It’s that time of year again when well-meaning men folk and children are scrambling to find the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Why, my own kids just asked me today what I would like to have for the glorious occasion (this is where I wish I had a font that denoted sarcasm). It’s really hard to look into the bluest eyes of the prettiest girl you’ve ever seen, who you also happened to give birth to, and say “I’d just like a day of solitude to write and drink vodka” but I digress…
I have no flipping clue what I’d like for Mother’s day, other than the aforementioned day of solitude, but I thought I would give it a wing and suggest some do’s and don’ts of Mother’s Day gifts for my three faithful readers and any other wayward soul who might find this blog by Googling “Charmin toilet paper.” Yeah, that search term is the #1 for finding this blog. More on that later….
After being a mom for the last 18 years, I have an idea or two about what makes a good gift and inversely, about eleventy hundred ideas of what makes a bad gift. You never ever want to buy anything that has been featured on an As Seen on TV infomercial, period. Even if you’re wrapping the jewelry you bought in a Snuggie, Mom’s first thought is going to be “Oh, a Snuggie.” That is not good. Ever. And speaking of jewelry, she really doesn’t need any jewelry that sports the word “mom.” She knows she’s your mother. She spent several hours in labor and that’s all the reminder she needs about that.
Other things to avoid are small kitchen appliances and/or cleaning tools. I don’t care if she really wants a pink Kitchen Aid stand mixer, just because it’s $200 doesn’t mean it’s a good gift. This also applies to fancy vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, Panini makers, etc. If the gift you are giving makes it easier for her to do things for you, then it’s shit. End of story.
You also don’t want to buy anything that could be considered exercise equipment. This just tells mom you think she’s fat. Never a good idea. And if you don’t heed this advice, you might find yourself the lucky recipient of a Shake Weight right upside the head. I also would discourage gifts of lotion or body spray, because that just says you think she’s smelly and/or you’re too cheap to spring for a day at the spa where someone else pampers her. And flowers. Well, they’re sweet at first, but after a few days, it’s just another mess she’ll have to clean up when they die and have to be thrown away. You ever try to stuff a big bouquet of crunchy dead flowers in the trash? It makes a mess on the floor and also punches holes in the trash bag, thus causing more work for mom. And then she has to find somewhere to put that big ugly vase they come in. Bad idea all around.
So now you’re probably asking, “Well Helle, what SHOULD we buy mom then?” Well if your mom is like me, she wants concert tickets. There’s nothing better than live music and if you disagree, then you must be a Communist. And mom will never tell you this, but she wants a weekend away from you. If you can combine the concert tickets with the weekend away, you’re golden. If you can’t afford this combo, then start saving up for next year. In the meantime, send her a couple of hours away to a luxurious hotel room with room service and the best bottle of wine/liquor you can afford. If you’re smart, you’ll contact her best girlfriend’s kids and go halfies and send them together. I can see nothing going wrong with this gift and it may even land you in the Hall of Fame of Children, if there were such a thing.
Now if you’re looking for more low-brow than that, you can’t go wrong with a day at the spa. Most women love being pampered with manis, pedis, facials, and of course massages. Personally, I don’t like facials because the last time I had one the girl was trying to pop pimples and remove blackheads and that was just about the most unpleasant thing I’ve ever experienced besides childbirth, but maybe they do it differently where you live. And I personally don’t like strangers rubbing on my naked body, but that’s just me. Maybe your mom is a freak and enjoys those things.
Lastly, if you can’t think of anything else, try to score your mom some Xanax. This is tricky though, because it’s sorta illegal, unless you can score mom a script for it. I’m really not condoning that you go out and buy your mom some drugs, but let me tell you what, they didn’t call that stuff Mother’s Little Helper for nothing back in the 60’s. I guess if you live in Colorado, you could get her a joint as a good substitute, but the rest of y’all are just fucked and will find yourselves at the Walgreen’s on Saturday night perusing the gift card rack.
Go with the MasterCard gift card. It’s accepted everywhere. Or save yourself a trip and just give her cash.
Even though I have like 800 TV channels to pick from, sometimes I just can’t find a damn thing to watch. And sometimes I have insomnia and there’s not a lot to pick from at 3:00 a.m. unless you’re into the variety of selections on Skin-a-Max. So, invariably I end up watching those stupid infomercials selling miracle products that are just going to transform my life for the better!
As a side note, these miracle products are usually only $19.99 and if you call right now, they’ll send you another one for free, as long as you pay the extra shipping and handling. I don’t know about you, but I expect anything that’s going to transform my life to cost wayyyy more than twenty lousy bucks. But that’s just me. I mean you can’t even get a good bottle of vodka for $19.99 and that only transforms my life into something wonderful for a few days, tops.
But I digress. Let’s take a look at some of these miracle products. And don’t feel bad if you’ve actually bought one. I’ve fallen victim to an As Seen on TV purchase a time or two myself, but it was the pancake puff thing and I actually enjoyed making pancake puffs there for a while. Oh wait, there was the funnel cake thingy too and that was just a pure disaster, but I did end up with a nifty thing to water plants should I ever remember to water the plants…
Who hasn’t bought the Sham-Wow? OK, I haven’t, but I wanted to buy it. Does that count? It seems to be able to solve almost every problem I have. I have to say that since Billy Mays died though, the Sham-Wow just doesn’t seem to pack the same punch. This new guy could learn a lesson or two from watching the master of the As Seen on TV commercial. Billy Mays’ enthusiasm could almost convince me to buy anything. Well except the Sham-Wow, but I’m lazy. Which leads me to the next product…
This is kinda like a Snuggie, except it makes the Snuggie look like a bad hospital gown. It’s basically footie jammies for adults complete with a butt flap so you can take a dump without getting undressed. I think that might be where this gem actually got it’s name because I can think of nothing lazier than not wanting to take your pants off to go take a crap. Who buys this?! Oh wait… I may have heard someone talking about owning this in the office…let’s move on.
If you thought the Forever Lazy was the epitome of the sadness of the American human condition, then check out the Stadium Pal. Not only are the people who use this too lazy to take off their pants to take a piss, they are too lazy to even go find a bathroom. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never found myself in the position of deciding that it would just be a better idea to relieve myself into a hidden bag strapped to my leg than find a restroom. However, I guess during those extra cold football tailgates, it may help keep you warm. Think I’d opt for freezing half to death, but that’s just me.
I actually kinda wish that this was around about 17 years ago. My kids produce the most ear wax I’ve ever seen come out of a human body and their ear holes are so tiny, the wax would get all stuck up in there and then it would get hard. That would require a trip to the doctor, who would then have to use this hook looking thing to dig out the nasty hard ear wax while my child would scream bloody murder. I don’t really think this thing works but I sure wish I had invented it because then I’d be laying on a beach, fat and happy, sipping a fruity cocktail while y’all were trying to vacuum your ears. Ain’t nobody got time for earwax.
I think what got me on this one was the LED light. I don’t know a lot of men who would even use this, let alone a guy who would need to groom in the dark. Is that a big problem for guys that I’m unaware of? (Forgive me Grandma for ending a sentence with a preposition.) I don’t know about you, but if I’m using something that has the ability to cut off a body part of mine, I’m going to be using it with the lights ON and a phone handy incase I need to call the squad.
And here we have a hair removal option for women. It claims to be pain-free. I’m kinda of leery after a session with my Grandma’s Epi-Lady back in the 80’s, which used this metal coil thingy to rip the hairs right out of your skin. It only took me about 5-seconds to decide the Epi-Lady was a torture device at the tender age of 12. Our government should look into these devices as an option to water-boarding. That’s how bad it was. So I don’t have much enthusiasm for the No! No! I mean the name is basically telling me not to use it, right? They totally should have hired Don Draper for that ad campaign. I mean Peggy would have never let them put out a product for women to remove hair painlessly and let them call it No! No! Duh.
And last but not least, my personal all time favorite As Seen on TV product. Drum roll please…
I don’t even know where to begin. This is probably the all time best infomercial I have ever seen. You have to watch the video. I really must pay homage to these women — if only I had thought of this. And not only do they have the answer to your camel toe dilemma, they have some other neat products to help deter some other embarrassing fashion faux pas. I guarantee those girls are sitting on a beach right now sipping fruity cocktails sans embarrassing female anatomy issues. Skinny Blonde Bitches. I think I will invent the Helle way of preventing camel toe – wear some damn pants that aren’t three sizes too small! Sorry Christy and Kelly, but I’m a brunette. These things come to us naturally.
So there are my picks for dumbest As Seen on TV products. Have you tried any of these? Let me know…I swear, I won’t tell a soul. Wink, wink.
Recently I found myself driving down a road I haven’t traveled in quite awhile. I used to travel that road almost every day…driving back and forth from seeing my Grandma in in the nursing home. In case you don’t know, that woman had a huge impact on my life. She practically raised me and I think if it hadn’t been for her, I’d probably be living a whole different life than I am right now. Matter of fact, I probably wouldn’t be able to even form an intelligible sentence if not for her. I also wouldn’t have a huge guilt complex, but that’s neither here nor there.
Driving down that road in the dark, as I did so many nights that year she was sick, left me with a deep sadness. And then it struck me. It was exactly this time of year, 9 years ago that I was making that drive every night, essentially waiting for her to die. I struggled with the thought, but yes, it HAS been that long. Some days, it seems as if it just happened.
My Grandma, probably like most women, had a way that things had to be done. If you didn’t do the things you were supposed to do the right way, you’d find yourself doing them again. I learned this lesson the hard way at the Big Bear grocery store. Each week, she’d take the Big Bear ad from the newspaper and circle the items she wanted, hand me some cash, and send my on my way to the grocery to pick up said items. I’d head down the alley over to Central Center Shopping Center, on foot. I couldn’t have been more than 8-years-old the first time she did this. Can you imagine sending your 8-year-old kid to the grocery store on foot with a wad of cash? Oh, and sometimes I had an 8-pack or two of returnable (glass!) Diet 7-Up bottles to cash in to boot. Apparently, I was a very dependable 8-year-old. Then again, the year before that, she sent me off to walk to school in a BLIZZARD. Now that I think about, maybe she hated me…. (kidding Grandma!).
So, there I was in Big Bear, at 8-years-old, pushing a cart, looking at the circled items on my list. And naturally, I did what any 8-year-old would do when they couldn’t find one of the circled items, I skipped on to the next item. Most of the circled items were sale items, so the store was bound to be out of a good bit of the shit I was supposed to pick up. One cool thing Grandma always did, though, was give me a little extra money just in case I saw something we needed that caught my fancy. This money was always spent in the bakery, and since we shared a love of sugary treats, maybe it wasn’t so unplanned on her part… On a side note, I always picked the thumb-print cookies, with the dollop of sugary icing in the middle, and if they were sold out, I got the crème horns.
So after I cashed in the bottles and picked up the stuff I could find, I’d head back down the alley to her house and await my approval for doing such a good job at the grocery store.
“Where’s the Oscar Meyer bologna that was on sale?” she said.
“Oh, they were out of that,” I replied.
“Did you get a rain check?”
The dreaded rain check! No, I didn’t get a rain check. What 8-year-old thinks about rain checks? I just wanted to get home to eat my thumbprint cookies and apply the fake tattoos and wear the plastic gemstone rings I got with the change from the dime machine at the entrance of the Big Bear.
“You have to go back and get the rain check,” Grandma said.
Looking longingly at the thumbprint cookies on the kitchen table, I begrudgingly grabbed the Big Bear circular and headed back down the alley… If only life were like shopping at the Big Bear in 1979. I’d get a rain check for one more afternoon with Grandma.
In Loving Memory of Grandma Deany
7.21.22 – 4.21.04
This is probably something that shouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but it bothers the hell out of me. It is probably the top offender on the list of things that drive me bat shit crazy. I don’t know about you, but when I meet someone, I make an effort to remember his or her name. It’s kinda just the most important thing in human interaction you can do. It makes a person feel like you are interested in them – that you care. It can make and break deals.
It’s really not a hard task when you think about it. There are eleventy articles on the Internets chock full of tips to help you remember someone’s name. Probably first and foremost of those is to pay fucking attention when you are talking to someone. In other words, put down your damn smart phone and listen.
It goes like this:
Me: “Hi, my name is Michelle.”
You: “Hi Michelle. Nice to meet you.”
Then during the conversation, you use my name a couple of times, to help you put my face with my name. And maybe during that conversation that you are paying attention to, you’ll find something we have in common. Thus reinforcing a bond between us that will help you remember my name. In case you forgot, it’s Michelle.
You might even, at some point, find yourself singing Michelle, My Belle to me. I get that a lot. I don’t really like it, but if it helps you remember my name, then have at it. I mean the only other song that I can think of that uses the name Michelle, is Guns ‘n Roses My Michelle, in which the said Michelle is a drug addicted ho, so I’m kinda glad that’s not the first song people think to sing to me when they find out my name, but I digress.
I would also rather you just come out and say, “Well shit, I can’t remember your name” than to call me by a name that is not mine. We’ve all been there. There’s no shame in forgetting something. As a matter of fact, I find honesty to be one of the most endearing qualities a human being can possess. I admire a person who can admit they are fallible.
So do me a favor. If you can’t remember my name, then opt to call me nothing at all. We can have a short conversation where you pretend you know me, we can exchange pleasantries, all without including proper salutations using each other’s names.
Whatever you choose to do, please note, MY NAME IS NOT MELISSA. Or Heather. For some reason, those are the two top names I get called that are not my name. I get Melissa…it starts with an M and well…that’s about it. But Heather? What the fuck?! I don’t even look like a Heather. Do I?
But alas, the other day someone says me to me, “What’s your name?” and I told him, “It’s Michelle.” Twenty-four hours later, I encounter said individual again, and he calls me Melissa. What. The. Fuck.
MY NAME IS NOT MELISSA.
P.S. Do people named Melissa get called Michelle a lot?
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t find myself in a position of making a snap decision on whether or not to say what the hell is on my mind to biting the fuck out of my tongue until blood pours out of my mouth. Most days this shit happens at work so I’m left with the option of biting my tongue or…biting my tongue. In my personal life, I’m more apt to say whatever the hell is on my mind. But every now and then someone will catch me off guard and I’m left speechless looking like the kid who just watched her dog get run over by a city bus.
One of those moments happened recently. Earlier that week I thought to myself I should just pack my bags and hit the road for the weekend. But then my sense of responsibility got the better of me and I decided instead I would just go shopping after work, which is just a sad state of affairs for me because I hate shopping. But I live in a small town and apart from shopping, my only other choices were bars, bowling, movies, or church and since I couldn’t find anyone to go to the bar or bowling with me, shopping it was.
Somewhere between the handbags (my Achilles heel) and the jewelry, the makeup lady sucked me into her lair. I do love me some makeup and the dreaded free gift with purchase was just enough bait to suck me in. Plus, who doesn’t like some stranger rubbing nice smelling stuff all over your face with the promise of making you more beautiful? And there was the added incentive that this was more time I was not at home wasting away in front of a TV with 800 channels of nothing to watch. Plus I was hoping to head over to the Trashio Shack later and see if I could talk them into putting a new screen protector on my phone.
So as Ms. LetMeMakeYouBeautiful was making my almost flawless face even more breath-taking, she says, “You have a lovely nose.” I smiled. I do get complimented on my nose a lot. Not to brag, but I do have a pretty spectacular nose. Matter of fact, I think my nose is so spectacular, that I have avoided having my deviated septum fixed for fear that it would alter my otherwise perfect nose. Basically, I have chosen that I love the way my nose looks so much, that I would prefer to have a pretty, but un-functional nose, as opposed to being able to breathe out of both nostrils, for fear some hack of a surgeon would ruin the great aesthetics of my nose.
And then she says, “But you should really have your deviated septum fixed.”
Normally, I would have some smart-ass snarky comment to shoot back. But no, I sat there…dumbfounded, pretty sparkly lips, agape with shock. I think I hate that more than being caught naked by the UPS man.
Don’t hate me because I have a beautiful nose. Like me because I can’t breathe out of it but refuse to fix it.
Now that you have that catchy little tune stuck in your head, which incidentally has nothing to do with candy, let’s talk about candy that sucks. Candy so bad that someone should just revoke its candy title and the inventor of said sucky candy should be sentenced to a lifetime of eating their own crappy so-called candy until they end up looking like bloated road kill.
The first sucky candy offender is none other than chocolate covered fill in the blank. Raisinettes were the first to come to my mind, mostly because I hate raisins. And just slapping some chocolate on any old, dead, dried up piece of fruit you can find does not a candy make! Same goes with nuts. Chocolate covered anything is not candy. Would you slap some chocolate on some dried up earthworms and call it candy? I think not.
Next on my list is Good and Plenty. These are not good, and that’s WHY they are plenty – no one wants to eat ‘em! Who in the hell actually decided that putting a hard sugary coating over black licorice pellets was a good idea? I’ll tell ya who, someone who sat around popping little white and pink pills all day, that’s who. I’d rather have chocolate covered gasoline pellets than eat that crap.
Rounding out the middle, we have Gummy Bears. I can’t look at a Gummy Bear without thinking of that closing scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where the nerdy girl on the bus offers a Gummy Bear to the battered and beaten Mr. Rooney. She says they are even warm because she’s kept them in her pocket all day. I’ve heard these things are indestructible. You can leave them out in the elements for years and they will not disintegrate nor will any living creature touch them. I don’t know about you but if my dog won’t eat it, then neither will I.
I might get some flack for this next one, but I’m tough so have at it. Sucky candy Number 4 is anything mint. Peppermint Patties, Junior Mints, Andes After Dinner Mints, you name it. If it’s minty, it’s not candy in my book. I don’t want my candy to be refreshing. The whole point of candy is to be comforting. If I want to be refreshed, I’ll have a Mojito.
And last, but not least is the Mounds/Almond Joy train wreck. I guess this could technically fall under Sucky Candy Number 1, but it’s so spectacularly sucky that I decided to give it its own mention. There is nothing good about coconut. I don’t even like coconut-flavored rum so that should tell you how much I despise the coconut. Making a gooey, chocolate covered glob of coconut is quite possibly the worst idea ever in candy making history. And apparently someone thought it was such a brilliant idea that they decided adding a single, solitary almond on the top of the glob should result in another dumb assed candy bar, the Almond Joy.
Now I’m going to go enjoy some real candy – the Lindor Truffle. The bag says that once I break the delicate chocolate shell the irresistibly smooth filling will gently caress all of my senses and take me to a place where my chocolate dreams will come true. Now that is what I call candy…