Buy This Face Cream (And Don’t Trip Over Baby Jesus)

"My darling, that Crisco regimen is absolutely doing wonders for your complexion."

“My darling, that Crisco regimen is absolutely doing wonders for your complexion!”

Truth: I hate the mall. I realize by admitting that I risk having my Girl Card revoked.  But it needs to be said. Now, there are many reasons I hate the mall, and near the top of the list is cosmetics counters.

But then the teen comes to me and asks if I can take her to get some new “face stuff”, as she puts it. Determined to get her on the path to good skin care and happy that she is taking an interest, I grab my keys and we drive to the fancy local mall.

The first saleswoman we approach looks like she applied her makeup that morning with a garden trowel. Ironically, she’s hawking beauty products out of a “natural” set up resembling a barn or some kind of organic feed store.  Overturned apple crates, lots of burlap and twine and hand carved bowls with sheep’s milk soap and things written on chalkboards. You know, kind of like the stable Jesus was born in meets Pinterest.  And who doesn’t want to buy cosmetics from Jesus?

I tell the saleswoman my daughter needs a non-foaming face wash, due to her dry skin. “Ah”, she says. “I have just the thing.” She picks up a bottle and presents it with a flourish. I read the label. It says:  Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash.

I try again. “Um, she needs a non-foaming cleanser. Because she has dry skin. “

“Well, this doesn’t foam very much.   It just has a little foam,” Says Cruella De Cleanser, clearly bent on selling us a product that will give my daughter’s skin the texture of Betty Crocker Potato Buds. Hmmmppphh. She’s beginning to seem not worthy of being in Jesus’ Pinterest stable.

I’m getting frustrated, and I realize that they probably don’t have what she needs. Foolishly, I ask my next question. “What about a reasonably priced moisturizer?”

Behind the layers of spackle, I see Cruella’s eyes light up. She simpers over to a shelf and hoists a tiny jar aloft. “This is our Bright ‘n Lovely Botanical Boost with Bovine Extract and Essence of Sea Kelp. No young girl should be without it. Oh, and she definitely needs a toner…” and with that she grabs a wee bottle of liquid that looked like it would have no problem meeting FAA travel restrictions but cost as much as a monthly  car payment .

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, those apple crates must be expensive.

Uh-oh. She must sense my hesitation, because she narrows her eyes and peers at me a little too closely for my comfort. Too late I realize I have accidentally handed her a cold-cream sized jar of whoop-ass. “What are you using, if I may I ask?” she said, as she purses her lips and circles an accusing finger in the direction of my face.

I tell her the name of the perfectly good skin care line I’ve been using for years.

But it is as if I just said, “Wellll, me ‘n the other womenfolk down in the holler just go in on a big pot o’ Crisco ‘bout once every couple o’ months. Does the trick right nice, ya’ know?” Because she frowns. “Oooohhhh. Um, I seeeee….” She says, in a tone that implies my that my complete ignorance of skin care has left me crone-like.

Great. I am not only a terrible mother who won’t buy her daughter the pricey skin cream, I am also a terrible mother who apparently looks like the Crypt Keeper.

She continues, “Are you using an eye cream, dear?  My 14 year old son uses this eye cream, and he swears by it.”

As my daughter ponders the existence of a 14 year old boy who uses eye cream, and I ponder putting a bag over my head or perhaps sleeping with a chin strap,  Cruella tries again. She slithers over to another small pot of moisturizer, plucks it off of the shelf, and begins to stroke it lovingly. “Now this girl,” she purrs, “is one of our best sellers.”

I assume I must have misheard, but Cruella continues. “She has grapefruit and kumquat extract. You just put her on once a day, lightly, and she reeeaaaally likes it when you blend her together in your palm first.”

Good heavens. The poor woman had cracked under the pressure of selling overpriced cosmetics and was now anthropomorphizing face creams.  We back away, telling her we need to think it over.

We beeline to another cosmetics counter, one with a  faux-French name where women in white lab coats are waiting to pounce. A heavily made-up elderly woman toddles up to us. “Can I help you?”

“Yes!” Convinced we’re about to get somewhere, because lab coats, I tell her, “My daughter needs a non-foaming, non-soap facial cleanser, because she has dry skin.”

“Oh, of course! I have just the thing.” Then she picks up a tube and gestures, Price Is Right style, to the label.

It says: Liquid Facial Soap.

I turn on my heel and start to walk away.

“Where are you going mom?” My daughter asks.

“Back to the Jesus/Pinterest stable. I left a jar of whoop-ass there that I think I’m gonna need.”


Buy This Face Cream!


Craftsman Makes WHAT Possible?


Craftsman makes what possible?

The following is an actual conversation I had recently with my sister, who for the purposes of this blog I’ll call Kiki. For no particular reason than this will make her happy because she’s been trying to make a nickname for herself happen since 1982.

Kiki: So, because you’re my sister, I can tell you this. You’ll understand.

Me: Okay, what?

Kiki: So, you know how I’ve been having trouble with my feet? Like, these really big, painful callouses. Huge. I’ve tried all of this different stuff and nothing has worked. I was going to go get a pedicure but then a friend of mine said she got this really awful toe infection from a really good salon, so I decided not to do that.

Me: (wondering where this is leading):  Okaaaaayy….

Kiki: So the other morning, I had an idea.  (Husband) was still asleep, so I woke him up and asked him to get his electric sander out of the garage.

Me: Oh God. You didn’t.

Kiki: I did. He didn’t think it was a good idea, obviously. But you know how when I get an idea in my head I just won’t let it go? And I get really really mad if anyone tries to argue with me?

Me: Yes. Yes I do.

Note: Do not ever try to argue with my sister. It’s like trying to fight a large angry bear with a cotton swab; in the end you’ll lose and probably get eaten.

Kiki:   So he kept trying to say things like “Maybe you shouldn’t do that…” and “I’m not so sure this is a good idea!” But I just kept raising my voice over him until finally I was yelling  “WOULD YOU JUST GET THE SANDER OUT OF THE GARAGE FOR GOD’S SAKE!” You know how I get.

Me: Uh, yeah. So then what happened?

Note: see above

Kiki: So he finally brought it to me. And I sanded my feet. But the funniest part was that he was trying to film me with his iPhone while I was doing it, and I was screaming at him and trying to swat him away because I didn’t want him filming me, and the kids were upstairs and all they can hear is this really loud power tool start up and me yelling, “OH MY GOD STOP THAT! GET AWAY FROM ME!”  So they came running downstairs because they were convinced he was trying to kill me with an electric drill or something.

Note: My brother in law would never attempt to kill anyone with a power tool of any sort. In addition to the fact that he’s very nice and mild-mannered, he’s way too fastidious about his tools and I’m sure getting blood out of a drill bit would be a nightmare, amiright?

Me: Why am I not surprised you used an electric sander on your feet?  Wait… did it work?

Kiki: Worked like a charm. You wouldn’t believe how smooth my feet are now!

Me: Hmmmm… Interesting. So, um, what exactly was the grit of the sandpaper you used?

And this is why God made us sisters. Because she can call me to tell me that she just used an ill-advised power tool on her feet and then we can have an entire conversation about the proper grit of the sandpaper one should use for optimum foot-softness.

In non-hardware related news, I am honored to be this week’s victim/interviewee for  Getting Possessed with Kathy and the Dishwasher over at My Dishwasher is Possessed.  Click here to read the interview, and stay to peruse Kathy’s’s gaw-geous new site.

Happy Friday everyone!


Don’t Drink and Style

Don't Drink and Style


Dear Klips -n- Kuts  Hair Stylist,

Last Saturday, when I asked my husband to take my son to get a haircut at your establishment, I envisioned a neatly shorn, well-groomed boy returning home. Unfortunately, that was not the sight that greeted me upon his return.

Allow me to explain. My son’s hair is complicated. More complicated than you’d expect a boy’s hair to be, really. His hair is quite thick, and tends to grow forward on the top. What this means, in a nutshell, is that if it isn’t cut exactly right he ends up with… bangs. Perhaps this is my issue, but bangs are simply not a good look for my son. My husband knows the drill, and knows to ask for the Boy’s hair to be cut exactly like his. Thinned out on the top, short in the front, and most importantly, off of his forehead.  Instructions given, my husband committed the cardinal error of going to the waiting area to read a magazine. You, my dear, were left to your own devices. And then? Very bad things happened.

When my husband slunk in the door, followed closely by my very unhappy looking son, I was dismayed, nay horrified, to see my that my son  now looked like this:


CC Image courtesy of Insomnia Cured Here  on Flickr

CC Image courtesy of Insomnia Cured Here on Flickr


Yep. The only thing missing was the chipped tooth.

“Was the stylist drunk?” I hissed as I surveyed the damage. My poor, sweet  husband just shook his head in stunned silence. My son looked glum.

In addition to the ridiculous straight across bangs, tufts of hair stuck out everywhere all over the back and sides of his head, making his hair look not “cut” so much as “caught in machinery”. And in certain hacked-off places, scissor marks were still visible. Seriously, if I wanted his hair to look this way I would have just handed him  scissors and told him to do it himself.

I wracked my brain to think how this could have happened, and came up with a few possible explanations.

  1. Inspired by Leonardo DiCaprio in “Catch Me If You Can”, you decided to wander in off of the street and pretend to be a hair stylist for the day, with no actual training or skill.
  2. All of the scissors were stolen in a bizarre heist  so you were forced to use hedge trimmers.
  3. You attempted to cut my son’s hair while he rode a mechanical bull.

Now, lest you think that since he is only six  a lousy haircut isn’t really that big of a deal, may I remind you that he does have peers. Peers who, although they may not have the vocabulary to articulate the fact that my son now looks like  a cast extra from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, will make fun of him nonetheless.

So against my better judgement I will be bringing him back in, at which time a different stylist, preferably one who hasn’t been doing tequila shots, will fix the mess on his head. For free.

I think we all learned lessons today. I learned that you get what you pay for, so I will be taking my son to a better quality salon in the future. Because two weeks of training at  the Degrees In an Instant Online Beauty Academy really shouldn’t qualify anyone for a career as a stylist. To that end,  might I recommend that you seek a different line of work? Preferably one that doesn’t involve sharp instruments? Because I’m serious when I say that you shouldn’t  be trusted to cut anything ever again. Not even parade confetti.


A Loving Mother




They’re Coming to Take Me Away

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

I have to write this quick because I think they’re coming for me.

I’ll explain. See, I wrote a post for Blogger Idol his week, and the assignment was that we were supposed to reveal a secret. And since I have no secrets (come on, I’m a blogger for crap’s sake… it’s all out there, ya know?) I wrote a silly expose about myself and other mom bloggers. About how we are secretly more together than we portray ourselves to be, and how we tend to play up our ineptitude for laughs. Funny, right?

Except the judges didn’t get it. They thought it was funny, but didn’t see how it fit the criteria of the assignment. I think they were hoping that I’d reveal that I’m secretly a man, or sit around huffing Sharpie marker fumes when my kids are at school. Sorry, nothing to see here folks. Move along. And the most illicit thing I do when my kids are at school is watch The Chew. Anyway I’m pretty sure the judges are on their way to my house en masse to break my kneecaps or worse.

Sshhhh… did you hear something? Oh, okay, it was just the wind. Phew.

So here’s the thing. Given that I’m very very certain to have a judges score this week probably in the negatives if that’s even possible, simply for the crime of having no drama in my life, I’m going to need your help. The only thing that will save me is a decent number of votes. Seriously it only takes one minute. Click on this here fancy link, scroll down to the shaded voting box, check Notes from the Shallow End, and click “vote”.  I just… wait… what was that? Seriously. Outside. In the bushes. It was like a rustling. Ah. Never mind, just a bird.

It’s no secret that, as a smaller blogger, it’s harder to generate votes. I’ve been an underdog since day one in this competition. (And can I just say that without the help of my AOPi sisters, I wouldn’t have gotten through to this point. Thank you ladies. Mwah!)   But I want to be the one to show the world that you don’t have to be a mega-blogger to be considered successful. Can you imagine if a blog like mine, not even a year and a half old, could go the distance? Please vote for me. Or else the terrorists have won.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, someone’s at the door. (Whaaaa? Torches?! Aaaggghhhh! THUMP! KA-POW! OmmyGodsomebodyhelpmeeeee! (Sound of corpse being dragged)

Notes from the Shallow End


The Day I Won the Award for Most Patient Wife Ever

Notes from the Shallow End

It’s an immutable law of marriage: The amount of time you have left before an important event is inversely proportional to the likelihood that your husband will choose to perform a completely unrelated task.  Like choosing to vacuum the car when you’re supposed to leave for a parent-teacher conference. Or cleaning out the basement just before your entire extended family arrives for dinner.  Meanwhile you’re running around trying to do the things that actually matter, like preparing food and making sure all of your children have pants on. Hypothetically, of course.  I’m sure your children always wear pants.

One recent cold and rainy weekend,   I had the kids loaded into the car to leave for a morning soccer game. (We have hit the age where games aren’t necessarily cancelled due to rain. Good times.) In typical fashion, we had, oh, approximately five minutes to get to the field. I put up the garage door, started the engine, put the car in reverse, and started to back out of the garage… when suddenly my husband came running out of the house clutching a bag and waving at me frantically. I rolled the window down to see what the big emergency was.

“I just want to put your new windshield wipers on,” VP said, stepping to the front windshield and prying up one of the wiper bars.

In an act uncharacteristic of me, instead of shouting, “Are you kidding me? Now?!” I chose patience. I put the car in park, engine still running, and clamped my mouth shut while he went to work.

I waited patiently until he removed the old wipers.

I waited patiently while he tried to put the new ones on.

I waited patiently as he couldn’t figure out how to put the new ones on.  And I waited some more. The time for us to be at the field came and went.

Finally, he gave up in frustration, and started trying to put the old ones back on. After a while, he gave the thumbs up and I backed out of the garage. As we drove down the street, though, the sound the windshield wipers made told me something was amiss.

Screeeetch thwack.  Screeeeetch thwack. Screeeeetch thwack. The rain wasn’t terribly hard, but just enough that I had to keep the wipers going.

We screetch thwacked our way to the soccer field. I parked the car. Unloaded the kids. Started to walk toward the field, and promptly encountered a wet referee walking the other way.

“Game’s cancelled,” she said. “Field conditions just got too bad.”

We turned and walked back to the car, as it started to rain harder. Relieved that the game was cancelled, I loaded the kids back in. Started the car. Turned on the windshield wipers as the rain turned to a downpour. Screeeetch thwack. Screeetch thwack. Screee…BANG! And then I watched one of my windshield wipers skitter across the parking lot.

As I climbed out of the car in driving rain to retrieve it, I cursed under my breath. Also I may or may not have called VP a few choice names.

Knowing there was no way I could drive home without windshield wipers, I struggled reattach the errant blade. Rain dripped off of my baseball cap as I tried it one way, then another. You’d think it would be simple, intuitive maybe, but it’s not.  Imagine being throw out in the freezing rain with one of those metal tavern puzzles, and being told you couldn’t come back in until it was finished. My fingers went numb from cold. Peeved, I considered calling my husband to drive over and help me, but what kind of an example would that have set for the children? No. Rain be damned, I would prove I was capable.

It took twenty minutes, but I finally out the right angle and the blade clicked perfectly into pace. I flung my arms into the air in triumph.   The Rocky theme echoed through my head as I jogged around to the driver’s side to climb in and drive home.

When I got there VP asked what took us so long to get home. “The windshield wiper fell off, and I had to fix it,” I said cheerfully, still kind of proud that I figured it out.  I needed the reminder that I can handle things on my own, for the next time we’re expecting people for dinner any minute and he decides to reorganize the workbench. Ahem. Hypothetically of course.

And as for fixing the windshield wipers, it turns out that all of those years of wrestling my kids into pants has paid off.


Why Root Beer Floats and Costco Don’t Mix: A Cautionary Tale


Why Root Beer Floats and Costco Don't Mix: A Cautionary Tale


This is a tale of two trips to Costco in one day. They were, as you’ll see, radically different.

A good friend called me early one day last week asking if I could take her to Costco on my membership. They were thinking about getting a membership, but hadn’t decided yet. She needed some bulk items for a school function, so I happily obliged. Helping a friend out, plus a morning out sans kiddos? Win/win.

I never get to shop with girlfriends any more, especially during the day, so getting to peruse the aisles unencumbered by children was a special treat. Yes, it was Costco, but  as far as I was concerned it might as well have been Bergdorf’s.  We strolled the aisles at leisure, tried some of  the food samples hawked by friendly and enthusiastic vendors (Oooh! Dark chocolate covered acai berries? Don’t mind if I do!) , pawed through cotton cardigans, tennis skirts, and yoga pants, and did some impulse buying in addition to what was “on the list”. We encouraged each other.  “You should buy that. You deserve it!”

All in all, it was a fun, relaxing morning, and I was glad to be able to help out a friend and have some girl time, even if it was just to Costco. Hey, you take what you can get, right? (Okay, fine. I have no life. Help me.)

When I skipped in the door, as delighted as if I had been at the spa, for goodness sake, I told VP where I had been. He immediately said, “So, did you get the snacks for the game tomorrow?”


Seems we were on the schedule to be snack parents for the next morning’s soccer game, and I had forgotten.

I quickly perused the pantry. Surmising that handfuls of rotini pasta and Dixie cups of tap water wouldn’t be kid-pleasers, I came to the sinking realization I’d have to go back. Yup. Costco twice in one day.

And since I had promised my kids that I’d take them for root beer floats after school, and the root beer stand is close to Costco, guess what? You got it. All of the kids were coming with me.

Hahaha! After they’d all had buckets of soda and ice cream! Hahahahaha! Ha.  Blerrgghh.

The trip started off like this:

“Yaaaay! Costco! We get to go to Costco!” Bounce bounce bounce. (As an experienced parent, I should have seen through their enthusiasm, and been able to spot the pure sugar rush. Because, hindsight.)

And then it turned into this:

“Let’s push each other in the carts!”

“Let’s race each other in the carts!”

“Can I ride under the cart?”

“Look Mom!” (Holds up industrial size box of Chee-Zee Bacon -n-Biskit Taco Nuggets) “Can we please buy this? Please please please?”

“Oooh! What’s that?” They raced from one food sample to the next, stuffing microwaved, bite-sized preservative bombs into their pie-holes.

It’s no wonder they didn’t want to eat dinner later. The amount of processed crap they ingested could feed a developing nation for months.

All in all, it was akin to shopping with monkeys. But we weren’t finished yet. Oh no.

We finally paid, and headed for the exit where the guy pretends to check each item in the cart against the receipt.  Three “mmmm-hmm”s and a smiley face drawn out of highlighter later, we headed for the parking lot, with me shouting my usual warning to my son about not running into the parking lot by himself.

I didn’t need to bother though, because his attention had been diverted by the pole he decided to climb on the way out. At the top of which he got the toe of his shoe wedged in a crack in the wall. So he slid back down the pole, but with one leg on the ledge below him and the other leg pointing upwards, rendering him stuck in a very impressive splits position. I quickly made a note to call Cirque De Soleil and ask if they’re taking on junior members.

Alas, this impressive feat also put him in the death defying (or just icky) position of being precariously suspended over a garbage can. (Wait! Forget Cirque De Soleil, call David Blaine!) So before his shoe came unstuck and he fell bottom first into other people’s refuse, I plucked him from the pole and carried him to safety. (Insert  ”keeping my kid off the pole” jokes here).

I quickly loaded everyone in the car and drove home, relieved that no one had knocked down a display of Authentik Hawaiian Style Chikin  Niblets, or cracked their head open, or fallen into a garbage can.

Something tells me they don’t have this problem at Bergdorf’s.



The Day My Wedding Dress Tried to Kill Me

Wedding Dress


Do you still have your wedding dress? I do.

I never got it together to have it professionally packed and hermetically sealed or whatever it is you are supposed to do with a wedding dress. So, yeah, 14 years later my wedding dress is in one of the bedroom closets. It’s in a hanging bag, which, while a halfhearted effort at preservation, is still an effort. I consider the fact that it’s not stuffed in a hefty bag with some old towels and stashed in the basement a win.

My daughters came across it not long ago and wanted to try it on. I of course obliged. Their small frames were enveloped in the satiny folds, as I pinched the back together helped them each to the mirror to look at themselves.

And then, excitement shone in their eyes as they cried, “Mommy! You try it on!”

Well. Okay. I could do this. After all, how much could my body have changed after three kids? (I’ll pause while you finish laughing.  Um, okay, you can stop now.)  I went into my room and closed the door, so I could make a grand “Ta-Da!” entrance. Stepping into the dress, I pulled it up and put the straps over my shoulders. “So far so good”, I thought. “And it still fits in the waist! Yay me!” I said to myself smugly.

And then I reached behind be to pull up the zipper, I got it halfway up and… it stopped.

“Hmmm. It must be jammed,” I thought.  I pulled the zipper back down and started over again.  Again, I got it halfway up, and it stuck.

It was then I realized that the dress was pulling so tight across my ribcage, and the zipper was gapping so much in the back, that there was no way I was going to get  it zipped up.

Had my ribcage expanded? Is this a thing that happens from carrying children? I’m about the same weight I was before I had kids, but just shaped… differently.  More like a russet potato. After a couple more fruitless attempts, I realized I wasn’t going to get that zipper to pull up no matter what I tried. But, since denial is my specialty, I had another bright idea.

What if I zipped up the zipper all the way, and then pulled the wedding dress over my head? Ah ha! Surely I could just slip into it, pull it down, and voila! It would be a little tight, but I could certainly handle that for a few minutes.  Yes. That was the way to go.

After zipping it all the way up I lifted the heavy garment over my head, and went in headfirst. Layers and layers of fabric cascaded around me as I wiggled my way upward, upward. I stretched my arms toward the armholes. Stretch, reach, wiggle.  Almost there.

And then I wasn’t.

The downward progression of my wedding dress had come to an unfortunate halt.

And I was now firmly stuck in it, my head somewhere below the bodice, with my arms pinned straight upwards.

“Um,” I thought. “This… this is a problem.”

I jumped up and down, hoping the momentum would help the dress move downward. No such luck. I was stuck tighter than ever.

Without the use of my arms, which were still pinned upwards, I couldn’t pull the dress the other direction and go back the way I’d come in. I also couldn’t reach the zipper to free myself.

I started to pant inside the heavy lace fabric I was now wedged into, partly because it was becoming warm, but mostly out of rising panic.   Did I mention I’m claustrophobic?  Fun times.

“Eeerrrggghh! Mmmmmppphhh! Aaaaaggggh!” Hop hop hop. ”Oooooooof!” Arms in the air, I performed moves reminiscent of the inflatable dancing stick man outside of the local muffler shop.

I panted. I sweated, my face mashed against the lining. I pictured my kids bursting into the room to find my lifeless body on the floor, stuck half in and half out of a wedding dress, and clad only in Target brand underpants.

My husband would be widowed. My children would be motherless. “What happened to your mom?” They would be asked. “Oh, it’s a really sad story,” they would reply. “She smothered to death trying to prove she was the same size she was when she was married.” My demise would forever be a moral to a sad tale of vanity gone wrong.

No. I would not allow my children to find me this way. “YOU WILL NOT WIN, YOU HEAR ME?” I shouted, er, gasped, because I’m positive I was dangerously low on oxygen. In mere seconds, I would have been walking toward the light in that damn stupid wedding dress.  In a burst of strength and adrenaline, and possibly a split seam or two, I managed to angle one arm just enough to grab the fabric and pull myself free.

Once I recovered from my ordeal, I hung the dress back in the closet. I haven’t gotten it back out since then, but every once in a while I like to walk by it, and whisper threats of stuffing it in a Hefty bag in the basement. You know, just to show it who’s  boss.

Hello, 911? I’ve Accidentally Poisoned My Own Eyes


"What's that you say? You also do eye-lifts as a side business? Sign me up!"

“What’s that you say? You also do eye lifts as a side business? Sign me up!”


Today, I have a confession.  I’m engaged in an ongoing war with my eyes.

Like a lot of women, I have concerns about the skin under my eyes, and my eyelids, which are in my opinion drooping southward at an alarming rate. I’m not ready to sign up for the full “Kenny Rogers” just yet, but I’m not ruling anything out either, know what I’m saying?

I’m also super self-conscious about under-eye puffiness. (Okay, now you’re looking. I see you looking. Don’t look!) Every single cosmetics person I’ve ever met has taken one look at me and immediately reached for an array of industrial strength eye de-puffer gels, roller-ball thingies, concealers, correctors, translucent powders, you name it.

Since my 20s, I’ve used eye cream morning and night, determined to stave off  wrinkles for as long as possible. So far so good.  I’ve always used the same eye cream, with occasional forays into a sample product that comes my way. Nothing this gal likes better than a sample beauty product. Weird ingredients are a plus. Soothing under-eye balm made from the oil extracted from the belly hairs of an Arapawa Goat? Tomato chutney eye firming cream with essence of kumquat and kava kava? Bring it on.

So last night, before turning in I did my whole skin care routine as per usual.  At the end I reached for my regular eye cream, but, Oh! What was this? A sample of a cream called “Midnight Eye Recovery” that I hadn’t tried yet?  Its sleek dark blue packaging beckoned. Promising “a restorative concentrate of essential oils and botanicals, providing fresher, younger eyes by morning”, this was obviously the Ferrari of eye creams. Oooh, so fancy! I dabbed it around my eyes and went to bed. Layer 1.

In the morning when I woke up I noticed gigantic, puffy bags under my eyes. Like, an entire set of Samsonite had taken up residence between my eyes and my cheekbones. This was not good. This was not the youthful look I was promised. For God’s sake, I looked like Abe Vigoda.

So, what did I do? In a hurry to get out the door for school drop-off, I reached for my eye de-puffer, the one that smells like oranges and has a little roller ball on the end. I swiped it under both eyes, and waited for the magic to begin. Layer 2.

And of course after, because the eye de-puffer dries kind of tight, I smoothed on my regular daytime eye-cream. . So, layer 3.

I loaded the kids in the car and we set off for school. But I wasn’t two blocks from home when I knew something was wrong. My eyes started to hurt like they do when I’m chopping onions. And the bright sun (of course I had forgotten my sunglasses) was making it worse. Then, my eyes started to water.

Not knowing what else to do, I pressed at my eyes with my fingers because that’s what you do when your eyes hurt. But as a burning sensation joined the rest of the discomfort, I remembered that I had put some aloe-vera gel… with lidocane… on one of the children just before school. The remnants of which were on my fingers that I had just stuck into my eyeballs.

“Ow ow ow ow something’s wrong with my eyes!” I shouted as I frantically wiped at my eyes with what I hoped was a clean sleeve. Lucy looked on in concern from the passenger seat. I did not share with her my sudden, shameful realization:

I had slathered so much crap on my eyes that I had created noxious fumes and a blinding toxic sludge.

The more tears my eyes produced the more of it that ran into my eyes. Oh, god, I was probably going to be blinded for life! I began to picture having to pull over and call 911, and explain to the paramedics what happened. Though I wouldn’t see it, because, you know, I’d be blind, they’d give each other that look that clearly says, “What a dumbass.”

I didn’t have to call 911, but because there was traffic, the rest of the trip to school took twice as long, and went like this:

Scoot forward 10 feet. Squeeze eyes shut. Scoot forward 10 feet. Squeeze eyes shut. Scoot forward 10 feet. Squeeze eyes shut.

As we slowly made our way toward school, I groped in my purse for a tissue. Finding one, I started to dab at my eyes, hoping for some relief. As I dabbed, I smelled… mint? Aaaaaghhh… the tissue was right next to some mint gum in my purse, and now in addition to everything else I had mint fumes in my eyes.

Because I couldn’t see well, Lucy sat in the passenger seat and shouted “Stop! Go! Red light! Green light! Brake lights!” as we crept along.  Magpie and the Boy were in the back seat, and they were really quiet.  Most likely out of fear that I was going to run us into a telephone pole.

By the time I dropped the kids off at school, my eyes had had enough, and were trying were trying to involuntarily close. So I literally had to drive home with one hand on the steering wheel and one hand holding my eyelids open. I passed a cop coming the other way, and I’m sure he thought I was one of those “Suburban Moms Who Huff” like on Dr. Phil.

Lesson learned. From now on I’ll stick to one product at a time. But guess what? After I got home and flushed out my eyes, I looked “fresh and youthful” the rest of the day! I even got compliments from other people that I looked good. I might be on to something, here folks.

And that is that temporary blindness is a small price to pay for beauty.

Notes From the Shallow End

The Cheese That Wouldn’t Die

The Cheese That Wouldn't Die

Here in Ohio, the sun has finally made an appearance. Speaking of which, what’s up, May? I have to say I’m disappointed in your performance. It’s already May 8th, (pauses to check ink and crayon-covered calendar) Yep, May 8th. Lordy! You are very late to the party this year. If this nonsense keeps up we’re going to have to talk about a job re-assignment. So be a big girl and quit acting like March, or that’s just where you’ll find yourself. You’re dismissed. Good day. I said good day!

Before I head out to finally tackle the weeds in the garden beds, I thought I’d share something that happened yesterday. Something that means I likely will never eat this particular food again. And I’ve been eating it for my entire life, and feeding it to my kids, so I didn’t make this decision lightly.

My family has a cabin deep in the North woods of Michigan. Being in the North woods, it tends to attract, um, critters, in the off season when the cabin is closed up. It’s an old cabin, so somehow they manage to find their way in and all winter long it’s like, “Duuuude! House party! Jeb’s gonna score some acorns from his older brother! It’s gonna be sweet, bro!”

"So then I was all, 'I double dog dare you to eat it, bro!' and he was all 'No way! That's disgusting!' Dude, it was epic!"

“So then I was all, ‘I double dog dare you to eat it, bro!’ and he was all ‘No way! That’s disgusting!’ Dude, it was epic!”

So, when the place gets opened up again in the spring, the party leavins are abundant. The place is littered with leftovers. And poop. Lots of poop. Scenario set? Good. So when  VP decided to head up there for a couple of days of fishing,  he was the first one up there since the cabin got closed up in September.

When he got home from his trip, he told me this story.

The first thing he noticed when he walked in is that the refrigerator door had been left slightly ajar, which is a normal thing to do when you turn off power to a refrigerator for 8 months. Otherwise the inside gets all black, mildew-y and nasty. (Y’all, adorable woodland creatures aside, even Cinderella’s not going to be singing a happy tune if she has to don the rubber gloves and scrub down that mess.)

The next thing VP noticed is that someone had stored a bunch of rolls of paper towels and toilet paper in the open refrigerator.  Weird, but whatevs. Can’t trouble myself with the whys of that. Anyway, the paper towels and toilet paper had been pretty much destroyed by the various furry creatures who took a romp through the refrigerator. Yep, they ate the toilet paper and paper towels! Guess they ran out of chips and salsa. Hey-o!

But, as VP reports, sitting in the middle of the mess were three slices of cheese. Perfectly pristine in their wrappers. So pristine that they looked as if someone had put them in there the day before. But no. These slices of cheese were sitting in a refrigerator that had been turned off for eight months, and were completely unaffected by lack of refrigeration or the passage of time. Hey, who wants a sandwich?

I’d like to mention  that the cheese slices  were also completely untouched.  Untouched. As in, the animals that had been partyingtheir furry little fannies off in the cabin for the past eight months wouldn’t even eat them. Folks, these were critters that ate paper towels and toilet paper.  They obviously weren’t picky.   They just didn’t recognize those cheese slices as any form of food.

VP was appalled and horrified, not by the animal detritus that littered the refrigerator, (okay, he thought that was extremely disgusting too) but by the amount of chemicals and trickery that it must take in order to render this so called “cheese” not only indestructible, but also apparently inedible to scavengers. That’s right: When the end of the world comes the only survivors will be cockroaches and processed cheese slices.

Now, I love a good grilled cheese as much as anyone.  But I think from now on, with that picture in my head? It’s gonna have to be made with something other than “processed cheese food” (as it says right on the package).  Because if a mouse won’t even touch it? I’m thinking I probably shouldn’t either.

Plus now I can justify buying the expensive French cheese. Vacheron, here I come. Who’s winning? This gal. Have a great day!





Maybe He Was Waiting for the Throw Up Fairies


"Psst... so you know, when you get home from this business trip I'm leaving for Hawaii for two weeks."

“Psst… so you know, when you get home from this business trip I’m leaving for Hawaii for two weeks.”

Hi. You might want to finish whatever you’re eating before you read this. That looks delicious, by the way.

All set? Good. As a blogger, sometimes I am stuck for ideas in terms of what to write about. And sometimes, like last night? The posts practically write themselves.

The VP has been out of town on business, and by last night I felt wrung out. So to try to make things easier, instead of cooking I took the kids to a Chinese restaurant to get take-out. Because when he’s away, I am all about making my path easier. So far so good, right?

But… while I was paying, my five year old son came running up to me with tears streaming down his face. When I asked him what was wrong,  he said he had choked on a piece of candy.

Unbeknownst to me, he had grabbed a peppermint out of the dish while on his way over to look at the fish in the tank. He’s not supposed to eat hard candies, due to his horrific gag reflex that, on a regular basis,  makes me think he’s going to choke to death. One of my biggest fears, but I digress.

He was talking, which I knew meant he wasn’t in imminent danger, but he was still crying and saying “It’s still in there!” and was in a panic, and I didn’t really know what was going on. I tried to figure out how to help him while comforting him at the same time, because he was really upset, when all of a sudden, his eyes got wide and this happened:


Yep. The kid upchucked all over the carpet.

Not a little bit. A lot. As in, the entire contents of his stomach. Oh, hello, gag reflex. Nice to see you too.

So now I was trying to comfort my son while apologizing to the manager for the copious pile of barf he had just deposited. And the unholy mess was right in front of the door to the restaurant. I was concerned for my son, and now I was dreadfully embarrassed. I of course offered to clean up the throw-up. As you do.

The manager said no. He was very polite about it. “No, no. That’s okay. Don’t worry about it”, he said, smiling.

My son was starting to feel better. The nice manager brought him some water.

And the vomit still sat in the entryway.

Again I offered to clean it up, and again the manager said no, and waved it off.

Surely if the manager wasn’t going to let me clean it up,  that meant he was planning on doing it, right? He was going to run get some of that sawdust stuff like they use in schools, or maybe some carpet cleaner? Some paper towels? Anything?

No. The vomit continued to sit right where my son left it. Was the guy waiting for fairies to come clean it up?

Customers came in, and I held my son with one arm while I weakly gestured toward the mess with the other, indicating that they should go around. I didn’t feel comfortable articulating it, though. I’m pretty sure no one wants to hear “Hey! Watch out for the vomit!” when they arrive at a restaurant for dinner.

Mmm. Who wants egg-drop soup?

My son was  feeling better, even giggling with his sister, and we should have been leaving, but I just couldn’t. There had to be something I could do, so I started surreptitiously checking the counter and our bag of take-out for napkins. But there was nothing.

The vomit was still in the entryway. At this point it had been almost ten minutes.

And the manager just continued to sit behind the desk, smiling beatifically.

I tried one more time. “Are you sure you don’t want me to take care of this? If you can just bring me a rag or some napkins, I can clean it up…”

And then the manager said this:

“No, no. You don’t have to clean it. They clean every night when we close.” And he smiled some more.

Um, what?

I pray that I am wrong, but it sounded to me like the vomit was going to stay in the entryway for the next four hours, until the cleaning crew took care of it.

In the end, we finally left, leaving an unfortunate pile of throw-up in the doorway during the dinner rush.

The good news is, my son is fine. He’s not allowed to eat peppermints until he’s 21, but he’s fine. And I still can’t figure out why the guy wouldn’t let me clean it up, or didn’t clean it up himself.

So to anyone who lives in our area and might have gone out for Chinese food last night:  my sincerest apologies. It was us. I hope it didn’t get on your shoes. And from now on I promise I’m keeping a roll of paper towels and a bottle of carpet cleaner in the car.

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Notes from the Shallow End