Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wedding Hassles, Sharing Feelings, Hauling Mermaids, & Finding Yourself

This post originally appeared in the September 17, 2008, Smith Mountain Eagle

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 running our pre-fall special, “If Your Hair is Falling Out or Falling Limp, We Can Help.” You would be surprised at what we can do with superglue and heavy-duty hair spray, as well as hair we have cut off other folks that is still perfectly good. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I have just started a new business, Weddings While You Wait. I noticed a lot of Rock Bottom folks are putting off getting married on account of all the hassles of getting married—especially the arguments between the mama and mama-in-law on who does what and who foists off the expense of all the decorations and food onto who else. Well, I have a perfectly good house and a nice yard in a rural area. It’s a lot more house than I need, so I decided I might as well use the downstairs as a combination wedding chapel/reception area for them that wants to get married without the usual hassles. All they got to do is show up. What do you think?—Wedded Bliss

Dear Wedded Blues: Part of the appeal of a big wedding is the hassles. If everybody can get upset, complain about the expense and who is (or ain’t) invited, argue about where to have the wedding, and lament about what to wear, etc. before the actual wedding takes place, it gives the two families involved time to see each other at their worst and decide if they really want the two families to join up. If you rob them of all the hassles, there is no telling what might happen after the wedding when some suddenly realize they don’t see eye to eye with their new in-laws.

Dear Ida B. I’ve been married for two months now and my husband won’t share his feelings with me. I don’t have a clue what he is thinking. Also, he is hanging out with his buddies more instead of giving me his undivided attention. What should I do?—New Bride

Dear Newbie: You should be glad he don’t share his feelings. That means he ain’t got anything to complain about. You should also be glad that he ain’t hanging around the house. If he hung around the house, you’d have to keep cleaning up after him and fixing him whatever he wanted to eat. I have addressed the question of shared feelings before, with the same answer. However, I understand that the term “share his feelings” is out-dated. Some of my younger clientele tell me that men now text-message their feelings. Trust me that you do not want your husband’s undivided attention except when you are nagging him. What seems so flattering when you are young can get to be a real nuisance once you hit thirty and want some time to yourself or for a girls’ night out with a dozen or so of you best friends or when a couple of screaming toddlers also want your undivided attention. Be glad he is hanging out with his buddies and not underfoot.

Dear Ida B. I was traveling this summer, and passed a small spiffy white van on I-95 with the logo of “Mermaid Transportation.” I got to wondering—how could a mermaid drive? She'd only have a big tail and fins, right? How could she put on the brake suddenly? Maybe the van was transporting a mermaid. You know, she could have been inside a tank, sloshing around. I figured with you bein’ in the bait business, you might could answer my questions.—Puzzled

Dear Puzzled: If the van was indeed transporting a mermaid (which I doubt, but stranger things have ben transported in the back of Rock Bottom pick-up trucks, so my customers tell me), odds are good she wasn’t the driver for the reason you have given. Likely she was sloshing around in a tank. While I am indeed in the bait business, I have never heard of anybody using a mermaid for bait. For one thing, what are you gonna catch with it? And how would you put it on your hook? While Slick Water Lake has some pretty big fish (based on the stories of “the one that got away” reported by several of my bait customers), none would justify using a mermaid for bait. On the other hand, maybe you could tie a rope around the mermaid’s tail and she could catch fish with her hands and fling them into your boat.

Dear Ida B. I just graduated from Rock Bottom High School and have decided to take time off to find myself before looking for a job or going to college. My problem is I don’t know how to find myself. Can you help?—Undecided

Dear Unemployed and Uneducated: Just come on down to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. We have some real big mirrors. Just stand in front of one and look. There you are! Keep in mind, that I do charge a finder’s fee. While you’re here, you might find that you need some help in the looks department. We can help with that, too—for a fee. By now, you ought have noticed that everything has its price, and the only way to pay it is to get a job or to get some education that will help you get a job. You might want to see if you can find yourself in line at the employment agency or at Rock Bottom Community College.

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


Friday, September 11, 2009

Micro-Beer, Excess Veggies, & Meddling Parents

This column originally appeared in the Sept. 2, 2008 Smith Mountain Eagle.

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 “Salvage Your Looks Before It’s Too Late” special in conjunction with the Rock Bottom House of Polyester’s annual spandex foundation garment sale. If Father Time has already taken away what Mother Nature gave you, you need to stop in to see us so we can disguise as much of the damage as possible Also, if your hair is limp on account of the high humidity from last week’s storms, we can fix that too. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I hear tell some guy was gonna open a microbrewery in downtown Rock bottom only town council wouldn’t let him. What’s with that? Granted, I’d rather have a maxi-slug rather than a micro-sip, but I’ll take what I can get if it’s convenient.—Beer Belly

Dear Beer Gut: What you heard was correct. Seems like the other businessmen in town didn’t want a legal enterprise taking away their business (though they’d like to make it very clear that what they isn’t actually a business—it’s merely a sampling of a home remedy for medicinal purposes for their special friends), so they put pressure on town council to oppose it. Even Rev. Al E. Looyah of the Rock Bottom Church of the Surging Inner Spirit says it might even cut into the church’s all-the-communion-wine-you-can-drink special.

Dear Ida B. I didn’t plant a garden this year, so everybody that did has been giving me vegetables. At first it wasn’t so bad, but when I got home yesterday, there were so many zucchinis piled in front of my door that I couldn’t get inside. And that was after, I crawled over the pile of tomatoes on my porch, which I could hardly see for all the cucumbers stacked up on my steps. If folks would just ask me if I needed any vegetables, I could refuse them, but they sneak their excess onto my property while I’m away. What can I do?—Desperate

Dear Desperate: I suggest you bag up all the vegetables and wait until about midnight. Then have your kids disguise themselves and leave the bags full of veggies on the neighbor’s stoops. Tell the kids it is like a reverse Trick-or-Treat. The reason you want to have your kids make the drop is that they can run a lot faster than you can but can’t carry as much, just in case someone should come out and make you take double the veggies home.

Dear Ida B. I am a first year teacher who just can’t cope. My 25 students are all wonderful, but their parents won’t leave me along. Every day, several call “just to keep in touch” and it takes my entire planning period to talk to them. When I get home, I have a dozen or more emails from the ones who didn’t call me at school. Some of the persistent ones text message me in class to see if their kids are all right. Last night, at least six called to tell me they hadn’t finished their kids’ science projects yet and could they have an extension. What can I do?—Swamped with Work

Dear Swampy: This is a modern problem. When I went to school—back in the days of parental non-involvement, parents didn’t want to know what was going on at school, figuring that what they didn’t know wouldn’t cause them grief. The important thing was that the kids were out of the house and not messing it up. A few years ago, the helicopter parents started hovering. Now, we got the jet-ski parents: they rush in, make waves, demand your attention, and leave you bobbing about it their wake. About the time you’ve recovered, they zoom in again. If you change phone numbers and email addresses every couple of weeks, you might get a little relief. But don’t bet on it. However, if you are so frazzled from dealing with them that your hair is a mess, come on down to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop and we’ll fix you up.

Dear Ida B. I have several kids in the Rock Bottom schools, and their teachers just won’t cooperate with me. I know it is important for parents to be involved, so I try to call each teacher daily to let them know that I’m there for them and my kids. However, yesterday when I called the twins’ teacher to see if they’d eaten all their lunch that I spent nearly half an hour packing, she hung up on me. When I called my daughter’s gym teacher to make sure that Bubbette sits on the bench instead of doing aerobics so she doesn’t get over-heated on these hot days, she hung up on me, too. At the high school, I couldn’t even get through to Bubba Jr.’s science teacher to tell him I needed more time to finish his science project. He wouldn’t answer his cellphone, and the school secretary wouldn’t even let me talk to him because they were having a fire drill or something. Well, Ida B., it ain’t like they have real fires during the drills! She should have put me through. I have tried calling the teachers at home, because they’re bound to be there at midnight, but all of them seem to have unlisted numbers. What can I do to stay involved in my kids’ education? —Concerned Mama

Dear Meddling Ma: The only way you can stay really involved in your kids’ education is to homeschool them. The Rock Bottom teachers will thank you. Your kids might not be so grateful though. But you can communicate your concerns to yourself whenever you want without having yourself hang up on you or refuse to pass on a message. Another possibility is that you get less involved with your kids and more involved with your looks. Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop can help you with that.

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

Monday, September 07, 2009

Boat-bangers, Designer Dawgs, & Cover-ups

This column originally appeared in the August 20, 2008, issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle.

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 Back-To-School Special that will get your kid fit to be seen in public after lying around all summer and letting his/her hair grow wild. Not only will we give your kid a decent haircut and/or style that his/her grandmother would approve of, we will also attempt to patch up any pierced places. However there is a limit to what can be done with duct tape and Superglue, so don’t get your hopes up to high. Also, we will dye over any weird colors that your kid’s hair might be while he/she attempted to find himself/herself this summer. If our dye-job won’t cover the weird color, we will shave his/her head. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. Out here in my cove at Slick Water Lake, the stripers abound. However, so do the fishermen. Many of them have been banging on their boats with poles because they say it attracts the fish. Ida B, I don’t see how it could do that. I was taught that you have to be quiet when you fish. What is going on? All this banging is driving me crazy. And my visiting grandkids can hardly hear their heavy metal music on their iPods.—Tired of the Noise

Dear Tired: Every time the boat bangers appear in your cove, give your grandkids a set of drums and an electric guitar and have them make their own music on the dock. The boat bangers will get the message. Or else the fish will leave and they will follow them.

Dear Ida B. My kids are pestering me to get them a dog. They don’t want just any old dog. They want one of them designer dogs. What the heck is a designer dog?—Doggone If I Know

Dear Doggone: Back in the old days we called designer dawgs by their proper term: mutts. If we were being polite, we said crossbreeds. Anyhow, somewhere along the line, somebody must have owned an expensive lady poodle that had a brief but passionate affair with a traveling male lab. Knowing that the puppies weren’t registerable and he’d be stuck with them, the poodle’s owner called them labradoodles and extolled their virtues. Plus they were rare. Folks want what is up-scale and rare, so the breed took off. Well, it wasn’t long until folks were breeding puggles and yorkie-poos and peke-a-poms and goodness knows what. What you do is go to the pound and pick out a slightly used dawg that looks personable. If you can find out what breeds it is, fine. If not, make up a couple. Just tell your kids the blueticoodle or dober-poo or rotty-pom you got is the latest designer dawg and they are the first in the neighborhood to have one. The dawg will be grateful you adopted it, and the kids might be grateful, too—at least until they figure out what they want next. Just be glad your kids don’t want one of them little accessory dawgs made popular by the Chihuahua that Paris Hilton used to tote around in her purse. Ain’t nothing like reaching into your purse or pocket for your keys and being bit by a little dawg to ruin your day, even though it does discourage pickpockets.

Dear Ida B. What with school starting soon, I am about ready to buy my kids some school clothes. I was kind of waiting for Rock Bottom High School to issue it’s dress code for this year, so I don’t get stuck like I was last year with a couple dozen tube tops and Daisy Duke shorts that my gals won’t be allowed to wear. Now I hear that kids can wear anything they want to school. How can that be? Don’t the school officials realize what some of them kids are likely to wear (or not wear as the case may be)?—Concerned Mom

Dear Mommie: Don’t worry. While the kids can wear anything they want to school, whatever they wear has got to be covered up by blaze orange coveralls as soon as they walk in the schoolhouse door. According to principal Alma Motter, the school got tired of arguing with the kids over what was and wasn’t appropriate attire. Some of the gals argued that if it was good enough for Britney Spears to wear in public, it out to be good enough to wear to school, but her style don’t cut it in Rock Bottom. Anyhow, it was determined that wearing coveralls was equally unfair to all and still allowed kids to wear what they pleased as long as nobody else could see it. The coveralls have plenty of pockets, so kids don’t need designer backpacks to tote around their iPods, cellphones, and other overpriced electronic doo-dads. Plus, if kids cut school, that blaze orange really stands out. If they’re sentenced to jail, they’re ahead of the game. And don’t forget how handy it will be during deer season. Kids won’t even have to go home to change anymore before heading to the woods. Alma Motter expects other school districts to follow the Rock Bottom trend.

Dear Ida B. some school systems are considering a four-day week. Will Rock Bottom do this?—Hopeful

Dear Don’t Get Your Hopes Up: It is unlikely. Parents wouldn’t put up with it. Some members of the Rock Bottom PTA have even asked for seven-day school weeks so they don’t have to have their kids underfoot, but the teachers can’t stand them for that long, so the seven-day week ain’t gonna happen. The current five-day week is a pretty good compromise.

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