Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Many Happy Returns...

Speaking of which, Wal-Mart has finally cracked down on their return policy. I mean, my local Wal-Mart used to take anything. ANYthing. And that was a good thing, for people like me, who forget to save receipts, or do stupid things with broken parts of items.

Yes, I am speaking of the time that I successfully returned a defective mop to Wal-Mart - with no receipt - and, wait for it - with the defective part actually missing.

Well, it was defective! I'd thrown it away!

Then, days later, I thought "Blast! This was not the mop for us. The head broke days ago. It was poorly designed, so a replacement head won't exactly solve the problem. I wish I could return it. I wish I could return it. I wish I could..."

All I'm saying is, a trip to Wal-Mart later, and I was sporting a shiny Wal-Mart gift card with about fourteen bucks on it in return for the mop handle I'd shown them in outrage (once again, missing the actually defective part, the head...)

But now they're all like "we want a receipt" and "when did you buy this?" and whatnot.

Not exactly soup Nazis. But kind of.

Speaking of Nazis....

Today's is my Dad's Birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad! I promise I'll call later.

Anyway, Dad's not a Nazi. But he instilled a deep fear of Nazis in me.

Let me explain.

One time I was home visiting from college, and my family kept making fun of me because all of a sudden I used the word "genre" a lot without realizing it, and I still thought the cafeteria food was bad.

Let me tell you something, College Freshmen of the World: the cafeteria buys the food, makes the food, and washes the dirty dishes. You have nothing - nothing - to complain about. Just wait until you've graduated and you're single and living alone and you realize all you have in the pantry is a box of rice and a can of sweet potatoes unless you go to the store after an exhausting day of work.

So anyway, I was home visiting, and Dad and I had gone somewhere in the evening and returned back to the house after dark. About five blocks away, headlights were approaching down the street.

I laughed a nervous laugh and quickened my pace to the front door.

"It's funny, but whenever I'm walking from the car to the front door and it's after dark and I see a car coming down the street, I have a strange compulsion to get inside the house as fast as I can."

I could confide neuroses to Dad. He's well acquainted with neuroses. Just ask him about spiders.

He chuckled and said, "oh, that's because the Nazis are coming. Don't you remember that?"

I stared.


"Yeah, I used to play it with you all the time when you were little. I'd say, 'hurry up, Elizabeth, we have to get in the house, the Nazis are coming.' You don't remember?"

By this time, I was standing stock-still, dumbfounded. For years, I hadn't understood the strange discomfort at seeing approaching headlights after twilight, the irrational urge to get across the porch and into the house, door shut safely behind me. I just thought I was high strung.

Apparently it was because the Nazis were coming. I had no concrete memory of playing "escape the Nazis." I remember the time I fell off my bike; the time I accidentally found my birthday present early, a fantastic My Little Pony stable complete with window boxes; the time Mom was in the hospital and Dad had to figure out how to work my hair bands for my pigtails (the elastic hair bands with the plastic balls on the end that you have to overlap); the times I would conquer the mixed terror and exhilaration of climbing the park's tallest curly slide; and the time I bought a Barbie dress at a craft booth at the Pork Festival, with the mingled smell of cigarette smoke and grilled pork tenderloins in the air.

I just didn't remember being chased by the Nazis.

I still don't like being out on a street after dark with approaching headlights on the horizon. But at least now I know why. And really, that's half the battle when it comes to neighborhood Nazis.

Well, Happy Birthday, Dad. I hope your special day is Nazi-free. And if you don't like any of your presents, make sure they have a receipt.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Torrents & Superglue

Well, I Just Survived The Biggest Storm Ever.

Okay, it might not be a "hurricane" or a "tropical storm" or the oddly-named "tropical depression" (what, the flamingoes feeling blue?)

But there were TORRENTS. Nearby Louisville (um, for all you not In The Know, that's Loovull) is flooded: I-65 is shut down, this photo from lex18.com shows poor Churchill Downs, and their library - heavens to Murgatroyd, their LIBRARY - has three feets' worth of water damage. Even - gasp - the Book Mobile. 

Save the books! Pile them in row boats! 

I was fascinated by the Book Mobile when I was little. I mean, it was books. In a mobile.

But so far, I've only seen horizontal rain, and a neighbor's grill go flying into the flashing, swirling wild. 

No wonder the OB talked about the weather today and warned us to be careful on our way home. Hmm. Should have checked the forecast this morning. Thanks, OB/Meteorologist.

Anyway, yes, I like thunderstorms. Yes, my brother shut the window I had pushed open so I could smell the rain and listen to the thunder better. Something about "blah blah blah computer next to open window blah blah blah."  Yes, I wish I had bright yellow wellies. Puddles were made for jumping, man.

But before the Storm of the Century landed in the Bluegrass, I was going to tell you about this hi-LAR-ious story out of Wisconsin. Yessir, move up several states, up to the Cheesehead State (did you know they eat a popular snack called cheese curds? They're supposed to squeak when you eat them. I tried. They do.).

I had to read the story; the headline said "Plot by four women leaves unfaithful man bound, humiliated, and, uh, glued". Well, wouldn't you read that headline? And it turns out that four women, including the guy's wife, somehow found out about each other, and set up a plot. One of the women called him and told him she was at their rendezvous point in a hotel room. When he got there, all four women - wife, two lovers, and an indignant sister - were lying in wait; they tied him up, gagged him, yelled at him, and then, in what ended up as a "sexual assault" charge, superglued his.....to his stomach. Three of the four women's names have been released, but the fourth, his wife, and the man himself, remain anonymous, due to his status as...get this...a sexual assault victim. Yes, I'm sure he was the victim in his dealings.

Let me tell you something: when this happens in a small town in Wisconsin, they may not release the couples' names to the national media, but everybody in that town knows who it is. 

Let me tell you something else: good luck to the prosecutor. It will be impossible to find women for that jury who aren't grinning ear to ear. False imprisonment and assault charges? They should be getting fruit baskets. Two hundred years ago this just would have been classified as "responsible citizens taking justice into their own hands." They did such a good job tying him up he had to chew through his restraints to get to the telephone to call for help....apparently, they thought it prudent to leave him there to think about what he'd done.

Can you imagine receiving that phone call?

"911, what is your emergency?"

"Uh, I need help, I've been tied up, and my....are superglued to my stomach."

"So you have an injury. I'll send an ambulance. Did you see your assailants, sir?"

"Well...yes, I can identify them. Four females...including my wife."

"How long ago was this, sir?"

"I'm not sure...I had to chew my way out through the rope..."

Heaven help the 911 dispatcher. Send her a fruitbasket, too.