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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.