Tag Archives: Toilet paper

Little Joys

Everyone loves huge joys, the take-my-breath-away, can-this-be-me, yippee-yahoo-yaaaay! joys. Some people even become speechless. (A lover of words and hyphens, I’m not one of those.)

Many, though, experience bits of gladness that barely raise adrenaline levels, yet light blahness like a candle’s flame. For example:

  • Being the very first to stick a spoon into a jar of peanut butter.
Image by sebastianhausi from Pixabay.
  • Discovering an in-law’s dog chewed your shoes already destined for the trash.
Image by wixon lubhon from Pixabay.
  • Putting away groceries without remembering what you forgot.
  • Buying avocados at exactly the right stage of ripeness.
  • Almost spilling something purple on a friend’s white carpet but recovering in time.
  • Seeing someone else has reloaded toilet paper. She may have been a burglar, but wouldn’t you like to shake her hand?
Image by Carola68 from Pixabay.
  • Baking brownies with crispy edges and gooey middles — though someone will inform you they are too crispy. Or too gooey. Which doubles the little joy, as you can eat them all yourself.
  • Discovering you really did leave your phone at home, rather than at O’Hare.

Maybe that last qualifies as a big joy, an end-zone-dance celebration. But other small joys make a difference:

  • That someone held the door open for you when your arms were full. And didn’t let go too soon.
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay.
  • That your car, even more hostile toward winter than you, started at first try.
  • That a human hug is something computers will never replace.
  • That rain doesn’t have to be shoveled.
  • That no one cares whether pink or blue baby sleepers are politically correct. At least, not in Indiana.
  • That you finished a book delightful as a hot fudge sundae — and no calories!

“It doesn’t take much to make you happy,” critics might say.

As if everyday happinesses don’t matter. As if little joys collected throughout a lifetime don’t add up to something substantial.

On the contrary, they shine in a person’s face, walk and talk. In memories of them long after they pass on.

That is no small thing.

Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What little joys brighten your days?

You Deserve a Fork Today

“Why didn’t we do this years ago?” I savored my pasta Alfredo. My husband clasped my hand across the restaurant table.

We knew the answer.

Dining out now: priceless. Dining out as a family decades ago: panic.

Like many young parents, we cruised drive-throughs. The pizza delivery guy was our patron saint. Cabin fever drove us to kid-friendly establishments. Or maybe we wanted to watch our small children trash somebody else’s property.

Image by Chris from Pixabay.

Venturing out without Hubby, I wished I could sprout an extra arm. My children shot through restaurant parking lots like pinballs. After chasing them down and gathering survival gear, we headed inside.

If fast-food restaurants were in tune with young mothers, they’d provide parking lot pack mules to carry kids, diaper bags, baby seats, and the Strawberry Shortcake potty my discriminating two-year-old favored. Instead, the pack mule answered to the name “Mommy.”

Normal people ordered their favorite cholesterol. Me? I led my caravan to restrooms while others ate juicy burgers and hot, crusty fries.

My stomach growled. I hadn’t tasted anything warm since the ’70s — except melted ice cream.

Potty Party trumped Pity Party. I unbuttoned, unzipped, toilet-paper-ripped, then reequipped. I sang the Strawberry Shortcake song 19 times. I passed out compliments and balloons for jobs well done. Only two hours later, we emerged triumphant.

Finally approaching the counter, we received gold cardboard crowns. Baby ate his.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay.

Can you say “free toy”? Sisterly relations disintegrated when the restaurant had only one Princess Penelope Piddle doll. Discontinued.

Grudgingly accepting Princess Penelope Piddle Sings Punk cassettes instead, my offspring talked me into a playground picnic.

Are fast-food restaurants really responsible for children’s obesity? Of 11,451 hamburgers ordered, only 5.37 made it inside my kids.

Also, with chasing them, why do parents gain weight?

Oh. I ate the 11,445.63 leftovers.

When our family attempted meals at restaurants where diners didn’t ride horsies, toddlers left their smiles at the door. Ours loved fast-food forks. In “nice” surroundings, we hid metal ones and handed him spoons. He sent them flying, yelling, “FORK! FORK!” for a solid hour.

Image by Barry Jones from Pixabay.

He couldn’t pronounce Rs.

You figure it out.

The following week, we donned cardboard crowns.

No more. Now, Hubby and I dine out weekly. We remain seated throughout the hot meal and converse.

I don’t even hide my fork.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your should-have-stayed-home restaurant story?

Pandemic Positives

Written during Summer 2020, hopefully, this piece will remind us of what we’ve learned.

Can you believe COVID-19 has stolen headlines for four months?

Many would answer, “No. I thought it was four decades.”

March through July 2020 will not highlight anyone’s yearbook. Still, some good has emerged.

You don’t believe it?

I don’t, either.

Just kidding. In a grouchy, 2020 sort of way. Despite endless complications, this bizarre experience has presented us with positives. Even if you’re grumpy, too, check out a few below:

We no longer must dream up excuses to avoid boring events. First, events — boring and otherwise — have been cancelled. Or delayed until this virus learns some manners. Second, a reluctant attendee need only cough, and both crowd and event vanish.

For some, credit card bills have dropped. Ours have diminished to 1990 amounts. Because I’ve overdosed on screens, online shopping holds zero appeal. Besides, why buy new clothes to check the mail? They don’t impress the mailbox at all.

Our cars may last another decade. Though my ten-year-old Ford has doddered so long around the garage, it may forget how to start.

As TV time has shrunk, reading time has expanded. Because of aforementioned aversion to screens, I avoid TV like an irritating relative. Instead, I read more books the past four months than during the past four years.

Canceled sporting events = big savings. Hubby and I have not blown a single dollar on Cubs games, only to sit in the rain for hours. Or watch them lose. (Usually both.)

Masks cover a multitude of greens. For chronic spinach-between-the-teeth people like myself, masks are a godsend.

Toilet paper never looked so good. The shortage has eased. Stacks lining Walmart’s back wall assure me that when a crisis arises, America will triumph.

Entertainment costs have dropped. Not once have I spent big bucks on a lousy movie with a soul-sucking ending, as theaters are closed. Nor have I squandered ten bucks — or 200 million calories — on popcorn.

Cleanliness is off the charts. Personal and business cleanliness standards have set new records. The U.S. population has never boasted such clean hands. My mom would be proud.

Finally, we’ve become a country hungry for conversation. When people do gather, fewer stare at phones and more talk to humans. When a driver stopped in the street to chat with us — a small-town practice that usually annoys Hubby’s safety sense — he welcomed the chance to talk. The young driver (gasp!) seemed to enjoy it, too.

Living through a pandemic isn’t easy. But unlike many during the 1918 flu and Europe’s bubonic plagues, most of us are living through COVID-19.

If we pilfer small positives, our days will brighten. We may even become easier to live with.

You don’t believe it?

Hubby doesn’t, either.

But if our credit card bills continue to drop, he can live with that.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What positives have you gleaned from the pandemic?

Playground Justice for All

Though adorable, little people firmly believe the cosmos revolves around me. I’m first, while the rest of humankind stands in a Disney World line, applauding such wisdom.

As shoe sizes grow, though, so does the unwelcome conviction that other people matter.

My parents and teachers mercilessly preached that we should take turns. So, on the playground, we pondered how to settle who was “it” in tag and hide-and-go-seek. Who would go first during world championship four square and hopscotch tournaments? Who won the right to the highest monkey bars (and most likely trip to the ER)?

Teachers suddenly abdicated. “Work it out.”

Crying — which worked during early grades — now roused irritation. Scathing cries of “Baby!” ensured the weeper would never be allowed to lick someone’s red licorice whip.

So, we clobbered each other. Then discovered recesses in the principal’s office weren’t fun.

Eventually, junior diplomats introduced oral traditions whose influence has rivaled the Constitution’s. A future Secretary of State — or mother — gathered playground barbarians in a circle and chanted a rhyme. On the accent of every poetic foot, she pointed to each tennis-shoed foot:

Eeny, meeny, miney, moe,

Catch a tiger by the toe,

If he hollers, let him go,

Eeny, meeny, miney, moe.

Federalists advocated emphatic law enforcement. Those leaders bumped our fists:

One potato, two potato, three potato, four,

Five potato, six potato, seven potato, more.

Jeffersonians advocated individual input:

Bubblegum, bubblegum, in a dish,

How many pieces do you wish?

With each rhyme, the person matched with “moe,” “more,” or “wish” would be “out” or “it,” as determined beforehand.

Rock-Paper-Scissors prevailed in later years. Participants simultaneously shaped their hands into a rock (fist), which beat scissors (two spread fingers), which beat paper (a flat extension of the hand), with paper triumphing over rock.

This tool currently rules playground games and restaurant checks, even aiding our judicial system. According to a 2006 CNN report, a Florida federal judge ordered two lawyers to settle their ongoing dispute through Rock-Paper-Scissors on Tampa’s courthouse steps.

Purists argue that Rock-Paper-Scissors is not truly random. Tournament players study which gestures are favored by opponents. During competition, they may confuse rivals by shouting, “Rock!” while giving a “scissors” gesture.

Playground rhymes didn’t always prove just, either. Smart little number nerds like my husband, often leaders in “Eeny Meeny,” “One Potato” and “Bubblegum,” exerted definite influence on outcomes.

Life wasn’t and isn’t always fair. We still should promote the best justice possible, right?

Perhaps the President and Congress should follow the Florida judge’s example. “One Potato, Two Potato” or “Rock-Paper-Scissors” might help settle governmental stalemates.

A little playground justice might even solve the current toilet paper shortage.

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What was your favorite playground-justice tool?