Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Son of Coincidence

So remember that whole ‘coincidence’ post from a couple of months ago? The one where weird names kept coming up in clumps after an absence of thirty-some years? Or an author I learn about for the first time then presents himself in an e-mail from a totally unrelated third party? And I recognize that an actress I see on tv must be the daughter of Meryl Streep, because of the uncanny resemblance, and almost simultaneously the girl is being quoted in a magazine article I was reading during the commercials… Yeah—those coincidences.

Get ready. It’s happened again. And again.

A few weeks ago, my husband, the Center of the Universe (CoTU) and I were watching an episode of American Pickers. If you’re not familiar with it, let me say that two guys from Iowa (Mike and Frank) drive around in a big van, looking for the ultimate yard sale. Actually, most of the time they find people who’ve been collecting stuff for years, and have buildings just chock full of old collectibles. Mike and Frank buy the stuff to sell in their shop, or to customers they’ve developed over the years. Back at the shop, Danielle finds them leads, and manages to hold the fort while the guys are on the road.

CoTU and I get a big charge out of seeing what they find, and watching them arrive at a deal with the sellers. CoTU didn’t want to watch it at first, probably because we are both such pack rats, and this hits a little close to home. Hey, at least we’re not on Hoarders. I had to persuade him that since the show is on The History Channel, it must be vaguely educational. Anyhoo…

On this particular day, Mike and Frank were on the road, and Danielle was actually taking a little vacation to New York. The guys had convinced her to take something with her that they bought on an earlier ‘pick’. It’s a papier-mâché model of a cat from the Alice in Wonderland sculpture in Central Park.  Ultimately, Dani (like we’re BFFs now) meets with the widow of the sculptor (he was Jose de Cleeft, she is Lorrie Goulet) and arranges to have the cat displayed in a New York museum, where there’s a current show of Goulet’s work. This was all so very cool. Dani meets artist, artist sees cat, cat vacations on display. Nice.

But back to my story. So I may be a little old Midwesterner, but I’ve been to New York numerous times, and have also been to Central Park many times. I have never, let me repeat that for emphasis (why else would I repeat it?), NEVER seen or heard of the Alice in Wonderland sculpture. Don’t know why. I’m sure that if my relatives really did love me they would have taken me to see it when I visited them in New York. But alas, I was quite surprised to learn of its existence.

The very next day (cue the Twilight Zone theme music) I was reading a book that I had heard about on (what else) NPR. Fresh Air, to be exact. It’s called “What Happened to Sophie Wilder”, by Christopher Beha. On page 118, Sophie and her husband are walking in Central Park, and stop at the Alice in Wonderland sculpture. They have a major heart-to-heart there. “Hmm,” I thought. “That’s funny, coming just a day after I first heard about the sculpture.”

Fast forward less than a week. Done with “Sophie Wilder”, on to “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. (Amazing, by the way.) Yep. Page nineteen! I’ve barely cracked the spine of the book, and Nick is growling about Amy expecting him to remember that it’s a favorite of hers since childhood.

This is all pretty ‘woo-woo’ if you ask me. Three slaps in the face with the same reference within a single week. I’m not sure I believe in coincidence, but I do believe in Alice. At least now I do. I keep dreaming of tea parties and going down the rabbit hole. Or maybe that was the political conventions…

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Is It Stupid in Here, Or Is It Just Me?

Yes, I know it’s been hot, not just here, but all over the United States. So, indeed, it is hot in here and it’s not just me.

But I’m asking about ‘stupid’, not ‘hot’.

As in, how is it possible that a clerk at the deli counter of a prominent food-selling establishment doesn’t know what “three-quarters of a pound” means. You think I’m joking, or judging harshly, but I recently was waited on by a perfectly nice young woman who ably served up a pound of sliced turkey. She then politely asked if there was anything else she could get for me. “I’d like three-quarters of a pound of the roast beef,” I answered.

She hesitated. Just a touch, but I caught it. I thought maybe she hadn’t heard me, but she didn’t ask me to repeat it, she just reached her vinyl-gloved hand into the deli case and pulled out a wad of sliced beef. “Plunk!” it said as it hit the scale, weighing in at .38 lbs.

“How’s that?” she asked.

“No,” I replied, “three-quarters of a pound,” now convinced she had indeed not heard me the first time.

Then it came: “Oh, that’s more than a pound, right?”  Ruh-roh.  Now I get an Academy Award nomination for being kind and supportive and helpful, when I wanted to do a Johnny Carson spit take and ask her how she could have possibly graduated high school without knowing how much three-quarters of a pound is.

“It’s actually less than a pound. Your scale will read ‘point seven five’,” I told her.  “Okay, whatever,” she answered, and ultimately came up with the meat.

“Whatever?” My confidence in our education system dropped several points in that exchange.

The very next day I noticed on my Visa bill that a subscription I’ve carried for years suddenly went from $32 a month to $42 a month. Since my public school education took place in the 1960s, I saw right away that that was approximately a 30% jump. I called their customer service line to find out why.

The lad Michael, clearly unhappy with his career choice, sullenly told me that it was because my ‘special offer rate’ had expired. I informed him that I had been a subscriber for over 30 years, and didn’t have a special offer rate. I could bore you with the repetition of our respective positions which went on for a while, but I’ll spare you.

Finally, I believe I outwitted Michael, who, to be fair, seemed to be unarmed in a battle of wits. I asked him if there were any special offer rates currently in effect. “I’ll check,” he offered.

“Yes, I can give it to you for $3.77 a week, which would be $16.34 a month.” Again, thanks to the educational standards of the ’60s, I could see that this was preferable to spending $42 a month. “Sold,” I said.

And my third and final example (due only to the space limitations of this column) of the decline of intelligence and common sense in our civilization comes all the way from London.  According to an article in the Associated Press, a man there started a major fire in his apartment by attempting to dry two pairs of boxers and socks in his microwave. The appliance was destroyed, and the apartment suffered serious smoke damage.

Is this so hard a concept? Food in microwave, clothes in dryer.

In London, I guess it’s hot and stupid.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rock, Paper, Thunder?

So I woke up the other morning to hear that the Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA playoffs. (For my husband, the Center of the Universe, a.k.a. CoTU, that’s basketball. A sports fan he is not.)

I began picturing headlines: Heat Beats Thunder, Heat Crushes Thunder, Heat Over Thunder and the like. And it occurred to me that this sounded like some kind of new version of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Except that you would need a third element, like Rain.

Then the hierarchy would have to be something like Heat Beats Thunder, Thunder Over Rain, Rain Kills Heat.

This reminds me of an episode of The Big Bang Theory from a couple of years ago. Raj suggests settling a dispute over which nerdy tv show to watch by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors. Sheldon ridicules him, saying that studies have shown that good friends will tie in that game 75-80% of the time, due to the limited number of outcomes. As an alternative, Sheldon has come up with a new game, called Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock.

In his inimitable style, Sheldon explains how the game works. I’ll share this with you, in case you want to use it with your own family or friends.

“Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, rock crushes lizard, lizard poisons Spock, Spock smashes scissors, scissors decapitates lizard, lizard eats paper, paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporizes rock, and rock (as it always has) crushes scissors.”

After a blink, Raj says, “Okay, I got it.”

So feel free to play this simple (?) game amongst your peer group. But next year if the Utah Jazz are in the playoffs, I’m staying out of it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Coincidence or Fate?

Over time I’ve heard a lot of people say that there’s no such thing as coincidence. They believe that those things which many of us view as remarkable concurrent events—and label ‘coincidence’—are truly tiny little acts of God, or angels, or some oblique universal force that come together to make life more interesting, more fulfilling, to prove their existence, or just to make us smile.

I tend to be in the other camp—the one that says stuff just happens, and whether it’s chance, luck, a fluke or a twist of fate, there are no marionette strings causing the overlapping, quirky happenstances that I still view as coincidences. Still…

Once in a while a whole passel of things take place that—well, let’s just say they get my attention.

For example:

About two weeks ago I was recounting an anecdote from my days working for the comptroller at Ft. Leonard Wood, circa 1975. A key player in the story was our unit secretary, Beth um… Beth… Drat! I couldn’t think of her last name for all the nuts in Congress. To test my memory, I started recalling the names of all the other members of our office, and was pleased that I could come up with all the other analysts, the boss, HIS boss, and several other people I knew in the building. I could even name the personnel people, the Commanding Officer, and his secretary. These little tests tend to reassure me that I’ve not joined the wait list for the Alzheimer’s unit at the nursing home. Yet.

But still it was just Beth _____. Merrill Camp, Jim Burch, Bob West, Connie Welch, and so on and so forth, but nothing I tried would summon up Beth’s last name. Okay, 1975 was 37 years ago, so I cut myself some slack (and a blouse to go with them [sorry, sewing jokes will pop up from time to time]) and let it go.

The very next morning I was reading an article in my newspaper (remember, I AM the dinosaur/subscriber) when there it was: Jay Skaggs was mentioned in the context of his role as a state legislator. Skaggs. As in Beth Skaggs. I was tickled to get the retrieval cue, but it did feel a little eerie. How often do you encounter the name ‘Skaggs’ in the paper?

Just days after that, I was reviewing overdue notices in my official capacity as a volunteer in a school library. I came across the book title “Owen and Other Stories.” It caught my eye, because a family member had recently named their baby Jacob Owen. You don’t see the name Owen all that much, so I made myself a note to look at the book in our public library, thinking that if it was a cool book, I would send it to our Jacob Owen for his personal collection. The author is Kevin Henkes; I had never heard of him.  “Owen” is indeed a cool book.

The very next day I opened my e-mail account (the private one I use only for professional contacts, so there are fewer than ten e-mails a day, not the hundreds that come in on my personal address) and clicked on a link to a blog post by someone in the Missouri Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Yep, it was about this wonderful artist/author/illustrator Kevin Henkes. Cue the Twilight Zone theme music.

Item three: Last night I was simultaneously watching my Tivo’ed episode of Smash, and reading an article I had clipped from Vanity Fair. The article was an interview with Julia Roberts and Mike Nichols, and I had read most of it the previous evening. This Smash episode brought in a new character, the daughter of the broadway producer. This young woman looked more like Meryl Streep than Meryl Streep, but not the daughter who is sometimes featured on “The Good Wife”. This one was younger, but unmistakably Streep-bred. When the show ended I flipped it back to the beginning to catch the ‘guest star credits’. Sure enough, Grace Gummer’s name appeared. (Streep is married to sculptor Donald Gummer, and the kids, oh, you get it.) I thought how cool it was to see another of her daughters entering the milieu.

See what I mean?

Then I returned to my article to wrap up the Julia and Mike story, and in the very next paragraph Julia recounts a conversation she had had with Grace Gummer about her mother’s fame, and how she dealt with it. Crazy coincidence? Perhaps.

This morning I was thinking about how my ankle problem is called subluxing maxillary tendinitis. It has bothered me because I think of ‘maxillary’ as relating to the jaw, and I had no idea what ‘subluxing’ meant. I opened my e-mail account (the general one with a zillion e-mails) and today’s Word of the Day is ‘luxate’. It means to put out of joint, or dislocate.

I think it’s time for me to reassess my view of coincidence. Maybe something IS going on. Or maybe I luxated my brain in a twist of fate.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Marbles and Baseball

I heard a great expression the other night. As so often happens, it came out during a rousing evening of bunco. You remember my bunco crowd? –Twelve women of a certain age who gather to roll dice, keep score, nosh a little and laugh a lot. That’s us, the Boisterous Bunco Babes.

Anyway, as usual, we caught ourselves confusing who should move, who was keeping the score, whose partner was whose, and the ever-popular “What number are we on?”

When we finally had laughed ourselves into oblivion, one member exclaimed, “I’m losing my marbles!” In response, another uttered, “I’m on my last marble.”

They both overlooked that bunco is a game of dice, and marbles have nothing to do with it, but that’s not important right now.

I love the concept of being on one’s last marble. I wish I had thought of it myself. It’s just so perfectly apt.

Not too long ago I was getting ready to go to an early morning meeting, and just about to put my makeup on. My husband, the Center of the Universe (CoTU) came into the room to ask me about something just as I was about to begin my simple ritual. [By the way, I am not blaming him for this at all, just illustrating that I was distracted and not paying enough attention to what I was doing.]

I hit the pump on my moisturizer and smoothed a dollop onto my face. I sort of noticed that it felt funny and smelled different, but I was multi-tasking, and until I turned away from CoTU and looked in the mirror, I thought I was imagining things. Then I looked on the vanity, and realized that I had ‘smoothed on’ a glob of liquid hand soap in lieu of moisturizer. Not a good sign. Yes, it smelled good (my moisturizer is hypoallergenic and thus unscented) but now I had to stop what I was doing and wash the soap off my face, towel off, and start again. This time I made sure I hit the moisturizer pump, not the soap.

Recently I met up with some friends in a parking lot to carpool to a relatively distant theatre to see “Sunday in the Park with George”. I spent an embarrassing amount of time looking for my other glove as we switched cars, just to make sure I hadn’t dropped it on the ground outside the car. Yes, I eventually noticed that I was wearing one and holding the other, so OF COURSE I couldn’t find it on the seat or in my purse. Strike two. Getting scary.

Sounds to me as if I have one strike left, or as my friend put it, I’m on my last marble.

I will hope for another ‘at bat’, just to mix the metaphor, and I’m planning to keep a close eye on the ball.  This one’s for all the marbles.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Generally Speaking

People say things without thinking. To be sure, this generalization applies to me, too. I once had a teacher who enjoyed saying, “All generalizations are false, including this one.” Still, as a whole, we say things that we often realize in retrospect, were foolish.

Of course you and I experience this less often than some people. You probably think I’m headed for the politicians, don’t you? Surprisingly, I’m not. Fish in a barrel, and all that. No, I’m getting at the inane things announcers say in commercials. Specifically I am addressing one in particular.

I’ve been hearing a mattress company ad on television lately that raises my blood pressure and sets my teeth on edge. Oh sure, lots of ads do that, and I couldn’t tell you the name of this advertiser even if I thought it advisable. There are dozens of them, and they all sound alike. Mattress Giant, Mattress Firm, Mattress Source, Mattress Direct, Mattresses R Us… I think you could play MadLibs and insert any noun after the word ‘mattress’, and you’d find there’s a company somewhere operating under that name. Like Mattress Canary. I’m just saying.

Here’s the irksome line: Nothing is better than a good night’s sleep.

Yeah, it sounds innocuous enough. We all like to sleep soundly. Heck, I’ve gotten to the point where I could safely say I cherish a good night’s sleep. It makes the world a better place in which to wake up. A good night’s sleep refreshes and rejuvenates us. On nights when we’re disturbed by storms, nightmares, sickness, phone calls or whatever, we really feel reduced the next morning. It’s harder to get going, harder to focus at work (or play) and our senses generally feel dulled at whatever we attempt.

But ‘nothing’ is better than a good night’s sleep? Really? Not a cure for cancer? Not selling the house you’ve already moved out of? Not finding the siblings from whom you were separated as children? Not getting pregnant when you thought you couldn’t? Not holding your newborn child/grandchild/niece/nephew/neighbor? Not winning the $389 jillion Power Ball jackpot? Not reading a headline about WORLD PEACE? –universal disarmament, clean water for everyone, renewable energy breakthroughs, a return to sanity and civil discourse? Really?

I know, I’m getting carried away, and it’s just a mattress commercial, but I can’t get past the unconditional, unqualified, categorical, absolute and unrestricted notion that NOTHING is better than a good night’s sleep. It sounds like one of those things you wish you’d never said.

A good rant, like a picture, may be worth a thousand words, but a generalization, like Yogi Berra’s famous observation about the verbal agreement, isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. And you can take that to the bank.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Just Enough of a Good Thing

We just returned from a week on the sunny gulf coast of Florida. And you know that when I say ‘we’ I mean my husband, the Center of the Universe (CoTU) and I. In contrast to previous Florida visits, this time the weather was perfect. Every day was warm and sunny. Even the days that began as cloudy and overcast became bright and beautiful by late morning.

Our trip was planned as a visit with our dear friends, snowbirds who we’ll call Fred and Nadine. Because those are their names. Kidding—they are not, and I’d like to protect them from any fame that might come their way as a result of this column. Also, I would not like for them to sue me for invasion of privacy, or for anything else for that matter. Moving on…

We walked on the beaches, we sought out several art fairs, we poked around numerous antique shops and we drank more than a little wine. Life was beautiful. There was much relaxing, reading, dining in, dining out, and the ever-popular collecting of sea shells. By the seashore. I’m done.

So this was a lovely vacation for us—we were able to spend lots of time with each other, and with Fred and Nadine, who are always gracious and generous hosts. They encourage us, dare I say they try to entice us to buy a condo nearby and join them there.

I see the appeal of wintering (that is now a verb, I believe) in the warm and sun-kissed clime that is Florida. I love the idea of spending a week wherein the biggest decision you make is “Soup or salad?” I just can’t see myself spending months at a time there. Too much happiness.

No that’s not it. Here’s the real reason: I’d miss my stuff. I don’t mean shoe collection, kitchenware or tchochkes. I mean the stuff I work on every day, like my sewing machine, my fabric stash, my yarn and my knitting books. I missed the computer and the internet a lot, and while it’s true that we could take a computer down there with us, I’d have to share it with CoTU, and ‘share’ is not a word that comes to mind when we speak of CoTU. He got his name for good reason. His “It’s All About Me” coffee mug suits him to perfection.

So I can relax with reckless abandon for a week, and I’d be willing to try two, but I’m pretty sure that into my third week on Fantasy Island I’d start to go a little crazy. Without the hobbies of golfing and boating that so many people enjoy in Florida, I think I’d be rather a lost soul. There are only so many online Scrabble games I can play at one time, and even those look a little fuzzy after a couple of glasses of Riesling.

The bottom line is that we will remain in St. Louis, probably forever. Winter is winter, summer is summer, even when they both occur in the same week. This is home, and we claim it. Besides, even if we decided to move tomorrow, it would still take us five years to clean out the basement. We have a lot of stuff, and just enough happiness.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Is My Phone Smarter Than I Am?

For the past four years I have said that I did not want a Smartphone. I said it so often that I began saying that I didn’t want a phone that was smarter than I am.

All four of our kids and their spouses have Smartphones. I maintained that I was perfectly happy with a compact device that enabled me to make contact while away from home. I rarely used it for conversation, per se. I wanted the reassurance that in an emergency (mine) I could call for help, or in an emergency (anyone else’s), they could reach me.

Sure, we’d had numerous dinners out with one of the kids when a question came up that one of the wisenheimers answered with the help of the internet, simply by picking up his or her cell phone and Googleing for help. Still, I wasn’t prone to joining that club.

Then suddenly, inexplicably, a few months ago I decided that I had been kidding myself. I, too, wanted to be able to connect via satellite to the worldwide web from the chair crammed into a meeting room, from the noisy seat in the airport waiting area, from the passenger seat of a car. I, too, wanted to be able to look up the name of that guy—you know, the one in the movie with what’s her name—oh yeah, Glenn Close, where they—well, not that it matters, I just WANTED to. I wanted to be able to put my hands on that knowledge wherever and whenever the urge struck, because, let’s face it, at my age when I plan to look something up when I get home, odds are that it will never again cross my medulla oblongata. And if you don’t know what that is, you can look it up on your Smartphone.

Now if you know me at all, you know that in my General Rules of Life book, the top five includes the following: Don’t ask for anything. Part and parcel of this is never to say “I want ______.”  Somehow I have adopted the worldview that the less you ask for in life, the greater your worth as a person. Now, I know that this does not make sense. I would spend serious time counseling anyone I know to abandon such a tenet. Yet I can’t seem to shake it as a personal credo. Until now.

My former inclination to eschew any requests for anything of a material nature went right out the window. I’m sixty-two goddamn years old, and I don’t think I have the right to ask for (by which I mean buy myself) a particular cell phone? That’s nuts, and I know it. So I broke my rule and I asked.

Then I researched all the data plans, the activation fees, the software and the hardware and I did the hokey-pokey till all the numbers swirled in front of my face and made me slightly nauseous. But I pulled up my socks and went to the kiosk of the best deal and got Smartphones for the Center of the Universe and me.

Now I can find any quilt shop in the United States because I have an app for that. I can read the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today in the palm of my hand, because I have an app for that. I can scan the bar code of any item in any store and comparison shop it across the universe because (wait for it…) I have an app for that.

But more importantly, I can play Scrabble with my son, Wordfeud with my stepson, and soon Scrabbleicious (I think) with my son-in-law. And I can do all of these 24/7. This makes me very happy. It’s a cool way of being connected around the clock.

Now I don’t mind that my phone is smarter than I am. I just need an app for my addiction to it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Running the Race

I’m running a marathon. Don’t faint—it’s not the 10K for cancer research. It’s not the 5K for heart disease.  It’s the never-ending race against the relentless dust and grime in my house.

How does it accumulate so fast? It seems as if by the time I’ve finished dusting and vacuuming I could write my name in the new deposits on the coffee table. Is that fair? Shouldn’t I at least get one day’s grace?

I feel so good when I’ve cleaned the whole house that you would think I’d be looking forward to the next time I attack it. You would be wrong. I still curl my upper lip and flare my nostrils at the thought of Windex, Formula 409 and Lysol. At the end of a day of cleaning, I’m sure I need a good detox from inhaling all those fumes.

I guess I like it being done, not so much the act of doing it. I can think of a thousand things I would rather be doing, and so can you. You know how it is: your baseboards need dusting, your windows need washing, your shower has soap scum and if only modern technology hadn’t eradicated waxy yellow buildup, you’d be battling that, too. There are not enough hours in the day, and this is now that I’m retired from ‘work’. And did you notice how I shifted this from my problem to yours? You’re in this, too.

How did this happen? When I worked full-time I was gone fifty to fifty-five hours a week, including the commute. I always fantasized that when I retired my house would be neat as a pin and clean as a whistle. (Why pins and whistles constitute the gold standard for household presentation I cannot explain, but they do.) I imagined that my closets would all be color-coded, hangers lining up like little soldiers—all their heads and shoulders at the same precise angle. My shoes and purses would look like the gorgeous photos in splashy magazine layouts, which are clearly shot just to make us all feel inferior.

I fantasized that my kitchen drawers would all be so neat and tidy that Martha Stewart could drop in at any time and pluck a spatula of just the right size and shape from the second drawer. If Oprah herself had rung the doorbell, I could welcome her in without a mad dash through the house to pick up a stray newspaper or coffee mug. And if Dr. Oz ever dropped by to inspect my medicine chest, I’d be so proud when he opened the door to see my neatly organized and categorized supply of pharmaceuticals, not a single one out-of-date.

Need I tell you that none of this has come to pass?

My closets still look like I frantically ransack them for the perfect item on a twice-daily basis. The house is tidy, but my floors have a protective coating of dust that the Guinness people are coming to measure on Friday. The outsides of my windows make me cringe when the sun shines. I’m a failure.

One of these days I’ll wake up with an uncontrollable urge to clean everything in the house. That will be the day I sign up for the marathon at the Senior Olympics. I’ll just have to find out whether Windex would disqualify me under the doping rules.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

That's How We Roll!

What’s the best thing about spending eleven nights in a hotel?

Fresh and ironed sheets every day? No, but that’s certainly in my top five.

New towels hung for you every day? Not really, but still it’s way up there.

Not having to make your bed at all? Definitely a 'plus', but not huge in my book.

Here’s a clue: it relates to something you have to do at home, that your husband NEVER does, that has to be done every couple of days, and that can—at times—create an emergency.

Yes. Changing the toilet paper roll.

Husbands have been proven to be 96.3% incapable of achieving this seemingly simple task. (Some rare events –we’ll call them anecdotal evidence—have been cited elsewhere, but I remain dubious.)

At least when you’re in a hotel, they generally put a fresh roll of toilet paper out each day, and you don’t have to run out, don’t have to seek a replacement roll, and don’t have to make the swap yourself.

I know, I know, this is a tiny task that takes so little time or effort—why do I let it bug me? I think every one of us has a particular chore that simply irks us, whether it makes sense or not.

In part, it’s this: I don’t mind changing the roll; I mind being the only one who changes the roll. Especially since I’m not the only one who’s using the stuff.

So what happened on this particular trip? Don’t ask. Okay—actually, if you don’t ask, there’s no point in this blog post at all, is there? Well, here are a few documented photographs of my experience…

Every time I went into a bathroom, anywhere, it seemed, the roll was empty when I got there. There was always access to a replacement roll, in contrast to the times when you go into a public restroom stall, only to realize just when you need it most, that there is no paper to be found. Those are the times I am grateful that I (nearly) always have Kleenex in my purse or pocket.

Even at my daughter’s house, I went into the hall bathroom on my first day there and found this:

No big deal, of course, but it became funny very quickly. Mostly because if you don’t view it as funny, you will begin to tear your hair out by the fistful. So I took a picture. (My cell phone was in my pocket. –as in, is that a cell phone in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?)

And the problem snowballed. Every time I entered a bathroom, I just expected to see an empty roll where toilet paper should have been… And I was not disappointed. Hilarity ensued.

I somehow lack the joy that my husband and so many others share, of never having to worry about toilet paper. Conversely, I do have the lovely gift of parking karma. I tend to find the first spot in the first row by the door of wherever I’m going. It also works if I’m a passenger in someone else’s car. Certainly there are exceptions, but by and large I get the best parking spaces on a regular basis.

Would I trade parking karma for t.p. roll karma? Hmmm… I suppose not. So I guess I should keep mum about this particular complaint and learn to live with it.

And in case you’re wondering how I know about the 96.3% of toilet paper rolls changed by women, I submit the following evidence.

Some time ago, I discussed this irksome task with my husband, the Center of the Universe (CoTU.) He innocently professed that it was his belief that he changes the roll with great frequency, and never shirks from his responsibility in this regard. I raised my eyebrows and nodded my head and quietly went about the business of saving the empty rolls instead of discarding them.

first box...
Here are the rolls I replaced.
First pile...
Second pile...
second box
third box

Here are CoTu’s. 

Pathetic, isn't it?

Case closed. By the way, it was really 99.7%, but I scaled it back out of charity. Even though he only changed these because I was out of town.

And as for the best thing about staying eleven nights in a hotel? Trick question. The answer is coming home to sleep in your own bed.