Thursday, July 30, 2015

Who is the Better Driver?

Why is it every time we get in the car to drive anywhere, my husband and son start talking smack about how men are better drivers than women.  "You know, most NASCAR drivers are men.  In the movies, they use male stunt drivers..... even for scenes when females are driving.  Evel Knievel was a man and there has not been a She-vel Knievel", and on they go to ad nauseam.

I listen to this nonsense even though national statistics prove women are the safer drivers.  As proof of that data, I have only had one car wrecked since I have been driving.  Who totaled it?  My husband. And yet he is still convinced he is the better driver.

A number of years ago, I made the executive decision that I would do all of the driving in our household. Why?
A) Because my husband does not like to drive;
B) When he looks around while he is driving, his hands turn the steering wheel in whichever direction his eyes move.  Being in the car while he is driving is like being in a lifeboat in the middle of an apocalyptic, your-life-is-flashing-before-your-eyes hurricane.

The last time he drove on a long car trip was in 1999.  He had taken over driving after we stopped for a leg-stretching break at a rest stop.  We were about 20 minutes down the road, when he started looking around at the scenery. 

The car began to sway back and forth. First we went left, then we went right. Within a few minutes of this rollercoaster ride, I got motion sick.  After I made him pull off the highway (so I could get sick on the side of the road), I took over the driving......... and have not given him the opportunity to drive me anywhere since.  He contends it was not his driving but that I got ahold of some bad chocolate.  There is no such thing as "bad" chocolate.

Recently while we were in the grocery store, I discovered my husband drives the shopping cart the same way he drives a car.  This discovery was a rather rude eye-opener when he took out an endcap of potted meat while he was perusing the macaroni and cheese on the other side of the aisle.

After we put all of the cans back on the shelf and I was muttering under my breath about what "fantastic" drivers men are, we turned the corner onto the cereal aisle.  We hadn't taken 5 steps down the aisle when we encountered a husband pushing a shopping cart behind his wife.  As the man pointed to a box of Pop-Tarts to his right, he pushed the shopping cart left.  He took out an entire shelf of Fruit Loops.

In a show of solidarity, my husband called out to the man and told him it was a combination of the uneven floor and the shopping cart's propensity to make a hard left turn which caused the destruction.  I looked at my husband and asked if he had used his Spidey-vision to get the level of the floor.

This Spring, my dad began been teaching our son to play golf.  Because we have hit the dog days of summer, my parents decided to take our son to a golf superstore and let him practice putting in an air-conditioned environment.

After he and my dad were finished putting, my son took over pushing the shopping cart from my mom.  As my dad was showing him another teenager putting, my son ran the shopping cart into a bank of 50+ putters.  Much to their horror, the putters fell down one after another like a bunch of lined up dominoes.  He apparently got the driving gene from his father.

But men are better drivers than women..........

Christie Bielss

Monday, July 27, 2015

Three of the Scariest Words

There are three words which strike fear in the hearts and souls of men and women alike. Three words which know no boundaries and affect people from every walk of life.  It does not matter what language you speak or your socio-economic status, those three words stop mankind in his tracks.

What are the three words that cause such genuine fear?

"Some Assembly Required"

I am betting those words just caused an uncontrollable shiver of revulsion to run down your spine. Seeing those three words may have even triggered a flashback to pulling an all-nighter trying to assemble a special gift so it was ready when your child or loved one woke up the next morning.  Or maybe you have one of those nightmarish memories of trying to assemble a baby crib or other baby paraphernalia.

My flashback is from when I was a teenager. My parents decided I did not have enough storage and bought me a new wall bookcase unit.  It was one of those fancy all-in-one units that looked really neat in the store. 

The store's merchandiser had neatly organized the books on the bookshelves, the desk section had been equipped with the perfect desk set organizer, and precisely folded clothing was beautifully arrayed inside the drawers.  When my parents saw this behemoth, they swore they could hear the angels in heaven sing as they imagined all of my belongings neatly stored and displayed......... instead of being stacked or strewn across the floor of my bedroom.

This white six foot high and ten foot long laminated particle board wall unit was not sold fully assembly, but for an extra fee, the store delivery personnel could assemble the unit for us.  My dad puffed up and said he was not paying extra for something he was perfectly capable of handling.  He had all of the necessary tools at home, and after all, if he could fly jumbo jets around the world, he could certainly follow some simple directions on where to put a few nuts and bolts.

We brought the thirteen boxes of various parts home and carefully piled them up in my bedroom according to the number labelled on the outside of each box, which was printed right next to the label which stated "Some Assembly Required".  We opened box #1 and quickly dug around for the book of instructions.

My dad leafed through the booklet and discovered all of the instructions were written in a foreign language.  He and my brothers looked through the box together to see if there was another set of instructions.  There had to be another booklet! 

My mom quickly called the store. Nope.  There was only one booklet of instructions. They informed her to "just follow the pictures".

The realization of what my dad had gotten himself into hit full force.  He politely excused himself and went to the garage.  For several minutes we heard things being banged and slammed around in the garage.

My mom stood at the doorway to my room with one hand on her hip and an exasperated look on her face as she listened to the chaos in the garage.  After a few minutes she announced "Well, I think your dad may need a minute or two to himself.".

A little while later my dad came back inside. He was ready to get to work and had a hammer in one hand and a set of screwdrivers in the other.

As one of my brothers and I looked at the directions together, we discovered the main language was German.  He was in his second year of German and I was in my first, so we started reading the instructions together while my dad used the pictures to figure out the parts we could not translate.  This was the blind leading the helpless.

It took us 2 days to assemble that enormous wall unit with all of its drawers, doors, and the drop-down desk.  When the assembly was complete and we were all standing back admiring our work, my dad calmly announced "This unit will never be moved.  If we sell this house and move, it gets sold with the house.  Oh, and just so everyone knows:  no more "Some Assembly Required" furniture will ever cross the threshold into a house I own.  Ever.".

It was a nice announcement and it certainly held up for a number of years, until his first grandchild arrived.  Then he got tasked with assembling cribs, pack n' plays, baby bouncers and toys of all kinds.  But, as he has said each time since then, at least all of these directions have been in English.

Christie Bielss


Friday, July 24, 2015

Ditch the Duck

Just like saddle shoes and poodle skirts, mood rings, and Cabbage Patch kids, fads come and fads go. Some fads were goofy and entertaining, like pet rocks and jelly shoes.  Some are just plain dumb, like the Magic 8 ball and The Macarena.  Other fads, like having pants so saggy you have to wear 2 pairs of underwear, have caused so much embarrassment for parents, they have forced department stores and city councils to enact rules and city ordinances barring people from wearing droopy drawers.

Mona Lisa Public Domain image

The latest fad is one I am not really looking forward to revisiting a few years down the road.  This craze is not only goofy, but it's leaving a highly visible trail of photographic proof (aka extortion material) of our friends succumbing to this craze. 

Which fad am I talking about?  This crazy trend of posing with a duck face - which also resembles a fish face.  This truly unattractive pose is sure to be one for the "What in the name of all things holy were they thinking?!" record books.

Every single day my Facebook newsfeed displays evidence of another victim who has fallen prey to thinking this is a sexy and glamorous look. I would love to know who told women that looking like a cross between Daisy Duck and a big-mouthed bass hooked on the end of a fishing pole is attractive.  

Ben Stiller - Public Domain image
Ben Stiller started this goofy look in the movie "Zoolander".  A comedy film whose character is a fashion model and a complete dim-wit.  Someone, somewhere, saw this movie and thought 'this is the look I want to show to the world'.... and another fad was born.

A fad whose look is more reminiscent of the mounted Big Mouth Billy Bass singing "Take Me To The River" than  Marilyn Monroe in some sexy pose.  When I see a casualty of this fad, I don't see a beautiful woman.  Nope.  At best, I see Dori from the movie 'Finding Nemo'.  While Dori is cute, women posed like this look as though they are experiencing a serious medical event.

Dori from Disney/Pixar Pictures movie "Finding Nemo"

When I see moms duck-face posing in pictures with their kids, all I can think of is how sad it will be when their children look back on these photos in 20, 30, or 40 years and wonder what in the world was wrong with their mother's face, or what did they do that was so bad their mother chose not to smile in a single photo with them.

Duck face posing is a fad whose 15 minutes of fame needs to be up.  Do yourself, your family, and history a favor.  The next time you take a picture, smile.  The look of joy is so much more appealing and powerful than any forced fish or duck face pose.

Christie Bielss