Monday, January 25, 2010

one ringie dingie

It's harvest gold and it's hanging on the green panelled kitchen wall with an impossibly tangled, stretched out cord. If I close my eyes I can feel my index finger slip in and pull back the dial. I can even hear the noise it makes. It's name was 897-6236.

When I was little, I would scramble up the bar stool and plop down on our fashionably coordinated yellow kitchen counter to answer it. Legs dangling, I listened intently as my sister told me all the juicy details about what it was like to be away at college.

Older still, I pulled that phone as far as I could into the closet to sneak a little privacy. My Finger twisting around in the cord I moved through a teen's right of passage.

Obviously, there were no answering machines when I was a kid. If somebody called and there was no answer, you called back. The logical assumption was that the person you were calling was either out or busy. If we missed a call, my Dad always said "If it's important, they'll call back". There is profound wisdom in this comment.

Some how - some way - our parents managed to raise us safely without a cell phone. Successful relationships were had -successful careers too. All without the luxury of cell phones.

Don't get me wrong. I have a Black Berry that I am passionately in lust with. However, just because I am having the affair, does not mean I will carry it with me always, frantically look at it every 4 minutes or want to talk on the phone each time someone else wants to.

So, once and for all, I offer up my apologies to all of my friends. Trust me, it's not personal.

If I had $1 for each time I've heard (whine while you say it) "you never answer your phone", I could get an I-Phone (which I fully intend to do soon!).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's all in my head

I will be 45 for another 4 months, 8 days and 21 minutes.

I do not want to be 46.

46 is starting to feel a little like heaven's waiting room.

I have many women friends on Facebook who are the same age as I am. But when I log on, rather than seeing pictures of their little sweet faces, my eyes only see thumbnails of, well, their Hair...blond, brown, red, - natural , colored, highlighted, it's all there, poking fun at my upper dermis.

You see, about 6 years ago, my hormones began to organize and plan their turn on me. I was dragged, kicking and screaming, into Male Pattern Baldness Land.

Things were pretty much rockin' along until I was brushing my hair one day, back when it was thick enough to require a brush, when I noticed it somehow seemed thinner. With 7 loose hairs clutched in my hand, and completely panic stricken, I ran to the kitchen " Oh my God! Feel this! Feel this! Does it feel thinner to you? Does it? DOES it??"

"No Honey. It feels fine" (this from a man that whose hairline was moving so fast I could feel a breeze). I can't help but wonder if my "problem" contributed to the demise of our relationship. Some of the final words I heard out of my x-prize were "..well my God Leslie, you all but accused me of being the reason your hair was falling out!" (and your point is.........?)

My quest began in earnest. Dermatologist, OBGYN, vitamins, volume producing hair products, colored sprinkles, men's 5% minoxidil (screw the warnings - growing another ovary is worth it to me) and sprays - and in return I received an irritated scalp and some sympathy. Lots of sympathy.

When I was 7, I stood before our professional model mother's cavernous closet. Her upper shelf was lined with white Styrofoam "heads" covered in wigs and falls.... skinny ones, ones with plastic combs attached, ones fashioned like the 70's bob - ones that reminded me of Barbara Eden in "I Dream of Jeanie". The forrest of red, auburn and copper colored hair made me think of one thing: sheer glamour. Hmmm. I smell a fish.

Note pad in lap, impossibly thick locks cascading over her shoulders, complete with Cher like hair flipping actions, "it's about honoring your hair loss Leslie" Even my therapist? Really?

If I ever go missing, you can probably find me at the drugstore in the hair accessory aisle - longing to purchase a pony tail holder (the fat one) or a flat iron, hot rollers or a round brush. Until then, I have my credit card at the ready to purchase the next product promising to restore my mane, my youth and my dreams of tumbling curls, up-do's and french knots.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the friendly skies

Anyone that travels knows all about flying the friendly skies.
  • Drop Off - you might as well just slow down to 8 or 10 MPH and push your beloved out the car door under the Delta sign. If you slow down any more, you'll get in trouble by the curb police.

  • Checking In - I do it on line so I save $5 on my bag. After nursing my scrapes from the drop off, I forge through the cattle line to reach the ticketing counter KIOSK where there is nobody to help me. After the necessary kiosking, I have to drag the suitcase to the newly added X-Ray screening section. I wonder if when they are done, they'll let me take it outside and toss it into the cargo hold of my plane myself.

  • Security _ I don't know about you but I get all warm and fuzzy in the security line... "empty your pockets - all change - jewelry - lap tops - belts - bags - they all gotta go in a bin on the conveyor" ...."take off your hoodies - your coats - your panties and bras - empty your mind of any thoughts..." And being "wanded" is a treat. A male agent is required to ask if you prefer a female before they commence with their wanding and ask if it's ok to touch you before they frisk. Need I say any more?

  • The Gate - Ahhhhhhhhhh, at last. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is Delta flight 923, service to Please-Get-Me-There, Florida. In just a few moments, we will begin boarding by zones 1,2,3 and 4" . I am zone 4. When they finally do invite us to board, " the rest of you, get on", I see I am one of six people waiting our turn. I feel as though I am the bottom of the flying barrel with the #4 stamped on my forehead. Not First class - not Elite, not even THREE....I am zone 4. I rush up to have my ticket scanned and down the jet way I go to get stacked up with everyone else, EXCEPT I am at the back of the line because I am zone 4. And this is where I begin to profile. Go ahead, say you don't look just a little.

  • The Ride - Snuggled into my window seat next to the bathroom and the single mom of twins, I try to reach for my purse for my IPOD. However, due to the close proximity of the seat in front of me, I cannot bend over. I have to use my toes to pull it out and over and ask single mom to stop nursing for a second and reach into my purse. After a bit on the tarmac, we get the standard safety training but with a few added requirements: No blankets or coats on our laps for the last hour of the flight (why just the last hour?) and no electronic goodies to be used (thank you Mr. liquid explosive moron). I happened to fly yesterday and noticed that in place of the standard "What-the-hell-do-you-want-you're-bothering-me" attitude of the flight attendants, they were exceptionally outgoing, Southwest kind of "up" and overly helpful. When I couldn't reach into my purse for the credit card for wine #2, the attendant actually smiled and comp'd the drink. Another new tradition I've noticed on my last few (very smooth and pleasant) flights is passenger applause upon touch down. That says something about how we feel about flying in these new times.

The root of the word terrorism, is terror and that in itself is enough to make Greyhound rich and Amtrak richer. This seasoned flyer has never been fearful or anxious up until a couple of years ago. Last weekend, I nearly beat the poor pharmacy tech when she said she had not filled the RX for my "vacation pills". She eventually came through, thus my flying. Find me the person who invented Xanax because I want to kiss them.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

we'll get you there

When it comes to travel, I've led quite a charmed existence. I've heard the travel tales that make you want to curl up under the covers and forget the holidays all together...lost suitcases chock full of gifts, family pets who ended up in Boise when the owner traveled to Lauderdale, delays that inched up into days. I've always listened (puffed up with joy that the horrors of travel fell upon them, not me) with great compassion.. Today, I appear to be falling off of my blissful travel throne even as I type.

You see, I'm on hold with Delta.

I called Delta yesterday to which I was greeted with a "We don't even have a weather advisory yet ma'am". Thank you friendly, helpful Delta lady.

At 6:31 am, I called in hopes of reaching the same helpful agent. I had planned on updating her about the weather. After about 15 minutes, I decided that surely something had happened and my call got overlooked on their big, magical telephone board with white blinking lights. So, I hung up and dialed back.


Maybe there's some truth that God will test you in the areas you have the most trouble with. I always thought I was a pretty patient person.

A few re-dials later, I'm quickly back on with the Delta listening to holiday on hold music and sales pitch recordings...."Did you know when you book your vacation with Delta, you can earn valuable bonus points towards car rental?' Well, No! Oh my goodness! I did not know that! I wonder if you are an Elite Member if there is some secret Elite Code that gets your call answered.

7:46 am.

Now stay with me because the following happened pretty fast.

I decide to purchase a 1 way ticket on Jet Blue, that will help me miss the storm the TV weather person referred to as "one great big wall of snow".

"Thank you for calling Delta Airlines, this is Miss Tanner. How may I be of help to you today?"

At that very moment Punkin leaps onto my lap, tennis ball in mouth, and pulls the earpiece out of the phone. (I wonder if the SPCA would take him back after 4 years).

Heart racing, I jam the cord back in and by the grace of God, Miss Tanner is still there, waiting to be of service to me.

I tell my story to her.

"I'm sorry Miss Hull, we can't change your flight, without penalty, until your original flight has been officially cancelled"


"Let me check something with my supervisor Miss Hull. Please hold."

Giddy up giddy up giddy up lets go....sleigh ride together for 2....saw mama kissing Santa clause...did you know that when you book your vacation with Delta you can earn valuable......

"OK, Miss Hull I've checked with my supervisor and you cannot change your flight without penalty until your original flight has been officially cancelled."

8:49 am.

This is what I have learned...

You must let go of that which you have no control over.

Black berries are not Corell dishes and do break when thrown.

Friday, December 18, 2009

joyful noise

At some point, the school system wised up and began mailing report cards to our parents instead of relying on us to hand deliver them. I remember the first one. I was still at the age when the report card content was more fluff than serious so I had not yet learned that the delivery could result in a less than pleasant experience. Oh, but I had heard the stories on the play ground; It could be a hellish ride.

Nearly bursting at the seams with pride, I part skipped - part ran home, the tell tale blue card clutched in my little fist.

Reading - A
Cutting & Pasting - A
Gluing pop sickle sticks/glitter sprinkling - A
Music - A+

Leaning over the arm of the chair, toe dug into carpet, giddy with anticipation of my Baskin & Robbin's reward, I spied it - There it was. The comment section.....

Talks too much in class.

The subsequent year's teacher comments began to reveal a pattern...

"Leslie is a joy: lively and creative but she talks too much in class"

"Leslie is a delight to have again this year but she talks too much in class"

"Leslie's unrelenting chatter is beginning to affect the lunchroom ladies down the hall"

"Oh God Please Mr. Hull, can't you do something?"

And so it began. My love affair with communication. I'm told the course is no longer called "English". Rather, it's called "Communication Arts". I'd like to think I had some small role in raising the bar on, well, talking. Yes, Communication Arts. That's better.