Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Why I Don't........."

      I've noticed a growing trend of people my age frantically scrambling to complete a "Bucket List" of things they hope to accomplish before they die.

     "I'm going to climb Mount Everest with nothing but a camera and a granola bar in my pocket!"

     "I'm going to bungee jump off the Empire State Building on New Year's Eve!"

     "I'm going to break the world's record by riding on Walt Disney World's Space Mountain for ninety days straight until I'm diagnosed with vertigo!"

      No thanks. I'm pretty content with all the things I've seen and done in my lifetime. I have a husband, four great kids, eleven pets and an endless supply of chocolate biscotti and mediocre wine. What more could a girl ask for? I have all that I need, but there's also a reverse Bucket List going on here, which includes the things that I hope NEVER to accomplish. Maybe I've become jaded with age...a bit cynical and crabby at times (blame it on menopause), but one thing is certain; I know what I DON'T want to do with the rest of my life. Whether it's out of fear or self-preservation, it doesn't matter because the things on my reverse Bucket List  are not going to happen (unless aliens replace me with a look-alike pod person who will confuse my family and friends with a sudden desire to skydive from a burning airplane onto a massive ocean liner in the middle of the Devil's Triangle). I have valid reasons for not wanting to do certain things, which absolutely justify my paranoid tendencies.


FLY:    No amount of cocktail peanuts or vodka martinis is going to get me up in the sky. I'm a sucker for all of those airplane crash documentaries, and there hasn't been a tranquilizer invented yet that's going to erase those images from my brain. Honestly, if God intended for us to fly, we would have sprouted fuzzy, gray wings  at birth and flown the coup before our first tooth came in.

EAT WEIRD FOOD:    Like escargot, caviar, raw oysters and frog's legs...because they're chewy, fishy, slimy and I can't bear to think of all the paraplegic frogs out there bound to wheelchairs.

GROCERY SHOP:    Dangerous territory for me. I would spend way too many hours trolling the bakery aisle, and I don't think my family would appreciate it if three-fourths of our grocery budget was blown on cheese danish and banana cream pie.

TAKE A VACATION ON A CRUISE SHIP:    I have one word for you: TITANIC.

POKE A COBWEB:    Spiders are smart. They're never around when you mess with their webs, but in reality they're lurking close by, sizing you up, figuring out how much sticky thread they'll need to produce  to wrap you up tighter than an Egyptian mummy.

ROLLER BLADE:    There's no way those little wheels are going to support my weight rolling down the pavement at 50 mph. I can think of better ways to spend my time than in an emergency room with a fractured elbow and watching reruns of The Simpsons on the hospital television.

DRIVE ON MAJOR INTERSTATES:    Because everyone drives like they're Mario Andretti pumped up on amphetamines and late for their weekly anger management therapy.  

KILL COCKROACHES:    As gross as these bugs are, the stuff that comes out of them when you squish them is even more disgusting. I prefer to spray them with poison until until they become a new breed known as "white albino cockroaches". There's also this little thing called karma...and the last thing I want to do is return to this world as a bottom feeder waiting to be snuffed out under the heel of someone's shoe.

GIVE UP SUGAR:    Are you serious? Anything worth eating has sugar in it, calories be damned!

WATCH HORROR MOVIES:    When I was a teenager, it took me months to forget the image of the demon possessed, head-spinning Linda Blair in the Exorcist. Then came Poltergeist, and I didn't sleep for a month after seeing it, convinced that my house had been constructed over a sacred Native American Indian burial ground. It was only a matter of time before those Indians were coming back to haunt me and reclaim their land. Nor was I keen on getting sucked into the television set by demonic spirits.
     For years I lived blissfully ignorant of anything frightening at the movie theaters, until my kids convinced me to watch The Ring. They assured me it was not at all scary, and being the naive parent that I obviously am, I agreed to watch the movie and settled in with a bucket of popcorn in one hand and a soda in the other.
     Stupid me. I spent the entire two hours of the show curled up in the fetal position and silently cursing my wicked children for tricking me into watching the scariest movie I had ever seen in my life! Oh sure, I could have left the room or covered my eyes, but who does that? Okay, so I did cover my eyes, but I couldn't stop peeking through my fingers at the screen.
     And I wish that I hadn't, because I spent WEEKS sitting up in bed at night, just waiting for a creepy girl with stringy, black hair to come crawling out of my television set. That movie was my introduction to the true meaning of insomnia.

WHITE WATER RAFTING:    Flying down a rapid river at break neck speeds in a rubber boat with my ass scraping over rocks is not my idea of fun.

WATCH NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SPECIALS:    Although they're educational, I'm not into watching polar bears tearing apart seals or jaguars tackling baby deer for a midday snack.

GIVE PUBLIC SPEECHES:    I'm convinced that everyone is staring at the nervous outbreak of pimples on my chin or the microscopic spot of butter on my blouse from last night's lobster fest. My tongue turns into sand paper when I look at the audience and my words come out in an endless stream of nonsensical junk.

WEAR A BATHING SUIT IN PUBLIC:    I might be mistaken for a beached whale and get tossed back into the ocean.

    My Bucket List? Just getting through the day without crossing paths with a colony of cockroaches (or angry Indian spirits and creepy girls stuck in television sets). But I wouldn't mind sitting back with a glass of mediocre wine and watching some fool strap on a bungee cord for a courageous leap into the unknown.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

How To Annoy Your Children

     From the moment they're born, our children are a tremendous source of pride---first words, first steps, the gold star on their progress reports, the lead role in a school play...we are always there, cheering them on, sharing their accomplishments with anyone willing to listen. Our children are a reflection of ourselves, and our parenting skills are often defined by their behavior. When they're a giggling toddler passing gas on a crowded elevator, everyone thinks they're adorable.  A sixteen-year-old competing in a belching contest with his sibling in a five star restaurant...not so much. The older they get, the more embarrassing they become. They morph from the cute, cuddly puppy stage into a snapping, snarling beast that has been raised in the woods by wild boars. They curse like sailors and eat mass quantities of food that triple the grocery bill by the end of the month. Sweets and salty chips are the largest part of their food pyramid, while milk and juice are consumed at an alarming rate---usually a gallon a day. Their vocabulary  reverts to their roots---as in the cave man days ---limited to grunts, groans, and the occasional "whatever" shrug. The parents they once adored and respected  are now a large source of their embarrassment, so it is with great pleasure (and a lack of conscience) that they choose to publicly annoy and embarrass adults. They will gleefully belch and fart in a crowded room and point a finger at the unsuspecting parent next to them. They will tell their grandparents that there are only three ingredients in their refrigerator at home---one grayish looking egg, a carton of sour milk and a moldy brick of cheddar cheese that looks like last year's school science fair project. The grandparents will take pity on their souls and drive them to the nearest McDonald's.
     Kids will spill tomato sauce on the white carpet and blame it on the dog; they'll steal all the quarters out of the change jar and blame the younger sibling. They'll use the last clean towel in the house so that you're forced to dry yourself off after a shower with the wet towel that you used on the dog bathed earlier that day.
     Every parent reaches a breaking point with their children---a time when they need to liberate themselves from the bonds of "politically correct" parenting.
     Because sometimes you just have to get even. You can call it one of "life's little lessons", or refer to it for what it really is: Karma is a bitch.
     The following is a payback list that has been especially effective in annoying our teenagers and will most likely be successful with yours:

1)  Crank up the lawn mower outside their bedroom window when they're trying to sleep in late on a Saturday morning.

2)  Ask twenty questions about the TV show they're watching, but wait until they're immersed in the thickest part of the plot.

3)  During one of their house parties, run into the room with a wet plunger dripping in your hand and shout, "Okay, who clogged the toilet???"

4)  Pick up the six, wet towels they left on the bathroom floor and deposit them on their unmade bed. Be sure to tuck the towels under the covers so they stay moist.

5)  Allow your youngest child to bang on his new drum set while his older sibling is trying to take a nap.

6)  Turn on the sprinklers while your daughter is sunbathing in the back yard.

7)  At a neighborhood block party, jump up on a table after a couple of beers and play air guitar to a Bon Jovi song.

8)  Call your son's friends "Dude" and "Bro".

9)  Write embarrassing messages on their Facebook wall:  "Did you eat that WHOLE package of Oreos I hid in the pantry?" "Why is all my underwear missing from the dryer?"

10)  Blast Barry Manilow on the car radio while driving your kids and their friends to school. Make sure all the windows are rolled down so that EVERYONE in the car loop can hear you belt out the lyrics to "Mandy".

11)  At your son's sixteenth birthday party, borrow his best friend's BMX bike and show those young whippersnappers how to fly over a speed bump and rack yourself on the bicycle seat.

 12) Write a blog about your family life and highlight all the personal stuff that will make your kids cringe and want to disown you.
     Revenge has never been sweeter!


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