Friday, November 30, 2012



My husband has been in mourning for a few days now.  He has lost his best friend, one who has been by his side since childhood and has comforted him during rough times, always managing to bring a smile to his face whenever he was feeling down.

I am talking about the Hostess Twinkie.

It’s difficult to believe that after all these years, Twinkies may cease to exist. Hostess, the company that manufactures (or should I say manufactured?) the cream-filled sponge cake, said people are eating healthier nowadays, which is part of the reason for the company’s untimely demise.

My husband says he doesn’t care if the Twinkie is nothing more than a lard-filled torpedo aimed directly at his heart, it still beats a “healthy” salad any day.

I can remember eating Twinkies as part of my daily food group when I was a kid. They were bigger than the Twinkies of today, and came two in a package for only a dime. I convinced myself that because Twinkies were made of lightweight, airy sponge cake, they probably contained only half the calories of something like a slab of chocolate cake…so I could eat twice as many of them.

On the news the other night, they showed bare shelves in the supermarkets where the Hostess products had been, mainly because people were rushing to stockpile as many as they could find.

It reminded me of 12 years ago when, thanks to a Teamsters’ strike, Twinkies no longer were being delivered to supermarkets, so they suddenly became a hot commodity.  Boxes of them were up for grabs for as much as $100 each on the online auctions, and people suffering from acute Twinkie withdrawal were refinancing their houses to pay for them. 

One guy even sold a single Twinkie for $10.  I can see it all now…there he was, sitting at the dinner table one night, getting ready to eat the last Twinkie in the box, when suddenly he heard a newscast on TV about the strike and how Twinkies were worth their weight in gold. Immediately he stopped trying to tear open the wrapper with his teeth, then turned to his wife and said, “I’m going to put this Twinkie on eBay and make a bundle!”

To which she probably replied, “Yeah, and if you hadn’t been such a glutton and eaten six of them last night, maybe we could have paid our rent this month!  I want a divorce!”

I wonder if the people who bid their life’s savings on Twinkies even considered the fact that by the time the five-day auction ended and their package finally was mailed to them, the dainty little sponge cakes probably were about as moist as wall insulation.

One TV show’s host back then even tried to demonstrate to desperate, Twinkie-deprived people, how to bake their own Twinkies.  His creations ended up looking like large yellow shotgun shells that had been in the direct path of stampeding cattle. Hopefully, they tasted better than they looked.

Twelve years ago, the shortage was only temporary, so the people who stocked their freezers with hundreds of Twinkies probably are still eating them to this day…which, I guess is a good thing because I just checked on eBay and Twinkies currently are selling for about the same price as a compact car.

What kills me is just three weeks ago I bought my husband a box of some limited-edition Twinkies that were filled with chocolate cream. He ate one, didn’t like it and shoved the box way in the back of the cupboard. I found it a few days ago, and seeing that the Twinkies were past their expiration date, fed them to the birds and squirrels.

Those birds and squirrels didn’t know it then, but the Twinkies they gulped down were true gourmet fare, worth even more than filet mignon.

But even though my husband is severely depressed over the impending demise of Hostess and the legendary Twinkie, I can think of someone who probably is dancing a jig over the news…

Little Debbie.





Friday, November 9, 2012


A friend of ours called the other night and said he was watching TV when he suddenly saw four mice scurry across the living-room floor. He said he went right out and bought a bunch of baited traps and put them all over the house, but thus far, the traps have remained untouched.  The food in his pantry, however, hasn’t been quite so lucky.

Hearing about his mouse problem made me think back to when we had one, at our old place. It was about this time of year when I spotted the first sign of them, probably because they were looking for a nice warm place to spend the winter – kind of like people who head to Florida.

There were subtle signs at first. A few mouse droppings here and there – followed by more obvious signs, like piles of dog-biscuit crumbs lying next to piles of shredded paper and cloth. The final straw came when I pulled my velvet bathrobe out of the spare-room closet and noticed that the hem had been chewed off. That’s when I officially declared war.

The guy at the local hardware store showed me a variety of mouse-killing devices, all obviously invented by the Marquis de Sade.  They maimed, flattened, decapitated and crushed. I was surprised the clerk didn’t drag out a hungry cat in a cage and offer that to me, too.

In my opinion, the worst trap of all was the one that stuck the mice to a glue board.

“What do you do with the mouse once it’s stuck to the board?” I asked the clerk.

“Just toss it in the trash,” he said.

“But isn’t the mouse still alive?”

He shrugged. “Yeah, so what? He’ll die eventually.”

I’m no big fan of mice, but the thought some poor little mouse slowly dying while stuck to a board sounded downright barbaric. So I bought some traps that consisted of clear plastic tubes with a little trap door on one end. Put some bait into the trap, the clerk told me, and then the mice will go in and can’t get back out. And best of all, they remain unharmed.

“But there isn’t any air in these traps once they’re inside,” the clerk said, “so you have to let them loose within a couple hours.”

I brought the traps home, shoved a clump of peanut butter into each one and set them under the kitchen sink and in the spare-bedroom closet, where my chewed-up robe had been.

Within two hours, I caught five mice.

“Look how cute they are!” I said, showing one of the tubes to my husband. The mouse inside had huge black eyes and was still nibbling on the peanut butter, oblivious to the fact he was trapped and facing impending doom.

“Yeah, he’s just adorable,” my husband said, rolling his eyes. “Where are you going to let him loose?”

“I’ll drive a few miles from here and let him go in the woods.”

He looked relieved. “I would have bet you were going to let him loose right out back in the yard…or keep him as a pet.”

I must have driven 20 miles that day on the same back road through the woods, to let the mice loose.  I even caught a couple late at night, and because the clerk had said to set them free within two hours, I, in my pajamas, dutifully drove the rodents out to the woods. I could only imagine what a police officer would have thought if he’d have driven by and seen a woman in her pajamas bending over in the bushes in the middle of the night.

One mouse, a really teeny, young-looking one, didn’t want to leave the tube. When I finally managed to get him out, he sat on my foot and refused to budge. I came very close to bringing him back home with me…and naming him Mickey.

The only thing that prevented me from doing so was I figured Mickey probably would end up being Exhibit-A at my divorce trial.

When the traps finally remained empty for few days and no new evidence of mice showed up anywhere, I declared victory.

But a week later, we had a new problem…big black ants. They suddenly were everywhere, crawling all over the house, as if they’d arrived by the busload for a vacation.  When an ant fell off the ceiling one night and landed in my husband’s mashed potatoes while we were eating dinner, I once again declared war.

But this time, I wasn’t about to be Mrs. Nice Guy (not that I’d drive a bunch of ants out to the woods anyway). No, I went back to the hardware store and bought the aforementioned torturous glue boards.

Just call me Sally de Sade.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


For the past week, I have been enduring the worst torture that any woman can be forced to endure.

My husband has been sick with a cold.

Unlike most colds, this one went directly to his chest. No sniffling, no sneezing, just a hacking cough that sounds as if his head is stuck in an empty oil barrel. This is the kind of cough that seems to come up from the bowels of the earth, enters his feet and then shoots up through his lungs.  Even the dogs have been growling at him whenever he coughs, probably because he sounds like something that has rabies.

Trying to sleep with a man who coughs all night is nearly impossible. But it’s not the sound of it that bothers me…it’s the bouncing. When my husband coughs, his entire body rocks, so it feels as if I am trying to sleep in a hammock on the Titanic. I had to get out of bed three times the other night because I was nauseated from motion sickness.

“I think I’m going to sleep in the guest room,” I said on the third night.

“Noooo!” he protested. “Don’t leave me!  What if I stop breathing or something?”

I popped a Dramamine.

As is always the case when my husband is sick, I have to listen to hours of his whining about how he hasn’t got long for this world and how he should update his will. I also have to sit through his list of specific instructions about sprinkling his ashes over a herd of buffalo in Wyoming.  I have heard this stuff so often, I tend to just tune him out and do a lot of nodding, pretending I’m listening.

The problem with someone who has heart trouble and high blood pressure is that he is not allowed to take 99 percent of the cough and cold medications on the market.  The pharmacist finally did suggest a cough medicine he could take, so I was tempted to buy a case of it and make my husband bathe in it.  Instead, I brought home only one bottle to test it.

Unfortunately, had I given him a glass of water with red food coloring in it, it would have had the same effect.  The coughing continued.

Seeing that my husband pretty much follows the same behavioral pattern whenever he has a cold or the flu, I thought I was well prepared for what this cold was going to bring. But to my surprise, something new came with it – something that caught me completely off guard.

One of my husband’s favorite TV shows is called “The Big Bang Theory.” On this show, there is a character named Sheldon. Whenever Sheldon is ill, he asks Penny, the girl next door, to sing a special song that his mother used to sing to him whenever he was sick as a child.  It’s called “Soft Kitty” and goes like this: “Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur. Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr, purr, purr.”

My husband always gets a big kick out of hearing that song whenever poor Sheldon is sick on the show.

The other night, exhausted from a full day of hacking, my husband went to bed early. I brought him some water, a dose of his cough medicine and a second pillow, thinking he might feel better if he propped himself up instead of lying flat.

“There!” I said. “Anything else you need?”

“Yes,” he said, giving me a pleading look. “Sing ‘Soft Kitty’ to me.”

I laughed, thinking he was kidding.

“No, I’m serious,” he said. “I really think it would help me.”

“Don’t be silly,” I said. “A dumb song isn’t going to help your cough!”

“You never know until you try,” he insisted.

I took his temperature, thinking he might be delirious from a fever. It was 98.4.

Still, I wasn’t about to sing “Soft Kitty.”  For one thing, I can’t carry a tune. If I were standing in front of a firing squad and my last wish was to sing a song, they’d shoot me full of holes the minute I opened my mouth, just to shut me up.

Last night, I asked my husband how he was feeling.

“Worse,” he said, groaning. “Are you sure you won’t sing the ‘Soft Kitty’ song to me?”

“Positive,” I said.

“Well, then I guess we’ll just have to sit here and talk some more about my will, where to spread my ashes, and exactly what I want you to write in my eulogy.”

“Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur. Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr, purr, purr.”