Monday, May 25, 2009

Dear Zac Efron

Dear Zac Efron,

I am sorry to be writing to you like this, but I am afraid we are going to have to break up.

No, no, the “cougar” stigma doesn’t bother me, and this has nothing to do with what people might be saying about us in the tabloids. I mean, ever since Demi and Ashton, couples like us really aren’t news anymore.

And, truly, it’s not you, it’s me.

Well, it is a little bit you, but nothing that is technically your fault.

I mean, you can’t help it that you’re only 28... 25... 21, and I’m 28... 35... old enough to know what a 21-year-old has to offer. And that, my darling tot, is why we must part ways.

Oh, sure, we had our good times. Remember HSM the original? Your flirty head toss would transport me back in time, when I used to date the singing, dancing, basketball star. I was lured in with your perfect teeth and the promise that, if I got my head in the game, we could bop to the top, because we were all in this together. You made me feel 17 again.

(Oh, and, sorry about the bad reviews. I never saw it, so I cannot judge, but I can assure you that, even though I’m closer in age to Matthew Perry, that movie has nothing to do with our break up.)

No, the root of our problem has nothing to do with the cute way you wink or tousle your hair (please don’t ever slick it back again like you did at the Oscars, even though we’re over now).

The problem is, after watching a boat-load (literally) of your kind play on the lake this weekend, I can no longer consider taking in a 21-year-old boy toy.

Granted, there was a time when a hot young thing joy-riding on a speed boat named “Board Me,” wearing nothing but swim trunks and a beaded necklace purchased in some Rumpleminz-infested Spring Break town and yelling “Who farted?” in Spanish (over and over and over) would make me swoon. Those were the days I saw nothing at all wrong with a guy who could sustain himself on a diet of Taco Bell and Natural Light and knew every episode of “South Park” by heart.

But watching the party barge pelvic-thrust to Kanye reminded me that I have dated 21-year-olds before, and I do not ever need to do that again. Thank goodness. Because I am just not up to training another one.

So, while I find your flashy smile and dreamy blue eyes positively charming, Zac Efron, I am afraid we must part ways.

Though I do wish you had stuck around for “Footloose.”

(sigh) I must go now. It is time for me to move on to a celebrity crush who I know won't be tempted use me for the cheap rental car insurance.

Which reminds me, do you have George Clooney’s cell number?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mom Gone Wild

I am assuming the court order against me ever wearing my swimsuit in public in the city of Wrightsville Beach has now expired, as Homeland Security did not seem to bat an eye when I booked tickets last week for our family to return to the sun, sand, and surf this summer…

Two summers ago, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, home of Trolley Stop hot dogs and Boombalatti’s ice cream (I assume God serves this in heaven), I was boogie boarding with the family. On a family vacation. With family values. At a family beach.

Our kids, typically landlocked here in Midwest College Town, were having a blast playing in the ocean for the first time, and their parents were having a blast playing like kids. In fact, Dave and I had taken to watching each other ride waves in on the boogie boards, offering a 1-10 rating based on style, distance, and duration.

It was my turn. With an agreed upon three waves per turn, we quickly learned to choose wisely. Too much crest and the ride would be over before reaching sand; too little crest and the crash could end up waterboarding the wave rider.

After a few hops in the water, I spotted my final wave for my turn. I checked the beach to make sure Dave was watching. He gave me a thumbs-up. I waited, watching it roll and grow to the perfect size, with the perfect speed, and made a perfect launch into the oncoming wave.

It carried me with increasing velocity, faster and faster toward dry land. I could feel the broken up seashells grazing my knees and the water beginning to swell all around me, but I stayed steady on the board, riding that wave onto dry sand with one final push from a second wave behind.

Water splashed all around my face as I came to a stop. Stumbling up and staggering to a stand, I could see Dave down shore about 20 yards, thumb up and smiling as I wiped the salt water from my eyes.

I waved back, wiping more water out of my face, trying to keep my contacts from falling out.

Dave motioned to me, pointing to his chest with pride, as I pulled my wet hair back from my face with both hands.

I had never seen that signal before.

I was pretty sure he had just given me the highest score ever for boogie boarding.

Finally my contacts cleared up enough to see what he was doing. He was still vigorously pointing to his chest with one hand, and with the other hand, he was pointing at me.

I looked down.

My right breast was hanging completely out of my push-up tankini. I was Janet Jackson, and the ocean was my Timberlake.

(Gentlemen, do not get too excited and/or disappointed that you missed it. I am a 34 A. That’s “A,” as in, “Awww… isn’t it so cute that she can fit back into her Jr. High bra after breastfeeding four kids?”)

I immediately tucked the little runaway into place and ran to Dave, who was laughing so hard he had started to cry.

“No one saw,” he tried to say with a straight face. “No one except that guy,” he pointed to a man a few yards behind him who turned his head as soon as I glanced his way.

“I want to go home,” I cringed.

“You can’t go home,” Dave said, “you just made his day.”

I looked again, and the man raised his plastic tumbler to me.

Awesome. I just hope he isn’t expecting a repeat performance this summer.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Nothing Good Ever Happens After Midnight

Walking through the kitchen near midnight en route to bed not too long ago, I was startled by a series of high-pitched cackles and screams coming from outside. It sounded as though a band of child gypsies was setting up camp in our front yard. But when I made it to the window, there was no one in sight.

I continued up to our room where Dave stood smirking, “I caught a bunch of boys trying to T.P. our house, but I think I scared them away,” he said proudly.

[For those of you not living in the Midwest, “T.P.” stands for toilet paper. When used as a verb, it means “to decorate a house belonging to someone of the opposite sex with toilet paper.” Midwestern vandalism, essentially.]

But the boys were not about to retreat. And they were not about to keep quiet, either. Soon we heard outbursts of laughter followed by shushes and hushes, the kind of ninja-like approach that only a six-pack of preteen boys could master. I stealthily opened the door from our 2nd-story bedroom outside to our little deck upstairs, sending a crew of young vandals heading past our neighbor’s backyard and one stray running, toilet paper in hand, through our neighbor’s front yard.

While Dave hustled downstairs, wearing nothing but boxers and a farmer’s tan with our ferocious labradoodle for back-up, I decided to enlist the most frightening force of all, our sixth grade girl.

I snuck out the front door with Ellie while Dave headed out the back. (Dave and I have watched enough “24” and were familiar enough with the schematics to execute a CTU-like operation.)

Ellie and I tiptoed around to find the garage door, front window and stone had been covered with about 500 neon post-it notes; there was shaving cream on the driveway and TP in the shrubs. Unfortunately though, all of this décor was on our next-door-neighbor’s house, not ours.

“You idiots!” Ellie cried out in the night, “You got the wrong house!”

The boys screamed from behind the bushes and scattered.

As Ellie chased one up the street, I briefly reminisced about my short stint driving the getaway car for the Platt twins when they tried to hit a teacher’s house in high school. But a conversation in our backyard between the remaining felons and Dave, whom they believed to be Ellie’s next-door-neighbor, quickly caught my attention.

“Give it up, guys, you’re too loud!” Dave called into the dark from the back porch, obedient dog by his side.

“But, but, sir!” one brave hoodlum pleaded, pointing to his buddy, “This guy’s girlfriend is in that house!”

At this point, Dave realized these boys did not know he was “this guys’ girlfriend”’s dad. He looked down at our killer labradoodle and commanded, “Sic ‘em!”

Fortunately for the boys the dog had no clue what that meant, giving them enough time to run to their getaway car before getting caught in the treacherous jaws of our slow-to-learn guard dog. (“No Child Left Behind” does not apply in obedience school.) But Ellie had beaten them to the car followed by her mother who came bearing bad news.

“Sorry, guys, you got the wrong house,” I said, “Next time try being a little quieter.”

“Yeah, and check the address too,” Ellie huffed in her purple satin American Girl PJ’s and bare feet, fully capable of handling the situation herself. “You guys sucked!”

Turns out she didn’t need the guard dog after all.

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's Like a Toilet, Only Better

The remote control. The microwave’s “Popcorn” button. The clapper.

With the click of the remote, the touch of a button, and the clap of the hands, we can set much into motion with very little effort.

Yet with all the advances in modern technology, one household item remained stagnant in the race for better, faster, easier. For years inventors focused on countless ways to improve how we put food into our bodies – cereal in a bar, fruit in a rope, meat on a stick – and very little on how we tend to what comes out. It seemed this final frontier, or rather, derrière, was so tremendously improved simply by bringing it indoors a century ago, that it was pretty much neglected after that.

That is, until now.

Please allow me to introduce to you…

… (drumroll)…

The Washlet.

What’s a Washlet, you ask?

Well, to use their own words, “the Washlet is like a toilet, only better.”

I know what you’re thinking. How could a toilet get any better? It’s indoors, it flushes, and, according to an email my mom sent me, I can clean it with a can of Coke? What more could it do? Wipe my ---

---? Yes. It can.

The Washlet is a special system that can be attached to your current, laborious, manual-ass-wiping toilet, freeing you from all work previously involved with relieving yourself.

The hands-free experience begins with an automatic lid. No longer do you have to waste precious pee time lifting the lid yourself. The Washlet senses your presence when you enter the restroom and automatically opens the lid. As if it knows exactly what you need.

And when you sit, your buns can rest in a ring of immediate comfort, as the Washlet seat is heated.

Just like a regular toilet, the Washlet will listen quietly while you read, sing, or grunt while making your deposit. When you are finished, though, there is no need to go through the exhausting routine of counting out squares of toilet paper, reaching all the way around to wipe your behind, and dropping it into the bowl below (or look high and low for the toilet paper, calling out to anyone within earshot for someone to bring you a new roll because whoever popped a squat before you used the last of it and failed to replace it) (yes, kids, you’ve made it into another one of my blogs).

No, not for one seated upon the Washlet.

In fact, other than pausing to push the button on the Washlet’s remote control, you can go right on reading your magazine without interruption.

And let the Washlet do the dirty work.

When you are finished, a small pipe slides out from under the back of the rim, shooting a stream of clean, temperature-controlled water onto your backside, washing off all residue, and, most impressively, leaving no cling-ons behind.

Turn the page of your magazine, hit another button on the remote, and the small pipe then shoots warm air onto your rump, drying off the entire area, leaving you clean, fresh, dry, and free to pull up your pants and leave without second-guessing yourself, Did I get it all?

And the lid closes behind you without so much as a snicker, because Washlet does not judge.

Not since the addition of the built-in-soda-fountain-and-catheter-system in RV’s of the late 1990’s has any such convenience met such luxury.

No, I do not have one. And I doubt I ever will, as Caroline refuses to pee in an automatic toilet no matter how badly she has to go (FYI, every toilet in the Detroit airport flushes automatically). The Washlet would put her over the edge.

But my dear friend, Deanna (not her real name), and her husband, Peter (that is his real name, I could not resist using it for obvious reasons), are making a few updates in their home and hope to have one installed soon. Deanna showed me the Washlet website over a glass of wine while visiting them last month.

(I beg you all to check out their website. It is like a Saturday Night Live sketch, only real.)

“Did you find a plumber to hook it up for you?” I asked once I resumed breathing after laughing at the online tutorial.

“Yes, he said he had installed one for a man with MS,” she cringed, “I had to tell him we were just L-A-Z-Y. It should be in by Memorial Day.”

I cannot wait to visit them again.