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Monday, July 28, 2014

Prop Dusting!

Or Cleared for Landing

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for “Raiders of the Last Crap-o-la”


It must be in the air or I'm just getting older or because spring was late this year, but I have been de-crapping room by room for the past month.  I started with our walk-in closet which I can now actually walk in.  Some very skinny people now have some barely worn out of style clothes to wear.  Then it spread to each kid's room.  For some reason it is easier to get rid of their “collections” than mine. 


I organized and labeled all my craft and sewing items in the upstairs craft room.  I really thought I had painted the floor three years ago, but once it was cleared, I realized I had not.


I organized the linen closet.  I see no reason to keep waterbed sheets these days, do you?   I donated them.


The hall walk-in storage closet was next.  Once I removed the computer towers, the monitors with the green screen, the box of mystery cords, connectors and floppy discs, three boxes of assorted picture frames, and the curtain rods not used since mini-blinds were invented, there was room for the vacuum (which had been living in the hall for the past year) and the carpet shampooer which I didn't know I had.  We will also be cooler this summer (found three fans) and warmer this winter (found two portable electric heaters.)


The guest room was an easy fix once I rehung all the pictures I had taken down two summers ago when I painted the room and made up the bed.  I also tackled the guest closet.  I gave up on Nehru jackets and Madras pants every coming back in style and donated those items to a traveling circus that came through town.


While I was at it, I emptied the freezer.  I violated the unwritten law of frozen food:  "If the label has initials, a date that does not end in B.C., a solid covering of ice at least three inches thick, and no power outages of more than two weeks, it is good."  I tossed 80% of the contents.  The raccoons, possums, and other night creatures ate well that evening even if their lips and tongue turned blue and they were shivering from internal frost bite.  


 And you know what?  I won't need to buy hot dogs for the 4th of July picnic next year.


Yesterday I emptied four desks.  I mean really, how many shoe boxes of map colors do I need?  I also discovered that I will not need to buy school supplies for the next two years and art gum erasers NEVER dry up no matter how many years they have been in the back of the desk drawer; however, sticky notes will dry up in less than a week.  I sharpened all the pencils I found and returned 27 pencils to each desk. I had enough pencils left to supply the entire third grade at my child's school.  I found ball point pens that were still writing even though the companies they were advertising had gone out of business years before and a drawer full of Magic Markers that had all lost their magic.


I have saved our bedroom for last, the Mount Everest of scrap paper with semi-formed ideas, the Adriana Trench of necessary but unknown computer stuff, the Atlantis of the lost and forgotten, the Antarctica of solid minutia, the Sahara of forgotten wrappers and cans … Ok that last is mostly the kids hiding their contraband under the bed when I suddenly enter the room.  Four filing drawers later and two Wal-Mart sacks of unknown wires, chargers, and forgotten passwords plus three trashcans of, well trash, I found my I-Pad, my digital camera, and a Valentine I forgot to mail…with a 28 cent stamp.  I was making progress.


I would like to think all this purging was leading to a more simplified, organized, and calming home, but I think I was just making more room for me to move through the house with the extra pounds I have gained.  Either way, there’s more room for all of me to get down the hallway and now the freezer has room for Blue Bell Ice Cream. 

Tip:  When tidying up, carry a laundry basket with you to collect "orphans" (items that don't belong in that particular room).  As you progress from room to room the orphans will find their home and you won't be running your legs off.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Putting Mama in Her Place

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for GPS Seat Locator

It is the final performance of “The Wizard of Oz”, the summer musical my children are performing in.  I have waited forty-three years for two out of the eight children to show an interest in something I know something about, theatre.  After all, I have a B.A., M.A., and thirty-nine years of experience designing, directing, choreographing, and lighting hundreds of productions.  And I just happened to have directed “The Wizard of Oz” at least twice.

But it has been a long wait.  The first child was interested in cooking, not my best subject.  The second child was interested in hunting.  I am a Bambi lover.  The third child was happy fishing all day with worms.  Not for me.  Child number four was too hyper to stay interested in anything for very long.  Child five was into horses and horse shows.  That got pretty close to my skills in that I could sew some pretty fancy show clothes but horse shoes, horse feed, halters, and bits was not my area of expertise.  The sixth child liked plants, the kind you have to dig in the dirt and plant, and water. I can grow ivy.

At age 9 and 13 children number seven and eight discovered theatre.  I was in heaven.  They were in hell.  First there was the audition… in front of me.  Which song?  Could they carry a tune?  Where can I find a voice coach?

“Mama.  We are going to sing “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” said the 13 year old who wouldn’t run the fifty yard dash last year in track because people would be looking at her.

“Everybody is going to sing that.  You need to stand out, be noticed. The leads have already been cast I’m sure, so you will probably be in the chorus.  Now you will need to wear something green…and maybe shorts for the Munchkin chorus.  I could whip up something…”

“Mama.  Snowman.  T-shirts.  Jeans.” came from the 9 year old.

I was relegated to listening to them rehearse “Snowman” for two weeks…straight.  When I offered a suggestion, they just looked at each other.  I practiced my poker face on the missed notes and held my breath while they reached for the next one.

We reported to the Lamp-Lite Community Theatre for the actual audition; we were three among seventy-five.  They were auditioning for ALL parts.  I rationalized that neither child was quite ready for a lead …just yet.

To my credit, I asked them if they wanted me to stay for the audition or step out in the lobby.  One said “I don’t care;” the other said “Lobby!”  No question as to who said what.

The 13 year old did a credible job with the song that thirty-four other children had just sung, and the music director acted interested.  I know all this because I was peeking through the lobby curtains.  What?  You thought I wouldn’t look?  The 9 year old took center stage (that’s my boy!) and preceded to do a taekwondo/ballet combo middle split.  I am not sure what motivated this move but hey, you’ve got one shot.  Go for it.  Then he sang his version of “Snowman.” 

Immediately after their audition, not being sure about the effect of the taekwondo/ballet split,  I was volunteering for crews: costume, set, painting, sound, lights, program, and tickets, whatever.  All crews were filled.  I checked to see if the 13 year old had stuck a sign on my back:  “70 year old Stage Mama! Beware!”

Both children were cast.  I received a rehearsal schedule and the times to DROP the children off and PICK them up.  I checked; again there was no sign on my back.  All parents were discouraged from attending rehearsals.

At home I tried to convince the 9 year old that the lyrics were “Wake up you sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed” but he insisted they were “Wake up you sleepy head before I kick you out of bed.”  I tried to explain that a bust was a sculpture of a person’s head and important people would have their bust displayed in a Hall of Fame hence the reason for the lyrics “You’ll be a bust, be a bust in the Hall of Fame.”  He sang “You’ll be a butt, be a butt, on the Wall of Shame.”  Hopefully he will be drowned out by the other singers.

On opening night, the children were to arrive at the theatre in costume and make-up.  No problem with make-up for the 9 year old but the 13 year old had other ideas.

 “If you don’t mind, I want the professionals at the theatre to do my make-up and hair.”  

(PROFESSIONALS??  The hair stylist is a dental hygienist by day.  The make-up artist is a secretary! I made A+ in Advanced Make-up and my death mask is still on display at the university!  PROFESSIONALS???  I’M the professional here.)

I held my tongue (with both hands) and said “Ok, but let me know if you need to me do something.”

“Actually we do need you to do something for us,"  they said.

Ah, at last.  Here it is.  Ok.  What do they want me to do?  Take notes?  Look at the staging?  Fix their costume?  Offer suggestions for quick scene changes?  Critique their movements?  Evaluate their acting?
“We want you to sit in the middle of the second row and clap real loud.”

That’s it?  Four years of student loans, studying, cramming, thirty-nine years of teaching school, forty-three years of waiting for mini-actors, and Mama’s place is in the middle of the second row clapping?
I clapped louder and longer than any parent there!            

    Being a Mama is the hardest job!
TIP:  If you have to make your little one up as a clown, use Desitin Baby Ointment for white make-up.  It won’t irritate the skin.  Apply baby powder with a cotton ball to the Desitin to set the make-up. Use a Q-tip to remove any white where you want to add cheeks or a moustache.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tips from Beneath the Iceberg

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for wax on, wax hair off

I was recently asked via e-mail to do a blog on ways to save time, energy, and money, and oh, could I also mention The Shave Club in my post?

Well, being the seasoned blogger that I am with a readership of over 6 people per week, I know to ask certain questions.
First of all, was this a legitimate club?  The next day I saw a commercial on TV for The Shave Club.  Everybody knows if you see it on TV, as opposed to just on the internet, it is for real.

Having ascertained by way of my DISH satellite that this was an actual paid commercial for The Shave Club, I then asked the more obvious questions.  See I really listened to Michele Wojciechowski at the Erma Bombeck Writers Conference Session I .  Was I going to receive free razors? Free razor blades?  A link to my blog? Publicity? A week’s supply of Preparation H?  Updated Minecraft for my I-pod? Any of the above?  The answer was "NO".

So I am not going to be mention The Shave Club in my blog but I am going to give you some tips on how I have saved time and money raising eight kids over the past 50 years, but it is not free.  If you read this, I ask that you leave a comment.  I am hoping to increase my readership by ten; then maybe I'll get a free razor or at least a free razor blade if anybody else asks me to plug their product.

Tip #1.  If you have children in the fourth grade, or who are still in the fourth grade after seven years in the public school system, this tip is for you.  Instead of refusing to go into the woods at midnight to get twigs for that log cabin project that is due tomorrow (the one they forgot to tell you about) just go to the store and buy some pretzel sticks.  They make great logs.  If you don't want to scrape the salt off, have the kid tell the teacher it is winter time...but not that the cabin was built next to a large bird sanctuary.  This might be just the log cabin that gets your kid out of the fourth grade.

Tip #2.  If you can't afford a bank loan so your kids can go to a movie this summer, entertain them at home.  During the night glue a few dollar bills to a tree.  In the morning tell the kids that contrary to what their dad says, money does grow on trees so go outside and pick some money off the money tree.  Then give them a spoon and a handful of pennies and tell them to go plant their own money trees.

I have 157 more time and money saving ideas but I'm going to wait and see much my readership increases after these two.  Like Tracy Beckerman said at the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop Session II, "Don't give the good stuff away."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cruise Ship Sales Techniques You Should Never use on the Elderly

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Ship to Shore Sales Meetings

Have you ever wondered what it takes to work on a cruise ship?  Well if you have ever cruised, you might think the first requirement is to be able to spell your name without any vowels and speak with an accent, any accent.  Or the number of times you can work the guests first name into the conversation during the first five minutes of serving dinner. 

“Oh, he-whoa.  I am RTPGHK Blth Dpwrt, you server.  And you are…?”


“Jody.  Nice to meet you Jody.  Jody, this not you first time to cruise with us, no?  Now, Jody, would you like to see menu? Or for you, Jody, we have special menu.   I call it the special Jody menu. See, have Jody beet soup, Jody salad with Jody Vinaigrette, Jody salmon, Jody cream pie for dessert, and Jody tea.   So Jody, what can I get you tonight?”

While those requirements might be obvious, the most important requirement for those working above the water line is their ability to sell.  What you may not realize is that the cruise lines make most of their money from on board sales. Here you are a captive consumer with only the ship’s stores available for days at sea.

When you need batteries for your camera, who cares if it costs $15.99 for two AA batteries?  It’s not like the captain is going to make a u-turn so you can make a Wal-Mart run.   In the hot summertime the obvious big sales is their cool drinks.  Batteries and alcohol are easy sales so where does the need for super salesmen come in?  Services provided.

“Feeling a little out of sorts on this long voyage?  Don’t rely on prune juice alone; come to the free Detox seminar.”   Of course once the free part is over, the pressure is on to purchase detoxification pill, gels, creams, and juice. 

However, when it comes to pushing their beauty products, their salesmen could use some pointers, especially when it comes to senior citizens.  For example:

1.       Never assume your client waiting for the bunion scraping, heel sand blasting, and toenail grinding is the old lady with the hairy legs in the capri pants.  Instead explain that before you can do any procedures you must see her ID to confirm she is over 21.  When she stops grinning, she might be more receptive to your $200 arch support spiel.

       2.      Never suggest to the senior citizen with the frizzy wiry gray hair that she needs $300  
worth of hair moisturizing treatments.  Save that for the 29 year old who is afraid  of turning 30.  Instead, tell those senior frizzies about the bottle of hair serum found next to the 3,000 year old mummies who still had their wavy locks intact.


3.       Never suggest a $250 tube of face lifting cream to a senior carrying a tube of Preparation H in her purse.  She doesn’t know what your face tightening cream can do, but she has proof of what the Preparation H can do.  Save that for the 39 year old about to turn 40.  Instead point to that young thing getting a facial across the room and mention that you gave her great-granddaughter a manicure the other day.  Your sales might just double.


4.      Never suggest $159 teeth whitening procedures to a senior.  She could tell you she just tosses hers in a glass of Oxiclean for $3.99.  Suggest instead that the procedure might benefit her "boyfriend" and that there is a special couple’s discount.  You might just make your cruise quota.


5.       And finally, don’t waste your time suggesting Botox injections to the elderly.  By the time she finishes filling out all the medications, vitamins, supplements, and recent surgeries she’s had, you will be in port.  Just ask if the senior’s daughter-in-law that is standing next to her is her sister.  You still won’t make a sale with the senior citizen, but the daughter-in-law will sign up for the entire program…and you will get a big tip from the mother-in-law.
Following these tips might avoid a silver-haired senior mutiny, and the cruise lines can continue making a profit. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Seven Year Switch or Age is a Number...and they've got mine!

by Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for the Seven Year Itch, , Twitch, Hitch,  Stretch

If you live long enough, you are bound to experience age discrimination, and I have.  Because I have banned all mirrors in my house, I forget that my laugh lines do no disappear when I stop laughing, so you can imagine my surprise when people thought I was old on our recent cruise.

Ok, the fact that this was our 50th wedding anniversary cruise should have given me a hint that I wasn't twenty any more, but I don't feel old in spite of nature's little reminders.

The first "surprise" happened on the first night of the cruise.  After dinner Dr. Hubby, the nine-year-old, the twelve-year-old, myself, and my sister and her husband had a family picture made to commemorate the occasion. See blog "One Picture Needs a Thousand Words." The gist of the portrait fiasco was that the photographer thought that the children belonged to my sister and I was her mother.  Our mother is 94 by the way.  I did NOT buy the pictures. 

The next day younger sister suggested we attend some free spa and beauty sessions located on Cloud 9.  I didn't know if she was not so subtly hinting that one of us needed some beauty help or because it was raining and she didn't want to play Bingo.  

We had our feet printed and analyzed and guess what?  My feet needed $200 insoles.  Her feet were flat but fine.  We went to the skin toning and wrinkle smoothing session.  Guess what?  My skin needed $1,950 worth of lifts, tucks, and sucks. She needed a $39 face cream.
We went to the free beauty make-over.  I was not even in the running for the free teeth whitening, the free haircut, or the free facial.  She got extra samples of everything. I was skipped.  I guess they figured one sample wouldn't do me any good and a hundred wouldn't be enough.

On the fourth day while my baby sister was working out in the ship's gym (show off), I made an appointment with the ship's beautician, hair colorist, and on board magician.  I wanted the full treatment, haircut, shampoo, styling, coloring, the works.   I was keelhauling the gray.

While I was sitting in the salon waiting for my appointment, a twenty-something Barbie Doll came in and sat next to me.  The receptionist confirmed that Barbie wanted a pedicure and told me Michaile was running a little behind but it wouldn't be long.

Five minutes later Michaile came over and knelt to eye level with Miss Barbie Dull.

"Oh, such lovely tresses. Surely there is nothing I can do for you but I try.  You are wanting the color with the cut and styling, yes?"

Now why did Michaile just assume I was there for the corns, bunions, and callus sanding and Miss Barbie Dull wanted nice hair?

When Michaile was able to extricate his foot from his mouth, he escorted me to the styling chair and faced me towards the mirror.  I don't know who looked more forlorn in the reflection, me or him.  But to his credit, he worked the cruise ship Magic and we were both happy when I left.

At dinner my sister smiled and said "Well, don't you look nice.  I like your hair."

"Well thank you very much,” and we all sat down to dinner.

 There are a few advantages to being seven years older. I've been where she is but she hasn't been where I am...yet.  Hee hee!.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

To Clean or Not to Clean..Is that really a question?

By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for a clean sweep 

Why is it that when I schedule the bug man to come and spray our house, I feel the need to go on a massive cleaning spree?  Before I commit to cleaning, increasing the hole in the ozone layer, and ruining my afternoon nap, I should answer the following questions.

1.  How long has the vacuum cleaner been sitting in the living room?  And is that tinsel on the handle? Christmas is just around the corner.
2.  Have the spiders completed mapping the entire universe with their cobwebs?  I'd hate for them to have to start all over.
3. Is the the dust levi about to break around the TV set?
4.  Are the grout lines in the tile even with the tile?
5.  Is the north wall fully insulted with stacked newspapers?  Could be a cold winter coming up.
6.  Are the clothes hanging on the treadmill now 3 sizes too small?  If they stay there, could be good motivation.
7.  Will the bug spray form a protective barrier or create a mudslide?  At least there would not be any more dust.

And most importantly

8.  Do any of the people on his client list know me and will he talk?

If the answer to #8 is yes, I'm donning my haz-mat  suit and going in for the clean-up.  Dirt doesn't stand a chance when it comes to a blabber mouth bug man.

Monday, June 9, 2014

One Picture Needs a Thousand Words

By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for Botox, Detox, and orthopedic socks

Ok, I admit it.  I am not the kind of person who spends a lot of time on her looks.  To be totally honest, I am hair and fashion challenged.  However, after this last cruise, I may to have to change my ways, it if is not too late.

My sister is seven years younger than I am.  Growing up, she had to watch every bite she took or she would gain weight.  I could eat hamburgers, malts, French fries AND onion rings and never gains an ounce.  She had naturally curly hair and had to iron it with an iron on the ironing board to get it straight.  Mine was naturally straight with a little wave. 

Recently she and her husband went on a seven day cruise with my husband, me and the nine-year-old and the twelve-year-old.  One of the neat things about a cruise is that there are at least ten photographers with varying backdrops scattered about the ship every evening.  You can have your picture taken as many times as you like and you don't have to buy any of them if you don't want to.

Of course we had to have a family picture the first night. The first night is always the best night for pictures because with ice cream and pizza available 24/7 you will definitely weigh less that first night than the last and your slacks will still touch your ankles.

Now the thing is as you get older, young people get younger. So as we sought the most pleasing background, white with a white chaise lounge, the teeny-bopper photographer began arranging our group.
Dr. Hubby and I were to the right, me seated, then she placed my sister next to me, her husband behind her, and the children placed to the left of her.  I remember thinking "Wonder why she put the children next to my sister?"

She snapped a few pictures then said "Ok, how about one with just the grandparents?"  I looked around to see if our 94 year old mother had sneaked on board but the teeny bopper was looking right at me. 

"Uh, no" I said, and before I could go into a full age discriminatory rage and say anything, she came back with "Ok, just Mom and Dad and the children."  My sister couldn't stop laughing, I couldn't stop fuming, and Dr. Hubby and the children couldn't stop running.

The next morning I found the pictures in the gallery and quickly discarded them.  I told my sister "You better watch out.  These next seven years are going to take their toll on you."

That afternoon she and her husband headed to the gym and exercise room, attended seminars on detoxification, wrinkle removers, and skin care and picked only meals with the little heart emblem next to it at dinner. I ate three bowls of ice cream and made an appointment with Michael-the-South African-Hair-Wonder-Worker, but that is a story for next week. 

Stay tuned to see if it's Carnival Time or Magic Time when I show up at the Cloud 9 beauty salon.