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Friday, March 25, 2011

A Gross Contest

The other day my Twitter friend @WashingtonTina commented that her blog, which featured this video

hadn't received the commentary she'd been expecting.  As a faithful blogger and reader of my friends' and followers' blogs I had to see what the fuss was about.

Watching the video dredged up a childhood memory that left a lifelong impression.  WTina and I tweeted about it and decided to leave it to you, our faithful readers, to decide which of the 3 stepping-in-it scenarios are the grossest.

Here's my entry, sadly without pictures -- I leave it to your fertile imaginations to conjure up pictures and odor.

I was a child of 6 or 7, playing barefoot in front of our Jersey row house at 402 Buttonwood Street.  It was early evening in late June or early July, after school was out for summer.  I was playing with my siblings, running up and down the street, dodging the Japanese barberry and uplifted blocks of sidewalk. The buttonwood trees between the sidewalk and street, huge in diameter and height, peeling bark always an amusement, had enormous roots that pushed up the sidewalks and made little rollers for our scooters.

No scooters were involved this balmy evening, however, as we played hide and seek.  My sister failed to find me (she was too lazy to look behind the biggest tree, just 3 trees up from our front porch).  I came out from behind the tree, all "nee-ner, nee-ner, you couldn't find me" in that childish sing-song voice, feeling full of myself for winning, when *squish*...I stepped in it.  Dog shit.  Fresh, soft, stinking to high heaven.  Ickily soft and rank between my toes.  I squealed like a pig and cried for help.  My mother offered the 1964 version of HTFU* and reminded me to be in before sunset or I'd be grounded.

I sobbed and sobbed, feeling abandoned and helpless to remove the offensive substance without touching it and make it feel worse than it already did.  I cried again piteously for help, to no avail. The gross feel and horrible stench overwhelmed me, and all I could do was cry.  The most awful thing imaginable!

 My neighbor, Grandpa Danitz, who'd escaped the Holocaust and was blunt yet endearingly sweet, hobbled onto his porch (he was our next-door neighbor) and asked in his thick Polish accent what was wrong.  I tried to put on a brave face as I told him of my quandary.  He told me to find a stick and scrape it off.

Ah, such a simple solution!  Grandpa Danitz became my hero in that moment.  I looked, saw dozens of small branches around me, and used 3 or 4 to scrape off as much crap as I could. Then I walked on my heel around Mrs. Woodward's house on the end of the row to the alley, then to the back yard, where I washed off my foot enough to go into the house just before it was completely dark.  My mother, preoccupied with my 3 younger siblings, was glad to see that I'd figured it out.  I scrubbed my foot until my toes looked like flesh-colored raisins.

I didn't go barefoot outdoors for a long time.

So, dear readers, which story grosses you out the most?  Post your thoughts, memories and votes in the comments below.  WashingTina and I are eager to know what you think.

*HTFU explanation here:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Focus Interruptus

The weather has turned for the worse if you're a cyclist -- unrelenting rain, heavy at times, with an urban flood advisory tonight & tomorrow as well as a wind advisory.  So long, pear tree blossoms -- the ground under you will look like snow by Monday.

My goal today was to clean the plantation shutters downstairs, hit the gym, find frames and order glasses and prescription sunglasses, work on my taxes.

Yesterday's mail featured a letter from HealthNet informing me that my information was on one of those stolen hard drives (in January. January!).  They offered my 2 years of free Debix -- never heard of it until I read this letter -- and what a glorious PITA that was to register online. They not only want typed info, they want voice recognition info as well. My challenge will be to remember my password and code if/when they call.

Had I voluntarily signed up for this service I suppose I'd be impressed with the levels of security.  However, since this is being foisted upon me I'm assuming my usual resistant stance and not embracing the technology at all.  How dare the prompt interrupt my breakfast with directions to voice-record!  Da noive!

After that I had to check my credit report.  Experian, Trans-Union & Exifax have their own unique verifications that I yam who I yam, taking more precious time that was to be spent doing my taxes. Grrrr.

Nothing unusual anywhere among them, so fine.  On to the next task.  Which apparently was cleaning. So I cleaned 2 of 5 plantation shutters that desperately need to be cleaned.

After grabbing a bite to eat we headed to the gym for a heavy weight work out.  Reminded me of the old days (15+ yrs. ago) when I was a personal trainer training for an amateur body building contest.  We'd lift weights until we were numb, pound down some protein drink, hobble about the house and wear clothes that didn't aggravate sore muscles...ah, the good old days. *roll eyes*

After a quick clothing change we headed to Costco to check out glasses. I ended up purchasing 2 pairs for $5 more than LensCrafters wanted for the sunglasses alone. Shock!  So my HealthNet optical "discount plan" officially sucks. That $419 at LensCrafters was *my* cost.  For one pair of glasses.  From Costco I'm getting sunglasses and glasses with multifocal +Transitions+anti-glare coating+indexing (the anti-Coke bottle effect) for the cost of one pair from LC. Buh-bye LC!  Oh, and surprise!  Costco charged no tax.  Yessss! *fist-pump*

We then headed to a motorcycle shop. Chris is convinced that he needs a motorcycle helmet, as opposed to a hang-gliding specific helmet, and has done some research. The nearby shop came up on his Internet searches for having a huge variety of helmets.

And indeed they did. He spent a lot of time in the motocross helmet area, as they provide greater peripheral vision. But oy!  The graphics on those helmets are fugly!

Once he enlisted the aid of the shop owner, Sean, he focused his attention toward road/race helmets, and eventually narrowed down his search to something very eye-catching -- and it matches one of his gliders, too. So the OCP factor is acknowledged and met.  Because it's last year's model it's $200 off list price.  And the shop owner, Sean, rides a bicycle, an Orbea (same make as mine) and knows some of the people with whom we ride.

It is indeed a small world.  I'll get my glasses, Chris gets his helmet, we make a new connection, and we wait out the rain for the sunny days to come.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's Time

Kameo and the kids and dogs came over Sunday night for dinner.  She cooked and brought chicken breasts, asparagus, portobello mushrooms & fresh pineapple, and did a mixed greens salad.  Chris made crab-stuffed mushrooms. The evening was magic -- the food, the wine, the company, the antics of dogs and kids -- and no matter where it came from, magic was present.  It seemed that we all needed that kind of fix.

So Kameo called me out on promises to race without actually committing to anything.  We sat down and surfed the NCNCA website and picked out 10 races to do.  A couple of the road races work out to where she can be my neutral feed zone support and picture taker in my race, and I can reciprocate in hers.  In at least one race our categories are combined and we can help each other out (esp. if our fellow 3's and 4's race with us). Giddy with anticipation I promised to email the dates to her and sign up.

Now, 2 days later, I'm looking at SportsBaseOnline and wondering if I really want to do my first race in nearly a year in 3 weeks....

There's a reason why I wear a black wristband with a NSFW phrase on it...time to step up the fierce.