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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Operation Black and Blue Friday

By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for body armor

It was a glorious Thanksgiving. After an eleven minute dinner, the guests were ushered out the door with a to-go-box and "Have a safe trip!" I had Buck Fever. The adrenaline was pumping. It was time to assemble my gear. Orthopedic arch inserts? Check. Water bottle? Check. Credit cards cleaned and oiled for quick sliding? Check. Chocolate M&M pretzels? Check. Cell phone charged. Check. Angry Birds loaded onto the ten teen's I Pod? Check and Double Check. I was ready to spend bucks to save bucks.

The object of my Black Friday hunt? A new trampoline with enclosure and padding. As Confucius, ancient Chinese philosopher and Businessman and the originator of the "Own America" campaign, once said "He who makes net and padding wear out same time as trampoline, only sell once." Or as his cousin Wing-a-Ding-Wan-Yo-Money Trump put it "Wise man make cheaper to buy two than to buy one even if one is all you need".

Having previously scouted out Wal-Mart, I knew the number of trampoline boxes available (48), where they were located (garden center patio), and time I could load (10 p.m.). To secure the most advantageous spot, I needed to be in position by 7 p.m., three hours before the season opened. Done, Done, and Double Done!

7:11 There is only myself and two other people standing by the pile of trampolines. I strategically place myself and my basket near a support post and the end stack of trampolines. A small crowd of three or four adults have gathered in the corner where about twenty 12 volt white convertible Barbie type cars are stacked two deep and three high. I pull out Angry Birds. Low battery. I begin to crowd watch and eves drop.

7:35 I become friends with a young man who's I.D. tag says "Event Staff". He seems fit and healthy and capable of loading a 200 pound trampoline in my buggy. I'll recruit him for later.

8:30 The crowd is increasing, notably the group milling around the 12 volt Barbie type cars and a new group around the Play Tyme Custom Kitchens just behind me. Strategies being planned. "Now be ready to go into action the minute it's 10:00. People will push, shove, and bite but hang in there, stand your ground. Use your cell phone for backup but only if you are losing the battle." I thought it was a security guard behind me talking on his walkie talkie but it was some Mom instructing her teenage daughter, a Black Friday novice. Several security guards are making a line of defense in front of the outside exit doors. The S.W.A.T team has arrived complete with flak jackets, walkie talkies on each hip and enough battery packs to power four mini TV's. This is going to be big.

8:55. The hairs on the back of my neck are tingling. The crowd is larger and shopping carts have been circled in a defensive formation around the Barbie cars and Custom Kitchens against late comers. I half expect to see Geronimo and his warriors come through the doors.

9:05 My M&M's are gone and half of my water. The crowd is shifting around restlessly. Some of the late comers are sporting intimidating t-shirts. One says "P_ss, Puke, Blood, Guts". I don't know if he is referring to shoppers who stood in his way in the past or if this is an indication that the turkey and potato salad had been left out too long earlier in the day.

There is enough cell phone action going on that I'm surprised Verizon isn't saying "I can hear everybody now." "Bravo One to Bravo Two. We have 12 volt convertible in range. Scanning the bar code now. Yes this is the best price. We have flanked the target on both sides. Over and out."

9:25 There are NO security guards in sight but several Alabama line backers have arrived to secure a Kiddie Custom Kitchen. I'm sure they will get one. There are now 20 Barbie type cars and 60 car-wanters… who can also count. I am digging in. This could get ugly and I don't mean just the view of my backside squashed behind a six inch support pole and a wall of trampoline boxes.

9:59. 5-4-3-2-1 START SHOPPING! I unsquash myself from behind the pole and fling my arms on top of my trampoline box. Some Granny next to me is jamming my shopping cart into my ribs as she wrestles her trampoline into her cart. No pain, no trampoline. An altercation is erupting in the Barbie car lot as I suspected. The Incredible Hulk is emerging from the car lot, probably due to the stress, and has two white 12 volt convertible boxes held high over his head. I can only assume he is divorced, has twin daughters visiting for Christmas, and this is the only thing they wanted. The SWAT team arrives, from somewhere, and handles the situation.

Within five minutes the garden center looks like a hurricane has blown in and swept the area clean. There is nothing left but three bicycles and me wrapped around my trampoline box. I hope my recruit shows up soon.

10:31 Target is acquired and secure in the back of my truck.

10:32 Replenished M&Ms and back in line for the three-in-one printers ready to go on sale at 12:01.

God bless free enterprise! Over and out!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

No DIY or HGTV Episode was consulted in the Writing of this Piece

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for left handed tub

When I designed our house thirty years ago, no one told me I should plan for a left handed tub. Let me explain. I am right handed so I designed a right handed house. Most of the doors are hung with hinges on the right. You step up to the door, extend your right hand, grab the door knob, and pull the door toward you. Right handed door. I also have a right handed refrigerator and kitchen cabinets, that don't have two doors, are right handed cabinets. The same is true for our three bathtubs. They are all right handed bathtubs. You step up to the tub, face the faucets and shower head. Extending your right hand, you reach in and turn on the water. Then right foot first, you step into the tub.

All this has worked fine for thirty years and 315 days. At thirty years and 316 days I limped into the podiatrist's office to discover I have plantar fasciitis (limping right foot). After taping my foot into permanent field goal kicker position, I was told to go home and never, ever get the tape wet until it was time to remove the tape; that being one week. They offered me a shower cap for the foot for $10. HA! I am a creative former theatre person who has made do with nothing for thirty-nine years as a public school teacher. I think I can manage to keep one foot dry for a week.

My original plan was to just stand my right foot out of the tub while I showered. I did not count on the right handed house design. The master bathtub is right handed. To keep the right foot out of the tub, I would have to turn on the water with my right hand, then hop around and step into the tub with my back to the shower, and my foot out of the tub. Not an easy task. The other two bathtubs were also right handed tubs. The only left handed tub was in the RV and I wasn't up to hiking out there with no hot water.

The next creative solution was to wrap my foot in a trash bag and tape it closed. The only tape I had was that blue painters tape. That seemed to work pretty well except when I got out of the tub, I couldn't tell if I had gotten the foot wet or it was just sweaty from the steam and length of time the foot had been in the bag.

The next night I wrapped a wash cloth around the upper part of my ankle, put the trash bag on secured with a rubber band, and followed by more blue painters tape. This time when I removed the painter's tape (which is paper and somewhat soggy) the towel was damp. I couldn't tell if I had gotten the foot wet or not because the rubber band had cut off the circulation to my foot.

Tonight I think I will just sit in the tub, backwards, and hang my foot over the side. No way am I going back to the podiatrist's office and admit I do need a $10 foot shower cap! Course if hubby has to call the EMT's to come with a wench to haul me out of the bathtub; a $10 shower cap might be a bargain.

HGTV never tells you about right handed bathtubs. I may have to start hanging out at Home Depot or Lowe's looking for Bath Crashers Matt Muenster. I wonder if he has ever designed a left handed bathroom?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Black Friday Shopping Tips

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for mobile SWAT shopping cart

Judging by the massive preparations going on, you would think the 8th US Army battalion was preparing for a twenty-five mile hike or Elvis had been discovered living in Greenland and tickets were going on sale in thirty-six hours for his next live concert. Actually, it is just previous Black Friday Survivors getting ready to launch their next shopping spree.

Food, gum, bottled water, a camp stool, bungee cords (for attaching two shopping carts together), and a thermos of coffee are crammed into a duffle bag and strapped onto their backs. Others are perfecting their fake limp in order to snag a handicapped scooter at Wal-Mart. Still others are preparing by sleeping an extra eight hours two days before the sale starts.

The first rule for Black Friday Shopping is to plan ahead. Several online Black Op sites feature comparison shopping, store maps, launch times, and a printable list for the what, when, where, and time for each store's specials as well as links to cyber sales that may or may not coincide with Black Friday or the alignment of Mars and Jupiter.

Once you have your plan of attack, it is time to suit up. Boots with steel toes are recommended if you plan to battle it out for the latest electronic must-haves; otherwise your best arch-support-long-term-standing-in-line-NASSA-designed-foam-lined-gel-tennis shoe will suffice. Outer wear should support sub-zero temperatures if you are waiting outside in a line six blocks long. Inner wear should support tropical approaching desert temperatures to compensate for the body heat of ten times the maximum capacity of persons in any given store at any given time.

The plan is to arrive at the first shopping stop at least five hours before the official sale starts. Sometimes rooky salespeople will panic at the sight of a restless mob and begin giving out vouchers, armbands, or secret locations of the "real" TV's, computers, I-Pads etc. Hint: If you are a retired airline stewardess, veteran air traffic controller, or former kindergarten teacher, you can usually pick up some part time work on Black Friday working crowd control.

Here are a few lesser known tips for Black Friday Shopping that I have gleaned from past Black Friday Sales Survivors.

  1. Always shop with a partner. If there is a limit on the number of items you can purchase, you have an extra person to buy the additional items needed. Also you can swap out if you need to make a potty run.

  2. Make sure your i-phone is powered up for any online specials or E-bay auction items. This is also necessary for communicating with other operatives located in nearby stores

  3. If a particular item is not at the top of your list, wait until the frenzied shoppers have decimated the pile, and then circle your buggy in a six aisle radius. Often when mob crazed shoppers come to, they realize they don't need six waffle makers or portable DVD players and will dump them on the nearest shelf. I found $3 mixer on the underwear aisle that way

  4. If the shelves were empty before you got what you needed, hang out around the check-out lines. Many sale items will be eliminated at the register due to maxed out credit cards.

  5. Security knows nothing. If you want information, ask a person with a walkie-talkie attached to their belt, ear phones on, wearing a really ugly vest, and preferably standing on a ladder with a bull horn. If that fails, follow the buggy with the most items in it or the person wearing the camo t-shirt with BARGAIN SHOPPER embellished in crystal dots.

By following these simple tips, you , too, can spend the next eleven months paying off your credit card in order to take advantage of the next Black Friday Shopping Op!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shaving at Six

by Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Aqua Velva Man

Yes, my little man is shaving at six years of age. No, he doesn't have some hormonal imbalance, well I don't think so. If the child had a full gorwn beard or moustache, then I'd be calling the Mayo Clinic or perhaps the Guinnes book of World Records. He isn't shaving his face or even his arms for some kind of boldy building magazine photo op. No, my little man is shaving his legs!

I'm trying to figure out where all this came from. It's not like he's seen me shave my legs. Over sixty and hair stops growing, well except for the one on my chinney chin chin. I don't suspect that his ten-teen sister has started to shave. I don't think the TV has sported any new or innovative hair removal systems of late. If his sister hadn't tattled, I might never have know.

"What posessed you to shave your legs?" I questioned in my most intimidating FBI manner. Wrong tactic. He immediately burst into tears. Between gasps from him and my husband, he said he had seen it on TV. I explained that he wasn't in trouble but I was concerned that he might have cut his legs while shaving. Images of gushing blood, numerous dots of toilet tissue flashed through my mind as I remembered the first time I shaved my legs.

"And once you start shaving the hair grows back stiff and black and you can't stop." More tears and hysterics...from hubby. "but I have blond hair. I'm gonna have blond hair and black hairy legs? wailed the six-year-old. "It will be alright. Just don't do it any more," I advised.

Later that evening as I was tucking him in, he asked one last question. "Do your legs kinda burn when you shave them?" Ancient screams echoed in my head from the time I tried using alcohol to stem the blood flow that first time. "I'll rub some baby lotion on your legs so they won't burn anymore. When you get much much older and start to shave your FACE, we will have to remember to get you some shaving cream. Now, goodnight."

I went back into the living room to console the still sobbing hubby whom I am sure was remembering the early days of our marraige when my barbed-wire legs hadn't seen a razor in a couple of days and thinking of the fate of his future daughter-in-law. "I was just kidding about the stiff black hair growing back on his legs...that only happens with women's legs. I just didn't want him to do it again." More sobbing from hubby, but I think these were sobs of relief.

Men! Young and old!

Shaving at Six


Saturday, November 5, 2011

There’s a Hole! There’s a Hole! There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Seat!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for midget with small hands

There was a time when all things laid on a car seat stayed there, sometimes for months. Sun glasses tossed on the seat would remain until well one of my sudden stops. An open bag of M&M's would stay put until the last one was eaten. Of course all of this is BS, Before Seat-belts.

With the passage of the seat-belt laws, all cars developed seat belt holes in otherwise perfectly good bench seats. The seat-belt slots housing the retractable seat-belt became the Black Holes of Inner Space. Eye glasses placed on the seat would disappear down the hole at the slightest turn. M&M's would pour themselves into the never ending abyss. Cell phones would slide ringing into the blackness.

Small children are now bribed by parents to "Stick your hand down in the hole and see what you can find." Or "Ok, honey, help Mommy find her glasses. I think it went down the hole. Now don't worry if you feel something gooey, that's probably the chocolate bar I lost when I turned the corner yesterday and not zombie brains."

Others have used the black hole searches to occupy starving children. "We want a snack." "Ok, you can have all the M&M's you can find in the seat-belt holes." Others threaten to use the black holes to threaten misbehaving children. "If you don't behave, you're going to have to search for my car keys in 'theeeee blaaaaack hoooole' and it won't be pretty."

Like space black holes, you know the seat-belt hole is there; you just can't see what's in it. You know your cell phone is in the hole, you can hear it ringing from afar as friends frantically dial your number so you can track it down before your battery dies. You can look under the seat a hundred times, around the seats, even between the seats, but nothing can penetrate the black hole.

Nor can you prove the existence of anything that has entered the black hole. You saw your driver's license slip into the black hole, but you can't prove it to the nice policeman. Unless you have the long slim fingers of a concert pianist, a visiting midget is in the passenger seat or a cooperative two-year old (now that's a contradiction of terms) in the back seat, the chances of retrieving the item are slim. Just go ahead and pay the fine.

Anthropologists predict that in the future the first and second fingers of adults will grow to resemble pincers due to continuous probing of the black seat-belt holes as they search for lost objects. I'm sure space ships will have the required seat belts. That could explain Spock's unique hand greeting.

Now when the children are singing that maddening never ending "There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea", I had my own lyrics. "There's a watch on the pen on the earring on the phone on the M&Ms, on the log in the hole in the bottom of the seat. There's a hoooole, there's a hoooole, there's a hole in the bottom of the seat."

Maybe I'll invent the rubber stretch seat-belt slot cozies. Then I could sing "There's a cover for the seat belt in the bottom of the seat. There's no hole, there's no hole, there's no hole in the bottom of the seat." Until then, I've got to find a midget or two-year-old to retrieve my glasses.