Never Say Never

SlapShot_311Pyxurz

A year ago I was thinking about things I wanted to do in my hometown before I move across country. I also pledged, in writing, that I would never again do a couple of activities very popular in my area. Well, I did one. Actually, I did this thing I said I would never do … twice.

It’s sort of like marrying your ex-husband, or truly believing that the next time you sip Madeira, it’s going to taste great!

So let’s discuss my relationship with hockey, and specifically the St. Louis Blues. My first introduction to the sport was through a closed bedroom door. My older brother would grab a bag of pretzels, lock himself in his room, turn up the radio, and scream, yell and throw things while listening to the Blues’ hockey games. Yes, hockey on radio, I am that old. It’s probably a good thing the games weren’t televised frequently, as this was before the helmet rule, and I remember the players did look a bit … rustic.

My first actual game was with said brother and my high school boyfriend. Boyfriend spent the whole game in the bathroom dealing with digestive issues. After the game, he accidentally stepping in front of a car leaving the parking lot, and brother, sick boyfriend and I got accosted, screamed at, cussed out and almost punched. It wasn’t until the driver got out of his car and saw the size of both brother and boyfriend, that he backed down. Good thing, as at the time boyfriend could probably only have achieved, at most, a defense vomit.

Second game was with soon-to-be husband. We went with friends. His friends. One proceeded to jump up at every goal or almost goal and spill his beer on the man in front of him. Frequently. Fists would have flown, but Hubs has a way, so a free beer or two was presented and feelings were assuaged. One other friend, meek and mild, decided this was the night to finally let his crazy out. We had to carry him home. Fun times.

The first hockey game to void my above printed promise was last season. I was guilted into it by Son 2, as he knows I will do anything for love. “Please, Mom? It will be fun!” It wasn’t. Truth be told, it wasn’t awful, just expensively boring. He wouldn’t even let me sneak my Kindle into the game.

So, of course, I had to go one more time. This past Saturday, as a birthday present to Hubs from our sons, our family attended the Blue’s hockey game against some team from Minnesota that is not the North Stars, which is what I remember from listening to my brother listen back in the 1970’s. Minnesota Wild? What kind of a name is that? Shouldn’t it at least be Wilds, plural? Like the Blues? This did give me something to ponder while in attendance of said game.

Much excitement was had in the first period as there was an extended fight! Oh, yay! I did wonder why, unlike other sports, the refs seem to ignore and let the fight play out. Son 2 assured me afterward that it wasn’t a “real” fight because there was no blood.

I did enjoy watching the Zamboni clean the ice between periods. I am not sure what that says about me, except I know a touch of Italian, and if it ends with an “i,” it’s plural. Are you listening, Panera Bread and your panini references?

As the game went on, the Blues were winning. A bubbly, Nordic-looking Minnesota fan was sitting behind us. She is a season ticket holder for the Wild (Wilds?) and had traveled with girlfriends down to St. Louis to see the game. As an aside, eavesdropping is also a good way to entertain yourself at sporting events that don’t interest you.

Anyway, the Wild(s) finally scored, and she was excited. She jumped up and proceeded to spill her still very full beer all down my back. In her defense, she was very apologetic. It was actually a quite refreshing jolt out of my grammatical reveries. In my experience, this is not at all an unexpected turn of events at a hockey game. It would be like complaining it was too wet while swimming. And I could not be upset by an unintentional spill from a friendly seatmate. Plus, she was viking size, and I was a bit intimidated, so, no worries! Bonus: I was wearing Hub’s jersey, not my own clothes, because that is my sense of humor when doing things I don’t want to do; I go all in.

So the game finally ended. The Blues won, I think. I won’t be going to another game. I promise …

 

 

 

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Boxes of Boxes

afghan

I am not a “stuff” person. Hubs and I have surprisingly little amounts of boxed treasures or doodads, displayed or hidden. Our decorative taste can best be described as minimalist. This has been an intentional decision, a continual process of de-cluttering after cleaning out our parents’ residences. My parents not only kept everything from their lifetime, but also their parents, as well. Their garage was filled with wall-to-wall filing cabinets from my grandfather’s lifelong insurance business. Mom was a worshipped only child, with the mounds of childhood photos, mementos and riff raff  to prove it. She also was a big shopper, and never got rid of anything. She had four large closets bulging with clothes, more in the basement, and a footwear collection that boggled, including multiple pairs of the same shoes. My father kept every bit of paperwork from his forty-year business … all now stored in the basement. My sister and I spent three months of daily clean-out to get the house ready to sell.

My father-in-law’s hoarding was a bit different. He was more of a boxes of boxes and bags of bags type. It took the rental of two dumpsters to clear out his home.

Less is more for me. Once, my mother-in-law, a stellar shopper in her own right,  walked into my bedroom closet and asked, “Where do you keep the rest of your clothes?” “That’s it,” I answered. “They’re all right here.” I own about ten pairs of shoes, I wear maybe five. I have three purses, one for summer, one for winter, and one insulated one to store my frozen wash cloths when I attend St. Louis’ infamously hot outdoor summer theater. I guess I can get rid of that one.

Son 1 is completely moved out of the house, with just one large box of childhood treasures that I told him I can’t part with until he has a house and a spouse.

Son 2 is mostly moved out, but has left us the task of getting rid of the things he doesn’t want. Yes, I am keeping his “baby box” hostage, too.

As is true with everyone, our basement is the vacuum canister of our home’s flotsam. I discovered three still sealed boxes that we moved over from our first house, twenty-two years ago. One was filled with early 1990’s sweaters (think Cosby) and toddler clothes. The other two were mementos from my childhood.

I decided I needed to keep one box of my childhood memories, so I began sorting. It took me two days to wander down that lane. First tossed, letters from old boyfriends. After thirty plus years, I finally took Hubs off probation, so the letters seemed somewhat moot. Okay, I did keep the Christmas card from an old flame and his wife, their first year of married life, a sort of “screw you” missive that I still admire.

Out went a middle school slam book. This was an autograph book sent around to chums, who wrote, anonymously, whatever they wanted with no repercussions.  I like to think of it as the precursor to twitter. I really don’t need anyone’s help in pointing out my foibles; I am pretty good at it myself. Also out, various assorted programs from variety shows, singing concerts and other acts I barely remember, and boy-crazy notes from childhood friends that have drifted away over the years. Keep: angsty, self-obsessed, teenagery trip journals from various family vacations, and a few report cards and college essay exams, to remind myself I used to be smart.

I also have a collection of small, mostly ceramic horses that was a shrine to my childhood passion. I am saving a single representative. I’m keeping a horseshoe, as well, to put up at the entrance to our new house for good luck. The to-go box also includes my old, beat-up cowboy hat and remembrance cone and candle concoction from my favorite summer camp (just a few scant miles away from my new home). Pitch: ceramic things from my childhood dresser that hold no meaning; I’m not sure what all of them are …

I discovered six yellowed envelopes, filled with coins from different countries, from my grandparents’ world tour in the 1960’s. First, it amazes me that this small-town, rural, hardworking couple from Nowhere, Iowa, had the desire and chutzpah to undertake such a journey in their senior years. I also love that each envelope has the country’s name written on the outside, in my grandmother’s handwriting. It also brings back fond memories of my grandfather. I know each of my siblings and my cousins received the exact same envelopes, with the exact same coins, as he was nothing but fair. If distributing gifts, he not only would make sure all grandchildren got a Frisbee, but that we all got a RED Frisbee so there would be no favoritism or fighting. (He liked me best!) Keep.

Last is the eye-watering afghan from my childhood bedroom. My other grandmother let me pick out the colored yarn I wanted for my bedspread. She then made it for me, with no judgement or comment as to the color scheme. I hope she would be happy knowing that I have gracefully evolved towards a less-intrusive decorating palette.

Moving away from the comfort of a city you have lived in all your life is daunting. Moving from a home of twenty-two years is emotional. One of the hardest things to leave behind is the boys’ growth chart, from knee-high to over six feet, on the door frame of my pantry. But as I tell Son 1 (who is weirdly opposed to our move, although he lives in Washington, D.C., and I can guarantee will never move back to St. Louis) “A house is just a house, we are the family.”

I have known two families that lost everything in fires. It helps put into perspective that ultimately, stuff is just stuff. St. Louis has tornadoes, Colorado has wildfires, other places have hurricanes. There are no safety guarantees anywhere. Ultimately, the family in the house is the only thing that truly matters.*

I am so looking forward to starting a brand-new, exciting-but-scary adventure in the mountains. I have Hubs and my trusty canine companion by my side, and an extremely ugly afghan at the ready, should the need ever arise.

*And yes, family does include dogs, of course!

Posted in Crazy Relatives, dogs, Elderly parents, Family, Funny, Shopping, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Of Pot and Axe

Spongebob-quotes-I-smell-the-smelly-smell-of-something-that-smells-smelly

I get incensed when I read those click bait articles regarding 10 things older women should not wear, or 14 make-up don’ts for those over forty, acceptable hairstyles for older women, etc… This type of drivel is obviously (poorly) written by young girls who have no life experience. Growing old is an amazing privilege that not everyone receives, so I say, wear whatever you want, keep your old, tried and true hairstyle (if you want), use make-up your way or not at all. My motto has always been, with good hygiene, everyone is passably attractive. After that, it’s what’s on the inside that makes you beautiful … or not.

There is one issue, though, I would like to address, and it most frequently does apply to seniors.

We all know that as we age, our senses dull. We need glasses, the television volume creeps upwards, we add more spices to our food. Many of us also seem to lose our sense of smell.

Dear Perfume Lady,

Hi! You looked lovely last evening and seemed to be enjoying an amicable dinner out with someone you hold dear. I was trying to doing the same, one table over.

As per usual, as I entered the restaurant dining room I scanned for potential problems that could be avoided by strategic re-seating, if necessary. No unruly kids in sight, no over-imbibing soccer moms ramping up the volume, no obnoxious, pretentious “send it back” complainers … all seemed well.*

Then, my nose began to twitch, and itch. My eyes slightly watered as I searched for the source of the sickeningly sweet, cloying smell. I am still fifteen feet away from you in this small room. We are then seated at a table across from you. I quickly scan for an empty table as far away from you as possible, but there are none. But as your perfume has permeated every nook and cranny in this cozy space, there was really no escape, anyway.

I took a sip of my water, which tasted of flowers and an undertone of musk. We ordered wine, which also tasted floral, musky and off. Bread and humus? You guessed it, floral, weirdly flavored. By now, my head was starting to ache, but my nose was still acutely aware.

Our dinners arrived right at the time you were telling your partner an extremely exciting story, and were animatedly flinging your arms about. Oh, God, fresh waves. Instead of smelling enticing wafts of Italian seasonings and garlic, I smelled, just a wild guess, Obsession?

You were finished with your dinner before we were, and left. Your scent, however, did not, boosted by a fresh blast as you swung into your sweater.

Hubs and I decided at that moment that too much perfume/cologne goes under the accepted Universal Spouse Alert (UPA) rules. The list is under continuous revision, but always includes alerts regarding stuff stuck in your teeth, gook on your face, toilet paper on the shoe, skirt bunched up in back, buttons unbuttoned, barn doors open. Each couple must develop their own covert signals. For hints, ours include a raised eyebrow and pointed looks, a napkin swipe to our own clean face, a finger pensively tapping a lip, or asking “Right now? That seems a little inappropriate,” with an accompanying look to exposed nether regions.

Please remember, however, not to confuse UPA rules with the Oh, No, You Didn’t (ONYD)  list. Yes, tell me if I have lipstick on my teeth, no, don’t tell me my pants are too tight or my gray roots are showing. It’s a tricky tightrope, but most long-marrieds have figured out the dance.

I seldom wear perfume, myself. Remember, like lingerie, scents are for your own enjoyment, and maybe that of a very close loved one. Perfume is not a calling card to alert everyone in the vicinity that you have arrived. If you use the same brand day after day, year after year, your nose becomes immune.

My suggested application, spray into the air and then dash through it while wearing your birthday suit. You will most likely be in the acceptable smell zone, and it will greatly amuse anyone watching, including the dog.

But there is a universal truth: women my age are brave. So if you are a perfume aficionado, ask someone (preferably younger, more opinionated than nice) at work or a social situation if you are wearing too much perfume. Listen to their answer.

And please don’t wear perfume when:

Dining out

Any sort of wine tasting or food experience

Planes, trains and other tight, enclosed spaces

Thanks for listening, from all of us with noses. Especially those of us with truffle noses who can recognize the scent of marijuana mixed with teenage boy cologne a mile away, making one son’s journey into adulthood a bit more perilous.

*As an aside, Hubs warns that I am about one crabby rant away from becoming the “Hey, kids, get off of my lawn” guy.

Posted in Family, food, Funny, Marriage, rude people, teenagers, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Debating Dumb

 

Trust me, it’s not political, keep reading.

There is a great debate in the Hag’s house whether our much-loved canine cohort is, indeed, dumb.

There is evidence to support this theory. She hasn’t learned to open doors, like one of our other dogs did. She is deathly afraid of odd things, like paper bags, the freezer and sneezes. I have watched her spend an inordinate amount of time in the living room, stalking a stray sock (which she had brought in from the laundry room a few minutes earlier) then jumping three feet in the air as she pawed it and it moved.

She consistently scares herself as she vigorously wags her long tail and knocks everything over in its path. And chasing said tail never gets old. She has no idea how delicious treats from a people dinner sometimes magically appear in her food bowl. She never met a stranger, and would jump up and wildly lick Satan himself, should he wish to drop by for a visit.

Her excursions to the dog park consist mostly of running up to a dog, getting scared, and running back to me.

And she will eat anything, including plastic Easter eggs and shoe inserts.

Many of these oddities probably can be attributed to her rough start. She was abandoned in the country, like so many puppies, and rescued when she was about eight weeks old. No one is sure how long she managed on her own. We got her about four weeks later, and she was still frighteningly skinny (not only her ribs sticking out, but her hip bones, as well) full of worms, ear infections and skin problems. The first few weeks, we took her on small walks, and she kept her tail tucked at all times, warily eyeing the scenery.

She eventually thrived, and now is probably one of the most adored and spoiled princesses in the history of doggie love.

lilyspoiled

But I contend the girl is smart …. very smart. Or at least, her language skills are amazing.

There are many words she understands, such as all of the usual commands, most of which she will follow, if she feels like it and is not too excited.

She knows other things, as well. If you say the word “bath” to her, she will lower her head and ears, tuck her tail and run out of the room;  a useful tool at times.

She also gets very excited every time she sees me put on tennis shoes, or a baseball hat. To her, this means the hallowed walk is about to commence, and she proceeds to leap into the air with joy. I started telling her, “No, I’m going to the gym,” when I was, in actuality, dressed for a walk but indeed going to the gym. Within a week, she knew “going to the gym” was a terrible thing, and would abruptly end her happy dance, give me a disappointed/death to you look and walk away. We now use “going to the gym” anytime we are going out, and she is not invited. She’s not happy, and it works!

She also knows weird and random things, like “Let’s go check the mail,” which prompts her to run to the mailbox.

We are also a musical family, known to break out into song at least daily. I made up my own tune for going to the dog park, with riveting lyrics, including and limited to: “We’re going to the dog park, going to the dog park, going to the dog park, going to the do o o o o gie  park.” When I sing it she runs and gets her collar, then out to my car she goes.

As this is the limit of my songwriting skills, I picked another song to denote dog walks. I reached into my favorite Broadway bag and pulled out an appropriate tune from West Side Story… “Something’s Coming.” For those of you who are not former choir nerds or musical fans, the pertinent lyrics include “Could it be? Yes it could, something’s coming, something good …” I can sing it to her, or have Alexa (Excedrin? Alexandra? Alecia?) play it, the results are the same, she knows, she is excited, she runs to grab her collar and sits by the front door.

As an experiment, as I am only working sporadically right now and have a lot of free time on my hands, I tried just humming or whistling the tune to see if she recognized music. Nope, she needs the words.

As  final proof of the genius level of my dog, I give you this snippet. Lily’s first Christmas, a nephew was experimenting with her obedience skills. “Sit!” Check. “Stay!” Check. “Shake!” Check. “Lay down.” Nothing. “Lay down.” Again, nothing. I walked by and said, “Lie down!” and she promptly did. Is there any dog more suited to be my constant companion? I think not.

 

 

Posted in Animals, dogs, Family, Funny, music, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Guns Or Butter

guns or butter

In college economics classes, we learned “guns or butter” to simplify a country’s compromise between military/defense spending (guns) and investment in the production of goods (butter).

What was demonstrated is that you can’t have all of one, or the other suffers. It has to be a logical balance. Perhaps this basic principle of balance and common sense can be applied to gun control. I believe there is a logical compromise that most citizens would support, a balance between the right to bear arms and a citizen’s right not to be gunned down by military weaponry in a civilian setting.

I have guns in my house. I am not sure what exactly they are. I am not a gun person. They are my husband’s. He very occasionally hunts ducks and deer.

I am not anti-gun. I think hunting is fine, as long as you eat what you kill, and are not doing it just for the sport of killing. I think anyone who wants to arm themselves to protect their family and home has the right to do so. I am not opposed to open or concealed carry.

I personally don’t like guns. When we had children, I asked my husband to store his rifles (is that what they are?) somewhere outside of our home, inaccessible to our kids. He did. When they grew up and out, the rifles came back in.* I am fine with that, although I will never touch them.

I am a big fan of the constitution and the amendments. Of course 1 is my favorite, but 2 is fine, too.

But … There should be no semi-automatic or automatic assault rifles available to the general public. There should be no bump stocks or other gadgets you can buy to convert guns into automatic weapons. (Even the NRA says it now agrees with that.) There should be stringent background checks wherever guns are sold. Each gun should be registered when bought, so that we could be alerted if someone was amassing an arsenal. Yes, you have the right to bear arms. Registration and oversight don’t negate or even infringe upon that freedom.

I heard a representative of the NRA say that the current regulations don’t work and are not being enforced by prosecution, so his solution is to do away with them. My solution is to fix them, tighten them, enforce them, and apply them to anywhere guns are sold.

I have heard all of your arguments. First, your broad view of the second amendment.  It differs from mine. By your interpretation, any type of weapon is within your rights. Air to ground missiles? Nuclear warheads?

Next, the NRA quote that the only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns, which was patently not true in Las Vegas. The only way this could work is if everyone strapped on an automatic rifle, to make it a fair fight. That is not the world I want to see.

Then we hear that if we pass gun legislation, only law-abiding citizens will obey, and  criminals will still have guns. I am not asking for a total gun ban. I don’t think anyone but people on the fringe want or expect that.  Keep all your guns, except your semiautomatic or automatics. A ban on these weapons would prevent future  purchases. Yes, some crazy people may still have them. We can’t make the world a safe place, just safer.

My favorite, guns don’t kill people, people do. Yes, but if the Las Vegas gunman did not have access to assault-style weapons, there would have been fewer casualties.

Then I see lists of other things that can be used as weapons that are not banned … knives, planes, fertilizer, chemicals. Very true, I am sure someone could kill someone with a spoon, if they tried hard enough.

But these items have other uses, and a purpose. When they are used to kill people, it is a misuse of their intended purpose.

What is the purpose of extreme rapid-fire guns? As I understand it, they are military weapons designed to shoot and kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. Why would any citizen need this?

Next, “Hey, you are taking away my rights.” No, assault weapons weren’t even a thing when the constitution was written. Many of our fundamental rights have caveats.

Freedom of speech is restricted. I can’t yell “fire” in a movie theater, threaten the president, or in many cases uses hate speech against a person.

Voting rights can be restricted, if you are a felon, or didn’t register in time.

If I want to fish, hunt, drive, buy alcohol, there are restrictions, regulations and registration. Why should gun ownership be any different?

I am happy to read opposing views, that is how understanding and compromise come about. Please, no name calling of the other side, or “facts” from sites that have a dog in the fight and cannot be backed up by more independent sources. What are your thoughts for a solution to helping prevent mass shootings?

Let’s all try to make the world a better place through mannerly discourse, respect and love. No one, on any side, wants a repeat of what happened in Las Vegas, or Orlando, or Sandy Hook, or Columbine, or …

*Update: Hubs read my blog. His guns are rifles and shotguns. He proceeded to tell me the differences, and my eyes glazed over.

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I Hope I am a Pineapple

pineapple

Pineapples are rough and tough on the outside, with prickly spikes ready to jab those who don’t take heed or precautions. Inside, they are rather sweet and delicious, without being cloying.

That is me on my best days. I am not by any means overtly sunny, or even more than passably social if I can help it. But inside, I hope that I am kind, and that I can use that light to make a small contribution in the quest to make the world a better place.

Now seems like a good time to put aside our political differences, focus on remaining civil during discussions with those of opposing views, stop with the name-calling and the us vs. them, and recognize that underneath our various assorted veneers and armor, we are simply people. We love, we laugh, we hurt, we cry, we bleed. We share a world and walk a short path, albeit in many different directions and with unique obstacles.

Today I was thinking about the many acts of random kindness I have experienced from strangers.

Sometimes, a smile can light up a dark day. Thanks to all the cashiers, clerks, waiters and service workers who bring pleasantness into our lives.

Thanks to the many strangers who handed me tissues when I burst into tears in random places in the weeks and months after my mom died.

Also hats off to the people who hold open doors, help when packages are slipping, let you go before them in a line, wave you in front of them in traffic.

Many years ago, when the kids were young, a stranger bought our family’s dinner at a local restaurant. We tried to decline, then profusely thanked him and asked why. He replied “You just look like a happy family, and I wanted to do it.”

Wanting to pass it on, a few days later I was in line at a fast food restaurant, I drove up to the window and paid for my lunch and the person’s behind me. As I was waiting for my food, she got out of her car to come and thank me. She was heavily pregnant, and a bit teary eyed. She, too, tried to decline, and asked why. I told her I wanted to do it, as someone had recently done it for me. My guess is that she passed the kindness on, as well.

I love the mountains and hiking, but there are a few hikes that are a bit challenging for me due to both my age and my short stature (I’m looking at you, Skypond and Chasm Lake). There are always strangers with helping hands, pulling me up boulders or helping me down.

I remember the days of extreme toddler meltdowns, trying to get through a check-out with a child flaying in indignation. I was shot many dirty looks from people who I am sure were assessing my parenting skills and finding them woefully lacking. A wonderful lady behind me in line then made me laugh when she said “Oh, look, his legs gave out” as he flung himself on the floor. She then proceeded to tell me not to worry, it’s pre-programmed for that age, and that “the more challenging they are as a toddler, the better they are as adults. In fact, that’s how lawyers incubate.” No truer words …

Once I was crossing a parking lot and was hit by a car. My cat-like reflexes (haha) saved me, but I was certainly discombobulated. I sat down in a median to gather myself. Multiple people flocked to my side, asking if I was hurt, who they could call, called the police. I finally found a working synapse path and asked for my husband, explaining he was in our wine shop across the street. A man dashed over and fetched Hubs, while a woman sat down beside me and patted my back until he showed up.

I’ll see your evil, and raise you a world full of good.

I would love to hear your own stranger kindness experiences.

 

 

 

Posted in Family, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Was It Good For You?

tsa

I don’t know why; I suspect I must emanate some type of sneaky/guilty aura, but I am always the one pulled out of airports’ TSA lines for further screening. It’s a bit ironic, as I am also awarded, through no application of my own, a TSA Pre-Check on most of my flights, with some higher power deeming me no safety risk.

Once a TSA agent told me I was flagged because I was wearing baggy shorts. I quit wearing baggy shorts when flying, or I gained the weight back so the shorts are no longer baggy, you choose the option you want to believe. One said the zipper on my slacks triggered the alarms. I don’t wear those pants when travelling anymore. Most of the time, I ask what caused the further search, and I am told it’s just random, and my number came up. I Wish I was* as lucky in the lottery!

The last incident, however, has me puzzled and slightly concerned. At the Denver airport, I was pulled aside after raising my arms and successfully dancing through the “let’s see your junk” chamber of shame. The TSA agent on the other side said it was for a random explosives screening, my third or fourth this year. I was not very worried, as my hobbies are more along the lines of reading and eating. Another TSA agent tells me to hold out my hands, and he swipes them. He warns me not to move off of my time-out mat, and proceeds to the high-tech explosives scanner that I suspect in reality might just be a toaster oven. He then hurries back to me, talking urgently into his shoulder microphone. (Cool, but still not as good as Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone.)  There is a flurry around me, and I am gently escorted by the upper arm to the search area at the end of the conveyor belts. I’m confused, but not worried, as the closest thing I have to contraband is a lipstick perhaps a shade too red for my age and a possibly expired granola bar or two. Absolutely everything is taken out of my giant purse. (No, Frontier Airlines, it is not a carry-on, it’s a giant PURSE, so don’t even try to charge me for it.) This could be embarrassing, but luckily, this time, I did not have my emergency underwear stuffed in a hiding section.  My purse simply is bulging with old lady stuff: hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes, eye drops, lotion, Cottonelle wipes, tissues, fifty Band aids, lip balm, Neosporin, make-up, a pound of coffee, (hey, Kind Coffee in Estes Park, Colorado, is the best coffee anywhere!) my Kindle, i-phone, two chargers, 13 pens, two broken pencils, a cone of candied pecans, a Rocky Mountain National Park map, a newspaper, a souvenir t-shirt, my journal and an extra pair of jeans. I told you it was a big purse.

While all of these items were being inspected and swiped, girlfriend TSA was called. She explained the pat down procedure to me, assuring me she would be using the back of her hands on my “sensitive areas.” Now this may decrease the fun for her, but from where I sit, my nether regions don’t care, back or front, it’s still an uninvited, intrusive hand. She then told me I had the right to have said search conducted in private, and asked if that was my preference. I bit back my initial inclination of snapping, “Not really. Is it yours?” as I wanted to get home that same night. She was thorough, perhaps more action than the average fifty-six-year-old gets in a month of Sundays. Head, shoulders, knees and toes, then the fun part. “Spread your legs. Wider.” Now it’s beginning to sound like some kind of badly written, soft porn novel. I comply. She touches everything, and the back of the hand assurance really doesn’t make me feel any less violated. I then get the over the boob, across the boob, then under the boob check. A quick butt feel, and all that’s left is the awkward silence. I stifled the urge to ask, “Was it good for you?”

No weapons or explosives found. My “purse” is jumbled back together, and we are on our way. Hubs looks at me and asks, “So does that count as foreplay?”

I considered how my hands could have possibly tested positive for explosive residue. Right before I entered the TSA screening, I went to the bathroom and used their soap, so my hands were just washed. Could there possibly be something in the soap they use in their own restrooms that triggers a positive screening? This could really be a problem, except from what I have seen, most people don’t wash their hands, so …

Anyway, if you ever see me at an airport, please steer clear, as I am obviously a nefarious character… unless you need something. I probably can find it in my purse.

*Word Nerd alert: I bet you think that’s incorrect grammar, don’t you? Sure, your high school English teacher explained the subjunctive rule, insisting it is always “I wish I were.” Ah, but our language is luxuriously complex, and allows us to convey so much more. Use the subjunctive, “I wish I were,” if it could never happen. You know, “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener.” Use the indicative form, “was,” if there is a possibility of something happening. That’s why I chose “I wish I was,” above. I don’t want to rule out the off-chance of a lottery win!

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