Smarter than the Average Bear

We all know that proud, overly-sharing parent, the one who is amazed their child can do perfectly ordinary things.  “My daughter Marjorie can add up to ten!”  Your daughter Marjorie is in college, Karen.  “Look at little Timmy read this book!”  It’s a picture book, Barbara.

If you’re like me, you want to back-end every car sporting a “My Kid is an Honor Roll Student” bumper sticker, and you snicker at the “My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Roll Student.”  I have a new bumper sticker:  My Super Smart Dog Bit Your Honor Roll Student.

If you ask me, there’s not enough focus on the truly smart animals in our lives.  Anyone who thinks animals can’t count has never tried to give three biscuits to a dog who is used to getting four at a time.  The internet abounds with videos of horses counting and even if it is a trick of clever training, the idea that a horse can be trained to appear to count is pretty freaking amazing.

Recently, a family member was gushing about her toddler who knew where the pretzels were kept in the house.  She even went so far as to surreptitiously record her child in this endeavor to share with the audience. This tiny human marvel could even open the pantry door and get the pretzel jar, but the act of unscrewing the tightly closed lid thwarted her adorably chubby little hands.

Awww, isn’t that cute.

My dog knows where the treats are.  He opens the kitchen cabinet, gets his treats, opens the box, and eats his fill. I will admit, he hasn’t quite grasped the idea that cleaning up after himself might be to his advantage. At the least, as I keep explaining to him, it would buy him some time before being found out. I had to put childproof locks on drawers and doors and everything in between to foil my cat, the ne’er-do-well, who is apparently a master locksmith and can open any barrier placed in front of her.  So long as she wants whatever is behind it, that is.  My friend shakes her head sadly when telling me about her German Shepherd who can unlock door handles, open the door, and go into any room she likes.  Baby gates? Pfftt. It’s like you’re not even trying. Cabinets and drawers and off-limit rooms are nothing to these animals, so while I think it’s adorable that your toddler can find the pretzels, I am holding my applause for now.

Don’t get me wrong, I know kids are smart.  Heck, I’ve had two kids raise and train me perfectly.  I just think it’s funny when over-effusive parents boast about ordinary milestones in a completely unironic way.  “Look, she’s only 144 months old and she can recite the alphabet!”

Yeah, Lois, very nice.  Can you hold the cat while I call the vet?  She opened my locked bedroom door, climbed a ladder, cracked my wall safe, and got into the treats that I thought were for sure out of reach this time.  And let me know if you’ve seen the dog, my car keys are missing, and I think he drove down the street to see that damn poodle. Again.

Don’t even get me started on that horse next door who keeps blowing the whistle on my trips to the refrigerator at night; I never should have gotten him binoculars for Christmas.

 

Thoughts from a Shower

I’m not sure why people always have their deepest, most sincere and profound thoughts in the bathroom.  Men are famous for flushing the toilet, opening the door and announcing, “I just thought of something.”  For women, we do our best thinking for the shower.

Sometimes, shower thoughts are genius:  We could solve world hunger if cow manure was edible.

Other times, they are life-changing:  I am going to invest my tax refund wisely instead of buying another pair of shoes.

And sometimes, they are rambling, incoherent, and pointless.

Ladies and gentlemen, I devote this entry to my rambling, incoherent and pointless Shower Thoughts. Lucky you!

  1. I know there are dogs who are allergic to fleas, but what if there are sheep who are allergic to wool?
  2. What if a turtle is claustrophobic?
  3. Are there cats who are afraid of mice?
  4. Are there mice who hate cheese?
  5. I know this has been pondered by better people than me, but what if the Hokey Pokey really is what it’s all about?
  6. Why do people say they are putting toast in the toaster? And for that matter:
  7. Why do people refer to their water heater as a hot water heater? If the water is already hot, why heat it in your hot water heater?
  8. Am I the only one in the world who knows that “penultimate” means second to last, and not top of the line?
  9. Why do we demand piping hot pizza when we have to wait for it to cool off before we can eat it? Why isn’t lukewarm, edible pizza a thing?
  10. Why do we say people who don’t eat much “eat like a bird” when birds eat half of their body weight every single day?
  11. If we’re at a restaurant and someone tells us our meal looks good, why do we say thank-you?
  12. How can every coffee shop have “the world’s best coffee?” They do mean OUR world – Earth, right? I guess they could mean Venus and not be wrong.
  13. Why does every person in a crime thriller shoot until they run out of bullets, and then throw the gun at their target? Has that ever worked?
  14. Why is “moist” such an awful word?
  15. Why do we “dust” when we clean our homes? Shouldn’t we be un-dusting?
  16. Are there any pilots who are afraid of heights? And if so, just don’t even tell me.

Okay, so where do you do your best thinking?  Any Shower Thoughts you’d like to share?  Feel free to spill, folks!  I’m always looking for proof that I’m not the only one with a mind like a mouse in a maze!

 

Do You Haiku?

Remember in school when we had to write haiku?  Neither do I, so here’s a refresher.  Haiku is Japanese poetry, three lines long, with seventeen syllables. It’s written as 5 syllables, 7 syllables, then 5 again.  It’s usually about nature or an experience. Someone, somewhere, thought this up, folks.

I live in the Eastern US, where “nature” has been eleven straight months of rain, followed by a swath of single-digit weather.  I wrote this lovely haiku about it:

Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain

Rain rain rain rain rain rain rain

Ice, ice, ice, ice, ice.

I know. I agree. I am far too talented to be wasting my life working instead of creating masterpieces.

Looking at it, haiku are like limericks for the snootier among us, minus the humor.  Haiku doesn’t rhyme, and not to disparage a centuries old tradition, it sounds just a bit disjointed and rambling when read aloud.

In my mind, all haiku follows this:

These words make no sense.

Here are seven syllables.

Oh look, it’s a dog.

Don’t hate me for my talents, embrace me in all my haiku glory.

I have never liked non-rhyming poetry.  Non-rhyming poetry is cheating.  Don’t believe me?  Let’s look at a beloved classic, in non-rhyme form.  This is my absolute favorite literary piece of all time:

I don’t like them in a home, with a rodent.  I don’t like them, wherever you put them.  I don’t care for this dish of green eggs and ham. I’ve told you several times, Sam, I don’t care for them.

Now let’s go one step further.  Green eggs and haiku.

I don’t like this meal.

Sam, take them away from me.

I won’t eat these eggs.

Look, I’m not saying that the haiku process takes the fun out of poetry (hey, at least with a haiku I wouldn’t have to come up with a word that rhymes with purple for that piece about grape jelly I’ve been struggling to write).  I’m just saying it seems like the kind of poetry put together by someone who thought rhyming was overrated and just a tad too, well, rhyme-y.

I may be in the minority here, though.  April 17 is National Haiku Day, believe it or not, so make your big Haiku Day plans early.  My plans on Haiku Day?  I am going to protest by reading from a book of limericks on the White House lawn.

Nobody likes “leaves, all floating down – stupid leaves need to be raked – damn it I hate trees,” but you know what we all have in common?

Everyone loves the man from Nantucket.

What’s in a Word?

Do you ever lay in bed at night, trying to sleep, and suddenly, your mind decides to reach into its dark, hidden stash of almost-forgotten memories to slap you in the face with the most random shit?  I have to believe this happens to other people (it’s what keeps me sane, so don’t pop that balloon, for all our sake).

And by the way, what the hell is up with these nighttime reveries anyway??  It’s your one time to relax and not think. You’re laying there, feeling the hardships of the day seeping out of your overburdened consciousness, and you’re grateful for the quiet … glad to be away from the noise of it all.  Suddenly, your brain is like, NO! You will NOT sleep … you will instead fixate on that irritating commercial jingle you heard in third grade as it plays over and over in your head. Or how about that stupid thing you did at work five years ago? You know what I’m talking about. In the conference room in front of everyone too. That was fun, huh? Or, why does a round pizza come in a square box? Answer that one, smart guy.  Why is it that if someone yells “duck” they are helping you, but if they yell “chicken” they are mocking you? Have they ever even MET a chicken? Those things will tear you up. Tear. You. Up.  Or the old tried and true, are there birds who are afraid of heights? Poor birds.

So. Yeah.

Anyway, I bring all of this up to let you in on the crap question-of-the-night my brain decided to throw at me last night. Perhaps you’ll relate. Perhaps you’ll have an answer. Perhaps you will be kind enough to soothingly touch my arm (figuratively speaking, of course, since we are on the internet and as far as I know, we can’t actually reach out and touch someone … yet) and say, encouragingly, why, no, Wendy, you are not crazy. Not crazy at all. It will all be all right.

Is the plural of a computer mouse, mouse(s) or mice?  The crux of the problem, the answer to which I unwillingly contemplated for hours, is this: grammatically, saying computer mouses just isn’t right and the grammar-fanatic in me fights back against such misuse. But … saying computer mice … well, in a word, drives me flipping insane. It sounds neither right nor logical … just stupid.

Me at Best Buy: “Excuse me clearly overworked sales clerk, but do you have any computer mice?”  I feel as though such a request would be met with disdain if not outright confusion. Oh, of course they would know what I meant, but wonder in awe at my attempt at being “hip.” (On a side note, do we still say hip?)

It took me longer than it should have (4 hours 32 minutes) to figure out an answer to this late-night grammar puzzle. But solve it, I did. Aren’t you proud?

Simply put, I will never ever be in a situation where I have to use the plural of computer mouses  mice  mouses  mice  mouses … aaarrrgghhh!

When Pumpkin Spice is Less Than Nice

It’s that time of year. Fall. My favorite season, to be honest. But it also means our world is briefly transformed into a pumpkin spice hell-hole paradise. You may think that pumpkin spice is just a Starbucks thing – which my daughter loves by the way – but alas, there are more pumpkin spice things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.

A friend of mine (yeah, a friend, not me, a friend) went to a veterinarian recently to get some medications for her dog.  She was glancing around the office as the receptionist ignored her and was caught by a sign posted by the office’s groomer that boasted pumpkin spice shampoo and spa for dogs.  Yes, this is a thing, and I can’t imagine what a wet-dog pumpkin spice smell would be. In fact, I try not to think about it at all.

If you’re wondering about other bizarre pumpkin spice offerings (and really, why wouldn’t you be!?), wonder no more.  I have researched the most incredible pumpkin spice products, that actually exist, and compiled them here for your enjoyment.

Pumpkin Spice Protein Powder:  For those guys who want to bench press five hundred pounds while staying in touch with the purity of the season.

Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses:  For the love of all things pumpkin, why? If you are a bit more high-browed in your chocolate choice, never fear: chocolate royalty Ghirardelli has a version as well.  Still not enough?  Check out pumpkin spice truffles.

Pumpkin Spice Oreos:  I think this one is the most offensive one on the list.  Is nothing sacred?  Don’t panic, there is also pumpkin spice milk for dipping these atrocities.

Pumpkin Spice Sparkling Water:  Carbonated pumpkin; who could ask for anything more? Personally, I hate sparkling water … especially flavored sparkling water. You expect this delicious, refreshing beverage and all it is, really, is just angry water. Who needs that kind of negativity in their life?

Pumpkin Spice Burrito:  I guess this makes your post-burrito bathroom experience a little more pleasant to those on the other side of the door?  Rest assured, there is also a pumpkin spiced hot salsa to complement these.

Pumpkin Spice Bagels:  Yep.  Never fear; there is also pumpkin spice cream cheese and pumpkin spice butter to spread across these New York Hell Spawns. Prefer pumpkin spice English muffins?  Yup.  They’ve got you covered. This one might actually not be so bad, all things considered. It’s kind of like a pastry in a way, so I might could get on board with the whole pumpkin spice thing here.

Pumpkin Spice Candy Corn:  As if candy corn wasn’t already awful enough.  On a side note, the dreaded pumpkin spice Peeps are on the shelves as well.  If you want to deter trick-or-treaters forever, offer them a handful of both. I’m stocked up. Just in case you were wondering.

Pumpkin Spice Pasta:  There are no words.  I suppose pumpkin alfredo would require pumpkin pasta. If you’re feeling especially spicy, there is also a pumpkin spice pasta sauce.

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pringles:  I bet you CAN eat just one.

Pumpkin Spice Vodka:  Well, after the first drink I suppose this one won’t really matter. If you’re not a vodka lover, there is pumpkin spice moonshine as well.  Follow this up with a little pumpkin spice chewing gum, and you can’t go wrong.

Pumpkin Spice Toothpaste:  There is a fake meme about Crest’s pumpkin spice offering, but Breath Palette does offer pumpkin spice toothpaste.

Pumpkin Spice Toiletries:  Soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, beard oi, lip balm, nail polish, and body spray are all available in pumpkin spice aroma.

Mentholated Pumpkin Spice Cough Drops:  Turn your cough into a gag with these medicated nightmares. At least you’ll forget about your cough!

Am I the only one that thinks pumpkin spice has gone a little overboard?  Sure, we all love a little pumpkin spice candle on a fall night, but these other monstrosities have got to go.

The saddest thing about all of this, is I just know that some of you are already Googling these to see where you can buy them.