Wednesday, February 26, 2014


I commute to work. During rush hour it is a 50 minute, 17 mile drive. Or a 35 minute train ride.
Unless there is a Windnato.

(Windnato is a real word. Windnato: from the meteorologic To Be Freakin'Windy and not in a Tornado way but in a Big Bad Wolf – That's Right, I AM Going to Blow Your House to Oz. You, your half brick house, your train and Your Little Dog TOO! Due to poor organizational skills, Windnato does not get the respect that Tornado gets. It should really try harder.)

On the day that Windnato hit I got out of work about an hour early. (This will be important later during the math portion of this post.) It was my next to last day of work. Bart, who had been gone overnight, would be home. As I walked down the fifty stairs to the platform the wonky alarm was sounding.
Nothing good ever comes after the wonky alarm. Wonky Alarm sound something like this: "Looo-ser...Looo-ser....You're Screwed....Looo-ser..."
It seems, Windnato had taken out one third of the train route with a flying cow or house or something. Consequently, we Eastbounders would be... (scary, dramatic pause where you see the shadowy figure with an ax lurking just behind you) Bus Bridged.

Until this day, I have managed to avoid the Bus Bridge. I assumed it was something in the universe that prevented all manner of bad things happening to me. Turns out, it was just dumb luck.

I dutifully walked, with the rest of the Eastbounders, towards the bus depot where we were semi-assembled on the grassy knoll alongside Taylor Ave. Taylor is one of those oldish city streets which is fed by no less than two side streets, two parking lots and the aforementioned bus depot. It is also crossed by the now FEMA certified train tracks.

Instruction was minimal. Mostly 'The buses are on their way' and 'Please stay out of the street. We are already having a bad enough day and don't really won't to have to scrape you off the pavement.'
The first bus arrived to cheers only to be soundly booed when it was noted to be (ONE) packed and (TWO) Westbound.
Four packed buses later, I crammed onto the back of an Eastbounder. Where I was promptly offered a swig of Strawberry/Kiwi wine. People were laughing and comparing Bus Bridge horror stories. Camaraderie was high.
For one block.

It really got ugly as we circled the block where we were first picked up. There was discussion of the right on red capabilities of the bus company and the IQ of the driver. Also his genetic legitimacy.
Then it began to smell.
Really bad.

And then it got quiet.

Quiet is never good.

One hour later we arrived at the first working station for the Eastbound train. It was one stop east of where we started, maybe two miles away. Let me state this again.

We piled off the bus and towards the platform where we were greeted by a train on our Eastbound track. However, the train was heading West. In train lingo this is known as Single Tracking.
It is exactly what it sounds like and it is terrifying. You are essentially riding a train into on-coming traffic with only those pretend train track traffic lights to protect you.

There were a half dozen smug westbound riders pressing their faces upon the glass of the windows staring out of their warm cars as we Bus Bridge refugees stood huddled under the fluorescent heat lamps as Windnato continued to blast us with Arctic Vortex furry. Clouds sped past at nearly 45 miles an hour.
Which is much faster than any mode of transport had moved thus far tonight.

I was beginning to curse the fact that I had been lured by the unseasonably warm 60 degree forecast and left my hat at home. My coat was warm but as discussed in other posts, scrub pants are little more than glorified bed sheet pajamas. My legs were morphing into Otter Pops and then it happened.

The Wonky Alarm sounded.
And the train conductor announced, "This train in out of service. It will resume service Eastbound".

Confetti fell from the sky and someone sprayed champagne as a cheer went up from the platform. (or it may have been a two liter soda and some shredded newspaper caught up in Windnato's fury. But the cheer was sincere.)

A toxic cloud of curses boiled from the train cars as the doors open to expell those smug Westbounders who were now being directed to the ...BUS BRIDGE!

Forty minutes later - at the time I would normally have gotten home if I had left work at the regular time - I arrived at my home platform.
It was pitch black. As was my house.
It seems Windnato has NO respect for Thursday night television.

I swore I would never ride the train again.
I drove in on Friday. I had plans to meet some friends later and once again the work Gods were with me and I was released 40 minutes early. Perfect. I would meet the girls at about the time I would have been leaving work.


The van refused to start.

I have come to the conclusion that either I am not allowed to leave work early or I am never going to work again.
Since the later is not a possibility I am researching sacrificial items to offer up to the Gods of Mass Transit and the Goddess of 2002 Venture Van Fuel Pumps.
Because nothing is sweeter than arriving home before you should have clocked out.

*I have calmed down a little from this harrowing episode. Although there were several fiery phone calls home during this entire ordeal. I tend to start off taking delays in my routine very personally and expect Bart to fix them, immediately. He offered to rescue me numerous times but I was feeling martyr-ey. Once I calmed down I started playing a game of It Could Always Be Worse and realized that I am lucky to have people who offered to rescue me at any given time, I didn't have small children waiting extra hours in daycare for me to finally arrive and I had a coat.

**Windnato was a nightmare. Winds were clocked at 40-45 miles an hour and took out power over apx 1/3rd of the Coast of Illinois area. It also appears to hate train track cross bars as I counted about fifteen broken ones on that final ride home.

***In an effort to make driving better, the Coast of Illinois has opened a new bridge. It is beautiful and named after Stan Musial. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce Stan, the Span: 
Stan is gorgeous with suspensions that mimic the Arch. Thanks to my friend Julie for the pic. When I tried to take one all I got was rearview mirror and car sick.

Monday, February 17, 2014

How Marketing Saved My Ankle-Bone but still managed to Scar me for Life

This post may contain, but not be limited to, references of
shaving products,
scraping injury,
things women do in bathrooms that no one needs to know about
things men do in bathrooms that no one needs to know about
ridiculous marketing practices.
Oh, and battery operated appliances which probably should not be battery operated.

I had to purchase a new razor. The latch-thing which holds the ridiculously wide, imbedded with moisturizer & aloe for your comfort, blade broke thus making it impossible to not amputate my ankle bone in the shower. Of course, the ridiculously wide blade is SO wide that I could almost maneuver it without a handle but between the soap and the moisturizer & aloe imbedding all I ended up doing was grabbing the wrong edge of the blade.

So in the interest of saving my thumb and not giving myself tetanus or using up my newly assigned health benefits, I went to my favorite Bulls-eye Store where I was assaulted and a little insulted by the genius of Marketing.

It is pretty common knowledge that anything meant for purchase by women for women costs more money. It is more expensive to get your haircut and have your clothes dry cleaned if you are the proud owner of a uterus.

But $5 more per razor?
Aren't men the ones who perpetuated the ideal of women being frugal and semi-hairless?

I studied the row of razors and corresponding blades, all named for Greek goddesses and Female activists. I then studied the row of razors and corresponding blades named for fast cars and testosteroney things. The only difference I could find, besides the price and the ridiculously wide blades (imbedded/moisturizer&aloe4yourComfort), was the pink and purple colors of the women's razors.
I had no idea that the pigments to create pink and purple were so precious.

I returned to the men's aisle.
(Does anyone else find it a little excessive that there are entire aisles dedicated to Men and Women's shaving needs?)
Anyway. I noted a tiny sale tab next to a rather ecologically colored razor promising a $5 gift card with purchase. Not only could I SAVE $5 by purchasing the men's version but I could also EARN $5! Way to stick it to the Man!

I felt quite rebelliously gender-bendy and frugal as I tossed the delightful tan and green razor for sensitive skin because boys, you're worth it, into my cart and headed to the check-out to claim my gift card. Which I promptly used on a VENTI (Italian for big-ass. As in, I like venti-butts and I can not lie.) latte at the Bulls-eye Starbucks.

Later, as I wrestled the new razor from its hermetically sealed plastic, I was surprised to find it came with one AAA battery. Upon further inspection it was determined that I had purchased a vibrating razor.
Let's say that together: Vibrating. Razor

Now, I am not making any judgements here. Nor am I suggesting or revealing anything about myself (as my parents usually read this blog) but....I have attended a couple of those 'Adult Toy' parties and I do not recall ANY of those 'toys' using anything smaller than C or D batteries. Plural. If anyone is purchasing a RAZOR to 'entertain' themselves in the shower I feel I am pretty safe making the assumption that one tiny AAA battery is not going to provide enough power 'for your comfort'.

Not that anyone would use a RAZOR in such an off-label manner.

But why for the love of Band-aids would you want a blade to VIBRATE anywhere near your ankle, shin or ...anywhere???

And this is a MEN'S razor? Just what the heck are you men shaving?
No. Don't answer that.

For the benefit of research, I put the battery into the razor. There didn't seem to be an on/off switch. I thought perhaps the shaving motion would activate it but nothing happened but a clean close shave. Until I got to my ankle. As I readjusted the grip on the razor my hand grasped the button which releases the blade. And turns on the vibrating action.

The surprise caused me to drop the razor which sent the normally-wide blade, imbedded with a tiny amount of moisturizer because men like soft skin too, flying towards the shower drain and away from my ankle.

Thus saving me from amputating my right ankle bone.

Thank you Marketing. 

(PS - I have discovered that using conditioner rather than shaving cream or plain old soap actually leads to much smoother, softer legs with less dry skin. Give it a try. Plus, when those little leg hairs grow back, they are super shiny.)

Friday, February 14, 2014

This Pretty Much Sums up Today

Was hoping to have a pleasant Valentine's Day. Off work,writing a new blog post, doing a little shopping, working on the novel that has been bugging me all week, cooking a fancy-schmancy dinner... 
But instead...
I am going to work because of a little thing called 'being on call'.
Oh, and it's sleeting...

So here is my thought on today:
and it's 'Modern Art' so there's that culture factor

Underwear for Valentine's Day.
Always Sexy...

*The World's Largest Underpants, along with wonders too numerous to mention, can be found at the City Museum. It is in the City. It is like no other 'museum' in the world. Because there is a school bus hanging off the roof. And an ancient ferris wheel. On the roof. And a 10 story slide...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Like a Speedometer, Only with Words

It happened!

Page views hit 10,000!!! (actually 10003!!)*
Oh sure, break that down over the 18 months I have been doing this and we are looking at an average 555 to 555.72 views per month. Some of those Big Box Blogs have 10000 views a day but do they have readers in Italy?
How about Brazil?
And China???

But do they know people in those places?
I don't know anyone in those countries and as my husband pointed out, our nephew the world traveler can't be in all those countries at once.
So, you have only yourselves to blame!
And to that I need to say THANK YOU! Thank you for the encouragement your views give me. Thank you for the comments, although rare, still important. And Thank you for coming back again, even after your web search for 'fifty year old woman + underwear' brought you to me.

I promise never to doubt you. Or judge...

I feel like the Queen of the World! Altho JoeyKatt prefers to think of me as the human in control of the food cupboard.

*As of this posting the views were up to a whopping 10024! Which puts me at a solid 556 views per month. And that is about all the math I can do today.