February 19, 2013

More Quirky Fun for 99 Cents

Just bumping my book...

If you like my writing give this a try. Its an offbeat love story about a woman, four men, her menopausal mother, a walking condom, and true love.

It will have you laughing (and thinking) the whole way through.

The Universe is a Very Big Place (on Amazon)

February 14, 2013

April Loves Eddie

     Well, it's Valentine's Day. The day of love for many, loneliness and cruelty for others.

     I have my own story of unrequited love. It's a sad tale. And it started in the third grade.

     It was February and we were getting ready for our annual Valentine's Day party. I was sure to get lots of Valentines because the boys had voted several weeks before, and had chosen me as the girl they would mutually like. To show their sincerity they had been writing me letters, singing me songs, and chasing me around the monkey bars. They had even flipped their eyelids at me.

     Though I secretly enjoyed their attention, I'd walk by them, nose in the air. I had only one love, the leader of their pack: Eddie (Last name unremembered).  He had fabulous hair and a really cool binder with a picture of Han Solo on it. He had also professed his love to me during a violent game of dodge ball.

     But I couldn't bring myself to say it back. So I played it cool instead.

     As Valentine's Day drew nearer, and my need to play kiss and catch with Eddie exclusively controlled my every thought,  I came up with a plan.  "You need to buy me two sets of Valentine's cards," I said to my mother.  "We have a very big class this year."

     It was a lie of course, but I couldn't tell my mother the truth: that one of those sets of cards- the entire Tweety Bird collection - was going to Eddie (Last name unremembered).

     I spent the evening before our class party adding personal messages to all 32 cards, convinced that when he read "I like your hair" and "Your dad looks a little bit like Mr. Rogers," he would sweep me off my feet and we'd spend every lunch recess thereafter playing dodge ball together.

     It was a solid plan.  After all, he loved me. I just had to let him know I reciprocated the feeling.

     The morning of Valentine's Day our classroom was filled with excited chatter. We waited anxiously for Miss Wilson to announce that it was time to deliver our cards into the red, construction paper envelopes we had glued together the day before. Finally, we were called, alphabetically by first name, to the front of the class. I was first to contribute. With sweaty hands and a beating heart I made my way forward. The class leaned in to watch. Would I have Snoopy or Star Wars cards? Would there be candy in them? As the first card deliverer, I was setting the bar.

     Drop. Drop. Drop.

     I put each card into its corresponding envelop. A few of my classmates slumped back when they saw that there were no lollipops taped to them.  A few others looked relieved to see that my parents were as cheap as theirs.

     Drop. Drop. Drop.

     At last I came to Eddie's pocket. It was red and beautifully decorated with stick figure drawings of Indians and dinosaurs. I ran my hand discreetly across it before dumping 32 cards inside.

     A collective gasp rang through the class. An entire box of Valentine's cards going into just one envelop? No one had ever dared such a feat. Maybe I would be hailed a hero.

     My dreams were short lived, however, as the students broke out into that most horrible childhood chant: April and Eddie sitting in a tree. I turned as red as Eddie's envelop, delivered the remaining cards to the undeserving pockets of the other students, and raced to my seat.

     As I passed by Eddie's desk I offered him a shy smile. He turned his head away.

     I slid into my seat as the chanting continued. Eddie wouldn't look at me.  I had brought disgrace to the  third grade alpha male. And I was being shunned.

     At lunch recess Eddie (Last name Jerkface) sat on the grass surrounded by his cronies. The girls let me know that he was reading each of my cards - complete with special handwritten messages - out loud to his friends. I could see them through the cafeteria window as I nibbled on my sandwich. With each card he read the boys doubled over in laughter. I never left the lunchroom.

     By the end of the day the boys voted in a new girl to like: Audra (Last name Bitch). They threw rocks at her, chased her around the monkey bars, and even flipped their eyelids at. her. She squealed appropriately at each gesture and didn't snub a one of them.

     For the remainder of the school year she was Queen and I was forever known as 'that girl that won't stop following Eddie' (Last name go-f-yourself) around.

     I moved away the following year but I kept track of Eddie through friends. After high school he married twice, had seven kids, and made a career of selling farm supplies.I hear he does okay for himself.


     Love is a strange and wonderful thing and I'm not sure why we chase it. But we do. Even when we are young. And the trials and tribulations of keeping love, once found, continue through the rest of our lives.

     If you're not careful, in the time it takes to dump 32 cards into a construction paper envelop, it can be gone.


February 12, 2013

The Good Wife's Guide - Updated for Today's Woman

The Good Wife's Guide


From Housekeeping Monthly, 13 May, 1955.

Original Article

 





While browsing the Internet I came across this gem on how to be a Good Wife, circa 1955.

I'm not sure about you,  but I dont' think I'd last long following these 'rules'.

In that spirit, I've submitted a new guide for the modern woman. It's much more managable. You just replace martini's with depression pills and away you go.

Here are the original 'rules' (in bold) and my modifications below. Follow either set of rules at your own peril.
                                                                            ***

1. Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.

Today's Good Wife: Call your husband on his way home from work. Tell him to pick up a bucket of chicken and a six pack of PBR. Tell him his other option is that suspicious looking leftover in the fridge that neither one of you can put a carbon date on. Most men are fearful of  food poisoning and  will be excited to avoid this.

2. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dust cloth over the tables.

Today's Good Wife: Shove all your QVC merchandise into the closets. When they are full use the garage. You can clean them out for your annual yard sale. When he asks what why there are 300 wickless candles on your credit card receipt remind him of the time he 'forgot' to wear his wedding ring to his high school reunion. Rinse and repeat as needed.

3. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.

Today's Good Wife: At the time of his arrival, start the washer and dryer, even if there's nothing in it. He will think that you've been hard at work all day and will forgo his usual lecture on "what exactly did you do while I was gone?"

4. During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

Today's Good Wife: Set the shed on fire. Make sure all of his GI Joe Action Figures,holey pairs of underwear, and pictures of his ex-girlfriend are inside. When he asks 'What the hell happened' say 'Oopsie daisy' followed by 'Sorry honey, I'm a girl. I didn't know this matchy thing could get that hot. My bad.'


5. Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

Today's Good Wife: Prepare yourself. Put on your game face so that he can't tell you've been fantasizing about what it would have been like to have married Rod Bishop, that cute jock you used to date, instead. Douse yourself with a can of fabreeze and remove all evidence of your afternoon Cheetos binge.

Double up on the Prozac. 

He has just been working with a lot of pretty women who still have their hopes, dreams, and pre-baby figures.

Cry yourself to an ambien induced sleep, but wait until he's busy with his computer porn addiction.


6. Don't greet him with complaints and problems.


Today's Good Wife: Don't greet him with complains and problems. Let him find out for himself that little Bobby flushed thirteen washcloths down the toilet and that you cancelled the NFL package on cable so that you could afford your Mystic Tanning sessions.

By allowing him to figure out the problem himself, you are letting him play Sherlock Holmes. Men love role play.


7. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

Today's Good Wife:Make him feel comfortable. Never take out the garbage. Don't wash the dishes. Let your home become as filthy as his old frat house. It will bring back warm feelings of nostalgia for him. If that doesn't provide a sense of comfort for him, scream at him like his mother used to. He compares you to her anyway.

8. Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

Today's Good Wife: Be a little gay. Submit to that threesome he's been hounding you about. Or tell him about that guy you kissed in college who looked sort of like Janet Reno.

By participating in his deviant fantasies you are buying yourself time to figure out where your life has gone wrong.

9. Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.

Today's Good Wife: Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Hey, it's more KFC for you and you get the queen bed to yourself . When he stumbles in at 3 AM drunk and horny, make sure to have the doors locked and the sprinklers on. A nighttime bath is both refreshing and invigorating and won't use up all your hot water.

10. Be happy to see him.

Today's Good Wife: Be happy to see him. On Fridays. When it's payday.Tell him you will deposit his check for him, then take a good chunk of that money and put it somewhere he won't look. Like the pantry. Save it. You'll need it.

11. Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

Today's Good Wife: Listen to him, even as he tells you all sorts of fun facts about nuts and screws and some guy named Ted in accounting whose wife let him buy a riding lawnmower. He might also add that there's this new woman at work who reminds him of you ten years ago.

Let him talk until you want to stick hamsters in your ears just to drown out the noise.

Start a conversation in a Yahoo Chat group with a random stranger who 'gets you' while your husband is watching Sports Center. Plan your escape.

12. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

Today's Good Wife: Arrange his pillows for him. Try to resist arranging it over his sleeping face. It's not time. Yet.

13. Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

Today's Good Wife: Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. That lipstick on his collar was probably due to a freak cranberry juice accident and those bodies in his trunk are most likely those of previous wives who did questions his motives. Shut your mouth and call Lifetime Television. Let them know you have an idea for their next episode of Wives with Knives.


14. A good wife always knows her place.

Today's Good Wife: A good wife always knows her place. It turns out its in prison. For murdering her husband.

February 7, 2013

It All Started with Nancy Drew

      It was the summer before fifth grade and I had just turned eleven. Once again, I would be the newkid in school and I spent several weeks staring out the window, picking apart the girls who walked by, trying to guess by their mannerisms and clothing if they would accept me.

     By nature I wasn’t shy but years of moving around, sometimes cycling through two or even three schools in a single year, had taught me to be…careful. By studying the locals first I could copy them, lessening the risk that that I would spend my lunch hours alone, pretending to read a book.

     As I peered through the window, a cranberry sedan pulled into my driveway. I watched as two figures talked in the front seat. Eventually they emerged, carrying several large sacks and boxes. I recognized them as my grandmother and her new husband whom I hadn’t seen in over a year.

     I could hear excited squeals as my mother and siblings ran out to greet them, but I stayed sequestered in my room. I was at the age where family affairs took a back seat to more pressing issues, like my quest for popularity. A knock on the door let me know that my lack of presence had been noticed. I opened the door to find my new step-grandfather standing there, a small bag dangling from his hand.

     “Thought you might like this,” he said, handing me the bag. “I picked it out myself.”

     I raised a suspicious eyebrow at him. “You did? Why?”

     “Well, we’re both newcomers to this family. We have to stick together.”

     I took the bag and pulled out a yellow and blue hardcover book. I searched the rest of the bag, hoping for something else, like money.

     “Nancy Drew,” he explained. “My daughter loved it when she was your age. I thought you might too.”

     “Okay,” I said. I took the book, closed the door, and flung it on my bed.

     Dusk had settled and the neighborhood quieted as kids were summoned into their houses for supper. My mom announced that it was Shepherd’s Pie for dinner, and I faked a stomachache. With nothing else to do I fell onto the bed and opened the book. Anything was better than Shepherd’s Pie.

     I had read books before. I had grown up on the staple of children’s books available at that time,
works by Cleary and Blume. But there was something different about this book. I wasn’t just reading the story. I was immersed in it.

     Maybe it was because Nancy was my first grown up protagonist. Through her I was transported to an adult world where girls were allowed to make their own decisions, date, and drive. In addition, she was bright and curious, traits my teachers also accused me of, and I felt a kinship with the ‘girl detective’.

     The more I read about Nancy the more I loved her. I dove into the book, coming up for air and food only briefly and at the insistence of my mother, and had the entire novel read in one long weekend.When I closed that last page I was confronted by an emotion I had never experienced when reading a book: loss.

     I was never going to see Nancy again!

     The realization, along with prepubescent hormones, made me burst into tears.

     I couldn’t lose Nancy. I just couldn’t. I picked the book again. I wasn’t ready to part with my new heroine, and I would simply read it again. That’s when I noticed a long list of other titles on the back of the book. Nancy solved many mysteries, not just this one!

     From that day on, I was hooked. I begged my mom for odd jobs to earn enough money to buy another book. It wasn’t enough to borrow them from the library, I needed to own them. To possess them. I couldn’t bear to part with one, after it had become such a part of me. Whenever I was alone, I would look at my bookshelf – which was growing rapidly – and know that I had a friend there. All I had to do was open a book.

     Nancy taught me a lot that summer: I learned new vocabulary words including “chided” and“titian-haired” and “sleuth”. I learned that there were sinister people in the world but if you were pure of heart you could overcome them. And I learned that just because you lost one parent, it didn’t mean you were lost.

     Admittedly, Nancy also got me into trouble. I started seeing clues, and secret passages and mysteries everywhere. I tried to convince my little sister to climb into the heating duct because I was sure there was treasure hidden there (luckily she didn’t). And once I had my parents call the police because I was convinced I had witnessed a murder. I had been out riding my bike and was sure a man had threatened a woman with a knife. Upon investigation, it was determined to be a pork chop bone.

     When school started I was a different person, poised and ready to take on the world. Nancy could do it.

     So could I.

     That year I strode into the classroom, not caring at all what I was wearing. I took my seat among a classroom of strangers, smiled confidently, and raced through my schoolwork so that I could read the next chapter of a really good book. I must have been intriguing to the other girls, for I never sat alone at the lunch table. Even when I wanted to.

     In the years since fifth grade my tastes have changed, but my love of a good story hasn’t. Every time I pick up a new book, my fingers twitch, my mouth goes dry, and my heart races. I’m off an adventure and I just can’t wait to get started.

     I still feel a sense of loss when I read those two dreaded words: The End. But with the help of a Kindle and a Nook, I’ve learned to curtail my book hording tendencies. I don’t need to see them in order to be transported back. I will always have them. I just have to remember.

*
By April Aasheim. Originally published on TheIndieExchange.com Feb 5, 2013