Excuse Me…

There's that saying, "Kids say the darndest things." It's so true, and my grandson, Dylan proves it almost every day. His mommy, along with the Hubs and I, have tried to teach him proper etiquette. Saying please and thank you and a million other things.

One thing I've always been big on is the use of "excuse me." You know, sometimes your body has natural functions that can't always be controlled. (Better out than in, if you know what I mean). And when something sneaks out, we've taught Dylan to say, "excuse me." It's just good manners, after all. And he' really good about saying it...in his own way.

You see, he will almost always say "excuse me," but not without an explanation of what he's done. So, for example, we were out to eat this evening, and a little something managed to sneak out of his pint sized body. So what does he say, and loudly enough for all the surrounding restaurant patrons to hear?

"Excuse me...I farted."

And the Hubs and I embarrassingly add, in perfect unison, "Shhhhhhhhhh!"

Yep, that's my grandson for you. He can't just say excuse me, and stop right there. No, no, he has to let you know WHY he's saying excuse me too. I guess it's only fair, in his mind, to give everyone the proper heads up (especially in a restaurant). And right now, since he's 5 years old, it's still funny, even kind of cute. But heaven help us if he's 15 and still doing that!

Uh huh, out of the mouths (and orifices) of babes.

Dylan Brag Book

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Ever have one of those days when you just want to stay home from school (or work!)? You know, hang out with your friends, borrow your best friend's father's Ferrari, take a trip into the Windy City, and jump onto a float to sing in a parade that has the onlookers dancing, as the float travels past your father's office building? Well, the 80's flick, Ferris Bueller does that and more in what I think is one of the best movies ever made.

Meet Ferris

I don't care how old I get, I absolutely love to watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It just never gets old. It always makes me laugh and smile, and what more could you want on a day you don't feel like getting out of bed?!

There are some great young stars in this flick too..

Matthew Broderick, of course, plays Ferris, the kid that all the kids know and love--with the exception of his sister, Jeanie, played by Jennifer Gray (Dirty Dancing). Ferris' girlfriend, Sloane, is played by the lovely Mia Sara (Legend), and his befuddled  and tormented best friend, Cameron is played by the amazing Alan Ruck (Spin City).  You'll also see a young Charlie Sheen in the movie, whose role as a drugged out misfit rebel is quite small, but memorable.

And then there's his principal, who's out to prove that Ferris is indeed playing hooky, rather than hacking up internal organs at home, as he would have his parents believe; and he goes to great lengths--and pains--to catch Ferris in his big lie. Only Ferris' sister wants to catch Ferris more, because she's tired of his tricks and his ability fool his parents and get away with anything he wants.

It's impossible to explain everything that's in this movie. So here's a short trailer I found online that will do a better job.

You might also be interested in some great trivia about the flick posted at IMDB. Some great tidbits there! And FYI, the parade scene was filmed during an actual annual parade in Chicago, and it includes dancers doing a great reproduction of the moves in Michael Jackson's Thriller video.

If you haven't seen this movie, well, you just don't know what you're missing! And if you have seen it, isn't it time you re-watched Ferris Bueller?

Bueller? Bueller?


Barnes and Noble Blackout

So the Hubs and I went to Fort Wayne yesterday. I wanted to go through Hobby Lobby for some craft supplies and figured we'd eat in town while we were there. FW is an hour away, so we tend to make the most of it while we're there.

After Hobby Lobby and a nice meal at Olive Garden, we were heading past the mall to head home when I spied Barnes and Noble. Now I've only ever been to B&N online; I honestly didn't know they even had "real" stores. This one had to be fairly new because I know it wasn't always there at the mall. I'm not into mall hopping anyway...just not my thing. But since we were right there and in no hurry to get home, I asked the Hubs to pull in so we could browse.

Now I don't know about you, but I love book stores, and I avoid them most of the time for that very reason. I could easily spend hundreds of dollars in there in very short order. It's kind of like how guys are in hardware stores or anyplace that carries tools. If I see some I want, I have to buy them. I just love books! But since I seldom actually have the hundreds of dollars to spend in there (and on this day it was certainly no different), I just don't go in book stores too often. But since I'd never been into an actual B&N, I figured this would at least be worth the effort.

After scouring the parking lot for a parking space--which is never an easy task at that mall so it's something I do not attempt too often--and then squeezing our car into one of the undersized mall parking spaces, we headed to the doors of B&N. We got to the entryway, which had several people kind of milling about in it, and noticed it looked kind of dark in the store. As we tried to make our way past the people, a store employee stopped to inform us:

"I'm sorry, but we've had a power outage and we are not letting customers inside the store. We do, however, have staff members on hand who will gladly browse for books for you and..."

OK, I stopped her right there. While in my mind I'm thinking nothing more than WTH?!, I just shrugged her off, said "no thanks" and headed back out the door from whence I entered.

I mean, are they kidding me? They are going to browse for books for me? How does that work exactly? Were they gonna send an employee into the dark belly of the store, have her randomly grab books, hold them up and holler back at me with, "How about this one?" And then I would, in turn, yell back, "Maybe, could you read me a couple of pages to see if I like it?" Um, yeah, I don't think so.

Book shopping, except for the occasions when you're only in a book store to buy one specific book, is a very personal experience. It's not something someone else can do for you, and I'd think B&N staff would kind of know this. Why else do book stores have chairs and coffee shops in them? Perhaps because people are going to spend a bit of time in there...reading?

Apparently, the store had been without power since a thunderstorm passed through FW earlier that morning. And from what I could gather from other folks who had been talking to the B&N employees before our arrival, the employees had been standing at the doors all day telling every customer who showed up the same things they told us. We heard another customer say, "that's a long time to be standing in the doorway." Uh, ya think?

So my question is this, Barnes & Noble: why on earth didn't you just put a sign on the front door that explained about the power outage, thereby preventing people from going through the hassle of trying to find an undersized parking space in a crowded mall parking lot and making the trek from their car to your front door, only to find out that they could not even go inside?!

Hmm. Maybe they were just afraid that people wouldn't want to read their sign...because, um, you know, people that go to book stores...don't like to read.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

The person who came up with those directions for the back of shampoo bottles is a marketing genius. Think how many people actually do that, every single day, or at least every single time they wash their hair. They lather, rinse, and repeat, without ever questioning why they're doing it.

Think about this for just one minute, people. Why on earth would you or should you wash your hair, rinse it off, and then wash it again? Do you wash your body that way with your shower gel? Do you wash your dishes that way? Your car? I'm assuming that you answered "no" to these questions. That would be insane, right? I mean, who would ever do that?! If you had to wash your dishes twice every day at every meal, you know you'd be looking for a brand new dish soap before the last dish was even dry. So why would you wash your hair twice?

Why? I'll tell you why: because that marketing genius knows that people are just gullible enough to do it. The bottle tells you to do it, so you do it. And in doing so, you're going through shampoo twice as fast, which then forces you to need another bottle of shampoo even sooner. Makes sense, right? Of course it does, because that is the whole point: you spend more money, and the shampoo makers are laughing all the way to the bank.

But it doesn't have to be like this. Take a stand right now (or at least the next time you wash your hair); rebel against that stupid shampoo bottle and reclaim your shower power!

Lather? Of course.
Rinse? Hell yes.
But Repeat? Um, NO!
Step away from the shampoo bottle, and stop this cycle of madness once and for all.

And with the money you'll save on shampoo, you can always send a donation to your favorite blogger charity.

Grocery Store Goob

Ever have repeated run-ins with one major goob while at the grocery store? You know the kind I mean...kind of stupid, kind of oblivious, kind of really super annoying?! Apparently, goobs are in their element at the grocery store, and it's just my luck to have run into one during a quick jaunt to the corner market today.

First, he nearly nicked me with his cart, because apparently, my wide frame was outside his range of peripheral vision and he couldn't see me, being all of 16 inches away from him. No apologies from the goob once he realized his faux pas either. Typical.

Shopping Cart in Aisle

Then, a few aisles down, I see a shopping cart sitting unattended in the middle of the typically-too-narrow grocery store aisle. It was positioned cockeyed in the center, so that there was no room for anyone to maneuver past it. And just as I'm wondering to whom the aisle-blocking barrier belonged, I look up to see Mr. Goob, standing ten feet away, perusing the chips and dip selections. He was completely oblivious to the fact that three people had to change course to bypass his basket blockade; either that or he thinks he owns the store and can park his cart wherever he pleases. Either way though, he's still a goob for having left it there in the first place.

I finished grabbing my goodies for the taco dinner I had planned for this evening, and headed for the "express" lane, which we all know has about as much validity as "fast food" does at the drive-through. 

But anyhoots, I get in line, look up, and guess who's ahead of me? Uh-huh: good ole Goob. Does he bother to place the plastic bar behind his order to separate it from mine? No. But what he does do is become fascinated with the credit card swiping machine, and the fact that it is on a base that can spin all the way around. He looks befuddled as the cashier (stifling a chuckle herself) explains to him that it swivels so that she can see it, to assist customers if need be. Sheesh. It's not rocket science, fella. Neither is the fact that he has to sign the machine for his pending credit card purchase, which seems to really confuse him. But he manages to close the deal and be on his merry goob way.

Finally, thinking I am free of the whole goob experience, I get checked out and head to my car...but not before the goob manages to speed past me in his circa 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix in the parking lot, and a little too close for comfort in doing so.

Reasonable Facsimile of the Goob's Car
Goob Tan Grand Am

What is WITH this goob anyway?! Pedestrians have the right of way, last time I checked, and he in no way made any effort to yield to the pedestrian (me, of course) in his path. And thus, that annoying idiot went from goob to A-hole, in my book, in one swift shot!

He turned down the same row as my vehicle was parked in, just as I was unlocking the driver's side door. I glanced at my car, a 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix, and then back at his, and I had to laugh. All I could think was, yeah, Goob, this is what a REAL Grand Prix looks like. Immature, I do confess. But hell, what else have you got when your opponent is a grocery store goob? If nothing else, I left there knowing that my Grand Prix could kick his Grand Prix's ass. And that he would always, forever more, be a goob.

 Reasonable Facsimile of My Car
White Grand Prix

Now I've gotta cook some tacos!

Best Chick Flicks You've Probably Never Seen

The following is a list of some of my favorite chick flicks, but they are ones that weren't necessarily huge box office hits. As a result, you may never have seen them. Call them just a few of my favorite move obsessions. I can watch them over and over an still love them. You gals will understand, I'm sure.

The Man in the Moon
The Man in the Moon, starring Reese Witherspoon

This 1991 film marks the first time I ever saw Reese Witherspoon on film. I can't say I knew she'd become the big star that she is today, but seeing what I did in this movie, it didn't surprise me either. It's a story set in 1957, when a 14 year old Dani (Reese) finds first love; while her older sister, Maureen finds true love. Unfortunately, they're both in love with the same young man, and fate has other things in store for all of them. Trust me, you need hankies for this film, girls! And it's a must see.

Mystic Pizza
Mystic Pizza, starring Julia Roberts

This Julia Roberts movie was made before we even knew who Julia Roberts was. It's about 2 sisters, Kat and Daisy (Julia) and their friend JoJo, all of whom work at a pizza parlor in Mystic, Connecticut. It's about sisters, and friendships, finding true love...and not so true love. It's really a sweet and girly kind of flick. It'll make you laugh, and maybe cry a little bit too.

Hope Floats
Hope Floats, starring Sandra Bullock

When Birdee (Sandra) finds out on a TV talk show that her BFF is sleeping with her husband, she leaves with her daughter to move back home with Mama in Texas. She has to deal with depression, a daughter who blames her and misses her daddy, catty old friends, an eccentric mama, and an old male friend, who has always been in love with her. The critics panned this movie, but I never listen to critics. If you can't find a reason to like the emotional journey this film takes you on, then your heart must be completely shriveled up and dried out! Watch with tissues.

Paradise, starring Don Johnson & Melanie Griffith

This has got to be one of the most overlooked movies of all time. Don and Melanie star as an unhappy couple who seem to have lost their love for each other, when a friend's young boy comes to stay the summer with them (played by a young Elijah Wood). It's really a story about love and loss and family, and about letting go and appreciating life's gifts. The cinematography is amazing too. Don't rent it...BUY IT! You won't be disappointed.

While You Were Sleeping
While You Were Sleeping, starring Sandra Bullock

What can I say? I'm a Sandra fan, and this is a feel good chick flick that I love to watch again and again. Sandra plays Lucy, who takes tokens for the "L" train in Chicago, and who falls in love with a commuter, Peter, who passes through her booth each day. One day he falls onto the tracks and Lucy rescues him, though he's in a coma, and she mistakenly gets identified as his fiancee, and recognized as such by his family. Since Lucy is lonely and has no family of her own, she has a hard time telling the family the truth, and as the days go on, she finds herself falling more in love...with Peter's brother. This movie is quirky and funny and touching and heartwarming, a "feel good" chick flick for sure. If this doesn't tug at your heartstrings, I don't know what will.

And now that I'm in total chick flick mode, I think it's time to pop some popcorn, curl up on the couch, and watch a good chick flick...or two.

Remembering Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson Profile

Don't Judge
© Tina Grimes 2009

Don’t judge a book by its cover
When its binding is worse for wear
The riches are in its pages
Its magic lingers there.

It’s much the same with people
Whose stories we don’t really know
Looking only at the outside
When the cover masks the story below.

We don’t know the truth of a life
Because it’s lived in the public eye
We don’t know what’s fact or folly
We don’t know what’s truth or lie.

Don’t judge the icon and legend
Whose image became worse for wear
The riches are in his melodies
His magic lingers there.

After watching a truly moving memorial tribute to Michael Jackson, I felt compelled to compose this poem in his memory. I'm thankful to have had his music as the soundtrack to many memories in my life. Thanks for the magic, Michael.

Random Things I Don't Understand

This is just a list of random Things I Don't Understand.

The TV Show, Operation Repo.
Are we so hard up for new reality TV shows (because obviously, there aren't enough of them already on the air) that we need to watch a show about cars getting repossessed?! It's the same show every time, only the faces change: weird repo folk go to repossess some cars; car owners who haven't made their payments get pissed off; car gets repo'd anyway. Uh-huh, yeah, that's must see TV.

Why men can go around with their shirts off and that's legal, but if women do it, they'd get arrested.  
Now let my clarify by saying, I don't want women to be able to run around topless (though I'm sure most men would like that). But I don't understand the sexist law that allows men to do so with no fear of consequences. Most men should not be topless anyway--it's just not attractive, nor is it necessary! Is it really so unbearably hot that they can't tolerate a sleeveless shirt like we women can? Puhleaze. Put on a freaking tank top and get over it already.

When it became acceptable to go out in public...in pajamas.
Every time I turn around anymore, I see folks at the grocery store, at the video store, at the mall, you name it, wearing every manner of slumber attire. What is the deal here? Is it so much work to just throw on sweats and a t-shirt, if nothing else? Or do they think that we're too stupid to see that they're actually in their PJ's? Or maybe, just maybe, they think they're starting a hot new fashion trend? OK, unless you're 3 years old, it ain't cute, people. And it's the exact opposite of a fashion statement. Act like a grown up and get dressed.

Weight loss infomercials in the wee hours of the morning.
I was up at like 4am recently, and I was amazed at how many infomercials were on focusing on weight loss. They were on a disproportionately large number of channels. Infomercials about diets, exercise machines, pills, you name it. So my question is this: do they really think that fat people have nothing else to do at 4am? Or perhaps they think that fat folks crawl out of bed at that hour, to grab an early snack and maybe watch TV at the same time? Or do they just think that fat people only watch TV in the wee hours of the morning? I just can't figure that out.

Email hoaxes that never die.
I swear, it never ceases to amaze me how many times the same email hoaxes keep circling the planet over and over and over again, and how it's possible that anyone has the nerve to forward them to all their friends, let alone believe what's in them. You know the ones that tell you...your deodorant will cause cancer; your cell phone number is getting released to telemarketers; the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe; the guarantee of hundreds of dollars for forwarding a stupid email to ten of your closest friends. I've gotten these emails at least a hundred times each, along with almost every other stupid email hoax that's ever seen the light of day. And why? Because some poor sap out there is forwarding the same email that ten of his closest gullible friends did, and their friends did, and so on, and so on, and so on. WAKE UP, WORLD! 99.9% of the crap you read about in an email is just that, crap! And the only reason it keeps resurfacing (some of it for over a decade!) is because you send it to all your friends instead of doing the only thing that should ever be done with it: DELETE IT!

OK, so there are my random things I don't understand for today. And now there is a cup of coffee with my name on it and some real work to be done...after I delete a bunch of bogus emails.

Adventures in Freakdom

Freakdom Pin

Just to give you further insight as to how the freak mind works, here are few other random things our neighbor has done in the past.

Called the police on the Amish people who were re-doing our roof. Why? Because one tire on the van of their driver grazed a few blades of his grass when they pulled out of our driveway. And then he proceeded to yell...at the Amish! Who the hell yells at Amish people anyway?

Called the police last winter when my Hubs was plowing the alley that runs between our houses. Why? Because some snow landed on the freak's driveway, of course. I'm kind of surprised he doesn't sue Mother Nature then, since she dumps snow on his freaking driveway every single winter!

Planted maple trees a few feet apart, all up and down the edge of his lawn, adjacent to the alley between our houses. Why? To block our view from our porch.

Called the police several times because rain flows off the alley near his driveway. Why? Because he says our house causes the water to run there, and he thinks it's going to crack his cement driveway. And I'll just point out here that if you could see my house and the alley--and if you have even a basic understanding of the laws of Physics, you'd know there was no way on earth that rain from our house was traveling anywhere near his precious driveway. But if it is, I'm sure it's brought there by the flying pigs I see each morning.

Put signs up in his front yard (which, BTW, the city says are "political," so there's nothing they can do) that read: Stop favoritism, enforce zoning laws; Stop runoff of water from alley; and Not zoned for business. And when these signs fade (he does use cheap paint, don'tcha know), he takes them down, repaints them, and puts them back up again, while making sure that each sign is hung at equal heights and distances apart. Being anal is only secondary to his love of symmetry and balance.

Calls the police whenever anyone stops in the alley (even if we don't know them!), even for five minutes. And FYI: it is legal for any vehicle to stop in our alley for up to 20 minutes. We know this, and so does he.

Installed treated lumber for his flower beds--after stripping it, and then staining it. WTH?

Waters his trees from the top down, um, but never at the roots. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but aren't the roots supposed to get the water?

Has two video recorders pointed at our property, and records our movements daily. At first that disgusted me, but now I just share my favorite "bird" with him whenever the mood strikes me as I pass by the camera's view.

Has called the police on contractors working at our house...for playing their music too loud. [INSERT ROAR OF LAUGHTER HERE] I'm sorry, but I had to pause to catch my breath; I just laughed so hard I nearly pee'd my pants. Mister play-his-music-loud-enough-to-shake-windows-and-solely-for-the-annoyance-of-others thinks someone else's music is too loud?! Hello, Mr. Pot, meet the damned black Kettle! That's just too rich.

Guess that's enough freak-ranting for one day. But lest you think I'm exaggerating or embellishing, let me assure you that I am doing no such thing. This is all 100% freakdom FACT. And most of it is on record with our local police department.

An Introduction to the Freak

A lot of my friends and family, and most of the residents of the town in which I live, are familiar with the freak who is my next door neighbor. He's far more than just a freak though; he's also the bane of my very existence on a fairly regular basis. So anyhoots, I thought I'd share with you some tidbits from time to time about his asinine antics, if for no other reason than to exercise my right to freedom of speech. And besides, I know I'm not alone in living next door to an asshole idiot, and misery does love company. So let the venting begin.

I'll preface my introduction to the freak by saying that the Hubs went to school with him, and no, they were not friends, nor were they enemies, but they did know each other. And when he first moved next door there were no issues or problems. We all coexisted peacefully for several years, with no hint of the madness that would relentlessly spew forth at a later date. Without going into boring great detail, I'll summarize with a highlight of the most notable events from world of freakdom.

* Freak starts playing loud music, which gets annoying.

* Freak starts playing louder music, which starts to make my windows shake.

* Freak's music gets loud enough to bother other neighbors too and police get involved.

* Freak gets arrested and charged with violating a noise ordinance and all relevant neighbors get called to testify in court.

* Freak does his homework and discovers that in order to violate the noise ordinance, his music must be louder than the ordinance allows according to a decibel meter, which it is not. So even though his music shakes my windows and is going at all hours of the day and night, he is found "not guilty."

* Freak returns to playing his loud music, but is ultimately charged with a new crime, disorderly conduct.

* We all return to court and he is found guilty, spends some time in county jail and gets probation.

* Upon release from jail, knowing that loud music will not be tolerated, he hatches a new freak plan: annoy whomever he can, playing music just loud enough to be annoying, but not loud enough to send his butt back to jail.

* Freak installs a speaker in his garage vent, which faces our home, and commences playing it at all hours of the day and night, true to freak form, just loud enough to be annoying...to us.

* Some time later, freak adds more speakers, just underneath his patio roof, facing our home so that he can continue playing music just loud enough to be annoying...to us.

* Freak continues to play music, even when he is not home. Often times, there is different music coming from each speaker, while the freak is inside his home, either watching TV, or listening to all together different music!

* We call the police on several occasions, and since our calls about the nuisance noise that never ends are now annoying the local police, we are told that unless his music is on past 9pm, there is nothing they can do.

* Freak installs timer, which enables his music to play--and shut off at 9pm--even when he is not at home.

* Freak adds profanity to his repertoire of musical mayhem. So now we have the privilege of listening to words like F--K, B---H, A$$, D--N, S--T, etc. But guess what, that is not illegal either!

We have been dealing with freak-related BS for over three years. When asked by the police why he does what he does, the freak always says it's our fault, because the Hubs runs a business from our home.

OK, so, #1) Running a business from a home is NOT illegal; and #2) My husband is a plumber and a contractor, and all he does at our home is paperwork. After all, how the hell can he plumb someone's house from our home?! And he has a warehouse where all his equipment and parts are stored, and where deliveries are made, etc. But even though the city council and the police have all said that we are NOT violating any laws, the freak continues with his recalcitrant behavior for the sole purpose of punishing us...for allegedly running a business from our home.

So that's a bit about the freak that lives next door. Welcome to my world, people. And there's far more to tell. Our town's motto is, "A Great Place to Live." Yeah, well, that depends on who your neighbors are!