deep breath, my sweaty hand gripped the tiny little flower girls fingers, and I stepped through the curtain.
I made it a few steps before I realized that I couldn’t look at my feet the whole time, so I raised my head and smiled. The crowd cheered and clapped for us, followed by a group “awwww” as I twirled my little one around in a circle at the end of the runway. We were nailing it so far. All I had to do was get back to the other end of the seemingly never-ending, not to mention narrow, runway.
I turned to head back and my little friend stepped on the end of my dress so I froze until she took another step releasing me from a sure disaster. Once we were back together in stride, we made it and safely exited without crashing and burning like the Hindenburg.
In the end, the show was fun, but I think it’s safe to say that a career as a fashion model is not in the cards. I’m also scrapping pop star, Real Housewives of (any city here), and stripper from the list strictly based on the torture devices some of these people call shoes. If I want to punish myself that much ever again, I’ll go on the Atkins diet.
New experiences can be scary, but they can also be a lot of fun. I keep reminding myself that each day is a gift and I should always keep expanding my horizons. Sometimes it’s a hit, and sometimes it’s a miss. I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be “missing” that runway anytime soon.

April 7, 2016

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This week I celebrated my birthday. Yay (said with heavy sarcasm). Once you’ve reached a certain age, birthdays just don’t have the same pizazz they once did. Although I was less than excited to turn yet another year older, I was hoping that my day wouldn’t be a total bust. Let’s just say….I’m glad I don’t gamble.
The night before my birthday, my husband arrived home from work on time and with a smile on his face (which is always a good sign). I know his days at work lately have been brutal, so I never really know which version of him I’ll get. He was chipper, and after we ate dinner I was expecting him to be ready to start the birthday festivities with me.
By 9:00 pm, he was in bed and I was depressed. So what does a girl do when she’s depressed and lonely? She strips down, pours a glass of wine, and turns on a sappy romantic comedy. By glass number two, I was genuinely feeling better. It could have been the Merlot talking, but I was feeling optimistic things.
That feeling was short lived when I woke up at 10 am (which I thought was late), only to find that my husband was still in a coma. By noon, I was in tears and he was still snoozing away. By 1 pm, he was finally up and at ‘em, but there was clearly no plan for the day. No card. No cake. No thought put into it whatsoever. Again, the tears flowed.
He took me to lunch, which cheered me up a bit, but I was still down in the dumps. Later that night, he took me to meet some friends for dinner. I wasn’t expecting anything other than a night of laughs, but I was surprised to see a giant present in the middle of the table upon my arrival. I was overwhelmed by their generosity. I know birthdays aren’t about gifts, but it was nice to know that somebody wanted me to light up with a smile on my special day.
The next night, I met my gorgeous, ridiculously in shape friends who still look 17 out for dinner and drinks. Always good for a million laughs and conversation that would make Andrew Dice Clay blush, I knew this was going to be a good night. That sentiment held true until we ventured out for drinks amongst the 20 somethings. Nothing makes you feel older or grosser than a 22 year old guy telling you that you remind him of his mom then pushing you into a corner so he can make his way to your two hot friends that he doesn’t even realize are the same age as myself.
Feeling defeated, fat, and old, I was ready to get out of dodge and get back into my old lady onesie in the comfort of my own home. We headed out the door and walked about a block before we ran into a woman and her husband with a pet squirrel and skunk in tow.
The giant animal lover that I am, I lit up. I chatted with them for a few minutes about what the animals were like at home, what made them pick such strange species, and how I could get one myself. I asked if I could take a picture next to them, and the lady replied, “Sure! Would you like to hold him?” Uh….duh!!!
As I took all 13 pounds of “Snickers” the skunk into my arms, my crappy birthday week melted away. He was soft and gentle and loved to cuddle. Within a minute or two, I was getting “skunk kisses” all over my face. I didn’t even care that he was a skunk or where his tongue had been. Sometimes a girl just needs to be kissed on her birthday. Thanks Snickers.
I guess not every birthday can be super special or exciting or full of gifts (although that card would’ve been nice…..my husband is still in the doghouse for that one). It’s the time you spend with the people who love you, even if that means you end up naked by yourself drinking wine and kissing a skunk. Hey, I may be old but I still march to the beat of my own drum.
Here’s to making the best of it!

March 24, 2016

Editorial pic (springbreakparties.net)
Spring Break is the time that all the party animals come out of the woodwork to live it up for that one week that will become, as Barney Stinson would say, “legend….wait for it….dary!” Face it, there are some old folks who still like to feel their spirit come alive on the beach surrounded by oiled up babes in bikinis and drunken college kids. This week, I realized I am not one of them. Here’s what I learned.
At some point, Spring Break has to become a memory. You can only hold on to your college years for so long and then you just become the old person at the party still trying to get down with the “kids”. It doesn’t matter that you can hold your liquor better than everyone at the party if you’re 15 years older than everyone, clearly, you’ve had more practice. This doesn’t make you cool.
My experience this week with spring breakers lead me to feel angry that the children have invaded my local watering holes, so I sat in the corner gripping my drink, talking about their awful attire and obnoxious clone-like looks. I knew this was sign number one that I am too old for human interaction during spring break.
Spring Break was originally intended for kids to get a break before the final push of classes. If you haven’t been in school, for the sake of taking classes, in the last 5 years, then, you might be too old for Spring Break. After all, what are you going to tell the people at the house party when they ask you about college life?
Well in my case, I struck up a conversation with some Florida State kids (my alma mater) after hearing them sing all the words to the Backstreet Boys ‘I Want It That Way’ by saying, “How do you guys even know that song?” One of the girls responded by saying, “I remember my mom singing it to me on the way to preschool every day.” I felt like she had punched me in the mouth.
The conversation went on when I told them I went there when they won the National Championship. “Oh, that’s cool. So you were there with Jameis Winston,” they asked. Then I remembered we’ve had one since 1999. Not only did that make me feel 100 when I explained, but it also made me acutely aware that I may have early onset dementia.
This was the second sign that I am too old for human interaction during spring break.
The next lesson I learned is what not to do in the future after I met a group of 40 something ladies partying like rock stars with the young kids. As we started chatting, I learned that the women were newly divorced and sharing a condo with their college daughters to, quote, unquote, “party our (blanks) off”. It got weirder as they explained the system in the condo when one of them brought a “random” home.
Not only did this make me feel uncomfortable, it made me feel 800 years old due to the fact that I wanted to punish the women’s bad parenting by spanking them and making them stand in a corner. I realized they might have been down for that and this was reason number three that I am too old for human interaction during spring break.
Although I never went out to interact with the youngsters on the party train, when living here on the beach it is inevitable. While I enjoy their energy for the most part, I no longer have enough of it myself to keep up. So I think as spring break winds down and summer gets going, you’ll find this old fart in the corner taking it all in. Besides, I may be too old to party with the cool kids, but I can always get a good story out of it. Here’s to being 22 again!