Saturday, November 27, 2010


If there’s one thing that really irritates me it’s sitting around waiting for people to show up…and then they don’t.

Such was the case last week when I wasted countless hours waiting for an Internet satellite company to come install a satellite dish so my computer finally could run faster than its usual speed of a snail in a tar pit.

The dispatcher told me the installer would arrive on Monday between noon and 4, so I spent all day Sunday cleaning behind furniture I hadn’t crawled behind in over a year. I knew that in order to install the cable to my computer, the guy was going to have to drill holes in my floor. And those holes were going to be drilled in places that were notorious breeding grounds for dust bunnies.

By noon on Monday, the house was sparkling and I was sitting on the sofa, waiting. That’s when my husband asked me where the fresh bread was.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I want to make a sandwich for lunch.”

If he’d asked me where the fire extinguisher was, I couldn’t have been more horrified. “And get crumbs all over the counter and the floor? No way! You can wait until after the satellite guy is gone!”

“But I’m hungry now!” he protested.

I was unsympathetic…even though his stomach was making so much noise, you’d think he’d swallowed the Lion King.

So we sat around waiting like two stiff robots, not wanting to move and risk messing up anything. At 2 p.m. the dispatcher called and told me the installer would arrive in an hour.

I was getting antsy by then. I wanted to go shopping. I wanted to go for a walk. I wanted to bake some chocolate chip cookies and mess up the whole kitchen. Instead, I continued to sit.

At 4 p.m., the dispatcher called and said the installer wouldn’t be coming because he’d had a family emergency and he was the only installer who serviced my area. She said he’d be over between noon and 4 the next day.

My first thought was the guy’s family emergency couldn’t be very severe if he already knew he’d be able to work the next day. My second thought was, “Oh, great, I have to suffer through all of this sitting and waiting again tomorrow?”

The next day turned out to be a repeat of the day before – I sat around doing nothing and the dispatcher called every hour to tell me the installer would be there in an hour.

By 4 p.m., I was ready to tell the dispatcher exactly what she could do with her satellite dish. That’s when the installer himself called.

“I’m heading to your house now,” he said. “I’m in Laconia, so I should be there by 5.”

“We live out in the middle of the woods,” I told him. “It will be pitch dark out when you get here. How can you install a satellite dish on our roof in the dark?”

“See you in about 45 minutes,” he said, not answering my question.

He arrived at nearly 5, when it was so dark outside, the only thing that could have lit up our roof enough so he actually could see it would have been a passing meteorite plummeting to earth.

“I have good news and bad news,” the guy said when he finally came into the house. “The good news is you have a nice clear line of sight for your dish if I put it on the left corner of your garage roof. The bad news is the rules require me to have a spotter with me or I can’t climb up there.”

“So you came here alone?” I asked, thinking no one could be that dumb.

He nodded. “But we can be here at 8 in the morning, our first job of the day, to set things up for you.”

At that moment, all I wanted to do was put my hands around his puny little throat and choke him. But then I remembered his family emergency and I mellowed a bit. “Has your family emergency been taken care of?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Yeah, my kid was sick but he’s OK now.”

I went back to wanting to strangle him.

So the next morning I arose with the birds and figured I’d spend the next 12 hours sitting like a statue on the sofa. My husband, however, chose to remain snoring in bed.

I nearly needed a whiff of smelling salts when the doorbell rang at 7:50.

“So, where do you want this?” the installer, carrying a huge roll of cable, asked.

“I have a laptop computer and use it in both the living room and my office,” I said. “So I want hookups in both places.”

He shook his head. “You have to choose only one.”

I was crushed. Reluctantly I chose the living room.

“I’m going down to the basement,” he said. “When I get back, have the sofa moved so I can get behind it.”

I stared at the sofa – the sofa that contained two built-in recliners. Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t have moved it.

When the guy came back up from the basement, he glared at the sofa and moved it himself. Then he proceeded to drill a hole in the floor. After that, he and his spotter went out to the garage to install the satellite dish on the roof…on the windiest day of the month. A huge tree actually fell across our road while they were up there. I had visions of the guys going airborne and landing somewhere where they would be greeted by Munchkins.

Finally, after a mere 44 hours longer than anticipated, everything was installed, and I now have a computer that is so speedy, I practically have to run to keep up with it.

And Wednesday night, I finally let my husband make his sandwich.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


It took a lot of arm twisting, but I actually convinced my husband to take me to a matinee of the movie “Unstoppable” last week.

I’m not sure why he wasn’t crazy about going. I mean, it’s not that the movie was a soppy tearjerker with a lot of female stuff in it that he’d probably snore through. “Unstoppable,” according to the previews, was a true story about a runaway train barreling unattended at speeds of over 70 mph through heavily populated towns in Pennsylvania – something I thought he wouldn’t mind seeing.

Not only that, we had a gift certificate to the theater, so the matinee wouldn’t cost us a thing.

Still, my husband complained so much, you’d think I was dragging him to see a matinee performance of Swan Lake.

“My knees really hurt today,” he said as we headed toward the theater. “I hope the place doesn’t have a lot of steps. We’ll have to sit right down front if it does.”

The thought of having to lie on my back to see the screen didn’t really appeal to me. Whenever the train appeared on the screen, I’d probably feel as if it were about to run over me.

The minute we entered theater number one, where our particular movie was showing, I knew we were in trouble. The place had stadium seating, just like in a big football stadium, with stairs as high as the eye could see. I climbed about halfway up and then walked across the row and plunked down in a seat in the middle. I looked to my left, waiting for my husband to take the seat next to mine. He wasn’t there.

I stood up and peered down at the stairs. He was still standing on the third one.

“Why’d you go way up there?” he asked, groaning. “Can’t we stay down here?”

I made my way back down the stairs and gazed up at the screen from where he was standing. There was some kind of advertising photo on the screen. All I could see was a giant nostril.

“The movie doesn’t start for another 10 minutes,” I said. “Just take one step at a time and you can make it up to a better level.”

The stairs weren’t steep, but there were plenty of them. I waited as my husband climbed them…slowly.

“That’s 14!” he finally said, breathless. “That’s as far as I’m going!”

The row wasn’t exactly halfway up, but at least I could see the entire screen. Once again, I sat in one of the middle seats. There were only two other people in the entire theater and they were a couple rows in front of us, so I had my choice of just about any seat in the place. I could have stood up in the seat or stretched out across three of them and no one would have noticed.

My husband chose an aisle seat to the far left of the screen.

When I looked over at him, he motioned for me to move next to him. I shook my head and motioned for him to come sit near me. He shook his head. I didn’t want to see the movie from one side or the other, I wanted to see it from a point that was an equal distance from both sides.

So neither of us budged. Talk about a romantic movie date.

Finally, when the theater darkened and the previews began, my husband made his way over to the seat next to mine.

“My back is killing me,” he said. “If I sit here for two hours, I won’t be able to get up again! And I forgot to get popcorn!”

“If you eat popcorn, you’ll get thirsty and then need something to drink,” I said. “And if you have something to drink, you’ll end up having to go to the restroom during the middle of the movie.”

“No, I won’t,” he said.

So I flew down the stairs and got him some popcorn and a bottle of water. For what they cost, I could have ordered prime rib at a fancy restaurant.

The movie turned out to be a real nail-biter…a very loud one. The speakers were cranked up so high, the roaring of the trains actually made my head vibrate.

During one especially exciting part, where a helicopter was attempting to lower a guy onto the speeding train, my husband leaned over and whispered to me, “I have to go to the men’s room.”

“Then go,” I said, my eyes riveted on the screen.

“But it’s 14 steps down and 14 steps back up,” he said. “I don’t know if I can make it!”

“I don’t think you have much choice,” I whispered back. “Unless you want to sit here and use your water bottle!”

He got up and headed to the bathroom…and missed one of the best parts of the movie.

I still haven’t heard the end of it. You would think he’d missed seeing the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl.

“We’re going to have to rent the movie now when it comes out on DVD!” he said just yesterday. “I want to see the part I missed!”

I haven’t mentioned to him that our cinema gift-certificate still has $16 left on it. I figure I can use it to see a couple more matinees…alone.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Every time I see the TV commercial for a new product called “Booty Pop,” I burst out laughing.

I’m not certain exactly how it works, but Booty Pop is a special panty that gives women an uplifted butt that sticks out so far, it could support a vase of flowers and a glass of wine.

The commercial shows a bunch of emaciated women with flat butts, suddenly having huge rear ends that look as if someone pumped air into them.

As I said, the commercial always cracks me up. I mean, not only does it show these women growing large bottoms, it makes a popping sound every time it shows one.

The other night, however, something my husband said during the commercial made me abruptly stop laughing.

“I think you should get one of those,” he said.

My head snapped in his direction and I looked at his face. He wasn’t joking.

I’ve spent so many years trying to camouflage my Titanic hips, it never crossed my mind that I might ever need falsies in that area. I got up from the sofa and went to look at my backside in the mirror. I was appalled to discover that it had fallen somewhere down around the backs of my knees.

I rushed back out to the living room. “How long has my butt been gone?”

“Well, your jeans have looked as if you have a board tucked in the back of them for a long time,” my husband said. “Every time you bend over, I can see half your underwear. That’s because there’s nothing left to keep your jeans in place.”

“And you never mentioned it?” I asked, aghast. “I’ve been showing my underwear to the world for ages now, and you never told me?”

“I didn’t want to embarrass you,” he said.

I think there was a product similar to Booty Pop years ago, mainly because my mom and I saw a waitress we were convinced was wearing a butt enhancer.

Mom and I were sitting in a restaurant and our waitress, who had a shapely figure, bent over to put something on the table next to ours. I saw my mother eyeing her critically as she did.

“Did you see that?” my mom asked after the waitress had walked away. “When she bent over, her rear end moved up towards her waist!”

I thought my mother’s coffee might accidentally have been spiked with a shot of something about 90 proof and she was hallucinating, but sure enough, when the waitress bent over again, the cheeks of her rear end acted as if they had a life of their own.

“I think she’s wearing fanny pads!” my mom whispered, giggling. “Why else would her cheeks be moving up and down – and not at the same time?”

“I wonder if they ever move around to the front?” I added. “Imagine having a butt cheek on your belly?”

“Or all the way up to her shoulders so she looks like a football player!” Mom giggled even louder.

So maybe this new-fangled Booty Pop is better because the pads are actually sewn into the panties, unlike way back when they were just shoved loosely into existing panties, free to migrate to body parts unknown. Or perhaps the Booty Pop acts like a giant version of a pushup bra and just lifts everything that’s sagging.

Whichever, I’m pretty sure I’ll find out this Christmas. I think I saw my husband reaching for the phone right after the commercial the other night.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I spent the past three weeks feverishly making crafts in preparation for a craft fair in Manchester on Nov. 6.

Most of my time was spent making name magnets. I used small ceramic tiles and wrote people’s names on them in permanent marker, then drew a little design on each one and glued a magnet on the back. I decided to sell them for 50 cents each.

The problem was that whenever I thought I finally was finished writing names, I’d hear a name on TV and run to make another magnet. I hate to say it, but I became name obsessed.

“Dakota!” I’d shout and make a beeline for my magnets. “I forgot Dakota! And I think I just heard someone on TV call someone Whippy! I’d better write that one down, too!”

“They were calling their dog!” my husband said.

“Well, you never know. Someone might like to buy a magnet for the family dog!” I said, grabbing my indelible marking pen.

Then, after I was certain I’d finally finished making all of the magnets, an area newspaper came out with a list of the most common names for newborns in New Hampshire. I read the list and discovered I didn’t have even half of the names on it. There were a few, like Joseph and Charlotte, I had, but then there were the Logans, Hunters, Briannas and Taylors I didn’t have.

By the time I was done, I’d made over 1,200 magnets. I was confident, however, that I’d come up with just about every possible name anyone could ever want. I even spelled Megan four different ways (Megan, Meagan, Meghan, Meaghan) just to be safe. I also made extras of the names I thought would be the most popular.

I included a lot of state-of-the-art names too, like Mackenzie, McKenna and Sierra. And I even tossed in a few really unusual ones like Rasputina and Norberta. Yes, I definitely was ready.

“You don’t have Zorro,” my husband said as he studied the names on my magnets.

I gave him a look that clearly told him I thought he was losing his mind.

“No,” he said, “I’m totally serious. You need a Zorro magnet. I’ll bet you $5 someone will buy it.”

“You’re on!” I said.

The morning of the craft fair, I woke up with a sore knee. I barely could put any weight on it and had trouble straightening my leg. The fact that 110 pounds of rottweiler had come crashing head-on into it a few days before, just might have had something to do with it.

The problem with having over 1,200 ceramic-tile magnets was their weight. I’d arranged them in alphabetical order on 10 cookie sheets, and each cookie sheet ended up weighing about 5 pounds. I also had several large boxes of other craft items I’d made, like plaques and decorated trinket boxes, so I had to make quite a few trips to the car before I finally got everything loaded. The entire time, my knee was crying out in protest.

When I arrived at the craft fair, I discovered it was being held in the church basement – a basement with a really steep flight of stairs. I couldn’t get over how deep, how subterranean that basement was. I mean, my own basement has 13 stairs. This one had nearly twice that many.

By the time I unloaded all of my crafts from the car and climbed up and down the incredibly steep stairs a gazillion times, I felt as if I’d just run the Boston marathon. It was bad enough I’d had a bad knee to begin with, but afterwards I was pretty sure I had heart trouble, too.

The fair turned out to be even better than I could have imagined. There was a constant flow of people, most of whom seemed eager to part with their money. My magnets sold steadily all day long.

There were a few names, however, people asked for that I didn’t have – Jaymz, Kryss, Dyanna, Cyndie and Karroll, to name a few. It made me wonder if their parents had lost sleep before they were born, lying awake every night, trying to come up with the most creative ways to spell their names.

And what was the most requested name that day? Courtney? Connor? Melissa?

Believe it or not, it was Henry.

And did I end up selling my husband’s Zorro magnet?

Well, just between you and me…I owe him $5.