Dear Spouse: before you met me I was a philosophy major.

5 Jun

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A lawnmower that runs for only 10 minutes (or until it catches fire) is actually the universe’s way of  encouraging you to: take small moments for yourself (and spend them with gaskets and sprockets and wrenches and such); to let go of the desire to “fix this once and for all” while knowing that there can be only one once and no other once but sometimes you might have a “one night only, manager’s special” kind of thing, and, also, to enjoy the spectacle that is life’s rich pageant.

That and I spent all the money we saved for a new lawnmower on downloads like R.E.M.’s 1986 album titled “Lifes Rich Pageant,” and some disco-era stuff by the Stones.

(Don’t be mad.)

“MACBETH” Act 4, Scene 3, Line 141*

8 May

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(* “Tis hard to reconcile.”)

Spouse said the  funniest sentence.  Or, rather, half sentence.  More like a fragment, really.

He began with: “when you reconciled the checking account…” and that’s all I heard.  I don’t know what he said next or what point he was trying to make because I stopped listening to him and started listening to my own brain as it began asking questions too.  Questions like: “reconcile?  Who uses a word like reconcile and what does “to reconcile” truly mean?  And what, if at all, does “reconciling” have to do with my accounting?  And why does Spouse keep staring at me like I, in my grip, doth the key to Heaven clutch?”

Note that I distinguish between “my accounting” and “my accounting thereof” because “my accounting thereof” is a phrase that I often use when answering Spouse’s more specific questions like: “what did you do with the money I already gave you?”  Answer: “you mean those few dollars that I took from your wallet?  A, you gave me nothing- I took those dollars and B, we are done talking about money, your wallet and my accounting thereof.”

Conversely, “my accounting” is how I would answer a different question like if Alex Trebek were to say “this person totally knows for whom the caged bird sings,” I would buzz in with: “is it Maya Counting?”

(I doubt that Alex Trebek would ever use the word “totally” but you can’t be sure.  Mr. Trebek has done some wild stuff including chasing down hotel room burglars in the nude.  For the record, Alex Trebek was naked.  I’m sure the crook was, at least, wearing a mask.)  Notice how I put my answer in the form of a question, though.

As for my personal accounting method, well, that’s what the ATM is for.  You go there and ask it for money.  If it says no, you keep working down until you hit a number upon which you both agree.  If it tells you to come inside, leave.

As for Quicken?  Until I met Spouse, I was pretty sure that Quicken was one of Santa’s reindeer.  Speaking of Santa (thereof), only 220 shopping days until my birthday.  (But really aren’t they all shopping days?)

And as for reconciling and such?

I keep telling Spouse that in order for a reconciliation to happen, a break up must first occur.

And that I can do.  

That Spouse.  He sure is funny.

STOMACH BUG DELAYS POST BY ACCLAIMED WRITER

17 Apr

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It’s not me.

It’s Spouse and Boy (and maybe the cat- they’re all so hairy).

As for me, I can sit at the kitchen table and discuss vomit and “The Exorcist” and all things projectile while eating a 12 cut slice of pizza.  (Side note: “All Things Projectile-” a new NPR show about rockets and drones and trebuchets and such?)

Also what is “12 cut” pizza anyway?  Do pizza makers not realize that if they take an average-sized pizza and roll over it twelve times they’ll end up with ribbons of pizza?  Conversely, if a shop makes a pizza large enough to cut even ten times they’ll end up making about one pizza per store and be out of business within a week.  Why must I fix all things linguistic?  (Take note, NPR.)

I’m talking to you upstate NY.

But not really.

I’m mostly wiping.  Counters and floors and handles and such.  It’s so exhausting; I can hardly find time to shop online for shoes.  (And dresses and scarves and hats and such.)

I was able to get out and buy a lottery ticket yesterday so there’s that.

Because nothing cures a stomach bug faster than 2.6 million dollars.

Except maybe a Twix bar.

Because life’s too short to not enjoy food when it’s moving in both directions.

You’re welcome.

Did you ever have a day…?

18 Mar

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Where you woke up early, and it felt like Monday but then you realized that it was actually Sunday and so you went back to sleep ignoring The Boy and his incessant drumming as well as Spouse and his incessant breathing, for two more hours?

When the Deepak Chopra book that you borrowed from the library (“What Are You Hungry For?“) fell off the nightstand and opened to page 143 which clearly states: “who cares whose fault it is?  Assigning blame does no good” at which point you forgot to yell at Spouse for not returning the book to the library on time like he said he would?  (Answer: cheese sub.)

When the superintendent cancelled school because it was too nice to be inside?

When the dentist told you that The Boy is flossing just the right amount?

When the principal called just to say hi.

When the peanut butter jar looked completely empty but, via the rubber spatula, you were able to salvage not only enough peanut butter to make an excellent sandwich for The Boy’s lunch, but also enough to make a small batch of cookies?  (Well, there would have been a small batch of cookies if the dough made it to the oven.  But still.)

Or when your neighbor invited you over to learn about reflexology and she wasn’t having a “Young Living Essential Oils” party?

Where the temperature goes above.  Just above.

When you won the lottery?  When you played the lottery?  When you thought you had eaten the last Girl Scout cookie only to find half a box of Samoas stashed in the freezer inside an empty bag of frozen mango chunks?  Score.

Did you ever have a day like that?

Me neither.

But I can dream.

Which means that I’ll have to take a nap.

I like those days.

With apologies to James Taylor

21 Feb

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I’ve gone to Sochi, Russia in my mind.

Because sometimes living in your own head is the best neighborhood in which to live.  Case in point:

1.  You already know the strange cat lady.  (Spoiler alert: it’s you.)

2.  Also if your head happens to wind up in Beverly Hills someday, you will notice that the police all look like models with perfectly straight teeth who, as they gently guide you by the elbow, will say calming things.  They are so smooth, you won’t even realize that you’ve been removed from the peripheral of “Mr. Stallone” until you are back in the parking lot of the Beverly Hills Hotel.  (PS: Sylvester Stallone’s face looks so Joan Rivers-weird now it’s hard not to stare.  True story.  Not mine, Spouse’s.  But I am invoking my spousal right to co-opt.)

In my Sochi, Russian mind, I am a tall Nordic blonde with 18% body fat which, when converted from metric, is like -5%.

And as I shovel the roof (again), this time I am competing for the gold.

You may not know this but in the Women’s Roof Shoveling contest, points are awarded for tricks like maintaining the grip on your shovel despite 20kmh winds, avoiding permanent back injury and not crying.

In the Women’s Biathlon, competitors come down off the roof through a seemingly ever-shrinking bedroom window into a house where the other dwellers have their feet up on the coffee table and are sipping cocoa and watching “Moonrise Kingdom” (again) to remove sopping clothes and boots without freaking out about how no one, not anyone, called up to the roof to see if everything was okay.

I lost.

Really.  I could be dead on the roof or have fallen to the ground, crippled, and there sits my family- inside, dry and toasty warm, watching Wes Anderson’s coming-of-age masterpiece (so well cast and scored, it’s crazy) and I’m not supposed to freak out?  Oh, there will be freaking.  No podium for me.

Finally, in the Team Snow Moving finals, I was able to force Spouse outside by using incessant nagging and heavy sighing but, sadly, our score was not high enough to place.

We may have to train more.  Like during the summer, I can start with “we never go anyplace nice” and see where that leads.

With enough nagging and practice, by 2018, we could be serious contenders.

By then I will have gone to Pyeongchang, South Korea in my mind.

Also- what’s with Bob Costas’ eyes?  He looks like the devil.

Less IS More

11 Feb

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By now we have all caught on to Kraft’s, Kellogg’s and Nestle’s little secret: that in order to keep prices level (but profits up), the sizes of our groceries have gotten smaller.  Everything has gotten smaller.  (Except Americans.  And American-style houses.  What’s with the insistence on an open-plan kitchen/living room?  I am extra embarrassed when, on House Hunters International, Texans especially, complain about the lack of closet space, garage space and outdoor space.  With no man-cave and a bathroom ratio greater than 1:1, it’s as if they really want to live in, say, Texas.)

A 5 pound bag of sugar now weighs 4 pounds, a twelve ounce bag of toll house chips is now a 10.5 ounce bag (which means goodbye toll house cookies, hello Food King brand cookies) and what was once a 12 ounce Knudsen spritzer now checks in at 10.5 ounces or, in my house, no ounces because I stopped buying spritzers and, instead, bought large bottles of juice and seltzer.  (And wine.  With all the money I’m saving by not buying Knudsen spritzers, I’m buying large bottles of really good wine.)

The only things that haven’t shrunk are the dozen eggs and the pound of butter.  (And the Americans.)

Of course it’s just a matter of time until the marketing department/farmers at Monsanto convince us that eggs were never sold by the dozen anyway- the hens lay them one at a time so that we can buy (and pay more for them) individually.  (Carton sold separately.)

Do you know how many recipes I can make from memory because they start with a dozen eggs, a pound of flour and a pound of butter that can no longer be my go-to desserts because the packaging size changed?  Answer: more than one.

But I’m not here to complain.  (I can do that anywhere.)

By now I’m sure you’ve noticed that FA&S has succumbed to demand and gone public, that the FA&S you’ve come to know and love is now found at: freshairandsarcasm.com without all that pesky “.wordpress.com” nomenclature getting in the way.

Which means we can pass the savings on to you.

Less typing on your part means more time to read the posts you love.  (Or watch cute kitten videos.  I get it; it’s not personal.  Some of those kittens are really adorable.)

With as much (if not more) sarcasm as before, fewer posts means you WIN.  Here’s how:

You spend less time reading FA&S and more time doing the things you do instead of reading FA&S.  Things that make you happier than reading FA&S (now available in .com format), whatever those things are.  If those things even exist.

Fewer posts means that you spend more time living your life and less time reading about mine.  (I’m not loving that.)

Reading words and phrases and such was hampering your ability to laugh anyway. Why put up with the inconvenience any longer?

Plus, if you really need more fresh air or sarcasm, visit us at: http://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/239084 where you will find additional FA&S columns and more!  (For those of you in the Otsego, Schoharie and Delaware county area these columns are printed on actual paper.  Bad for trees, but so worth it.)  Just look for the purple box and grab a few- they’re free.

There’s only so much of me to go around said the Saran Wrap to the casserole.  (I just made that up.)

(Side note: Saran Wrap was accidentally discovered in a lab in 1933.  Saran is also currently used for high-quality doll hair because of its ability to hold a curl and shine.  Saran Wrap was originally sold in 100 sq. ft rolls and is now available in smaller rolls for the same price.)

Just another piece of useful information that you can find on the new FA&S.com (or Wikipedia).

Until next time, or in the March O-TOWN paper whichever comes first, we thank you for reading.

PS: there is no “we.”

(Also: guest bloggers wanted.)

PPS: this post is so long, it counts as two.  See you in April.

(Also: guest bloggers wanted.  I mean it.)

This is my letter to the world

28 Jan

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Here it is almost February and I still haven’t written the letters that needed to go out in 2013.  And it’s not that the letters are unimportant, it’s that the intended recipients are famous, really famous.  Like more famous than “I-have-a-column-in-a-free-monthly-newspaper-now” famous. (Click here for link- page 5).

Am I intimidated?  No.  Scared?  Hardly.  I’m most concerned that given my newfound fame (click here for link- page 5), I may run into some of the recipients at an award dinner and they might want to discuss the letters when really, the letters are merely constructive criticism.  (Because I know how well I handle unsolicited criticism- I’m still mad at Spouse from Christmas 2008 when he “just asked” if I knew that raw cookie dough contains the same amount of calories as cooked.)

So who gets a letter and why?

To Stephen Colbert: nation, unable to purge images of Mr. Colbert in a jumpsuit from my mind, I am concerned that his only form of exercise is running from the main desk to the interview table.  (Also, he is the bravest man on television because he will, literally, put anything into his mouth.  As an individual who abhors prop comedy (and ventriloquism) I deem Stephen Colbert the exception and, as such, deserving of my first letter of the new year.)

Alec Baldwin: you are Spouse’s celebrity man crush.  And not just because your newest wife is a yoga instructor but, c’mon, a yoga instructor?  When you go and marry someone like that you give guys like Spouse hope.  Then I have to go and do something wonderful like microwave a food or clean a thing just to bring him back to reality.  From Glengarry to 30 Rock to SNL, Spouse thinks you possess understated wit and a well-honed sense of timing.  I, however, have my doubts.  I once saw you on The Barefoot Contessa and felt that you were the person I would least like to sit with at an outdoor charity function.  Because outdoor charity functions are boring and so were you.  When one thinks of Alec Baldwin, one thinks of “The Bloviator” and his very sloppy divorce from Kim Basinger and I think I like that guy better.

To Kim Basinger: you messed up.  How can anyone who buys a town on a whim (Braselton, GA circa 1989) expect to keep a man responsible for delivering lines like: “it’s easy to get down in the dumps when you can’t take one” happy?  (Wow, maybe Mr. Baldwin is my celebrity man crush too.)

David Sedaris: why am I not you?  Your work was translated into Estonian for crying out loud.  Estonian.  Until recently, I thought that Estonia was in Queens.  Life is unfair.  And if you were to read any of the previous letters I’ve sent, you’d know that.

Jack White: you make the best noise on the planet.  And that’s coming from mother of The Boy.  Noisy Boy.  (Also, exceptional work on the National Anthem with Stephen Colbert.  He owes you.)

Drew Carey: if you don’t like your job, quit.  It’s what I’ve always done.  (But please continue to have your pets spayed or neutered.)

To Neil Young, Tom Waits and Van Morrison: for continuing to make music that is always interesting, sometimes weird.  And kudos to one of you for helping to fight big oil.

To Keith Richards goes a lifetime achievement award for achieving the achievement of still living at this time.

Dave Barry: for consistently writing funny material.  (Except for Lunatics co-written with Alan Zweibel.  That one just screams contractual obligation.)

Alex Trebek: you are the most socially awkward person on television.  You reprimand contestants for not knowing minutia that you read off the teleprompter, your impressions are dreadful and no one cares that your french pronunciation is précis.

The College of Saint Rose: there’s a typo on the home page of your MFA in Creative Writing page.

John Fogerty: for being the face (and voice) of vocal polyps for the last five decades.

To websites that make us scroll down to click on our home state: do you know that it takes several spins of the mouse just to get to the “N’s?”  And then there are 3 “New” states before you get to New York.  Why can’t you just let us type it?  (Unless, of course, you are The College of Saint Rose.)

Finally, to Emily Dickinson: a 19th century American poet.  For continuing to perpetuate the myth that English degrees are worthless by studying hard and writing boatloads of work but neither getting a job nor moving out of her parent’s house.

You make me look awesome.

Lyle Lovett is Dreamy

8 Jan

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I have run into Lyle Lovett three times now.  (In my dreams.)

Last night, we were both in the medical center waiting area when one of his songs came on over the PA.  No one else realized that the very artist to whom they were listening was sitting right there in the room so I walked over to him and said “isn’t it weird when one of your own songs is played around you?”

And he replied: “does that happen to you a lot?”

(Lyle Lovett is very snarky in dreams.)

In concert, he is witty and intelligent with a musical range that is all over the map and always tight.

And while he once made the strange decision to marry Julia (unworthy) Roberts, the breadth of his life experience eventually finds its way into his work- which is the hallmark of any good artist or writer (just saying).

Of course, Mr. Lovett also appeared in “The Player” and “Shortcuts” so let’s hope that not every experience funnels into his art.

Meanwhile, for the reasons named above and because “fat babies have no pride” is a classic, Mr. Lovett is invited to be the first guest blogger on FA&S.

If you see him (in the real world) won’t you let him know?

I’m not sure he reads this.

(But he should.)

Finally, a note about personal experience impacting one’s work: eating leftover chocolate jumbos (as if- more like eating previously undiscovered chocolate jumbos) while drinking Prosecco and listening to “Joshua Judges Ruth” then going straight to bed may result in awesome dreams and instant blog posts.

No good story ever started with ________

31 Dec

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“One time I was in Texas and….”

for my east coast friends this ends in either a fight in which beer, Mexican food and a woman is involved or with a police escort to the state line (sometimes both).  If you’re lucky, the fight happens at a place that requires patrons to check their guns upon entering.  While visiting The Lone Star State, you are free to carry all the concealed library cards you want.  Whether folks in Texas use library cards or read is unclear.

“I’m just going to pop into IKEA and…”

never come out.  Or at least never come out empty-handed.  Even if you buy only Svalka and Dryck Julmust (an auto-correct nightmare for sure), there’s no escaping the umlaut.  And if the meatballs don’t lure you in, the öersattlig napkins will.  In any case, there’s no “popping” into IKEA.  If you enter, you will spend both time and money buying items like weirdberry preserves that will sit on the kitchen shelf for a few years until one of you throws them away.  (PS: the shelf is a Fjalkinge and is ready for the trash alsö.)

“Why do you always…”

always what?  If I’m so busy constantly, eternally and perpetually doing whatever (kudos thesauras.com), how am I able to type (and online shop) right now?  Your question just went from defensive to expensive as you know that I can only deal with confrontation when sharply dressed.  Even my limited yoga and meditation practice has taught me that there are no absolutes.  Speaking of which, I positively must sign up for more Ashtanga classes.  And book a facial while I’m in town.  Definitely.

“Canadians have a word for this…”

well Canadians have a word for everything but can they drive?  Even my limited long-distance driving experience has taught me that Quebecers are the worst.  All summer, from New York State to the Jersey shore to the top of Maine, there they are either meandering in the left lane or zooming up all willy-nilly like in the right lane while loosely towing a pop up camper or some other clunky thing behind them and will then pull in front of you with only one working brakelight- like a little red eye winking as if to ask “how’s that affordable care act working out for ya?”  Meanwhile, The Boy (now eligible for his driving permit) is closely observing and asking questions like, “if the left foot works the clutch and the right foot works the other pedals, when am I supposed to shake it all about?”  We Americans have a word for Canadians and it’s not “Canadians.”

“Mom, no one wants to see you twerk.”

an actual sentence spoken by The Boy last week.  (He continued by saying that he felt weird even using the words “Mom” and “twerk” in a sentence but it had to be said.)

and finally,

“Haven’t we all had enough twerking?”

unless, of course, what we’re all really saying is “it’s 2014 already and time we all got back t’ werk.”  In which case, pass me my sledgehammer, I agree.

The Gift of the Magi(c) Pants

9 Dec

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The Boy and I had just finished a rousing match of badminton (versus the colloquial version which is more a non-fingered hand-covering and not so much a sport) and after, I suggested that we go to the high school band concert to hear some tunes and visit the Friends of Music bake sale (it’s for a good cause.  Really.  I eat brownies for the children.)  He had no homework and television programming was dominated by football or some other non-badminton type sport.

Now I know that getting The Boy to return to school once his day is done is difficult.  He has spent entire weekends, in February, without a coat because he left it in his locker and refused to go back and get it.  He once came home from school without shoes.  Shoes.  How does a person (other than the folks at Surfrider Foundation.org) get through their day without shodding?  The world is a dirty, broken glass-infested place just waiting to cut someone.  Basically the world is like east L.A. without Los Lobos.

“When you’re done with work, you don’t go back to the office to hang out,” he says.  “Your time there is over.  You know, like if you had an office.  Or a job,” he continued.  “Why don’t you have a job?”

I stopped his blathering and made him empty the car from my warehouse shopping trip where, armed with a list and coupons, I was able to keep costs down by staying focused.  (Although I couldn’t pass up the acai berry concentrate- it heals everything and was on sale.  I have needed it forever yet never knew it existed.)

Likewise the sweatpants.  A total impulse, but necessary, purchase as the moment I saw them I was reminded that The Boy has yet to bring his gym clothes home since, oh, the first day of school.  (I should have bought the bulk Lysol that was also on sale.  The Boy is a dirty, germ-infested being just waiting to cough on someone.)

The Boy has never owned a pair of sweats.  Maybe because “sweat” is something he avoids (along with chores, socializing and any physical contact with his mother- a hug would kill him- but I digress).

Soft and shapeless, the pants transfixed The Boy from the moment he brought them inside.  “Mother,” he asked, “how was I not previously aware of the splendor and the glory of après-school pants?”  (He has never avoided hyperbole, however.)

Now, as nights reach their absolute longest and badminton games occur in short, but fierce, bursts (no net, no rules, no daylight, stop crying), sweat pants are what The Boy wears after school and for entire weekends at a time, all the time.  He rarely argues and even occasionally inquires about my life (which also has no net).  He sends off lovely emails to his teachers, plays his music at a reasonable volume and sometimes flosses.  It’s as if aliens, nice and polite aliens, take over while he nestles deep within the sweatpants.

Oh, he still litters his room with discarded Kind bar wrappers (which I also should have bought in bulk) and has yet to swap out his gym clothes, but for $13.99 I have a teen who is gentle and sweet (and so not mine).

Until the pants give out.

Perhaps the best preventative action is to not launder the pants too often.

And so we learn from the children.

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