OMG, thank You that I’m feeling better. However, if You’d unleashed this strain of flu on the Egyptians back in Moses’ time, maybe You wouldn’t have had to send the other ten plagues?
We teach our children to avoid bullying words. Bad words.
However, we forget to warn them of the most dangerous word of all:
“Never” has not appeared on the official Mothers’ Wash-out-your-mouth-with-soap List. It does not throw around the weight of “antidisestablishmentarianism” or preen itself as “zygodactylus” does. “Never” is pronounceable and SCRABBLE-friendly, accommodating and safe.
Don’t believe it.
Definitely don’t say it.
Otherwise, you will join thousands who never speed — those who find themselves listening to troopers’ lectures and writing big checks.
If you diss someone’s double chin — “That will never happen to me” — you soon will trip over yours.
We exercise the least caution when referring to marriage and children — especially if single and/or childless.
I recall my early resolve never to marry a pastor like my father. Instead, I married a doctor. Soon, I realized I had not appreciated Dad’s job. No parishioner ever approached him at KFC to discuss Aunt Pearlie Mae’s hemorrhoids while I was eating mashed potatoes and gravy. Or trying to.
Likewise, if you determine your future husband will never appear in public looking like that, you will marry one who wears a sports coat to dress up sweat pants.
If you declare your wife will never buy Longaberger baskets or Gucci handbags, prepare to attend ribbon cuttings when the aforesaid companies name new plants after you.
Even used by others, “never” exerts surprising power. Sixty-plus years ago, my mother’s doctor decreed she never would have children. My four siblings and I like to think of ourselves as miracles.
“Never” takes child-rearing to brutal levels, e.g., when an expectant parent decrees, “I will never allow bedtime manipulation.” Such naïveté guarantees nursery conditions rivaling those of a POW camp. Sleepless parents make marks on the wall, hoping Baby sleeps before graduation.
Some will “never” use the TV as a babysitter — only to park kids before Barney marathons with Cheeto Pizza when desperate for romance. Or a shower.
The madness continues. Our children never will throw tantrums in restaurants, flush our phones, or cherry-bomb school restrooms.
I declared I never would be a soccer mom. At least, I wouldn’t be ejected for hassling referees.
Enough of me. Back to you. Your children never acquire Amish beards, cleavage or tattoos, right? They never choose colleges that would bankrupt Donald Trump, bring home Chewbacca’s twin as a prospective mate, or lose your credit card in Leningrad.
Interestingly, as years accumulate, “never” diminishes. Hubby and I eat in front of the TV, our feet on the furniture. We tell fun stories, but we never repeat ourselves. Conscientious grandparents, we never spoil our grandchildren.
Above all, we never say …
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What happened the last time you said “never”?
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and Daylight Saving Time,” said NO Bible. Ever. OMG, perhaps those who make such laws should leave the creating to You!
Few Midwesterners regard March as the dream month.
Though Halloween’s goblins haunt October, March often qualifies as the year’s worst nightmare.
First, the time change disrupts biological clocks. “Spring forward?” Time saved?
That Sunday ranks as the crankiest of the church calendar. If I were a pastor, I’d refuse to preach until everyone had consumed two cups of coffee, plus three doughnuts apiece to sweeten tempers.
By March, we who have braved winters have had it with gloating snowbird social media — especially if Mother Nature goes off her meds, delivering a final winter blow.
Before attempting to consider March a “dream month,” let’s visualize it as a combination of pluses and minuses — a wintry mix, as weather gurus term it.
First, March weather in the Midwest presents a huge opportunity to complain. We love to complain!
Also, most snowbirds return by March’s end, when Indiana typically suffers its wickedest weather. Watching beach babies shiver in sandals makes it all worthwhile.
“This is nothing,” we stalwart Hoosiers brag. “Wait till you hear The Weather Channel’s predictions for April!”
Another March mixed blessing: my birthday — far more welcome during my childhood.
Now, though, my birthday presents a legal opportunity to abandon my wretched diet and silence my exercise video’s cheery nagger.
A new mixed blessing arrived with this year’s birthday: Social Security. I look forward to its benefits — but, Uncle Sam, haven’t you made a big mistake? I’m still in college.
Given my “young” mindset, I hardly plan to retire, as I’ve grown inordinately fond of shooting off my mouth via print. Good behavior doesn’t sound nearly as fun.
Plus, around my birthday, I dream of next year’s writing adventure. What stories will tease me? What new imaginary friends will visit while I write their novels? March brings the best writing weather of the year, when I rarely venture from my cozy writing cave.
March also presents a lo-o-ong transition time in which we can contemplate spring cleaning for a whole month without actually doing it. Ditto for yard work.
Winter days remain for camouflaging flab with baggy sweaters. Yet, during thaws, we can raid spare room closets for (baggy) spring clothes.
During March Madness, basketball fans dream of their teams winning it all. Yet, spring training baseball scores awaken cravings for the sound of bat on ball, hot dog fragrances, and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” wafting on spring breezes.
Daffodils, the ultimate dreamers, urge us to leave winter behind, as does the calendar that naively celebrates spring on March 20.
So what if they’re out of touch with reality? March is indeed the dream month, and I’m ready to celebrate. Who’s with me?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you celebrate/survive March?
Oh, my God, at my age, sometimes I want to forget birthdays. But OMG, considering all the blessings You’ve sent my way, don’t You think I should party the whole month?
My New Year’s resolution diet isn’t going well. Yours?
No wonder. According to weight loss gurus, we should never diet when under stress. We should have postponed until a kind genie shoveled our driveways, thawed frozen pipes and freed us from snow days with kids who act like us.
But no-o-o-o, we announced to spouses, relatives, Facebook friends and Australian Twitter pals that we intended to lose X number of pounds.
Hollywood celebrities often tout advanced diet alternatives. Critics point out these people, habitually in rehab and/or kidnapped by aliens, might not prove health experts. But they are thin. Therefore, we must take their advice and adopt the following:
- Grapefruit Oil Diet. Instead of eating grapefruit, a dieter sniffs a vial of grapefruit oil before meals. The aroma fires up her liver, burning away every trace of the three Moose Tracks Sundaes she ate. Some report even better results from smelling skunk oil, but I’m not that desperate … yet.
- Salmon Diet. Eating salmon three times a day combats inflammation, the alleged source of all health problems. It also exchanges the eater’s decrepit body for a young one, including a flashy facelift. Love the idea. But does it sound a little fishy?
- Baby Food Diet. Mmm, strained turkey and beet dinners. An extra 200 calories are burned per meal if the dieter makes airplane sounds.
- Lemonade Diet. Participants drink a mixture of lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup exclusively for 10 days. This liquid diet completely cleanses a body of toxins.*
*The toxins run away screaming. This diet was carried out on a closed course by a professional. Do not attempt at home.
- Most dieters, without messy surgeries or loss of vital organs, practice some form of the Amputation Diet before weigh-ins. We clip nails, get haircuts, and remove clothing, jewelry, contact lenses/glasses and birthmarks before stepping on scales. In addition, Amputation Diet enthusiasts claim a loss of 10-25 pounds in one day if you don’t mind losing a limb.
Fortunately, we can retain our arms, yet remain on diets, if we plan carefully. Try a different diet every day of the month. How can this help? Most diets include a “splurge day.” Schedule 30 splurge days of 30 different diets, and you will never feel deprived.
Exercise is given far too much emphasis. Watching other people exercise, on the other hand, prevents injuries.
Every dieter should collect helpful books, including Virtual Calories and Meditate Away Your Fat Cells.
The websites were right. Since adopting this new approach, I find dieting a “fun, wonderful, educational journey.” One problem: I couldn’t zip my jeans this morning.
Where’s that diet genie when I need him?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What diet tip can you share?
Oh, my God, thank You that despite an official food pyramid consisting of peanut butter, jelly and Wonder Bread — not one kale leaf in sight — we Boomers grew up big and strong. OMG, for our health’s sake, maybe we should return to our dietary roots?
The past few decades, we Americans have discovered a new pastime, though many consider it a solemn responsibility: supervising microwave numbers.
Each day, millions of men, women and children monitor microwave countdowns like space launches.
I do like microwaves. They have saved more marriages than Dr. Phil.
The first year of my husband’s medical practice, he spent our last penny to buy one for me. I didn’t know whether to kiss or kill him. As we navigated his 16-hour days and my baby bottles and strained peas, I leaned toward the kiss.
I found myself eyeing each and every microwave number. Friends conducted similar surveillance when heating their babies’ rice cereal. Years later, we all continue the staring drill with every bag of popcorn and frozen lump of hamburger we forgot to defrost. Blinking is allowed. Apparently, though, transferring one’s gaze to a family member or a house fire is asking for trouble.
Why do we watch microwave numbers? If we don’t, will the food disappear into an alternative universe?
As free Americans, we should cease this self-imposed tyranny.
Math addicts claim to experience withdrawal without their daily allotment of numbers. Fine. Calculate how many nickels you’d use to pay taxes this year. Or count dishtowels you own whose color you can actually identify.
I prefer theological ponderings: If God had made me a jellyfish, wouldn’t I be living someplace warmer?
Perhaps you spend microwave time in practical pursuits, such as scrubbing grape Popsicle® stains your toddler grandson rubbed into white kitchen cabinets. (He’s 16 now? It’s probably time.)
Some innovators learn new skills. Consider teaching yourself to tie your shoes left-handed or balance a celery stalk on your nose.
Other number watchers focus on civic responsibilities, brushing up on the Pledge of Allegiance. They practice state capitals they learned in fifth grade, shouting ’em out, impressing the world — at least, coworkers in their lunchroom.
We all could practice speeches we’d make if the President gave us two minutes of his time.
We could practice what we’d say if God gave us two minutes of His time.
Actually, He’s eager to hear us. He’d also applaud if, instead of spending 9.731 years of our lives overseeing microwave numbers, we’d build relationships.
Build relationships? In minutes? Seconds? Certainly. Social media can connect us in microseconds.
There’s also the old-fashioned phone call (“Hi. I was heating up kumquats and thought of you.”)
We might even share a “Good morning” with spouse, family and coworkers.
If you insist, watch every number as you heat your morning mug of tea. But I guarantee a 30-second kiss with your spouse will warm you even more.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite microwave-timer pastime?
OMG, this Presidents’ Day, thank You that I’m not the President. Even as a child, I realized it must be one tough job. Our teacher called George Washington the Father of Our Country. His classroom portrait looked more like the Grandma of Our Country. Look what the presidency did to him!
When my husband occasionally takes a job-related trip, I don’t blink an eye. As a medical student, resident, then small-town doctor, he considered hospitals his home away from home. Or was our home the home away from home?
We never got that straight. But we worked it out.
Those early days proved challenging. Alone in a big-city apartment, this small-town girl read thick books to fill nighttime hours. I went to the grocery after dark only if my books weighed more than me. I braved the laundromat only if the hamper attracted flies.
A new basement apartment expanded the all-night-alone experience. Window sills were at sidewalk level. While eating dinner, we watched anonymous feet and legs walking past.
When Hubby spent the night at the hospital, the thought of feet kicking in screens kept me wide-eyed. I sang along with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and saluted the flag when television stations went off the air. Since continuous noise forms a shield no criminal can penetrate, I turned on the radio. I triple-checked the dead bolt.
Why “dead”? Why not “alive bolt”?
Stop, I prodded myself. This is the era of Charlie’s Angels. Women don’t have to live scared.
But I didn’t own a gun or know karate. Worse, my hair refused to do the Farrah Fawcett thing.
Should I block the door with heavy furniture? Given our basement windows, not overly effective. Perhaps create a burglar alarm using Pepsi cans, á la my dad?
Outside stairways creaked. Anonymous feet lurked. …
My creativity shifted into overdrive. Maybe I’d grease the entrance and window sills with Crisco®?
But what if Hubby received an unexpected night off?
Hey, it could happen.
I decided to leave the bathroom light on. After all, science has proved all-night bathroom lights morph into deadly lasers that zap intruders, then flush them down the toilet.
What, that would never happen?
How do you know?
Please do not knock my imagination, as Hubby and I eventually discovered our apartment complex was a major drug center. Still, thanks to TV, radio static and vigilant bathroom light, I suffered no harm. Many pushers never made it back to the street.
Fast-forward four decades. Hubby’s gone tonight on a rare trip.
I will handle nighttime like a pro, as we live in a small town. No scary feet tramp past window sills. I turn off the TV and radio before retiring. I even click off the bathroom light.
I am dead asleep when the phone rings. Hubby, leaving early, will arrive soon.
See, it can happen.
But how do I un-Crisco the doors and windows?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you follow a different nighttime routine when your spouse is away?