Tiny House Nation

A female friend just posted, “I keep watching tiny house nation and can’t help but think I really don’t need as much space as I’ve had in the past.” Really?!?! I comment: “I keep watching it thinking, “I need to be able to get farther away from the bathroom after I’ve used it without having to go outside”.

If you haven’t seen this TV show, the description from the website says “Drawn to the prospect of financial freedom, a simpler lifestyle, and limiting one’s environmental footprint, more buyers are opting to downsize — in some cases, to spaces no larger than 300 square feet — and this series celebrates the “tiny house” movement. Hosts and renovation professionals John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin travel across America to show ingenious small dwellings and their creative inhabitants. They also help families design and construct their own dream minihomes.

Lest you think 150 sq. ft. is roomy, the average burial crypt is almost 40 square feet. So, these folks are taking the average trailer which a pickup truck can tow and on that trailer, erecting a structure which holds a kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room and bedroom in a space big enough to hold about 5 caskets. I mean, the average person has a storage unit that big to hold all the crap they shoulda tossed in a dumpster in 2003.

I watched this show for awhile. In fact, I was fascinated. I live in a 1200 sq ft townhouse condo which I previously though was kinda small, so I was fascinated to see the things they do to save space except I was a little horrified to find out how much they rely on empty body cavities for storage. That’s just not right.

Anyway, there were two things that made me realize I could never live in a tiny house. First, in all the episodes I watched, the average couple who were downsizing from an average house had to reduce all their possessions including cookware and tools to one suitcase. One suitcase. I mean, I’m a guy but if I’m going somewhere for a week, I’m taking a two suiter and a carry on. But permanently?

The second reason was their use of “composting toilets”? What? The first time I heard it I though- “uh, have you heard of sewage systems?” Apparently, if your home is a burial crypt on the back of a trailer, you don’t have sewage hookups. (Don’t they have them for RV”s???!). Then I discovered many of these folks were CHOOSING compostable toilets so they could live “off the grid” or “reduce their carbon footprint. If you’re one of those people who fought composting meant egg shells and coffee grinds and food scraps and THAT was a little gross, well lemme tell ya. If you think I’m making this crap up (pun intended)- here you go- Tiny House Toilets

But here’s the real reason – we all have those “days” where we are convinced that whatever has just left our body is proof of alien life (and not in a good way) or that we may be solely responsible in some way that eating romaine lettuce or at a chipotle restaurant has become so dangerous. You know I mean EVERYONE- this is why every public bathroom has a heavy wood or metal door and a bottle of some kind of air freshener somewhere in the bathroom. Now imagine you’re having that kind of day, or worse yet, you and your significant other are, and the farthest away you can get is 3 burial crypts.

And, we haven’t even considered that tequila party you threw where you served burritos and refried beans, salsa and hot sauce Or, that friend of yours that eats at Taco Bell three days a week.

They might make a tiny House look good but…..

Relationship Lessons From the Mango

In an effort to incorporate green smoothies in my diet, I’ve come to realize I don’t like mangos. (Mangoes is also correct plural spelling in case you were wondering). Why has it taken me 61 years to figure that out? I figured my food tastes were all pretty set by now. While at this point in time I realize mangos and I must go our separate ways, I admit I don’t remember when I first realized my relationship with mangos turned from good to bad.

That made me think of how many times in the last 15 years since I divorced, I tried to figure out when, during my 20 year marriage, things went south. I don’t ever remember being attracted to mangos. I just remember noticing they were showing up in salads and the odd dish, like maybe a curry sometime over the past couple of decades. I googled “when did mangos become trendy” and much to my surprise they’ve been consumed in India for millennia and some suggested they are the worlds most popular fruit. In fairness to my marriage, I do remember a brief period of conscious attraction and in fairness to mangos- well never mind.

I just remember always being ambivalent to mangos- they always seemed rather tasteless in whatever dish they were in. I guess I didn’t want to give up mangos to spare the other fruits- but now that I’ve made the split, the apples and bananas knew all along.

Disclaimer- I never cheated on mangos, abused mangos, smoked snorted or injected mangos. I did see a mango with a papaya once but who doesn’t like a little “tropical fruit on tropical fruit” display now and then.

Should I have dropped mangos when I realized I was no more than ambivalent to them? Was it worth all those years trying to make mango things work? I do realize that we make subtle and not so subtle changes in our lives over time which both cause and are caused by good and bad choices. Otherwise, I’m now as confused about fruits as I am relationships. Well, truth be told- it’s not the mangos fault. It’s the journey of self-awareness that’s the issue-and my ability to confound myself after all these years.

Uber Quiz For Experienced Riders

Our Lyft driver for our second ride of the evening hit a pedestrian and did not stop. I quipped, “Good call, cause we would have had to get another Uber ride, and would have been late for our next stop.” Out third Lyft driver barreled at 55mph towards a car stopped at a red light when my friend quietly said, “red light”. In case you don’t know, one sign of anti lock brake failure is all wheels shuddering violently which you can still feel while airborne in the back seat hurtling toward the front seat with significant G Force. These two incidents caused me to realize, (besides the fact that terror causes instant sobriety); that there should be some instruction for experienced riders since most of what is on the Internet is about the “basics” of using ride share services. TRIGGER WARNING: This may test your boundaries of political correctness. (“Uber” is used herein generically to represent all rid share services)

Question 1. Your Uber driver pulls up and you notice there is already a passenger in the front seat, even though you did. It select “share a ride”. This passenger has their feet bound at the ankles with duct tape, their hands bound behind their back at the wrists and a gag tied in their mouth. Do they have to split the fare with you, or should you just let them ride for free wherever you’re going and pay the trip fare yourself? If you answer is no, they have to split the fare, should you cover the tip for your portion of the ride? Is it ok to ask the Uber driver to temporarily remove the gag to ask for their e mail for the fare split?

Question 2. Your Uber driver pulls up and has a handicapped tag on their rear view mirror. Do you inquire as to the nature of their handicap? (This happened with rear end crash driver no 3 last night). What if they are wearing sunglasses at night and have a white and read seeing impaired cane? Would a seeing eye dog on the passenger seat change your answer? What if the seeing eye dog had its own steering wheel and paw brake controls? In our case, we did not say a word until we realized his phone GPS had Braille. This was unacceptable because he had to take a hand off the wheel and this is distracted driving.

Question 3. You’re in your Uber when you and your friend notice thumping and knocking coming from the trunk and listening closely, a muffled voice crying out “Help me”, repetitively and loudly enough that it is interfering with your conversation. Is it ok to ask the Uber driver to get the trunk passenger to be quiet, as you would ask them to turn down the radio? Is the ride share question the same as no.1., or should you just pay the whole fare since they’re in the trunk, and not a “seat”, per se?

Question 4. Back to the Lyft driver who hit the pedestrian. (Honestly, it happened so fast I’m not sure they’re was contact). So, our driver is making a left turn onto a four lane highway and he pulls out into the median, continuously looking right when my friend says, “Pedestrian”, The Uber driver looks left jus tin time to see his Ltd front headlight is about a foot from the pedestrians left hip. (Before you feel sorry for the pedestrian, he was jaywalking, at night in dark clothes, so he probably deserved this). Pedestrian leaps in the air, making a perfect quarter turn to get his left hip out of the way. It is in this moment while he’s still in mid air that I realize he must have some Olympic skating experience as this move is so familiar. He then sticks the landing, on his feet, and turns toward us when I notice he is not smiling. I know from watching olympics of all types he’s supposed to be smiling. Frankly, he looks pretty angry to me. As the driver is pulling off, should I have rolled down the window to suggest he have a happier face on landing in the future. Our driver took some time to explain how this was all the pedestrians fault. Were we obligated d to point out that not hitting at fault pedestrians is a good raving skill. Yes, we didn’t think so either.

In the few years I’ve been doing ride share, I admit to not wearing a seat belt much. That all change last night. If you also don’t wear a seat belt in Uber’s, this is a public service announcement that’s you go ahead and find out which trauma surgeons, orthopedic surgeons and plastic surgeons are in network for your health plan,

Zumba – My 5 Year Anniversary

Or “Millenials and the 8 Faces of a First Zumba Class.

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since my first Zumba class and the start of this blog, where I related my first near death Zumba experience and opined my self concept of my first attempt was playing charades to the title “Drunk On an Electric Fence”. I guess because that class involved such a roller coaster deep dive into the most basic emotions of my lizard brain, I confess I watch newcomers to class with a psychological fascination. After five years, my completely non scientific observations of these first timers has revealed nothing unexpected EXCEPT for millennials. In watching these fairly standard reactions I confess to vacillating between feelings of comedic delight and glee.

I call these 8 faces: “overconfidence” , “making fun”, “fear”, “sweat”, “I’m going to die”, and “OMG I survived” and ” respect”. In order to set the scene, I must tell you the various ages of the participants so let me begin by saying that I think “age” in addition to body shape are the last acceptable forms of stereotype and discrimination in our country. Older first timers vary between three stages: fear, I’m going to die, and OMG I survived. There are some who run through each stage in even 20min cycles and rapid cycles, and some who go through each three in a four minute song, 15 times in one class. Having stared Zumba Death in the face, and lived, I feel compassion and support for my older Zumba sisters. But, millennials are different.

Being young, supple, muscular, and invincible, the arrive before class overconfident.

“Dancing for an hour??? Ppfffft, No sweat”. Pun intended. Then they look around the room, and you can see the look of judgment inch across their faces, like the look of disdain that races across a teenager when a parent says, “would you and your friends like to spend the day shopping with your father and me?”, as they realize everyone in class

Is OLD and then just as quickly, with furtive glances exchanged in milliseconds and maybe a whispered comment, they make fun of us old folks and how easily they’ll do in this class.

Minus the finger pointing of course. This is usually right before the first song and I restrain the smirk wanting to crawl across my own face. As we move through the first two songs, one of which is usually at least mid tempo, the second more of a warmup, their confidence continues but they’re recognizing that this is the most difficult game of Simon Says they’ve ever played and that they, like most people, they do not possess all the requisite talents to excel in Zumba – conditioning, stamina, rhythm, beat, fast paced mimicry and a glimmer of recognition that this is not so easy appears on their face. My favorite is about 15 – 20 minutes in when fear washes over them like a huge wave at the beach and they realize their heart is racing and air is harder to come by.

They sashay over to the side of the room to take a water break, and you can see their field of vision narrowing from the entire room, to their friend(s) they came with, now only concerned with the judgment of their peers. Having raised daughters, I may be taking more pleasure in this angst then I should.

The fifth face, which can set in anywhere from 25 – 40 minutes in (I readily concede these 20 something’s are pretty fit little buggers), which is “I’m going to die”,has a precursor face – “sweat”. Shortly after this

Comes this. When the first few measures of the last cool down song start, and they realize they have made it to the end of class,

They realize-“I survived”. There is no amusement park ride better than this sequence of faces, which has now become quite predictable. Comprehension for the young, vindication for the old. And the best part, if they come back for another week or two, is their attitude towards my Zumba sisters is

RESPECT. Here’s

To every BADASS woman I know. And I know a lot of them.

This is a Test Of The Emergency Memory Systemic

My memory has been best described as absent minded professor. I was a good student and have professional degree but when it comes to names, dates, places or where something is in the house- not so much. Not even a tiny 1200 square foot condo house.

My girlfriend, on the other hand has perfect visual, auditory, fashion and minute to minute memory. “You remember when we were in San Diego in 2006?”, she’ll ask. “No”, I say. It was June 14 and we were there for a convention. It was 96 degrees, and I was wearing my Bebe jeans with sequins and peacock feathers, blue silk shirt, blue high heels and my beer bottle top belt. George Michaels song Blank was playing on the radio and you were wearing ……

We have a condo in one city and she rents a house in another city where she works often. I often have to text her to find things- in my own house. “Hey, baby”, I texted, “when you folded the clothes out of the dryer last week, did you see my yoga mat?” “Baby, baby- it’s hanging from the mirror in the kitchen, right in front of the dryer. How long have you been looking”. “A week, I said embarrassed but I’m short and didn’t look up.”

We were at a restaurant not long ago and got served something (she remembers what” in these little mini ceramic ditch ovens. “I love these little things, I’ll have to get some!”, I exclaimed. “I have some I’ll give to you”, she said. Next time I was in DC, she handed me a wrapped, taped box and said here are the little crocs. “What?”, I said, already having forgotten the conversation. She explained, I remembered and was grateful

I brought them home and not having an obvious place to put them where I wouldn’t forget where they were,I left them in the lazy Susan on the dining room table where I could Ponder this organizational male dementia issue. They sat there for a month, till her next visit when she put them away.

Fast forward to today, vacay in New Orleans. “Hey, you remember those croc things? (Of course you do). Where are they?” “You don’t remember the text I sent telling you where I put them?”, she asked. Thinking this must be a rhetorical question, I waited patiently till she said, “in the cabinet above the microwave.” ” “Thanks so much!!l”.

Thirty minutes later she asked, “Now, where are the little crocs?” I looked at her and said, “This is a test of the EMERGENCY MEMORY SYSTEM. (Then doing my best impression of this sound- please play video for full effect. EBS If this were a true emergency, your holder of substitute memories would be available to provide any missing details your Emory has failed to regurgitate. In the cabinet, above the microwave. And I love you.”

A Gathering of Male Friends is called a ….

Four friends and I go out to dinner once a month. It started “innocently” with a friend and I having a regular dinner out and grew organically into this Five Man group. Our dinners consist mostly of therapeutic laughter, inspired by sometimes witty, (more often not witty), clever jokes, bad jokes, puns, and inappropriate comments which are politically incorrect. In other words, it’s a nonjudgmental safe space where, once a month, we can take a deep breath.

I have grown increasingly astonished by the questions from female hostesses and waitresses along the lines the lines of “What are you guys doing out?” “Is it a special occasion? Birthday?”; combined with tone, facial expression and body language that ranges from sheer confusion to mild disgust.

I’ve compiled some responses, which might be helpful. (Which have not gotten past my filter).

1. We have a visa from immigration which allows us to gather outside a golf course, sports bar, fishing hole, marina, bowling alley or sporting event

2. We wrote Jeff Bezos about a “Prime Porn” service and he’s asked us to further develop the concept. (Think about it- unlimited server capacity, no buffering, better selection, available in the kindle store). He already sells a 55 gallon drum of lube. See my post on “55-gallon-lube-on-amazon-com”

3. We’re working on a Ted talk, “Keep and Maintain your teenage Male Sense of Humor”.

4. A gathering of more than two male friends is not, absent proof of emails to Russians, aliens or a non-Christian religious group, a conspiracy. Ok, not an ILLEGAL conspiracy

5. Yes, our wives, almost wives, girlfriends and sex buddies know we’re doing this and employ the full range of emotions from amusement to annoyance, sometimes simultaneously.

6. Yes, we go to a different restaurant monthly to reduce the consequences of getting kicked out for bad behavior, and wait at least a year before returning to a previously visited location. (We’ve never been kicked out but have had some nearby tables ask to move and repulsed a waitress or two). (We leave huge tips as open and blatant bribery)

7. We are not LGBTQIA (see two above) BUT- it would be PERFECTLY OK if we were. (No animals are harmed or abused during our meetings but may be inappropriately mentioned in jokes or in reference to illegal behavior)

8. If you find several same-sex friends over the age of 24, dining out together as odd or weird, you need more or better friends or better priorities.

9. We call ourselves the “Dirty Old Mans Club” because the title is kind of stupid, juvenile, accurate, and self-deprecating. Thanks for noticing. If we can think of something dumber, we’ll change.

10. Sometimes, our comments “cross the line “. (Is there a line? Where is the line? Who sets the line?). Nope- nothing is sacred. Thank God.

Everybody needs a tribe. If you don’t have one, get one. If you have a tribe, thank them. And go disturb a restaurant hostess today. Your mental health will thank you.

WT🍆✈️🚿⛑ Has Happened to our Language?

I’m torn. I’ve always believed English is a living language and have met the yearly word additions to the major dictionaries with amused excitement rather than curmudgeonly complaints about change or tradition. At the same time, the rise of emoji’s and internet slang make me wish for a Rosetta Stone app to translate some texts and posts on a daily basis. IMHO. (Irons Make Happy Onions, International Machinists Hate Oleomargarine, In My Humble opinion).

There’s a reason the translation of Egyptian Hieroglyphics was lost for thousands of years. Just take a glance at this chart.

“A” is for Vulture. Huh? Ok, what is it about a death carcass eating bird that screams first letter of the alphabet to you? If you’re thinking that pictures do convey a clear thought you’ve never played charades with married drunks. Stuck on an electric fence. This is what my title will look like in a thousand years. Or fifty. Or today

I get it. I really do. 😀😞. Happy face, sad face. I imagine any society from millions of years ago to millions from now will understand this representation of these simple emotions. But some of these…?🤡😱😈👽? I am now using my emoji and internet slang translator apps ad much as google translate when I read Spanish. AND… The emoji faces are easier to get

Take my title. What The eggplant, airplane, shower, red hatter? (I actually have no idea what that last one is supposed to be- that’s why I picked it). Here’s proof of my argument. There is no way to tell whether those emojis are arbitrarily picked or actually convey some meaning I had in my own mind. Some readers will think the former, some the latter. (Some will think I’m smoking too much weed, some will think my anger issues require therapy)

And why do emojis often come out so tiny tiny small. I find myself looking at a string of them thinking, “What the hell IS that?” Or what the HELL is that? Or “What the hell is THAT?” 🚨? 🉑? 🔶?

In a text the other day, my daughter said “… a guiding light for me 😍😘💋💯🙏🏻👏🏻💕👍🏻. Here’s what I got from those enojis- I love you and blow you kisses with dark red lipstick but I’m praying for you because you look like your 100, need to learn sign language and clearly need cardiac care because your hearts purple. Thumbs up- good job!!

I’m trying to be 😎 about this but really, it’s alla bunchof 🐂💩to me

First Colonoscopy Suggestions

I was going to say “Tips”, but it seemed unfair to “insert” this in the title. In preparing for my fourth colonoscopy which is in the morning, I thought my experiences might be helpful to those getting ready for their first.

1. Do not lift weights on prep day. Also, walking or running long distances and yoga class. Especially yoga class.

2. Your instructions say to avoid raw foods and nuts three days prior. I would also suggest steering clear of baked beans, Brussels spouts, bananas, prunes, yogurt (this is not the day for probiotics) and anchovies. Don’t ask about the anchovies- trust me.

3. If your locale is either experience or soon to experience a natural disaster, like a hurricane or wildfire, There may be unending news broadcasts involving “evacuate” or “evacuation”. Avoid these at all costs or learn the power of suggestion at your peril.

4. Stay home that day. In a chair. Outside of your bathroom.

5. Your instructions will not tell you to check the toilet paper supply. This is not the day to run out.

6. Do not go to the grocery store just for Gatorade. Every cashier over 50 knows exactly what you’re getting ready for and wants to chat about it. A lot. In front of the entire line.

7. Do not read the nutritional label on the Gatorade. Unless you’ve missed all the bad press about Monsanto’s roundup. Then it’s ok.

8. Do not believe for a minute popsicles ease hunger pangs. They will make you angry however.

9. There is a reason there is an entire google page of “soundproofing a bathroom” sites. You’ll thank me later. Soundproof your bathroom

10. And finally, your bonus tip. Make sure whoever takes you is prepared to hear you say whatever comes into your head without a filter. There’s a good reason Michael Jackson was so fond of propofol. You will be too.

Solar Eclipse Tips

Not sirloin tips, which would probably be more fun, these are suggestions for enjoying the first coast to coast solar eclipse in almost a century. Living in Charleston SC, the very end of “the Path of Totality”, I’ve had a unique opportunity to be exposed to suggestions about the solar eclipse 24/7, on every media outlet. For those of you worldwide who have escaped this Chinese water torture of media, I have a short list of hints to save you time when you have a chance to see an eclipse.

First some definitions. “Path of totality” refers to the distance between a weight watchers group and the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts as well as the 70 mile wide swath of country where you can see 100% of the eclipse. The “corona” is a Mexican beer which surrounds the sun sans lime. The “penumbra” is part of an umbrella with a pen as the shaft and the “umbra” is the Crayola crayon color nobody liked or really new what it was. This is the color of the eclipse. Other more astronomically based definitions of these terms are neither helpful nor useful.

Spoiler alert- during an eclipse, it gets dark for two minutes and then light again. This confuses everything from birds to crickets to humans to TV news people. To wait a VERY long time for two minutes of pleasure is like, well, you ladies know what I’m talking about.

So, here’s my tips:

1. Go outside to watch the eclipse. Inside buildings, the roof will block the eclipse

2. Once outside, look up. The sun and moon are in the sky, a fact which you only forget during an eclipse. As you can see from these tips, an approaching eclipse reduces IQ steadily as it gets closer.

3. Like tip number one, do not look up with things blocking your view- trees, buildings, or the weight watchers headed to Dunkin’ Donuts. Again, you won’t be able to see the eclipse.

4. You can look at the sun before, after or during the eclipse but you’ll go blind. Permanently. I’m guessing mother’s who gave the same admonishment to their sons if they masturbated in the 1950’s must have also seen an Eclipse. (You can not just watch the sun till you need glasses).

5. While I know the command “do not stare at the sun”, sounds so silly, an eclipse seems to have the same effect that beer does in choosing relationship partners right before bar closing and makes people think they can, indeed, stare at the sun. You can however watch the eclipse, with special glasses that look like 3D movies glasses from the 60’s if they are NASA ISO USA NANU NANU Approved; understanding that there is really no way to know the difference between glasses which will protect your eyes and those that fraudulently don’t. If after using the glasses, you can’t see anything, Amazon will give you a refund.

6. Unless you are a professional photographer with $40,000 worth of special equipment and the inability to live in the moment, do not try to photograph the eclipse, because…it’s dark. (And before or after dark, pictures of the sun just look like blobs of light, which I’m sure you’ve never experienced before in a photograph.)

7. If you’re planning to travel far to see one, as estimates of a million people who have spent thousands in air, hotel and travel expenses to come to South Carolina for the eclipse, I have one word for you. Clouds.

8. Lastly, you will see some people describe it as a goose bump, hair raising life altering experience and some shrug their shoulders with a “whatever” kind of look. Yes, when it’s all said and done, a total solar eclipse is a teenager’s first prom astronomical kind of event.

ENJOY!!

Understanding Relationship Communication- through Bats. 

Scrolling Facebook one day, a headline that Egyptian Fruit Bat calls are actually communication caught my eye.  Egyptian Fruit Bats Argue- A Lot

Much to my surprise, not only do these bats communicate by sound, but they have synthesized the substance of human relationship issues to four communication issues. 

“They were able to classify 60 percent of the calls.  One of the call types indicates the bats are arguing about food.”    “I’m hungry”  “what would you like, honey?”  “”What have we got”. “Well, we have spiders?”  “Nope”.  “Mosquitos?”  “Nope”.  “We have leftover peach from last nights dinner?”   “Nope- I think I want a burger and fries from Batdonalds”.   “Why didn’t you pick that up then in the way back to the cave?’  “I wasn’t hungry then.  Will you go”.   “. No!”  

“Another indicates a dispute about their positions within the sleeping cluster.”    “OMG- you snore like a bulldog bat!!   Go sleep In another part of the cave, will ya?”    “It’s too warm/cold/light/dark/quiet noisy in your part of the cave ceiling. ” “You hog the sheets/blanket/comforter”.  “Stop kicking me”.   “How about a bat cuddle.  You never bat cuddle with me”.  

“A third call is reserved for males making unwanted mating advances.”    “DONT TOUCH ME!”   “I have a splitting wing ache”.  “I’ve been feeding baby bats all day.  Do you realize how many mosquitos I caught today?!”   “How come you never help with the the bat guano?  “Hey, this weekend, wanna just fly around and look at the moon and park in the big Redwood”. 

“and the fourth happens when a bat argues with another bat sitting too close.”  “Don’t sit next to me”.  (This is closely related to “don’t touch me above) but is particularly used by female high school Bats of different social circles. 

“In fact, the bats make slightly different versions of the calls when speaking to different individuals within the group, similar to a human using a different tone of voice when talking to different people. “.  These have been classified as the: spouse tone, dating tone, parent to child tone, child to parent tone, boss to employee tone, employee to boss tone, sibling tone, friends tone, false friends tone, in law’s tone, road rage tone and hormonal tone. 

The 40% Of the bat sounds which could not be categorized were found to be teenage bats pouting or having an “episode”, mother in law bats muttering under their breath;  politician bats who didn’t make sense to the other bats,;  bats who only catch insects on cannabis plants who don’t make noise because they’re now eating every insect in sight and media bats.