Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009


Thanks to my friend Michelle for sending me this link. This commercial seems so antiquated, yet if my older daughter saw this, she would want every single thing mentioned.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


My mom has often referred to Wal-Mart as the "gettin' place" because you can get just about anything there. Gettin' place, indeed. I was listening to a news program on the radio yesterday on my way home from work. One of the news items they mentioned is that Wal-Mart, corporate giant extraordinare, is now selling caskets online. Yes, you read correctly - - the nation's best known big box store is now hawking specially priced coffins for those discount-minded folks that want to lay their love ones to rest without blowing the bank.

I visited Wal-Mart's website and browsed through their selection of caskets which range in price from $895 to $2,899. The "site to store" option is not available for have to have it shipped directly to your home. I suppose it would be awkward to go to the service desk to pick up a 250 pound steel coffin anyway. How embarrassing to have to wheel out Grandma's final resting place past the softener salt display and the people buying their groceries. Knowing my luck, I would probably get the cart with the janky wheel and end up accidently smashing it into the shampoo display outside the Wal-Mart Smartstyle Hair Salon.

I was also curious about shipping time. The Wal-Mart site says that it can take 24 - 48 hours to process the order before it is shipped, and it quoted total time until delivery as anywhere between 2 - 5 days. Some questions come to mind:

1) Where does the dearly-departed hang out until their burial chamber arrives?

2) How would you make funeral arrangements if you are unsure when the casket will arrive? Does the newspaper obituary read: "Funeral time TBA, pending casket arrival."

3) Often when someone dies, the loved ones are so grief-stricken that they have trouble putting together the arrangements. In order to facilitate the soonest arrival possible of the casket, do they have to dry their tears, get online, pick out a casket, then resume grieving?

4) Some people make their own funeral preparations ahead of time which saves money, expedites the process, and doesn't leave loved ones having to deal with arrangements while they are racked with grief. Would it be considered odd to order your own casket from Wal-Mart and keep it in the basement until needed?

Finally, I am wondering what others would think of you if then knew you ordered the dearly departed's casket from Wal-Mart. Would they think you as prudent and savvy or cheap and callus? Would they applaud your decision to be budget conscious in these lean times, or would they whisper viciously to each other during the funeral service about what a skinflint you are?

Oh yes - - and would the casket have one of those sunshine yellow happy faces emblazoned on the side?

If you would like to check out Wal-Mart's casket

selection, here is the link.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I was at Target a few nights ago picking up a some things and got in line to check out. There were only a few people ahead of me, so the line was moving right along. Still, it was the end of the day and I was tired, and I caught myself staring wistfully at the Starbucks as I moved forward in line. The Starbucks is, of course, located strategically just beyond the checkout so that even if I wasn't thinking about wanting one, by the time I leave Target, I always do. I had to remind myself that I would be eating as soon as I got home, and didn't really need the extra few hundred calories from a Chai Latte.

As I was standing there, my thousand-yard-stare was interrupted by the man in front of me saying, "These aren't for me."

I blinked, focused, and looked at him to see what he was talking about. He was a guy in his early 40s, and was standing there very uncomfortably holding a package of adult diapers and waiting for his turn in line.

I hadn't actually noticed that he was holding a package of Depends until he pointed it out. Dude - two words for you - What. Ever. I am a complete stranger that you will never likely see again. Why feel compelled to tell me that you will not be using the disposable drawers you're toting around Target?

I missed a few beats while I took all this in. Finally, I very profoundly answered him: "OK," I said.

Perhaps an "OK" wasn't what he was looking for. Maybe he wanted me to tell him that I too shop at Target all the time for adult diapers for someone other than myself. He was apparently so hyper-sensitive about it that he felt obligated to further explain.

"These are for my father," he said. "He lives with my wife and me - has for past six months. These are for him."

He obviously wasn't going to let this go, but I didn't really know what else to say to him about the matter. Somehow, "good for you!" or "how about that!" didn't really seem appropriate.

Instead, I decided to try to add a little levity to the situation. I held up the package of Batman underwear I was buying for Aleita and said, "These aren't for me. They're for my daughter."

He just looked at me for a moment, rolled his eyes and shook his head slightly as if to say 'whatever' and turned back around. It was soon his turn to go through the cashier's line.

After his chattiness, I was a little surprised. I then quickly realized that he thought I was making fun of him, like "Yeah, those Depends are for your dad like these underpants are for my daughter. Right." I thought about trying to explain that my five-year old daughter is really into boy stuff -- superheroes, action figures, Power Rangers....thus, the Batman underwear. Then I thought, "who cares?"




Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Dear Mr. Bass Man,

I know you think that when you drive by with your car stereo thumpin' and people turn their heads to look at you, that it somehow means that they are very galvanized with you and your bitchin' stereo system. You seem to feel that we are all in awe of the fact that you can make our windows rattle from 100 feet away with your woofers or tweeters or flippers or waffles or whatever those impressive stereo components are called. It also seems that the louder your music is turned up, the lower you slide in your seat in the car. Sometimes I can barely see you over the dash because you have the seat tilted so far down. Perhaps all the vibration from the bass is weakening your muscular system and causing you to have the inability to remain upright. The same thing happened to my great aunt, but I think hers was caused by calcium deprivation. She could hardly see over the steering wheel in her car either.

I want to let you in on a little secret though, Mr. Bass Man. There is a reason that you never see any women driving a loud, bass booming car and sitting all tilted back in the seat. It is because we think you are ridiculous. We have no desire for our ears to bleed simply by taking a ride in the car. In fact, we find it kind of amusing that your stereo system obviously cost more than the car you are driving. Were you that kid in school that the teacher always wrote on your report card, "seeks attention in inappropriate ways."? I'll be willing to bet you were.

I know, I are working hard to forge a certain image for yourself so that others will see you as a rulebreaker or a badass. You are just trying to carve out your niche and prove you are worthy of notice. But, when you are thirty years old and struggling with hearing loss and realize that you already need a hearing aid, just recall your glory days of cruising around in your rusty Cavalier with the bass a thump-thump-thumpin' and think about how cool you looked all tilted back in the seat with your hand draped over the steering wheel. I am sure you will think that it was all worth it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Greetings from the Leper Colony. Today was a relatively good day - - though there was still lots of hacking and coughing and blowing of noses, it was the first time in a week that no one was running a fever.

For those of you who don't live in the neighborhood and haven't driven by and seen the big, flashing "PLAGUE" sign posted on the house, we are in isolation mode at the Hale household. A trip to the doctor yesterday resulted in a diagnosis of H1N1 for three of four Hales - - and also one of pneumonia for Maggie. Our kitchen counter now resembles a small pharmacy.

The fourth Hale (me) now has several new exciting hobbies, including drug dispensing, constant surface disinfecting, near-compulsive hand-washing, and putting my hand on my head to check for fever every time I sneeze.

The doctor said that if everyone is fever free over the weekend, they can return to their lives on Monday. Hope springs eternal that I will avoid this illness altogether. If not, at least I will have the couch to myself.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Today I was eating lunch in Panera and I went to use the restroom. It was a two hole joint, and I opted for the non-handicapped facility. The water was running in the bowl as the toilet filled from a recent flush from a prior occupant. As I went to close the stall door, I noticed a dribble ring all over the seat. I quickly opened the door that I had begun to close and spied the culprit at the sink, washing her hands.

"Hmm...," I thought, "she can urinate all over the seat, but still belongs to the clean-hands club. Interesting..."

Said I, "Did you just come out of this stall?"

Said she, "Yes. Why?

Said I, "Because you peed all over the seat."

Said she, "I did?!?" (sounding all shocked and pious...c'mon....really??? You knew you did!! If you want to squat, fine.... but don't act all superior when someone calls you on your seat shower.)

Embarrassed, her cheeks turned pink. I gave her "the look" (it's similar to the "mom" look, but has a "whatever, bitch" attached to it) and proceeded into the handicapped stall. I was amazed to notice that she did indeed go into her previously desecrated stall and wipe up her mess. She then exited the bathroom. I know she was probably indignant, but it wasn't exactly a moment that she could go gripe about to her friends.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Maggie and Aleita have both had the creeping crud this week. By creeping crud, I mean the flu. It's that thing that's "going around." Ask anyone. If I mention to someone that the kids are sick, they feel compelled to tell me that it is "going around."

Me: The kids have both been sick this week. They have really high fevers and coughing and snotty noses.

Random Someone: Yeah. It's going around.

I think there are also several people in a competition (that no one wants to win) to see whose school district can have more kids out sick.

Me: The kids have both been sick this week. They have really high fevers and coughing and snotty noses.

Random Someone: Yeah. There were a million and a half kids gone from school today. It's going around.

The kids have begun to open their mouths like baby birds as I drop Tylenol and Motrin into their waiting maws. We have gone through a veritable forest of tissues this week. Their little noses are sore from all the blowing.

Aleita was sick from Sunday night through yesterday. She did go back to school today. She still has a cough, but was fever free all day yesterday. I could tell she felt better yesterday too - she spent Monday - Wednesday lying in the big chair in the living room and watching T.V. She would occasionally get down on the living room floor and spread out a game, but she would mostly just lie on the floor and look at it, rather than actually play it. Anyone who knows Aleita and her normal energy level knows that this behavior is quite a deviation from the norm.

Maggie still isn't back to school, and won't be tomorrow either. She continues to run a fever, though it is at least low-grade now. She still has body aches and a cough and is just overall, very lethargic. She stayed at Grandma's house today and is going there tomorrow as well. Even feeling crummy, Maggie was happy to go to Grandma's house. After all, convalescing at Grandma's is far superior to convalescing at home. When Aleita found out that Maggie got to Grandma's today, she had much sympathy for her sister's continued illness, noting, "NO FAIR!! When I was sick, I had to stay home!"

I have been waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop all week and for Chris and I to become the next victims. My hope is that the flu shots we received a month ago are of this strain and we will avoid the ick that has plagued the kids. (The kids got their flu shots too, but only a week ago, and it takes about two weeks for the shot to work.) Even so, every time I blow my nose or feel a slight twinge of discomfort, I put a hand to my head to check for fever and think, "Oh crap! I'm getting it!!" It wouldn't surprise me. It's going around, you know.


Thursday, October 8, 2009


A few days ago, I was in the bathroom fixing Aleita’s hair in the morning before school. She had been in her bedroom playing with her Tinkerbell cellphone before I called her to get her hair done. She brought her phone along with her into the bathroom and played with it while I began combing through her hair.

With Aleita’s hair, she has two usual styles – braids or afro-puffs. Each has its unique advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantage to braids is that they take a lot longer to put them in and take them out, thus requiring more time to sit still. The advantage to braids is that in the morning, they are much faster than puffs because all we have to do is put hair oil between the rows. The advantage to afro-puffs is that they are much quicker to put in and take out than braids, but every morning, I take each of them out of the band (usually 2 or 4 puffs) and comb through them and oil her scalp, then put the puff back in. I will add here that two things Aleita hates are standing still and having her hair combed.
Given, the word “patience” is not often uttered in the same sentence as “Aleita,” and this morning was no exception. Her hair was in puffs, and she was in no mood to stand still and have her hair combed. She continued to play with her Tinkerbell phone as I did her hair, sparing no opportunity to convey her impatience with the beautification process. After an unfortunate tough hair snag, she said, “I’m calling 9-1-1 on you!”

The following dialogue took place on her Tinkerbell phone (keep in mind that every time she pushes a button on the phone, Tinkerbell responds with a few different messages):

Aleita: Hello, 9-1-1?

Tinkerbell: What beautiful wings you have!

Aleita: Yes, I would like to report something bad.

Tinkerbell: Do you want to come fly with me?

Aleita: This woman here keeps pulling my hair. I need you to come and arrest her.

Tinkerbell: You would make such a good fairy!

Aleita: She won’t let me go eat breakfast. She just keeps making me stand here.

Tinkerbell: What beautiful wings you have!

Aleita: She just pulled my hair again.

Tinkerbell: You would make such a good fairy!

Aleita: OK – I’ll tell her. Mommy, they said you need to stop or they’ll come arrest you.

We did manage to finish up her ‘do, get breakfast, and get on with the day. The police never did show up to haul me in my “crimes.” Next time, I may not be so lucky. If I get hooked up for excessive hair pulling, starving my children, and inciting extreme boredom, I hope one of you will come bail me out.