Friday, June 17, 2016

"In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.".

Everyone knows Andy Warhol's famous quote.  Well my friends, I came this close to finally having MY 15 minutes of fame, but, like everything else in my life, it turns out to be nothing more than fodder for my blog.

So I call home from work one evening to check on the girls.  Chuck tells me I have a message on the answering machine from a reporter from the Washington Post. She would like to speak with me about a story she is writing.  I didn't give it much thought.  I get home and listen to the message.  Sure enough there is a message, from someone claiming to be from the Washington Post.  I automatically think, great, another scam!  I had recently received an urgent call from the IRS informing me I owe them money and if I didn't pay up marshals would show up my door to arrest me.  Bring it-- I tell them.  I would LOVE a night in jail...I haven't had a decent night's sleep in a good 8 years.  Surprisingly the guy hung up on me.  I also received word via my AOL account (which I finally just parted with) that an African Prince wanted to share his fortune with me!  With me!!  Again, when I called the number and inquired about how many people I could hire for my royal staff I was met with a quick dial tone.  So though I was kind of impressed with the effort in coming up with a new and unique scam, a reporter calling to gather my info, I didn't give it too much first.

So I give a status update on my FB page about the message I received from a "reporter"...  More to see if anyone else had gotten the same call and to do my civic duty and warn the community about the latest scam.  Well, I guess my Facebook friends are way less cynical.  Someone responded saying I was being contacted because of my blog.  No way I thought...until a few more people made similar comments.  I started to investigate. Thank God for Google, I mean seriously what did we do before Google?   Jessica Contrera is a real reporter for the Washington Post.  The phone number on caller ID was a Washington, DC based number and her actual name was on caller ID also.  Wow, that is total commitment on the scammers part.  Or was it?  Yes my friends, a let myself go there.  In no time flat I could hear Whitney Houston singing "One Moment in Time" in my head...  I was watching myself, in slow motion, walk out onto the ELLEN blog had blown up and I was the new Erma Bombeck...Ellen was so impressed with me she gave me a brand new Honda Odyssey mini-van with the built in vacuum.  THE BUILT IN VACUUM!!!  So I decide to call her back immediately to get my new found fame rolling.  I leave her a message and now I wait....

While waiting for her return call I start to plan what I will say to Ellen and it hits me, OH MY GOD!!!  What if the Silver Fox wants me on his show???!!!!  I have to get it right this time!  I can't make a fool of myself again.  I kind of blew my other chances at fame.  You see I have been on TV a few times before.  The first was years and years ago when I first became a Child Life Specialist.  I was working in an Emergency Department.  Well, the TV show ER introduced a Child Life Specialist in one of its episodes so the local NBC affiliate asked if I would be willing to film a segment to run on the 11 o'clock news following that episode.  OK, sure.  So they come to the ER and film me.  Mind you, I was really, really new to the field and I didn't give it the justice it deserved, but that is not the worst of it.  They asked me about why I chose the field or something like that.  I had a note in my hand from a former patient and I said, "this...(insert extremely long dramatic pause here), this is what makes it all worthwhile"....UGH!  I just threw up in my mouth a little bit just remembering it.  It was so L.A.M.E.  Thank God the internet wasn't what it is now back then....I can just imagine what the trolls would say about my performance.  My second TV appearance came years later.  It was about 5 years ago.  I had just reconnected with my friend from Japan.  It had been about 20 years since we saw each other, but found each other on Facebook.  Not 2 weeks later did the earthquake/tsunami hit Japan.  I left her a message letting her know she was welcome to come stay with us or support her in anyway.  I didn't hear anything back.  Well the next day I checked my email 10 minutes before I was going to work and I got word from her.  She was safe, thank God!! and she was taking us up on our offer.  Her and her daughter would be arriving on March 16th.  Holy crap!!  That was the next morning!  With the time difference they were already up in the airplane!  So I have to call Chuck and tell him that my friend I just reconnected with a few days ago was on her way to stay with us indefinitely.  He didn't care, he is such a good guy he went online to research where to buy Japanese food for them.  So how does this relate to my blog about being famous?  Well you see, my brother works for one of the local TV channels.  I am forever pitching stories to him.  Not once has he ever taken me up on them.  I guess while I was at work my dad called and told him Miho was coming and it would make a nice news story.  He agreed.  So I get home from work around 8 that evening with the intention of getting my house kind of "house guest ready" in the hour I have before bed.  Well, FOX 25 calls and asks if they can meet us at the airport tomorrow.  They would like to film our reunion.  OK, I guess.  Now on top of getting my house ready I have to find clean clothes (that will look nice on TV for me and the girls...stores are closed at this point so we have to work with what we got)....OK, I think I find something.  The house is somewhat clean, my house may not be immaculate but I have to believe it was a step up from the earthquake and tsunami they were fleeing.  At about 10 p.m. I get a call back from the TV station saying they would also like to film us back at our house after they arrive so they can see where they will be staying.  Oh for Christ I have to get my house TV ready?  The internet was much more of a factor this go around but I made sure not to read the comments from our story...I can just see them flees natural disaster to stay with them?

So like I said, I was going to get it right this time.  I was already planning in my head what I would wear, what I would say and how I would react when I got my new souped up mini-van.  Hey, a girl can dream!

So the phone rings and it was her!  Yes, her name really was Jessica!  Yes, she really was a reporter for the Washington Post!  Yes, she really is doing a story for the paper!  Yes, she really does want to talk to me!  That is until she didn't.  Turns out she was looking for someone with the same last name as mine.  She somehow found my name during her search and thought I was this girl's mother.  I swear to God I felt like a balloon that suddenly had all its air come rushing out.  Think Erin, Think God Damn It!  I tell her that I don't know her, but since she was only a few towns away I can ask around to see if anyone knows them.  Maybe she would let me be her junior reporter?  No such luck.  She apologizes, thanks me for my time and says good-bye.  Just like that my dream of a vacuum in my mini-van was dashed. 

The next day we don't feel like cooking dinner so we tell the girls we are taking them out to eat.  Most kids would be psyched.  I know I was whenever my parent's would take us out to eat.  I used to love York got to push your own tray down the line and pick whatever dessert you wanted!  Not my kids.  45 minutes of them fighting over where we should go.  One wanted Papa Ginos, one wanted Red Robin.  The Red Robin girl said "fine if we go to get pizza it will be really quick because one of us won't be eating".  We are yelling at the kids to get in the car damn it--we ARE going out to eat and WE are picking the place!  Now, normally if my kids behaved that way we would not reward them by going out, but, we really had no food in the house and Chuck and I needed to eat.  So there we were, I am sweating from all the drama, the kids are screaming at us, each other and just in general.  Chuck is moody because he is hungry and  I start to really reflect on my life.  I mean more often than not I use a table cloth to dry off after a shower, I even saw Chuck use a receiving blanket the other day, in a pinch I have used dog shampoo.  I wear Spanx to smooth out my belly not caring about the back fat rolls it creates, I mean if I can't see it does it really even exist?  We have a farmers gate drilled into our kitchen for the dog.   I have a pooping disease that makes wearing white pants a bold, daring move.  I have a dog that ate the Easter Bunny.  I have 3 beautiful girls that often look homeless and my youngest is one step away from being feral.  A family of four could live off the crumbs in my car for a solid year.  I walked out of a public bathroom with toilet paper trailing from my underwear, not my shoe, my friggin underwear...I am almost certain Spanx were involved... and it hits me and I say to Chuck, "why in the name of all that is Holy would we EVER, EVER think someone would want to write a story about this sh*t show?" and we both burst out laughing!!

So not this time Mr. Warhol.  The world still needs to wait for my 15 minutes!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Just three hairs and some air!

Who said that?  Anyone?  Anyone?  I bet Kristy McG. knows who I am talking about!  Why it is Bob Ross.  Yes, THE Bob Ross from the Joy of Painting.  I have been re-watching The Joy of Painting for a few months now.  I would watch it when I was like 12-13 years old or so.  My friend Cathy would come over and we would use poster paints and cardboard canvases and try to follow along. Sadly, our happy little trees never came out as good as his.

So why after all these years have I decided I needed some happy little trees back in my life?  I have insomnia.  I have had it for years.  I decided I didn't want to take meds to help me sleep anymore.  They made me feel like I was in a fog.  My therapist told me I should find a good meditation CD to listen to at night.  Wait?  What?  You thought I was able to get through this crazy life on my own?  Oh, Bless your heart!  I have the best therapist.  It took me a while to find her.  I had some doozies in the past.  One guy was really good.  I liked him a lot but he always used sports analogies I didn't understand.  I would have to try to remember them and in what context he used it then go home and Google it to find out what exactly he was telling me.  Too much work.  One of my first therapists years ago had a lobster hand.  I sh*t you not!  Her hand was shaped like a lobster claw.  It is a hand condition called Ectrodactyly.  Now, if you know me I have no issues with differences or different abilities in people.  But this was a tough situation.  So instead of focusing on getting my mental health needs met, all I could do throughout each session was to make sure I wasn't looking at her hand and focusing on making sure I was not making HER feel uncomfortable.  It was exhausting and instead of working out my issues I was only creating more for myself AND paying big bucks for it.  I only lasted a few sessions with her....

Anyway, I digress...back to my post.  So I tried a few of those relaxation apps with middle aged British ladies describing a babbling brook or long meadow grass blowing gently in the breeze.  I tried I did, but it is not my thing.  So I decided to give Bob Ross a try.  I always found his voice soothing.  Turns out Bob Ross is not as sweet and innocent as I remember.  The fact is, he is a dirty, dirty man. 

 Now I know mostly stoners watch his show and maybe he caters to them.  I mean if you took a drink every time he said "When God made Alaska he was having a good day" you would be tanked in no time.  In one episode he said it 7 times in 27 minutes!!  If you just kind of watch his show you won't notice it.  But, me being me I really listened and oh man, the things he says!!  He is filthy!! Do I think he does it on purpose?  ABSOLUTELY!!!  With over 30 seasons of his show there have to be hundreds of inappropriate things he has said over the years.  Here are just a few examples of what I have heard this week alone!

"it is slick, wet and ready...I hope you are too"  OK, so maybe he was talking about pre-painting the background on his canvas but come on...that is just pre pubescent comedic gold right there!!!

* "Alaska has some of the prettiest little bushes I have ever seen"  Yes, I know he lived in Alaska for 12 years.  He reminds me all the time.  And yes, he may be talking about actually topiaries or is he?  Hmmm....

*  "One day I was in the woods and ran into two happy little was a great day"  Come on!!!  He said that, gave a little chuckle and moved on.  Very subtle but Bob, this is me, Erin...I don't miss subtle!  Subtle nuances are my thing!!!...Jane, did you know about this?  (Jane is his wife)  What are your thoughts on all the happy little bushes he runs into?

"Beat the dickens out of it....sometimes I just beat it 'till it's dry"  When he cleans his brush he beats it against the side of his easel to get the excess water/paint off and he always comments on it...beat the dickens out of it...beat the devil out of it....but sometimes he takes it a step shown in my example above.

In addition to his wife Jane, Bob also has a son Steve.  He appears in episodes from time to time.  If you think Bob Ross is a tall drink of water, wait until you see Steve.  He is a sweet, sweet looking that 70's/80's long hair, pornstache kind of way.  His painting technique is a bit more flashy and he is a bit more reckless in his art but, he has his dad's smooth moves when it comes to turning an art tutorial into a soft core porn.  Brown chicken, brown cow....

"Sometimes you need to be rough on it...real rough"  He came out with this gem in the very first episode of his I watched. 

"If your wrist is worn out when you are done you know you were doing something right"  Yeah, I got nothing for this one!!

"I like to use a big one, big ones get the job done...a good 2 inches should do the trick"  I know he was talking about the kind of brush he likes to use, but when you have the sense of humor of a 12 year old boy, this is funny stuff!

So, once again I am caught up in the insomnia trap, but at least I have something to entertain me while I am awake all night.  I don't care that he has already started painting before the list of paint colors comes across the screen, I am not going to try and paint one of his masterpieces.  I don't care that all of his paintings are basically a variation on the same damn scene.  I don't care that his paintings will never hang in a real art museum someday.  All I care is that he makes me giggle like a school girl at 3 in the morning.  So it may not have the desired effect my therapist wanted, but tonight I am going to grab a patchouli candle, my ipad and my sense of humor and laugh until the sun comes up!!  Happy Painting my friends!!