Sunday, December 28, 2008

Regifting, Fake Trees, Odds, & Decor

This column was originally published on Dec. 26, 2007.

Howdy! Ida B. Peevish coming at you from Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop in the heart of downtown Rock Bottom, US of A, where we are trying to recuperate from all that Christmas shopping and decorating and consumption of Christmas spirits, so we are running our “Ring in the New Year” piercing special, wherein we will insert a ring most places you might want to put one, although there are a few places we won’t go. We do have standards here. Also, we are running our “New Year’s Hair Resolution Surprise” special wherein we will give your hair a new color from an unmarked package of dye. We got a real good deal on some unidentified colors, and we will pass on our savings to y’all. You just might be surprised at how good you’ll look, or at least you’ll be surprised somehow. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. This Christmas I got a lot of nice presents that I can’t use and I’m too embarrassed to ask the givers where they bought them or if I can have the receipts to return them. What should I do?—Overly Gifted

Dear Over-burdened: I have addressed the issue of re-gifting before, so pay attention this time. This is how re-gifting works. I hope you carefully unwrapped your gifts and didn’t just rip them open. You can save a bundle by reusing the wrappings. Before you start the re-gifting process, make a note of who gave you what, what it was wrapped in, and what color ribbon it had. Iron out all the paper and ribbon so it looks more or less new. Carefully alter the gift tags so the “from” is changed to “to” on each tag and vice-versa. Decide who you think would like which present, or at least who will take what you give them. Then wrap that present in paper that the recipient didn’t use and tie with a ribbon that wasn’t used with the original wrapping. Add the newly-altered gift tag. Do this for all the gifts that you got. If you are lucky, everything will come out even and your Christmas gifts are taken care of eleven months early, and it didn’t cost you a cent. You might want to make notes of who’s getting what (some folks who have been doing this for years and who have a lot of friends keep a computer database) so you won’t make any mistakes when you re-gift the following year. Once you get in the swing of things, you can keep passing gifts around until they become valuable antiques. An alternate way of re-gifting is to not open any of your gifts at all when you get them, especially if in-laws that you don’t much like gave them to you and you have no faith in their taste whatsoever. Just put on new tags that assign each giver a different gift than the one they gave. Of course, a problem is that they might all be doing the same thing as or that some of the gifts might be perishable food items, but that is just a chance you have to take.
If all of y’all would just get each other gift certificates for services here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait shop, everybody would be happy with what they got and there wouldn’t be none of this re-gifting necessary. After all, who can’t use either beauty services or bait, or a combination thereof?

Dear Ida B. How do you store an artificial Christmas tree so it will look nice the following year and not all bent out of shape?—Neat Freak

Dear Freaky: You don’t. You take the decorations off and store them. Then you get a nice pot and stick the undecorated tree in it. For the next eleven months, it will be an artificial houseplant. If you want to do something seasonal with it, hang some hearts on it in February, some shamrocks on it in March, some eggs on it in April, etc., but that really isn’t necessary.

Dear Ida B. What are the odds that we’ll have a snowy winter this year?—Weather-watcher

Dear Needs Watching: The odds of anything—whether it’s the weather or whether it’s getting away with something you ought not be doing—are always 50-50. Either it will or it won’t. The exception to the 50-50 odds is the work we do down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop, where odds are good that you will look much better when you leave than when you came in. Thanks to the industrial-quality hairspray we use, your new hair-do will stand up to the fiercest winter winds and will be able to hold its shape under several inches of snow if we get any and if you don’t have sense enough to go inside during a blizzard.

Dear Ida B. I just decorated my basement rec room for our New Year’s Eve party. I had to take down all them red and green streamers that we had up for the Christmas party and replace them with blue and white streamers for New Year’s. My husband and kids are always wanting to celebrate holidays but they are too busy to help with decorating. What can I do?—Too Busy Mom

Dear Over-worked: The idea is to leave up some of the old decorations. Never take down the white streamers at all. After New Year’s, take down the blue and add red for Valentine’s Day. Then take down the red streamers and add green for St. Patrick’s Day. Leave the white and green up and add yellow and blue for Easter. Then take the green and yellow down and add red for Fourth of July. You get the idea. If someone is having a wedding at your house, try to get the bridesmaids to wear dresses in whatever color is already hanging up. That shouldn’t be difficult because one of the rules of throwing a wedding is that bridesmaids have to dress tacky to make the bride look better.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Culture, Left-overs, & Red Worm Wreaths

Howdy! Ida B. Peevish coming at you from Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop in the heart of downtown Rock Bottom, US of A, where we are running our pre-Christmas special, “Deck Your Hair With Boughs of Holly,” wherein we will artfully arrange cuttings from the holly tree out behind Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop to give your hair the festive look that you sets you apart from all the other folks with festive looks. This year, we promise to wash the holly first, so we don’t have bird dropping on leaves like happened last year. Also this year, we will not use large branches, so all y’all who toppled over into punch bowls last year will not have to worry about being top-heavy. We are also running our “Hair for the Holidays” special for men, wherein we glue hair onto bald spots, but call to check for availability before you come in. If we know what color you are looking for, we can manage to save it instead of sweeping it out the door like we usually do. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. Is anything of a cultural nature happening in Rock Bottom?—High-Toned

Hi, Tony: As a matter of fact, we have a Rock Bottom literary event on the horizon. Upson Downer’s new inspirational memoir, Life’s a Downer, will be hot off the press soon. Not the printing press. His book was actually published last year, but—as he was trucking the thousand copies home from the printer—a storm came up and soaked all the boxes in the back of his open pick-up where they have remained damp ever since. Luckily Stanley “Spot” Lifter, owner of Rock Bottom Dry Cleaners, who rarely gets any business because folks just throw their clothes into their washing machine and hope for the best, has an industrial-type pressing machine and promises to iron out all the damp, wrinkled pages in time for Upson’s reading and signing at the Rock Bottom Livestock Market sometime before Christmas. We are not able to give an exact date for this event on account some buyers have not yet picked up their cows. Keep in mind that previous book readings and signings have not gone over too well in Rock Bottom because if an author reads the book to them, folks figure out they don’t need to buy it since they’ve already heard the good parts. Also, signing is not a very exciting spectator sport. Most Rock Bottomites like events with some action, preferably events that involved hollering, fighting, shooting, racing, and betting—none of which are likely to happen at book-signings. Even worse, spectators ain’t likely to buy bait or get their hair done beforehand, so it doesn’t profit us here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop either.

Dear Ida B. I will be hosting a dinner party during the holidays. Could you give me some suggestions to make the event less stressful? I’m attending a series of dinner parties before I give mine, and I don’t know when I’ll find time to prepare.—Still Getting Over Thanksgiving

Dear Get-Over-It: Don’t try to recycle your Thanksgiving leftovers, even though the green mold on the turkey will certainly give your dinner a festive look. If you haven’t fed your Thanksgiving leftovers to your dawg, now is the time to do so. If you don’t have a dawg, you ought to get one. Dawgs are invaluable to help with clean-up when you spill stuff, and they help persuade your guests not to overstay their welcome. Also, if anybody gives you a fruitcake as a hostess gift, the dawg can take care of it. Just in case you ain’t been previously warned, never eat a gift fruitcake. Some have been passed around through various Rock Bottom/Slick Water Lake homes for years. If you are attending a bunch of other dinner parties, you’re in luck. Just carry a large handbag with a bunch of plastic containers inside. When nobody is looking, just scrape some of whatever’s being served into your containers. When you get home, combine the contents of all your containers into a casserole and put plenty of grated cheese on top. If it’s dessert, again mix everything together and smother the result in whipped cream. If anybody asks what you’re serving, just say it’s a secret family recipe. Before your dinner party, be sure to stop in at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop for a whole new look. If your guests are busy admiring how good you look, they won’t pay much attention to what you’re serving.

Dear Ida B. What can you suggest in the way of a door decoration that embodies the holiday spirit?—Needs Help

Dear Needy: You can’t go wrong with one of our red worm wreaths from Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. It’s simple yet elegant. When it’s too cold to go fishing, we sometimes have an overstock of red worms that tend to take over the bait tank, so a couple of years ago, my manicurist, Honey Sue Sweetwater, got the idea of duct-taping them to a wreath, tucking a few evergreens behind them, and hanging them up. Those wriggly worms add an interactive effect that is so popular in decorations nowadays, but they don’t do annoying things like singing whenever anyone walks by. Plus, if Santa brings anybody in your household a new fishing pole, they can always go fishing with the worms who survive the holidays. (Note: Do not hang the wreath in direct sunlight, and be sure to moisten occasionally.) If you got a lot of grabby grandkids who are always tearing up your decorations and popping them in their mouths, a red worm wreath is a sure-fire cure for that. (You can coax the remaining worms to just lean over a little and no one will notice a few are missing.)

Well, that’s it for this go-round. Remember, you get what you pay for, talk is cheap, and my advice is free. Y’all have a Merry Christmas, here?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Redneck Humor, Communion, Bad Books, & Parades

Howdy! Ida B. Peevish coming at you from Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop in the heart of downtown Rock Bottom, US of A, where we are running our after-Thanksgiving special, “Up-dos That Will Take Folks’ Eyes Off Your Thighs Because You Pigged Out On Cakes and Pies,” for folks who ate all those extra helpings at Thanksgiving. All of us down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop naturally couldn’t take off all those extra pounds, but we were able to increase hair-do heights enough to create an illusion of thinness. (Note: For all y’all who partook of the special but subsequently didn’t heed our warnings regarding ceiling fans or low ceilings, we will repair the damage during our pre-Christmas make-overs.) Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I hear you write redneck humor. So how’s that working for you?—Your buddy, Dr. P.

Dear Philsie: Not as good as it works for Jeff Foxworthy. Good thing I’ve got Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop to fall back on. (P.S. Thanks for that big tip you gave me last time you came in.)

Dear Ida B. Is anything happening at Our Lady of the Rip-Rap Church out at Slick Water Lake? You rarely mention it anymore.—Wintering in Boca

Dear Boca Babe: What a coincidence! A couple of my customers were just mentioning that Father Rocky Shore is planning another Communion Wine-Tasting Party, on account the one last year was so popular. If this year’s is another hit, they might even go to a Communion Wine Festival in future years. Also this year, because so many folks requested it, Our Lady will have cheese to go on the communion wafers. A committee has formed to decide on what kinds of cheese to offer and if the cheese should be local or imported. They have figured that it will be cheaper to buy in bulk, so they are looking for volunteers to cut the cheese right before each service. The committee working on the proposal to offer fat-free high-fiber wafers hasn’t made a final decision yet. The annual Our Lady of the Rip-Rap Blessing of the Jet Skis had to be postponed because it rained and nobody wanted to get wet during the event.

Dear Ida B. What is going on in our schools!? The other day my grand daughter came home with this awful book that she had checked out of the Rock Bottom Elementary School library. That book was the awfullest thing I ever saw and not fit for kids to read! It was all about parental neglect, cannibalism, violence, and witchcraft! How do we get books such as this “Hansel and Gretel” book out of our schools?—Concerned Gramma

Dear Granny: Not to worry. Nowadays, the average kid ain’t likely to pick up a book and read it anyhow. Unless the teachers or parents tell them not to. You haven’t told your grand daughter not to read it, have you? If you did, you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself.

Dear Ida B. I hear that Rock Bottom Town Council is really clamping down on entries Christmas parade this year, but I didn’t hear all the details. What gives?—I Luvva Parade

Dear Luvvie: There’s a lot of new regulations, but the one that affects many is the one that says any manure spreader that is used as the basis for a float needs to be washed out good before it is decorated. A lot of folks last year didn’t clean theirs real good, and some folks who sat on the front row along the parade route so they could get first dibs on candy that was slung their way weren’t happy with what was actually slung their way. The parade committee is still getting the fall-out. Also, floats actually need to be Christmas themed. Any float that appeared in last summer’s Fourth of July parade will not be eligible for prizes, no matter how many elves you might have dancing around a cardboard Statue of Liberty. Also trying to pass off Uncle Sam as Santa Claus doesn’t work, despite the white beard on both. Finally, no matter how bad you want to show off your new John Deere, you got to have a float behind it. Trying to say your float fell off so you can go the route is not good enough. Good luck with your entry.

Well, that’s it for this go-round. Remember, you get what you pay for, talk is cheap, and my advice is free.