Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Razor's Edge...


I had a good run this morning.


The endorphins flowed early. I felt relaxed and refreshed when I finished. I couldn’t, however, have prepared myself for my wife’s heinous act of marital treason.

She used my newest razor to shave her legs.

The hot water felt good. I lathered up taking great care to cover every inch of my stubbly neck and face. My first warning something had gone awry was finding the razor on the bathtub ledge beside the soap and loofah or whatever that thing women exfoliate with is called.

She didn’t-not my shiny, sharp, never touched an epidermis before razor?

Oh yes… she did.

Trying to shave my beard with that thing reminded me of trying to slice a tomato with a butter knife…or maybe even trying to cut butter with a butter knife. As my Alabama brethren would say, my face looked like I “shaved through a screen door.”


Isn’t it bad enough that we have to take a sharp edged blade and cut hair from our face so whiskers don’t scrape the woman we pledged to forsake all others for? It's so dangerously close to our eyes, lips, and carotid artery for crying out loud. One wrong slip and you would have the whole bathroom to yourself until the new husband moves in. But then, add a significant other, surreptitiously christening a new shaving utensil in a brazen act of eminent domain, and you have the not so merciful coup de grace.

It’s just not fair.

I know; I know; women are from Venus and well men…men are from Mars/Hell. But I did some research this morning. Wives may be correct to attribute ¾ (or all) of the dirt and grime in a bathroom to the man’s use thereof, but ¾ (make that all) of the space in a bathroom is controlled by the fairer of the two.

I mean, what is all that stuff in the cabinets used for anyway? Talk about oil spills. We have a disaster waiting in our powder room. I found tea tree oil, sweet oil, fresh and fruity x-virgin olive oil, and some other oil looking liquid/solid whose label I couldn’t read. That doesn’t even account for whatever all that other stuff is that I was too lazy to inspect.

Our bathroom looks like the old counter from the Sears and Roebuck women’s department.

During my investigation I did see an interesting bottle that seemed to have an identity crisis. It looked like some sort of cream, but the tag said warm vanilla sugar hand soap with green tea extract and shea butter. I didn’t know whether to eat it, drink it, or rub it on my newly formed facial abrasions.

It’s like corporate American got in an ingredient war.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife’s silky smooth legs and young looking appearance. In fact, she still revs my engine after twenty three years of knowing her and the three children she bore. She doesn’t look a day over twenty-nine and I wouldn’t care if she did anyway. And, I don’t mind sharing anything with her. She learned that early in our relationship when she never would order any food or drink, but would always eat or sip mine.

But, can’t a guy have his own razor? Can’t we keep one last frontier free from female exploration?

I’ll keep loving my wife even if she dulls my edges with her legs and other what nots. She’s still the greatest thing to me since sliced bread….with butter on it. But, Father’s Day is coming up and I think I’ve discovered a great gift idea.

I’m a simple-minded man…just buy me a new bag of disposable razors.

And, don’t go near them…




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Friday, May 7, 2010

My Drug of Choice...

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I’m going to be brutally honest. There’s one thing my wife really regrets about marrying me:


I hate coffee.

My beverage of choice: sweetened iced tea with an emphasis on the sweet and ice. Don’t put splenda, truvia, nutra-sweet or any of that other fake stuff in it either. No lemon and no straw.  I want it straight...and in a mason jar if possible, but not necessarily.

If it ain’t got lily white sugar just throw it out as far as I’m concerned.

Evidently it’s sort of a southern thing. Did you know you can’t get sweet tea for breakfast in some fast food establishments? Especially those north of the Mason/Dixon line. I first discovered this regrettable fact about ten years ago when I stopped early one morning at a McDonalds in Harrisburg, PA. When it was my turn at the drive up window, my voice rang clearly as I pronounced “sausage biscuit and large, sweet tea.”

“Excuse me, sir,” she said.

“Sausage biscuit and large, sweat tea,” I said again, and little more slowly believing all the background noise from the nearby interstate the source of the distortion.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t understand what you said last.”

“S-w-e-e-t, i-c-e-d t-e-a.” I said it slower this time, which my yankee friends say (and I use yankee in the fondest sense I can) makes it worse. The slower it is the more trouble they have in deciphering it. Their ears are waiting for three words in the time it takes me to say three syllables.

Oh, and please don’t tell any of my Alabama family that I have yankee friends. Some things are best left in the brutally secret category.

“Oh, you want tea?  We don’t serve it until lunch and all we have is un-sweetened anyway." Was it really necessary to add the insult to an already aggravating injury?

Maybe my wife has just been trying to help me get through life more easily with this coffee stuff-this beverage transcending all geographical boundaries .

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I’m still trying to overcome her love affair with a college professor who taught literature with a bow tie on his neck and a cup of coffee in his hand. To make matters worse for me, he said the word “schedule” by pronouncing it “shedule.” Heck, he probably drove a Mercedes, smoked a pipe and wore little, oval spectacles too. Must be European or something.

I realize I’m not what one would call a world traveler. I mean, Mexico, Canada, and New York City are the only foreign countries I’ve ever been to. But, what’s so romantic about all that? I think they spelled schedule wrong anyway, because everybody on this side of the pond (which really is much bigger than a pond. What’s up with that?) says “skedule.”

I’ve also heard people in Europe don’t put sugar or ice in their tea.

Think I’d just as soon drink skunk spray…or maybe even coffee.

There can’t be coffee in heaven…not in my section anyway. I bet there will be plenty in hell, however. I can just see old Sisyphus now. When he finally gets that ball to the top, Lucifer will be waiting with a big old cup of Joe.

By the way, who is Joe, and I wonder if he knows they named a beverage that tastes like motor oil after him?

Never understood the point in drinking something you have to “develop” a taste for anyhow. Why waste so much time and money doing that? There’s plenty of stuff I’ve already got a taste for and it took no investment to “develop” it. Beverages should be consumed from a clear glass container so you can see what the heck it is you’re drinking, not some decorative receptacle you have to hold with a handle. Besides, they taste better like that anyway.

But, on this upcoming Sunday, I've decided to show the mother of my children that she really is special. I’m going to make a sacrifice of monumental proportions. I’m going to sit quietly with her and choke down a cup of that hot, brown, bitter stuff she loves so much. I might even try to stretch my limited dialect and do some European pronunciations.  If I’m feeling really adventurous I may throw some French on her too. I still remember how they say “I love you” in Paris. Saw it on a foreign film once when I was trying to develop my taste for that.

Didn’t work either.

Come Monday, though, I’m going to sit back on the porch, pour a big glass of sweet tea, and toast all the other “skedule” pronouncing, real Americans like me who like their beverages cold and sweet.

Here’s to you guys….Bottoms up!




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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Best Things in Life...

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I'm not a camper.  Never was.

Thankfully my own father never forced this abhorrent, child abusive plague on me or my siblings.  In fact, I first discovered the extent of my aversion while dating my wife in high school.  Her parents and brothers planned a weekend trip to a nearby lake and decided to include me in the misery. 

The whole bunch of us jammed up in a tent on some hard, lumpy ground sleeping right atop what felt like the rock of Gibraltar. 

My kidney hurt for weeks.

To make matters worse, after we finally fell asleep, the heavens unleashed a torrent of rain, wind, thunder and lightning.  Of course, I slept downhill with my head perched precariously in the lowest corner of the leaking tent.  I awoke suddenly when one of my desperate, asthma induced gasps sucked in a heinous mix of rainwater and tent refuse which had collected near my mouth. 

I suddenly felt overwhelmed with a fear induced anxiety born from a past experience with an Alabama tornado during my early childhood.

Did I mention I hate mosquitoes too?  Always have.  Those little suckers find my blood just way too appetizing.  I swell up like most people do after a rattlesnake bite.  Even the campfire couldn't keep them away on that muggy, July night.

So there I lay, all wet, swollen and asthmatic (smelling like smoke), taking one for the team in the interest of true love.  I wasn't sure her father would let me marry her after this trip- this sickly boy, so allergic to everything, taking constant hits on his inhaler (so un-real mannish behavior), asking for his only daughter's hand.

Luckily for me, his memory failed five years later when I begged him to let her marry me.

Unfortunately (or maybe not) however, my children love to camp.  We have occasionally camped together, though I've always tried to steer them toward other (more pleasing to me) family activities.

I couldn't stop them this weekend. 

As we cleaned out the garage, Mary noticed the tent stashed high in the rafters (intentionally high).  She submitted her request.  I begrudgingly agreed to pitch the tent in the back yard and sleep the night with them.  The wife I had swooned over years earlier in a brave act of flagellation amongst the foothills of the Blue Ridge, decided to stay inside the house.

It just wasn't fair.

Anyway, I built a fire in our backyard pit using a most excellent accelerant (gasoline), and cooked some hot dogs on our propane camp stove.  There in the dusky humidity of an early May evening we hurriedly ate and gathered up all the other camping stuff necessary for a successful sleep under the stars.

I inflated the air mattress while the children fetched their sleeping bags.  Next, I fired up the lantern and we entered the tent ready to go gently into the good night.

Or so I thought.

Almost immediately Thomas began having trouble with his gastrointestinal tract.  Evidently, my frankfurters offended his normally peaceful guts.   At once, he decided to go back inside with his mother.  Shortly thereafter the camping mystique wore thin with the absence of two team members and so I made the executive decision we all return to the house. 

Luke and Mary agreed, thrusting an abrupt ending to our first camping excursion of the year. 

And so, it came as more than a little surprise, when gathering up the tent the next day with my daughter, that she claimed to have had fun anyway.  I thought for a moment about how I somehow missed the fun she so easily recognized.

For her I suppose it was a memorable snapshot in time, a piece of good history which might sustain her through future fears and uncertainty.

I had a funny feeling standing there with this new woman remembering that camping trip with her mother twenty one years earlier.  It occurred to me that, for better or worse, we all carry for many years the things of our past and memories from long ago.

And suddenly, I remembered some advice stored within the archives of my own memory.  I was keenly aware and understood with a new clarity that the best things in life...

aren't really things at all...