I Wish I Were a Huxtable

I am hardly one to describe the perfect marriage. I appear to be terminally single, and heaven knows I’ve never witnessed a perfect marriage outside of television. But if I ever were lucky enough to be in a good marriage, I’d want it to be just like that of Clair and Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show.

Watching them over the years I’ve seen several aspects of that relationship that appeal to me greatly. First and foremost they saw the humor in life and didn’t take themselves too seriously. That is priceless. If you can be playful in your relationship, you can get through anything.

Another excellent quality is that they had a healthy balance of power. Neither was subordinate to the other. They were a team, and they supported each other.

Equally precious is the fact that they made an effort for each other. They’d go out of their way to do special things. And they clearly still had chemistry.

Okay, so life isn’t a situation comedy. I get that. But The Cosby Show demonstrated what a functional family might look like if ever one were possible. It’s a high bar by which to measure one’s relationships, but a girl can dream, can’t she?



A Dog’s Worst Nightmare

Hi! I’m Devo! Mom let my brother Blue write a blog entry once, Blue Explains Why You Should Support Rescue Orgs, and I’ve been hounding her to give me a turn ever since. Being a dog, that’s something I’m rather good at. Hounding. Get it? Mom says I have a great sense of humor, and that’s an important quality in a good dog.

But today I don’t feel like laughing. Not at all. So I have taken this blog by force to protest a great injustice. My mother tortured us today, and I may never get over the trauma. Really! This has got to be a canine rights violation! I demand reparations!

Every once in a while, without warning, mom declares that it’s Puppy Spa Day. First of all, what gives her the right? You’d think she was the head of this household or something. But we are the ones who get to decide when she sleeps and when she wakes up. We force her to provide the kibble. We make her do all the hunting and gathering. We’re not the ones who clean up the poop around here. Does that sound like a leader to you?

Maybe that’s what Puppy Spa Day is. Payback. Yeah, that’s it. Revenge. She may act all loving and kind most of the time, but mom is evil to her core.

The first clue that this is going to be a bad day is when we come inside after a good romp, and she ushers us into the back half of the house. She acts like we’re playing. How sick is that? And we fall for it every time!

Next thing we know, the front rooms are closed off to us. There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. And then I see it. The instruments of torture laid out in the bathroom. Uh oh…

Next thing you know, she’s carrying my brother Blue in there. She always tortures him first, because she says he’s easier. It’s diabolical, I tell you! He looks desperately at me over mom’s shoulder, but I’m helpless to intervene.

It seems like he’s in there for an eternity. I hear splashing water. Is she waterboarding him? What confession is she trying to exact? I’m the one who chewed that sock, not Blue! I cast about for a hidey-hole, but there’s not so much as a pillowcase to crawl into. The closet door isn’t even open. Because she plans this. I’m telling you, it’s premeditated.

Next thing you know, the bathroom door opens, and out bolts Blue, not only wet, but smelling like… flowers. And he’s babbling, trying to warn me of my upcoming humiliation. Oh, the indignity! It’s horrible! “Save yourself!” he howls.

Like some sick psycho clown, she smiles at me, and says, “Come here, baby. You’ll survive.” And survival is all I can hope for, because I’m about to be put through the most horrific experience that any dog can imagine. This is the stuff of nightmares, truly.

I struggle as she carries me into the bathroom. I’m determined to make this as difficult for her as I possibly can. As Dog is my witness, I won’t go down without a fight! She takes off my collar, as if to disown me.

The first thing she does is clip my nails. Now how am I supposed to get the proper traction when I kick her in the ribs while she tries to sleep? And the whole time she’s chopping off parts of my body and they’re flying everywhere, willy nilly, she’s muttering, “I swear to God, I’m never going to own a dog with black nails again.” As if that’s my fault! I make sure to let out at least one scream during the process, to unsettle her. That way she cuts less of me off. “See? That wasn’t so bad, you doofus.” She says. Notice that I have not called her a single name. Not one! I take the high road.

Next, she squirts ear cleaner in my ears, and everything suddenly sounds as if I’m at the bottom of the ocean. She does it to disorient me, I’m sure. But the joke’s on her. I shake it right back out! Now it’s all over her. Score one for me!

Not to be outdone, though, she turns on the water torture device and gets me soaking wet. Ugh! Not fair! Not fair! I just got myself smelling the way I wanted! It’s a rare treat to be able to roll in dead squirrel, so whenever the opportunity arises, I take advantage of it! Come to think of it, that always seems to happen on Puppy Spa Day. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Then she covers me in flower smelling sudsy stuff. Horrible! But… Well, okay, secretly I’m digging the warm water and the full body massage. But I’ll never tell her that!

And you know what’s really twisted? The whole time she’s inflicting these cruelties, she’s usually singing. And it tends to be something inane like, “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?” As if to tell me I can be replaced.

The next thing you know, she’s saying, “Rinse cycle!” and she’s hosing me down again! Oh, the humanity!

And now for the moment of truth. As if gazing at the chimney smoke when they’re electing a pope, we both look at the water runoff with anticipation. If it’s black she washes me again, and the whole time she’s saying, “What is it with you? I never have to wash Blue twice!” She mocks me.

Then she’s giving me another full body massage with a towel, but I can’t relax enough to enjoy it. My eye is on the door. Finally she opens it, and I bolt through it and throw myself, weeping, into my brother’s arms.

We both vow not to speak to her ever again. This is the ultimate betrayal. It is not to be borne!

And then what does she do? She feeds us, and then she brushes our teeth with that yummy poultry flavored paste that she once accidentally used herself. Everyone has their price, and that is ours.


Help me.

Pattern Recognition

Evolution sometimes has an interesting sense of humor. We have evolved to be good at pattern recognition. It’s important to be able to pick out that tiger lurking in the underbrush or that poisonous snake amongst the leaves. And it’s always a good idea to be able to tell your friends apart from your enemies. This is the stuff of survival.

But in this modern age, we may just be too good at pattern recognition. We see the Virgin Mary in grilled cheese sandwiches. We see conspiracies where none exist. Our prejudices about people’s appearances prevent us from feeling safe and often promote unnecessary violence and war. We’re frequently so intent upon describing criminals to the police that we don’t even come close to being accurate. These days, more often than not, pattern recognition bites us in the butt.

But it is nice to be able to look up at the clouds in the sky and see horses and angels and butterflies. Imagination has “image” in it for a reason. It’s fun to pick out constellations, read palms, and create intricate tattoos. Without pattern recognition, we could never play Candy Crush Saga.

In recent weeks, pattern recognition has been both a blessing and a curse to me. I keep seeing old red Ford F150’s everywhere I go. And I see older men with long hair and beards and baseball caps and sunglasses. All of these things make me hope, for a split second, that my boyfriend isn’t dead after all. My heart leaps. And then drops back down into its state of heartbreak when I realize I’m once again mistaken. How many times will I have to fall for that trick?

But on the brighter side, there’s this tree outside my bathroom window. When the wind isn’t blowing, the branches look exactly like the profile of my boyfriend. I never noticed that before, but now it’s all I see, and it makes me smile. I’ll be really sad when a branch breaks or the tree grows in such a way that the image disappears. But maybe by then I won’t need to see it anymore.

Clouds that look like things-1757676

[Image credit: imgarcade.com]

The Worst Movie I’ve Ever Seen

It’s four o’clock in the morning and I’m at work with absolutely nothing to do. Thank God for cable TV, right? Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not the case at 4 a.m. I settled on a movie called “Trucks”. Based on a Stephen King story, this movie was made in 1997 and starred Timothy Busfield, an actor I’ve always liked, so in spite of the cheesy description (“A gas-station owner must figure out a way to stop a band of marauding, driverless vehicles.”) I figured, what the heck. Not like I had anything better to do.

This is supposed to be a horror film, but it was so bad that it wound up feeling more like a comedy. Here were some of the highlights. Or maybe they should be called lowlights.

  • A group of people are trapped in a restaurant together as driverless trucks drive around and around and around out front, and Timothy Busfield earnestly says that the one advantage they have is that they’re smarter than the trucks.
  • One man posits that this situation must surely have something to do with Area 51.
  • A postman is delivering mail on a mysteriously deserted business street (perhaps he is delivering on a Sunday, who knows?), when a tonka truck bursts through the window of a toy store and crashes into his ankle. He says ouch. The truck backs up and hits him again. He falls in the street. The truck rams his head. Candy apple red blood spurts everywhere. The toy truck rams him over and over again until he’s dead. Close up on the truck, with slimy guts all over the radiator.
  • Busfield spends a great deal of time figuring out how to distract the trucks.
  • Redneck number 1 decides to make Molotov cocktails and throw them at one of the trucks. Redneck number 2 gets ticked off because the truck in question is his truck. So he runs outside and jumps behind the wheel, but of course he can’t control the truck. Redneck 1 throws another Molotov cocktail at the truck. The hood bursts into flame. The truck crashes into the building and it explodes, taking both rednecks with it.
  • A man is working on a truck that he intends to use to make their escape (because amidst all this chaos, he apparently hasn’t figured out that trucks are the enemy), and when he finally gets it fixed, the truck pins him against the garage door, crushing him to death. His hysterical wife chases the truck down and attacks it with an ax. She has to be knocked out with convenient tranquilizers. She later wanders off and gets run down by a truck that she apparently can’t hear coming and isn’t anticipating. Are they really smarter than the trucks?
  • Since they are trapped together in a building, being attacked by enemies, a guy who is supposed to be an aging flower child says, “Now we know how Mayor Daley felt in Chicago ’68.”
  • All the trucks converge in the parking lot and begin honking to each other. “They must be communicating,” Busfield says.
  • The people in the restaurant receive their news via an old television. On more than one occasion it shows static, then you hear the reporter’s voice, then the cook reaches up and turns a nob on the TV to tune it and they get to see the report. The only problem is there’s no nob on the TV.
  • Two teens take refuge from the trucks in a drainage ditch, and a demonic dump truck pours rocks to block their exit.
  • The payphone in the besieged parking lot begins to ring. Someone says, “Maybe we should answer that.” Someone else says, “It may be a trick.” Someone does answer, and of course gets mowed down by a truck.
  • Busfield finally figures out that the trucks want him to give them gas. He goes out and starts nervously pumping. His love interest races out to him and he says, “What are you doing? Get back inside!” She says, “No! You’re going to need help!”
  • The cook decides to shoot out one of the headlights of an approaching truck. That sends it into the ditch. In retaliation, another truck crashes through the restaurant. So Busfield shoots it. One shot and the whole place explodes.
  • A lineman with the power company is trying to restore power to the area since the trucks took out a transformer. He’s up in his cherry picker when his truck comes to life and rams him into the power lines where he’s electrocuted in a hail of sparks and bursts into flame. The truck actually growls in satisfaction.
  • The few survivors hike out of the area and are conveniently rescued by a helicopter, barely escaping annihilation by a semi-truck as they’re trying to get on board. Hurray! They’re saved. And then they notice (spoiler alert) no one is piloting the helicopter. The end.

I don’t know how they managed it, but they combined the worst special effects with the worst acting and the worst sound and the world’s most pathetic choice in music. It was just epically bad.Timothy Busfield must be mortified in retrospect. I’d love to know the thought process in making this movie. How many people looked at it and said, “Oh, yeah! This is going to be great!”  The director would have been better off playing it off as a comedy spoof of horror films, but apparently he took this fiasco seriously right to the bitter end.

I haven’t laughed so hard in years. The only thing that would have made the experience better was if it had been featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000.


Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

When I meet a man who doesn’t take himself too seriously, I’m invariably attracted to him. A man who can laugh at himself is confident and full of joy. He also is capable of making any situation fun. He has a healthy perspective about what’s important in life, and doesn’t hesitate to adhere to those priorities. He’s in touch with his feelings and doesn’t feel awkward when he expresses them. A man like that is a delight to be around.

Many years ago I had a boyfriend who thought he was like that, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. He made fun of himself in the cruel and bitter way he learned from his family. Instead of being fun to be around, it made people uncomfortable because everyone tended to feel sorry for him when he did it. You couldn’t even play monopoly with the guy because he invariably sucked the life out of the game with his self-directed insults, which he was convinced were funny. His low self-esteem tended to wilt everyone’s enthusiasm.

Men who can be playful are a pleasure. Men who think life is a cruel joke are a pain.

I’ll leave you with a recent photo of Sir Patrick Stewart, a man who could eat crackers in my bed any time.


“Be a Swiffer, Not a Dust Mop”

You may have heard me mention that I’ve added another part time job to my ever growing pantheon of income sources. But this one is special as it is in a dental lab. Just when I thought my most recent degree in Dental Laboratory Technology was going to be a wasteful money pit in my other pantheon, that of useless degrees, it seems it just might have actually been worth the effort after all. Yay me!

Anyway, I was sort of crowing about my little employment coup to a dear and wise friend of mine, and she was saying that I need to take full advantage of this opportunity. I need to observe and learn everything I can, every single moment I’m in that lab. I shouldn’t waste time. I need to focus! In fact she said I should be a Swiffer, not a dust mop.

You see, a Swiffer is supposed to be vastly superior to the dust mops of old. It can gather more to it. It doesn’t merely push the dust around into ever increasing piles, causing you to sneeze. It doesn’t require extra equipment [like a dust pan] to get the job done. Oh, no. A Swiffer goes out there and kicks a** and takes names! It draws everything in its vicinity to it. It sucks up all the vital stuff around it.

No sneezing for this woman! No sir! I’m going to gather all the knowledge I can to me, and leave not one particle behind! A busy Swiffer I will bee…er, be!

Knowledge, after all, is power. Who’s with me? Let’s aspire to Swiffer-dom together! Hoo-ah!


Update: How’s this for irony? The day after I wrote this I was fired from the dental lab. Not good enough, apparently. Screw ’em. There are many ways to mop a floor.

When Practical Jokes Go Too Far

Every once in a while it’s fun to play a practical joke, or even to be on the receiving end of one. It can mean that you’re well liked. But practical jokes make me nervous because it is so easy to cross the line into cruelty or danger. This is why I have never liked people who seem to make practical jokes their life’s work.

I have worked with a couple people like that, and they knew I didn’t like their antics.

One of them could have killed one of my coworkers. At the time, she was in her third trimester of pregnancy and against all odds she was still working with us on the bridge. To get to the tenderhouse you have to climb a ladder 25 feet up above the roadway. She had made it to the top, God only knows how, and our resident merry prankster, who was lying in wait for her, decided to throw a pigeon at her. She screamed and took a step back. She could have fallen to her death or at the very least, lost the baby. That is when I lost all respect for the guy.

But of course, that incident didn’t stop him. It didn’t even slow him down. Next, he decided to target the most vulnerable of us, a guy with a very low IQ and a very high body odor. With a cohort who was always easy to lead down the wrong path because she was so desperate to be liked, our class clown got a pair of underwear, smeared the crotch with chocolate, broke into the poor guy’s locker and left it there. Upon finding this little love letter, the man was on the verge of tears. It made me sick. Picking on this guy was the moral equivalent of kicking a puppy.

Before playing tricks on people, you might want to consider your motivation, and you really ought to take into account the way you will make others feel. Is this really the legacy you want to leave behind you?

practical jokes

(Image credit: demotivationalposters.net)


There’s nothing more luxurious, in my opinion, than a long nap on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I revel in turning off the phone, unhooking my bra, kicking off my shoes, putting on something made of flannel, and allowing the mattress to embrace me like a long lost lover. Pure bliss.

Rain is hypnotic. Ocean waves even more so. Put me in the vicinity of a beach and I’ll go down like a bag of wet cement.

I love to snooze so much that I don’t even have to wait for the rain, or for a Saturday afternoon. I’ve taken napping to a whole new level. If it were an Olympic sport, I’d get the gold medal for sure.

I often look back at my childhood and laugh. I cannot believe there was ever a time when I would cry when it was time for bed, but I would. I’d pitch a royal fit. Now I’m more apt to cry if I can’t sleep.

I think I was a dog in a previous life. I greatly admire the way they can go from hyper-hound mode and then heave a sigh and be completely relaxed in less than a second. And if I could sleep 18 hours a day like they do I would. My dogs encourage this. They love to snuggle with me as I sleep, and are thrilled when I do it, as long as it isn’t during their mealtimes. (And believe me when I tell you they have inner clocks of Swiss-like precision. They do not hesitate to politely cough in my ear and tap me on the shoulder when it’s time for their kibble, vile creatures that they are.)

As much as I complain about working the graveyard shift, one of the few advantages is that I can pretty much sleep any time during the day and no one gives me any guff about it. I have the perfect excuse. Now if I could just get people to stop mowing their lawns.

This is why I long for my own home-based business. I have no problem working 8, 10, even 12 hours a day. Just not consecutively. I hate being held to a schedule.

And then there’s the avoidance factor. Some people drink to escape. Others do drugs. I nap. Not only is it a much less expensive habit, but it’s much more socially acceptable.

I’d write more, but I feel a nap coming on.


(Image credit: animalfair.com)

Bo Peepsville

There is a neighborhood here in Jacksonville where all the streets are named after nursery rhymes and children’s stories. I kid you not. Look it up. We have Mother Hubbard Drive, Bambi Lane, London Bridge Lane, Boy Blue Road, Biddy Lane, Tom Thumb Drive, Peter Pan Place, Snow White Drive, Cinderella Road, Tinkerbell Lane, Goldilocks Lane, Jack Horner Lane, Miss Muffet Lane, Bo Peep Court, Pinnochio Drive, Peter Rabbit Drive, Mopsy Lane, Flopsy Lane, and Cotton Tail Lane. I call this neighborhood “Bo Peepsville”.

Every time I drive through this part of town I think, “What the HELL were you thinking?” I can’t imagine that these street names are doing much for the property values in the area. Believe me, even if it were the perfect house with the perfect view at the perfect price, there’s no way on earth that I’m going to live on Peter Rabbit Drive. As an overweight, middle aged female, I have a hard enough time being taken seriously in some quarters as it is.

Imagine being a self-conscious high school student getting your first driver’s license and having to say “I live on 1234 Miss Muffet Lane.” Pure mortification.

Or calling 911 and saying, “Help! Come quick! I’m being attacked! I live on 2222 Flopsy Lane!”

Or you want to cook a romantic dinner for a girl you’ve been trying to impress all semester, and you tell her to meet you at your house and the address is….well, you get the picture.

I suspect the Hells Angels don’t have a house in Bo Peepsville. And maybe that’s the point. But that doesn’t stop me from being eternally grateful that I don’t live there.

bo peep

If People Came With Warning Labels

On the drive in to work tonight, I was thinking that if people came with warning labels, life would be so much easier. But then, maybe not, because mine would be 10 miles long. It would probably include the following:

Does not suffer fools gladly. Tends to be grumpy if woken up abruptly. Prone to farting. Will become reflexively violent if her navel is touched without warning. Grossed out by tea bags, which she views as floating garbage in her beverage. Will frequently side with the underdog. Will likely become aggressive if she witnesses animal abuse. Will treat you with respect if you treat her with respect, but can curse you out in two languages if treated adversely. Passes out at the sight of blood. Prone to forgetting names. Will not do drugs or get intoxicated, so may be perceived as boring by those who are disinclined to more creative pursuits. Befuddled by conservatives. Not comfortable at parties. Often amused at inappropriate moments. Virtually incapable of insincerity. Quite willing to pay her own way, but usually lacks the funds. Actually likes reality shows. Won’t fold your clothes so don’t bother asking. Frequently accused of having an incomprehensible sense of humor. Apt to drag you to foreign countries. Can be influenced by new ideas. Works horrible hours. Subscribes to the philosophy, “Love me, love my dogs.” Keeps forgetting that one should always be fully clothed when frying bacon. Tends to avoid children. No longer has the cute behind she had at age 19. Hates to cook. Cleans only when absolutely necessary. Enjoys peace and quiet entirely too much. Practically blind without her glasses. Often loses her glasses. Hates to waste money. Not easily embarrassed. Has an annoying tendency to have no filter.

Really, what’s not to love?


Image credit: http://www.outonlimbs.com