Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Where No One Needs to Know Your Name

My daughter met a boy at the McDonald's PlayPlace and announced to us that she was going to marry him. She is four years old. Meanwhile, I didn't announce that I was going to marry anyone until I was 40 years old. Just a bit of a difference.

I don't think she's actually going to marry him--she doesn't know his name, and my understanding is it's fairly important to know the name of your spouse before you get married. (Vegas wedding chapels excluded, of course.)

Making best friends.

Kids have this ability to make friends any time and anywhere. Whenever we go to a park, the kids end up becoming best buds with whoever else happens to be at the playground with them. They'll say, "Dad! Dad! I made a new best friend!"

I'll say, "Great! What is your best friend's name?"

"Umm...I don't know." Apparently, names aren't important for friendships.

A very frightening sign.

A while back I took the kids with me to get an oil change in the mini-van at the car dealership. Usually when I go there I plop the kids in front of the television and get some writing done, but on this occasion the television in the kids' waiting area wasn't working. Without the television, the kids quickly teamed up with another couple of kids and they played tag and danced and ran around the dealership to entertain themselves. When the mother of those others told her kids that it was time to leave, I thought all four kids were going to break down into tears. It was quite a scene, complete with hugs and sad waves goodbye.

Meanwhile, I don't make new friends very often. The vast majority of my friends are people I've known for most of my life--or at least for several years. In recent years I've made several acquaintances. These are people I could become good friends with, if I spend enough time with them. But, I usually end up spending my time with my family or the friends I already have.

The older we get, the more time it takes to actually become friends with someone. But we are less likely to take the time it takes to make those friendships. Things would be easier if we were like kids--able to lose ourselves immediately in friendships with people we've just met. (Who knows? You might even meet someone at the PlayPlace that you'll want to marry.)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Back To School: Day 1 (A Running Diary)

Ah, the first day of school! It's one of the most anticipated and dreaded days of the year. And, it's just around the corner. To commemorate the day, I thought I'd take a look at how things went when I wrote a running diary of the first day of school two years ago. Things haven't changed much.

But first, the players, as they were two years ago:
     Thing 1:  9 year-old daughter (entering 4th grade)
     Thing 2:  7 year-old son (entering 2nd grade)
     Thing 3:  Two and a half year-old daughter
     Thing 4:  One year-old son
     The Wife:  Junior High math teacher crazy enough to marry me
     Me:  Stay-at-home dad and writer

Here we go:

5:30 AM--The Wife's alarm goes off. She hits the snooze button. I think about getting up to exercise.
5:40 AM--The Wife's alarm goes off again. She hits the snooze button again. I don't think about getting up to exercise.
5:50 AM--The Wife's alarm goes off again. I actually get out of bed and go to the bathroom.
5:55 AM--The Wife takes a shower.
6:00 AM--I feel guilty for not exercising. Grab the laptop and attempt to write. (Surf Facebook instead.)
6:13 AM--The Wife gets out of the shower. She sees me and says, "Oh, I thought you were exercising." I feel even more guilty.
6:15 AM--I take a shower.
6:33 AM--Attempt to write. (Stare off into space.)
6:45 AM--Wake up Thing 1 and Thing 2. I have the following exchange with Thing 1:
     Thing 1: "I was having a hilarious dream, but I'm glad you woke me up!"
     Me: "A hilarious dream?"
     Thing 1: "The octopus was eating pizza! But I'm glad you woke me up because it's the first day of school!"
6:46 AM--Thing 2 wakes up and has a bloody nose.
6:48 AM--Thing 1 informs me that in her hilarious dream there was calamari on the pizza the octopus was eating.
6:50 AM--Thing 1 and Thing 2 get dressed in their brand new* school clothes. [*NOTE: Last night The Wife picked out all of their clothes for the first week of school. Prior to that she made sure they had new clothes for school. Because she cares. (Had it been left to me they might have worn "gasp!" clothes from last year.)]
6:56 AM--Thing 1 doesn't want breakfast if it might be messy.
7:01 AM--Notice that Thing 2 has all brand new clothes except for ill-fitting socks he has worn for at least three years because he really wants to wear Captain America socks.
7:12 AM--The bus arrives...for the high school and junior high kids. Thing 2 worries that he missed his bus. I explain to him that this was not his bus. (I'll have this same conversation with him 46 more times over the course of the school year.)
7:15 AM--Auntie K arrives to do "First Day of School" hair. (She's slightly better at doing hair than Daddy.)
7:34 AM--Hair is done.
7:35 AM--Time for the "First Day of School" photo shoot.
7:39 AM--Realize it is very difficult to get two children to pose together without one of them fake-smiling so hard that they look like a psycho.
7:46 AM--Her work finished, Auntie K goes home. (She's incredible! She's like Mary Poppins without the flying umbrella.)
7:48 AM--Load their lunches* into their backpacks. [*NOTE: Last night The Wife packed their lunches. Because she is amazing.]
7:51 AM--Thing 2 asks if he can go to the bus stop. (No. It's too early.)
8:00 AM--I let them leave for the bus stop. (Even though it's still too early.)

And they're off!
8:03 AM--They arrive at the bus stop, sit on the curb, and look bored.
8:11 AM--The first next kid arrives at the bus stop.
8:19 AM--The bus arrives!
8:20 AM--The bus leaves.
8:21 AM--With complete quiet and solitude, I attempt to write. (Actually open a file on the computer.)
8:23 AM--I hear that Thing 4 is awake. As I go to get him, I really hope Thing 3 is still asleep.
8:24 AM--She's not.
8:25 AM--Change Thing 4's diaper.
8:26 AM--Get Thing 4 a banana.
8:27 AM--Change Thing 3's diaper.
8:28 AM--Get Thing 3 a banana.
8:29 AM--Make toast.
8:30 AM--Get more banana for Thing 4.
8:35 AM--Attempt to write. (Distracted by Facebook again.)
9:10 AM--Smell something bad. Change Thing 4's poopy diaper.
9:12 AM--Attempt to write. (Stare blankly into space.)
9:54 AM--Smell something bad. (Again.) Change Thing 4's poopy diaper.
9:56 AM--Attempt to write. (Go over old e-mails.)
10:34 AM--Actually getting some writing done! The kids are playing quietly. All is well.
10:36 AM--Thing 3 walks up to me, hits me in the leg, and repeatedly shouts, "I'm Velma! I'm Velma!" while holding an action figure of Daphne. She throws the Daphne action figure in anger. I stop writing to look for Velma action figure.
10:37 AM--Find two Shaggy action figures, two Scooby-Doo action figures, and one Fred action figure. No Velma.
10:39 AM--Find Velma! (And the world rejoices!) Sit down to write again.
10:40 AM--Sniff. Sniff. Smell something bad. Change Thing 4's poopy diaper. (His third in an hour and a half.)
10:42 AM--Put Thing 4 down for a nap. (All that pooping has got to make him tired, right?)
10:46 AM--Attempt to write. (Review what I've already written.)
10:48 AM--Thing 3 interrupts by asking me to read her a book.
11:01 AM--Finish reading to Thing 3. (Amazingly, I was able to get away with reading the book only three straight times.)
11:02 AM--Attempt to write. (Distracted by looking at "First Day of School" photo shoot.)
12:05 PM--Post "First Day of School" pictures of Thing 1 and Thing 2 on Facebook.
12:40 PM--Get Thing 4 up from his nap. Shockingly, no poop in his diaper.
12:43 PM--Feed kids leftover spaghetti for lunch.
12:44 PM--Realize I should not be feeding Thing 4 spaghetti on a day that isn't his normal bath day.
1:03 PM--Use a washy-wash (washcloth) to clean spaghetti sauce out of Thing 4's face, ears, eyebrows, hair, nostrils, chin, in between his fingers, eyelashes, and anywhere else I can find it, knowing full well that despite my best efforts I won't get it all.
1:09 PM--Attempt to write. (Doze off a little.)
3:13 PM--Change Thing 4's diaper. There is no poop, but there are several spaghetti noodles. And some sauce.
3:37 PM--The school bus arrives!
3:40 PM--Thing 1 and Thing 2 arrive home from school.
3:41 PM--Talking at the same time, Thing 1 and Thing 2 give a quick, incoherent report of everything that happened at school on the first day.
3:49 PM--The Wife arrives home from school.
3:50 PM--The exact same report is given of everything that happened at school on the first day. It is still incoherent.
3:51 PM--The Wife, exhausted from a full day of work at school, collapses in her chair. We look at each other and realize we only have to do this 179 more times before school lets out next summer.

Edited from a post originally published on 8/25/2017.
(The "running diary" is a format I've borrowed from former ESPN/Grantland/The Ringer writer Bill Simmons. I've used it a couple of times before.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

In Defense of Olive Garden

I'm about to say something very controversial. There are people who will disagree and mock me for my opinion. Some will dismiss me as a crackpot; others will get downright angry with me. I don't care. I'm willing to face the consequences. Here it is:

I like to eat at Olive Garden.

There, I said it, and I don't care what the naysayers think.

It's like they took a little piece of Italy and moved it to the suburbs!

I'm being overdramatic, of course. A lot of people like to eat at Olive Garden--that's why they have over 800 restaurants worldwide. But, at the mention Olive Garden at least one person in every crowd will turn up their nose and scoff. "Olive Garden," they'll huff. "Ha! That's not real Italian food!" (They might even say "that's not real Italian cuisine," because these are the type of people who think they know the difference between "cuisine" and "food.")

To these folks I say: How do you know? Are you from Italy? Have you ever been to Italy? Can you even find Italy on a map? What makes you qualified to tell me what is and isn't authentic Italian food?

Having said that, I'm willing to concede the point: Olive Garden is not authentic Italian cuisine. How do I know this? Because the food is mass produced right here in America. It's not like every time they open a new Olive Garden they import a dozen chefs from Italy to come make the food. Olive Garden serves Italian-ish food made by Americans.

So, why do I like to go to Olive Garden?  Because I like the taste of the food! They have soup with sausage in it, and your server will shred as much cheese into it as you want. I like noodles. I like marinara sauce. I like alfredo sauce. I like breadsticks. Olive Garden serves unlimited breadsticks. Do you know what that means? It means there is no limit to the number of breadsticks you can eat! Sure, after your 47th breadstick they might start bringing them out a little more slowly. And yes, after your 73rd breadstick you might have to personally request each new breadstick one at a time. But, as long as it's not closing time, they'll keep bringing you breadsticks. Delicious, buttery breadsticks!

Have you been to Olive Garden? There is usually a line-up of people waiting to be seated. The restaurant is almost always full of patrons. Lots and lots of people go to Olive Garden every day, and most of them would happily return again another day. That's because most people find that Olive Garden serves satisfying food.

And yet, there are still those Olive Garden naysayers. They'll say things like, "My grandmother is Italian, and Olive Garden food is nothing like hers!" That's probably true. And I'm fine with that. It just means there'll be more breadsticks for me.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Star Wars/Car Wash

I was thinking about Star Wars the other day. You know, Star Wars, the first movie, even though they try to call it things like "Episode 4," or "A New Hope." It was Star Wars when it came out, and it will always be Star Wars to me. (Because I'm old and I don't like change.) I'm talking about the movie that ends (forty-something year-old SPOILER ALERT) with Luke Skywalker flying down a space trench and hitting a small target in order to destroy the Death Star.

Anyway, if the rebellion had been depending on me to fly my x-wing down that space trench and make the shot to destroy the Death Star, they would have been out of luck.

I have a hard enough time pulling in to a car wash.

Use the force, Luke!
It looks simple enough: just drive forward and put the front driver-side wheel into the little tire-holder. Easy! They even have little yellow markers to help guide you on your way, plus some angled metal to help push the tire into the correct spot if you are off by a few inches.

Follow the yellow brick road.
You'd have to be a completely incompetent driver to not be able to get that front tire where it's supposed to go, right?

Not so fast, my friend! It might not be as easy as it looks. Why? Because as soon as you enter the car wash, your windshield gets sprayed with water, greatly decreasing your ability to see anything in front of you. Plus, as you approach the target you can no longer see it because your own vehicle blocks the view. When driving, you can't actually see where your front tire is, so all those yellow dots quickly become useless. (And it's not like you can stick your head out of the window to look, unless you want your face to get rinsed, soaked, and/or waxed.)

To see or not to see? (That is the question.)

In fact, flying down that space trench to destroy the Death Star might be easier, because you'd have R2-D2 to help guide you. At the car wash there is no R2 unit, just some kids in the back seat yelling, fighting, and/or screaming.

Sure, having Darth Vader and a squadron of tie-fighters trying to shoot you down would be a distraction, but so is that guy in line behind you, honking his horn because you're moving too slow.

So, yes, I'm afraid that if the rebel forces were relying on my piloting skills to bring down the Death Star, they would have been in trouble. There would still be a giant, moon-sized thing flying through that galaxy far, far away, blowing up planets and rebel bases with ease.

And my x-wing would still need a good washing.

Edited from a post originally published on 8/11/2017.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

What Jobs Are On Your Parental Resume?

We were at a toy store the other day when something caught my eye. It was a game called "Poop Checkers."

Yes, it's a game of checkers where the usual round playing pieces have been replaced by ones that are shaped like little piles of poop. That's right, poop--again. (I recently wrote about a food that promoted children getting a tongue tattoo of uni-poop.) (Uni-poop is a pile of poop with a unicorn horn in it.)

This is different. I didn't care so much about the game, (although I did wonder how exactly the poop pieces stack on top of each other when it comes time to get "kinged.") What caught my attention was the name of the game: Poop Checkers. My first thought was, "That could be a description of me. As a parent of a child who is in the process of being potty trained, I am a 'Poop Checker.'"

I check for poop. I am a poop checker.

I've recently been looking for a job and updating my resume, and I thought about the many different skills I've learned as a parent. Unfortunately, I can't put "Poop Checker" on my regular resume. But, if I were to make a separate resume just for my parental skills, it would certainly apply.

Here are a few of the jobs and skills many parents could add to their Parental Resume:

Poop Checker: Oh, sure, anybody can check for poop. But, it takes experience and a special skill set to check for poop without getting any poop on your finger.

Poop checked.
(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)
Tissue Box: Kids sneeze. Adults sneeze. Adults usually have enough warning that they can have a tissue or handkerchief in place before the sneeze occurs, and if not, they quickly grab one to clean up the after-sneeze. Kids, on the other hand, seem to always be caught by surprise by sneezes. And afterwards they seem to be paralyzed--so grossed out by the large amount of snot hanging from their noses that they are unable to move. As a parent, not only do you always have access to a large supply of facial tissues, you also must spring into quick action to clean up the aftermath.

Day Planner: Sometimes kids have things to do. But, kids have no idea when they are supposed to do those things. Dentist appointments? Doctor appointments? Birthday parties? Playdates? They would never get to any of these things without you.

Personal Chef: Yes, you know when they prefer box macaroni and cheese over homemade. Yes, you know which dipping sauces they want for their chicken nuggets. Yes, you know which vegetables they might actually eat.

Nurse: You are your child's personal health care companion. You apply the band-aids. The healing power of your kiss is phenomenal.

Laundry Service: The laundry is never truly finished.

Garbage Can: It is surprising how often your kids will hand you their garbage.

Detective (Finder of Lost Things): There is always one shoe missing. There is always one shoe missing!

Cheerleader: The skill of being a good cheerleader is knowing when to loudly cheer, when to be quietly supportive, and when to bust out a good cartwheel.

Maid Service: You can try to make them clean up after themselves--as long as you're aware you're going to have to clean up after they clean up.

Hair Stylist: If you let your child out in the wild without doing something with their hair, it doesn't reflect poorly on them as much as it reflects poorly on you.

Chauffeur: Piano lessons. Soccer games. Birthday parties. Until they're tall enough to reach the pedals, it's all on you.

Lifeguard: There is no lifeguard at the splash pad. Well, except for you.

No lifeguard on duty.
(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)
Assembler: Those bunk beds aren't delivered already set up. And that Hot Wheels track needs some work, too.

Politician (Law Maker): Without you, someone might be able to watch television before the kitchen has been swept.

Police (Law Enforcement): If that television is on before the kitchen has been swept, there will be consequences.

Jungle Gym: Kids can't always make it to the park. They need to climb something.

Ringmaster: Someone needs to run this circus. That someone is you.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Smooshing "Raisins" In the Rug

When I was a kid I didn't like raisins.

Really, what kid does like raisins? To most kids, raisins are just a disappointing impersonator of chocolate chips. You have a cookie, see a dark spot in it, and think, "Yay! Chocolate chips!" And then you take a bite and, "Oh, crap, that's a raisin!" So, no, most kids don't really like raisins.

(Having said that, I don't know how true it is, because my kids happen to love raisins. They'll eat raisins by the handful if given the chance. I'm not sure if this is because their mother has trained them to eat healthy, or if my kids are just really weird. It's probably a little of both.)

Anyway, as a kid I developed such a hatred of raisins that I didn't want to be around them. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with them. I would shun them with the shunniest of shunnings.

So, one day my Mom gave me a muffin, and it was chock full of dark spots, and those dark spots were not chocolate chips. "Drat! Raisins! They must be shunned!" (That may or may not have been how I spoke as a kid, which may or may not explain a few things.) So, what did I do? I picked those "raisins" out of my muffin and smooshed them into the rug in the middle of the living room floor. [I'm told by spellcheck that "smooshed" isn't a word. But, those "raisins" weren't "smushed" into the rug, and they weren't "smooched," either. They were smooshed. And the beauty of the English language is that if "smooshed" isn't a word, it can be if it gets used often enough. Just like "interwebs" or "hipster."]

Plump and juicy raisins blueberries.

Well, it turns out those "raisins" weren't raisins after all. They were blueberries. It was the first time I had ever had a blueberry muffin, and I picked all of the blueberries out and smooshed them into the rug. Was it good thing to do? No. Was it a smart thing to do? No. Did I get in serious trouble? Yes. Do my brother and sister still tease me about smooshing blueberries into the rug? Yes. If I had it to do over again, would I? Maybe. (I really didn't like raisins!)

The only place this muffin is getting smooshed is in my face!

Since then, I've matured a bit. (Though it may be hard to tell sometimes.) I'm actually okay with raisins now. I don't seek them out, but I will eat them on occasion, and I won't pick them out of things. (Although they do still get me angry when they deceive me into thinking they are chocolate chips.)

And as far as blueberries go, I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love them in muffins, pancakes, and waffles. However, I don't like eating them plain. A blueberry inside of some kind of bready food is delicious, but I don't want a blueberry by itself.

But, even though I don't like plain blueberries, I've learned my lesson: I won't smoosh them into the rug.

Edited from a post originally published on 7/25/2017.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Nash Bridges Is Back! (We've Officially Run Out of Ideas)

Hooray!!! Huzzah!!! Our long national nightmare is over--Nash Bridges is coming back!!!

What's that? You say you have no idea what a "Nash Bridges" is? Is it a country singer? Is it a national park in Utah? Is it a public works program in Tennessee's largest city?

No. Nash Bridges was a television show that aired on CBS for six seasons from 1996 to 2001, starring Don Johnson and Cheech Marin. Google describes the show thusly: "Fun-loving San Francisco Police Department investigator Nash Bridges is part of the elite Special Investigations Unit. He tackles crime using his keen sense of humor and charm. Joe Dominguez comes out of retirement to become Bridges' wisecracking yet more rule-abiding partner." (Ah, yes--back when investigative units were "special" and "elite," and detectives could tackle crime with their "charm." Good times, good times.)

What made Nash Bridges so special was...nothing, really. It starred Don Johnson, but it's not what he's famous for. (That would be Miami Vice.) It co-starred Cheech Marin, but it's not what he's famous for. (That would be Cheech & Chong.) It was never very popular. Over the course of its run the best it could muster was being the 42nd highest rated show in 1999. If you have even given a single thought to Nash Bridges in the last ten years it probably means you are related to someone involved in making the show.

Nash Bridges is the perfect example of forgettable weekly television programming.

Same old stuff.

So, why are they bringing it back? Because people wanted it, demanded it, and/or were clamoring for it? No. Nash Bridges is getting rebooted because no one has any new ideas anymore. (And someone thinks they can make a little money off of an old idea.)

The number of old television shows that have been rebooted continues to grow. It's easier to rehash old, comfortable ideas and situations than come up with something original. Why try something new that might or might not work when you can give the people something they already know and somewhat like?

Over at CBS they've been re-doing Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver, and Magnum P.I. for years, although for some reason they ditched Tom Selleck's mustache and Richard Dean Anderson's mullet. Some other show reboots haven't been as successful. New attempts at Charlie's Angels, The Bionic Woman, and Night Rider didn't catch on. (Although they are trying yet another Charlie's Angels movie.) Neither did second attempts at Beverly Hills 90210, and Melrose Place.

But, it's not just successful shows that they're bringing back. Roswell ran for three forgettable seasons from 1999 to 2002, but they tried to make a go of it again earlier this year.

A show doesn't even have to been gone very long for it to be rebooted. Gossip Girl ran from 2007 to 2012, but they're already bringing it back.

What's next? Will they reboot a show that's still on the air? Grey's Anatomy first aired in 2005 and it's still going strong. What's to keep them from rebooting it as Grey's Anatomy: The Early Years, while they're still making the original?

So, if you have a show that you liked, but isn't currently on the air, don't worry. It'll probably be back soon. And while you're waiting for it, you can enjoy all the charm of Nash Bridges. (I hear his Special Investigations Unit is elite.)

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Kids' Bathroom or The Wife's Bathroom?

The other day I had the "privilege" of getting to use the kids' bathroom. It was an interesting experience, and it got me thinking: Would I rather share a bathroom with the kids or with The Wife? There are pros and cons to each.

Kids' Bathroom: I get to shower with an Elsa and Anna shower curtain!
The Wife's Bathroom: It's just a boring old nondescript shower curtain. Point: Kids

Remember, Anna is pronounced "Onn-uh" not "Ann-uh." If you get it wrong your kids will never let it go.

Kids' Bathroom: Toilet is older, shorter, and has a much smaller seat and toilet bowl.
The Wife's Bathroom: We put in a new toilet a few years ago that is much taller, bigger, and more comfortable. Point: Wife

Kids' Bathroom: Unsightly amounts of used toothpaste left in the sink and all over the room.
The Wife's Bathroom: Lots of hair left in the drain and all over the room. Point: Neither

Kids' Bathroom: No medicine cabinet.
The Wife's Bathroom: Large medicine cabinet for storing deodorant, toothpaste, ibuprofen, and assorted other things. Point: Wife

Kids' Bathroom: I get to use Star Wars 3-in-1 shampoo, conditioner, + body wash. (It's "Galactic Fresh!")
The Wife's Bathroom: It's either The Wife's shampoo, which has some French-sounding name, or my boring old Head and Shoulders. Point: Kids

That's great, but what I REALLY want is Chewbacca's shampoo!

Kids' Bathroom: Did I mention it's "Galactic Fresh?" (I've always wanted to smell like a droid.)
The Wife's Bathroom: The Wife's body wash smells nice, but I wouldn't call it "Galactic." Or I could get me some frosted Irish Spring! (It's magically delicious!) Point: Kids

Kids' Bathroom: If I make a mess around the toilet, I can blame the kids.
The Wife's Bathroom: If anyone makes a mess around the toilet, the blame is pretty much stuck on me. Point: Kids

Kids' Bathroom: Kids often forget to flush the toilet.
The Wife's Bathroom: No special surprises in the toilet. Point: Wife

Kids' Bathroom: Lots of strange, terrible, not very good smells.
The Wife's Bathroom: Some bad smells, but not nearly as often and not nearly as bad. Point: Wife

Kids' Bathroom: Smaller room, smaller tub.
The Wife's Bathroom: Larger room, larger tub. (Sometimes size does matter!) Point: Wife

Kids' Bathroom: Left on the counter: Uncapped Batman mouthwash, toothpaste stains, hair brushes, dirty washcloths, and assorted wrappers and garbage.
The Wife's Bathroom: Left on the counter: A few hair care products. Point: Wife

Seriously, is this thing a hair dryer or a photon cannon?

Kids' Bathroom
: Have to share it with four kids who sometimes act like unruly hooligans.
The Wife's Bathroom: Just one person to share it with, and she acts like an adult. Point: Wife

As you can see, it was a very tough battle, but it turns out I'd rather share a bathroom with my wife. (Hmmm...I wonder what she'd think about getting a Scooby-Doo shower curtain for our bathroom?)

Special thanks to my wonderful wife for giving me the idea for this blog, for allowing me to have some fun with her bathroom habits, and for actually being silly enough to agree to take a picture of me hiding behind the kids' Frozen shower curtain. She is The Bestest!!!

Edited from a post originally published on 7/21/2017.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Did You Remember to Unpack Your Suitcase?

Almost all of us have done it. We've been back from vacation for a week or two and wondered, "Hey, I can't find that pair of shoes?" Or, "What happened to that one shirt? I haven't seen it in a while." Or, "How can I be out of clean underwear already? I'm going to have to either do laundry today or go to the store and buy some new ones."

Why are we asking these questions? Because we forgot to unpack the suitcase.

A suitcase full of surprises.

When you get back from vacation, there are certain things that you make your priority. You unload the car. You take everything out of the cooler and put it in the refrigerator (where you ignore it for a week or two before throwing it all away because it might have been in the cooler a bit too long and you aren't quite sure if you trust that everything in there stayed cold enough to not go bad.) You sleep in your own bed. (There's no overrating how great it is to get back to your own bed after a vacation!) You shower in your own shower.

And, within the first day or two, you gather all of the dirty clothes from your vacation and start to do laundry. Why? Because you're going to need some clean clothes to wear. (And you want to be sure there aren't any nasty surprises, like a wet swimsuit.)

What you're not likely to do is unload the suitcase that still has clean clothes that you didn't use on vacation in it. Why? Because it's pretty easy to ignore that they exist. You took them on vacation, but you didn't use them, rendering them unimportant and forgettable until several days (or weeks) later when you are searching for your missing shoes.

I say that most people do this, but not all. There are two categories of people who don't forget to unpack their suitcase: 1) The super-organized people who unpack everything as soon as they walk in the door from vacation. To them, vacation isn't truly over until every last thing is put away. (These people are annoying.) (Well-organized, but annoying.) And, B) The living-on-the-edge people who take absolutely as little as possible on their vacation. These are the people who don't pack any extra clothes at all--just the bare minimum for the number of days they are traveling. They want their suitcase packed as minimally as possible, even if it means wearing the same shirt (or underwear) two (or more) days in a row. Yes, it makes for a less full suitcase, but I wouldn't recommend it, especially if you have kids. (Expecting a toddler to keep one set of clothes clean enough to wear all day long is three steps beyond optimistic to the point of being delusional.)

Why do most of the rest of us pack a few extra things? Because we don't know if we're going to need long pants or shorts. (Look at the weather report to guide you all you want--everyone knows those things aren't trustworthy.) We'll pack that jacket we don't need, or that extra shirt or two. And then, when we got home, we'll forget all about them.

And when we finally do remember to unpack that last suitcase, we're not 100% sure what to think about the clothes that are in it. Are we sure they're clean? Maybe some dirty clothes got mixed in with them. We just don't trust them. (Much like the food we brought home in the cooler--it's probably good, but we're not absolutely positive.) So, we wash all the clothes, whether they need it or not. (Of course, none of this would be a problem if we were just well-organized and/or annoying and put everything away the second we walk through the door. But that's not going to happen. At least, not until we get a good night's sleep in our own bed.)


Friday, July 19, 2019

I Don't Want My Dreams to Come True

Do you want your wildest dreams to come true?

It sounds good, doesn't it? It's what Pedro promised everyone at Preston High when he ran for student body president in Napoleon Dynamite.

Vote for Pedro!

Who wouldn't want their wildest dreams to come true? It would literally be your dreams coming true! That'd be fantastic!

Or would it?

If you really think about your dreams, would you want any of them to come true? I'm not talking about daydreams or wishes, but actual dreams you have had when you were actually asleep. Do you want those dreams to come true?

Do you want the dream where you go to work but have forgotten to wear your pants to come true? You're wandering around in your underwear for most of the day, and don't notice that you're not wearing pants until just before it's time to go home--is that the dream you want to come true?

How about the dream where it's the last day of school and you have to go take a test for a class you signed up for but haven't been to all semester? And if you don't pass the class you won't be able to graduate--is that the dream you want to come true?

What about the dream where you fall off of a cliff and you keep hoping that somehow, someway you'll learn how to fly or someone will save you before you hit the ground? You're falling and you can't stop--is that the dream you want to come true?

Or what about that dream when you are flying an airplane and it's exhilarating and wonderful...right up to the moment you realize that you have never flown an airplane? Now you just have to land the plane safely but you have no idea how to do it--is that the dream you want to come true?

Umm...no thanks!
I once had a dream that I was on a three-man relay race team with actor Abe Vigoda and my childhood neighbor Trav. Another friend of mine, Jim, was laughing at me and making fun of me because of how slow my relay team was going to be. Despite Trav's best efforts, Abe Vigoda and I aren't going to win any races. (Unless we're going up against Betty White and Dan Rather, and even then....)

No, I think I'll just keep those wildest dreams right where they are: as dreams. I don't want to go out in public in just my underwear. I'm fine with reality.

Edited from a post originally published on 7/18/2017.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Firework Season or Fire Season?

It's July. Does that mean it's fire season, or fireworks season? The answer, of course, is both, and that can be a problem.

We wait until July, when all the weeds are dried out and everything is at peak flammability, and then we light the fuse and send exploding fire bombs up into the air! And, just in case it wasn't quite dry enough on the 4th of July, here in Utah we let things dry out for 20 more days and try it again! (The 24th of July is a holiday in Utah called Pioneer Day, and the pioneers were well known for hard work, handcarts, and extravagant firework displays.)

As Brigham Young used to say, "This is the place for fireworks!"

Why July? Wouldn't it make more sense to light up the sky when the ground is covered with snow on Valentine's Day or President's Day? How about Thanksgiving? Wouldn't fireworks go great with cranberry sauce? Maybe even St. Patrick's Day when everything is green? Nope, we insist on dry July.

Fortunately, the local fire departments work hard to keep everyone safe. Most of them have restrictions set up as to where fireworks can and cannot be discharged. The problem comes when Hank down the street ignores the warnings and lights off the $60 Walmart pack, or, worse yet, some of the shoot-em-up-in-the-air fireworks purchased semi-legally across the state line. (I think Brigham got his fireworks in Evanston, Wyoming, just like everyone else.)

Even if Hank doesn't set the neighborhood ablaze, we still have to deal with him setting off firecrackers at all hours of the night. I've never understood the appeal of firecrackers: Yippee, they make a loud noise! I could get the same result by going around and hitting random people on the thumb with a hammer, only the loud noises I would be creating would be more colorful.

And then there are sparklers. Sparklers are the "kid toy" of the fireworks set. We light them on fire, hand them to a kid, and say, "Here's a stick on fire. Feel free to wave it around wildly, just be sure not to light your clothes on fire with it. And keep it away from your sister's hair, okay? Oh, and while you're holding it, the flame will be inching ever so closer to burning your hand off. Have fun!"

Now, I may have given you the impression that I don't like fireworks. That's not true: I love a good PROFESSIONAL fireworks show. When people who KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING stage fireworks shows while working in conjunction with the local fire departments to keep everyone safe, I'm all for it. These professional firework shows are beautiful and fantastic! (I just wish the finale would last a little longer.)

This piece originally appeared on the front page of the July 2017 edition of the ServeDaily newspaper. It can be found online here. I tinkered with it and made a few changes before posting it here to my blog. Read them both and see if you can spot the differences.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Are You Eating Enough Vegetables?

I'm trying to eat healthier. I really am. (I'll sometimes even go a whole day without a donut!)

Apparently, one of the keys to eating healthy is having a balanced diet with just the right amount of food from each of the major food groups. I remember learning about the food groups when I was a kid, but a lot of the things they taught me as a kid have changed. (Such as, Pluto is no longer a planet, and there is no such thing as a brontosaurus. (Maybe.))

So, I can't remember what the food groups were when they were taught to me, and they've probably changed since way back then anyway. The way I look at it, these are the main food groups:

1. Meat--beef, bacon, chicken, non-bacon pork, and maybe some fish.
2. Cheese--all of the cheeses: cheddar, Swiss, provolone, mozzarella, etc., plus butter and milk.
3. Wheat and grains--all of the breads and all of the noodles. (Donuts qualify as breads, right?) (Cinnamon rolls are definitely bread.)
4. Desserts--cakes, pies, cookies, donuts (they do double-duty), puddings, pastries, cobblers, and ice creams.
5. Fruits--bananas, oranges, apples, pears, peaches, and all forms of berries (except for bunny-berries. You don't want to eat those.)
6. Vegetables--lettuce, carrots, broccoli, green beans, cabbage, and anything else you might feed a rabbit or a hamster.

Unfortunately, while vegetables are number six on my list, professional healthy-eating people put them higher. Apparently they say a person should have six or seven servings of vegetables a day. How difficult this is depends on how exactly you define a "serving." In my mind, a serving is one unit of a vegetable. Let's look at this picture of some vegetables I ate the other day:

Sooooo many vegetables!!!

Here we see four "units" of carrot, one big pickle slice (it's hiding under the cheeseburger), and some lettuce. So, that's either six or seven servings of vegetables, depending on if you think that's enough lettuce to count as two servings or not. So, with one cheeseburger and four carrots, I've gotten my daily allotment of vegetables! Look at me, I'm eating healthy!

However, there are some who would say I'm overestimating the size of a serving. They say that one baby carrot is not an entire serving of vegetables. They say that in order to get six or seven servings, I would have to eat this many vegetables:

And this is just for lunch. (You should see what dinner looks like!)

My guess is that for truly healthy eating, my daily vegetable consumption should be somewhere between what is shown in these two pictures. (I'm thinking if I tripled my cheeseburger/carrot intake I'd be closer to eating healthy, right? Maybe I could have two pickles per burger instead of just one.)

I know I should probably eat more vegetables. Even though I'm not a rabbit or a hamster, I know that vegetables are better for me than a lot of the other things I eat, and I need to get more servings of them every day.

(I wonder how many pieces of carrot cake would I have to eat in order to get my seven servings of vegetables today?)

Edited from a post originally published on 7/14/2017.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Have We Gone Too Far with the Poop Jokes?

I've got a pretty juvenile sense of humor. I think poop and farts are funny. Over the years I've written extensively about poop and farts. (See: Getting the Pooh In the PottyWho Pooped In the Nursery?Dealing with the Crap of Being an AdultPublic Restroom EtiquetteI've Got to Go Potty...Now!; and Countdown to Colonoscopy, to name just a few.) The only time I haven't thought poop was funny was when my wife threw the poop in my face (figuratively speaking) by telling my youngest children, "Daddy will change your diaper. Daddy likes poop. Daddy thinks poop is funny."

So, when I recently said to myself, "Maybe we've finally gone too far with the poop jokes," it was more than a little bit surprising.

The groceries were on the kitchen table, and we were putting them away when my four year-old daughter said, "Uni-poop." I thought it was a strange thing to say, but it didn't bother me until she started repeating it. "Uni-poop. Uni-poop. Uni-poop."

"Stop saying that," I told her. I'm all for poop jokes, but they have to make some kind of sense.

"Uni-poop," she said again.

"Stop," I said, then asked, "Why do you keep saying that?"

She pointed to a box of Fruit Roll-Ups on the table in front of her. "Uni-poop," she said again.

I looked closer at the box, which my wife had purchased for the kids as a treat on our upcoming vacation. On the front of the box was a cartoon unicorn, along with a notice that there were "Unicorn Tongue Tattoos" on every roll. Because, apparently, what the kids these days want are tattoos of unicorns on their tongues.

What do unicorns, tongue tattoos, and fruit have to do with each other? Your guess is as good as mine.

"Uni-poop," my daughter said yet again. (She was giggling now.) I noticed she was pointing to the side of the box, which featured illustrations of the various tongue tattoos that were available inside the package. There, near the bottom, was a cute, smiling poop emoji with a unicorn horn sticking out of its head. Yes, Uni-poop!!!

Back when I was a kid I always dreamed of a time when I could get a unicorn tattooed on my tongue!

To be honest, I was a little relieved that "Uni-poop" was actually real (-ish) and not something wholly formed in the mind of my daughter. (Having an odd sense of humor is one thing, but focusing so intently on the bodily functions of mythical creatures might be a step too far, even for me.)

Once I wrapped my head around the idea that there was poop with a unicorn horn on the side of the Fruit Roll-Ups box, I asked my kids why it was "Uni-poop" and not a "Poo-nicorn." My oldest daughter explained that in order to be a "Poo-nicorn" it would have to look like a unicorn, but have a horn made of poop. No, this was definitely a "Uni-poop." (It seems these are the type of things kids today need to know.)

Definitely a Uni-Poop, and not a Poo-nicorn.

It got me thinking. Do I really want to purchase food (or in this case, a food-like product) that has a picture of poop on the box? Even if that poop is cartoony cute and has a horn sticking out of its head? If my grandparents were still alive and saw a picture of poop on the side of a box of food, they would be appalled and (rightfully) wonder what has happened to our society.

So, is this the tipping point? Have we finally gone too far? Are we doomed to a future filled with cartoon poop? Should we draw the line here and now, before the poop is everywhere? Is this too much?

Nope. I think it's pretty funny. After some initial confusion, I got a good laugh at my daughter and her "Uni-poop." So, manufacturers of the world, keep the poop coming! I welcome your poop with open arms! (Figuratively speaking, of course.)

Friday, July 5, 2019

Breaking the Law...In a Mini-Van?

I'm an outlaw. I almost broke the law today. (It was a close call.)

I was driving into town to get an oil change, and I was in the mini-van all by myself. I was cruising along on a route that I've been on hundreds of times. And that's when I did it...I almost got into the carpool lane!

The HOV lane calls to me.

I love the carpool lane. I drive in the carpool lane whenever I can. It's great. It's less crowded. I don't have to worry about changing lanes. I can (usually) go at a pretty good rate of speed. And so, as I was zooming down the freeway I automatically drifted over toward the carpool lane. But, no one else was in my car to do any pooling.

I'm not used to driving by myself. I've got four kids. And a wife. I've also got a few other relatives and/or friends who occasionally ride with me. (Yes, I do have friends!) It's pretty rare when I'm in the van by myself. So, I can almost always legally drive in the carpool lane.

Usually not a problem.

Sometimes I wonder if I should use the carpool lane if it's just me and the kids. I mean, none of them can drive, so it's not like I'm keeping another vehicle off of the road by having them ride with me. But, it says "2 or more persons" are required for carpool lane, and my kids, even if they can't drive, are definitely persons, despite their small size and the fact that they occasionally growl like animals.

Since I usually have five other people in the van with me, haven't I built up enough of an extra-rider surplus that would excuse a little jaunt into the carpool lane? I could get away with it, couldn't I? After all, I'm in a mini-van; who would pull over the driver of a mini-van for being in the carpool lane? How often is anyone actually in a mini-van by themselves? It's called the HOV lane. Did you know that HOV stands for "high occupancy vehicle?" And isn't a mini-van the epitome of a high occupancy vehicle, even if only one person is occupying it?

There were a lot of reasons and excuses why I might drive in the carpool lane--but I just couldn't do it. I'm not a very good outlaw. Maybe some day I'll get rebellious enough to cruise in the carpool lane by myself. And that could lead to crossing the double white lines. (You know, real criminal behavior.) After that...who knows?

(Heck, I'm just two or three steps away from robbing a bank!)

Edited from a post originally published on 7/7/2017.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Countdown to Colonoscopy!

WARNING: The following post may contain language concerning bodily functions that some might find uncomfortable. (And when I say "some," I mean "everyone.")

Have you ever gotten out of bed and told yourself, "I'm going to give myself explosive diarrhea today! On purpose!" If so, that probably means that you're getting a colonoscopy--or you've decided to eat at Taco Bell. Either way, I wish you luck.

What is a colonoscopy? It's when a doctor takes a camera and pushes it into your body through your back door in order to look inside your colon and intestines. (And when I say "back door," I mean "rectum.")

Why get a colonoscopy? Because doesn't everyone wants a camera shoved up their butt? No, to be serious for a second, doctors like this procedure to be performed so they can check to see if you have colon cancer, which is a terrible disease. Finding it early can save lives.

When should I get a colonoscopy? You should only get a colonoscopy when it is recommended by a doctor. This is not something you just walk in off of the street and ask for. Also, make sure your colonoscopy is performed by a trained medical professional. (Stay away from Discount Dave's Kolonoscopy Klinic, and not just because Dave can't spell.)

It sounds scary, but it really isn't. (Well, some of it is.) I recently had a colonoscopy, so I will take you through how it went for me.

One year, four months BC ("BC" stands for "Before Colonoscopy"): While getting a physical, my doctor recommends that I get a colonoscopy. It is generally considered a good idea for all men to do so when they turn 50 years old. I tell him I will get one in the summer, when my wife (a school teacher) is off from work.

One year BC: I completely forget to have the colonoscopy done. Oops.

One month BC: I remember that I forgot to have the colonoscopy done last year.

20 days BC: I call my doctor to make an appointment to get a colonoscopy. My doctor doesn't do colonoscopies, so he connects me to a specialist. (Apparently it takes special training to place a camera into someone's rectum. I'm okay with this; if I'm going to have someone put a camera up my rectum, I'd prefer it to be someone who knows what he's doing.)

17 days BC: I get a call from the colonoscopy doctor's office to set up a time for my procedure. I am told to go to a pharmacy to get a subscription prescription for a product that will help clear my bowels before the procedure.

14 days BC: I go to the pharmacy to get my prescription. It is a very large jug with a little bit of powder in the bottom. I am told that I must fill this jug with water and drink it all the night before the colonoscopy. It will help flush the contents of my stomach out of my stomach, via my bum. Suddenly, having a camera pushed up my bum isn't the only thing I'm concerned about.

Yes, I get to drink the entire jug! (It's okay, though, because I'm sure it tastes good.)

14 days through 2 days BC: I am not looking forward to this. I talk to people who have had colonoscopies. After hearing their stories, I am looking forward to this even less.

40 hours BC: It is my last chance to eat before the procedure. I make a late night run to McDonald's to get a triple cheeseburger and two chocolate chip cookies. (Yes, I most certainly will regret going to McDonald's--even more than usual.)

34 hours BC: It is the day before my procedure, and I am limited to a diet of only clear liquids. The only thing I can "eat" is Jell-o, as long as it's not red, blue, or purple.

32 hours BC: I fill my prescription jug full of water, shake it to mix in the medicine, and put it into the refrigerator to chill. I'm really looking forward to giving myself diarrhea!!!

24 hours BC: I "eat" my Jell-o. Now that's a satisfying meal!

19 hours BC: I begin to drink from my prescription jug. I am told I need to drink 8 ounces every ten minutes. I fill a little red cup and gurgle it down. It tastes like cold water mixed with cardboard and just a hint of brussels sprouts. (Or possibly feet.) Yummy!

One down, 15 cups to go!

19 hours through 17 hours BC: I chug 8 ounces of this vile-tasting liquid every ten minutes. That's 12 full red cups. That's not fun.

18 hours BC: The information that comes with my prescription jug tells me that about an hour after starting to drink it I will feel an urgent need to go to the bathroom. It is time, but I do not feel any urgent need. I'm beginning to think I'm drinking this swill for no reason.

17 hours, 20 minutes BC: It turns out I'm drinking this stuff for a reason after all. As I sit on the toilet, words like "urgent," "uncontrollable," and "explosive" come to mind. I'm a bit hesitant to leave the toilet to go drink my last two or three doses from my prescription jug, for fear that I won't make it back in time.

17 hours BC: I'm finished drinking my vile drink--for now. (I had to leave a little bit in the jug to drink in the morning. It's nice to have something to look forward to.)

17 hours through 13 hours BC: I spend this time on or near the toilet. I do not stray far. (I most certainly am regretting that triple cheeseburger.)

5 hours BC: I have to finish off my prescription jug. Five more 8 ounce swigs of nasty drink over the next 50 minutes.

4 hours BC: Nothing more at all to drink or eat until the procedure. Just waiting. (On or near the toilet.)

15 minutes BC: Check in at the hospital. The waiting room is full.

5 minutes BC: I'm taken back to my room and told to take off my clothes and put on my gown. (I've always wanted to wear a gown. I feel like a princess.)

2 minutes BC: The nurse is having a hard time finding a vein in order to put an IV line in. I tell her it would probably be easier if I wasn't so dehydrated because I haven't been able to drink anything for several hours. The nurse sticks a needle in my arm and finds a vein...eventually.

Colonoscopy: I'm wheeled into an operating room, where I meet my doctor for the first time. He looks young enough to play a high schooler on a bad sitcom. I'm told to turn onto my side, and asked if I'm beginning to feel the effects of the anesthesia. I say, "No." Five seconds later I say, "Okay, now I'm starting to...."

Seemingly seconds later: I wake up as I'm wheeled back into my room. I'm rambling something about "Monte Crisco sandwiches," then I realize it's "Monte Cristo," not "Crisco," and I start babbling about how we used to buy big cans of white lard to grease pans whenever we made cakes or casseroles. I am definitely loopy from the drugs they used to put me out. (This is why they tell me not to drive or make important decisions for the rest of the day.)

2 minutes AC ("AC" stands for "After Colonoscopy"): The doctor steps into the room, says, "Everything was fine. See you in ten years," and leaves. Through the whole procedure I've seen the doctor for a total of about twenty seconds.

30 minutes AC: I'm told it's okay to get dressed and leave. So, I do. (I can't decide if I'm disappointed that they shoved a camera up my bum, but I didn't get to see any of the pictures.)

40 minutes AC: I haven't eaten for 42 hours. I am hungry! I make a decision: Denny's. (Don't judge! Denny's has some good-tasting food!) They don't have a Monte Cristo sandwich, so I order the closest thing--the Grand Slamwich.

I missed food.

46 minutes AC: Food! I really like food. I also order a Vanilla Coke, because it is so nice to be drinking something that doesn't come in a big prescription jug or taste like feet.

Now that it's all done, I'd say that the colonoscopy itself wasn't bad at all. It was the preparation for the colonoscopy that was nasty. I just hope that in ten years, when I have to do this again, they'll have found some way to perform a colonoscopy without forcing me to drink a jug-full of yuck. (No one likes explosive diarrhea.)

Friday, June 28, 2019

Should I Drink This or Wash My Hair With It?

Have you ever been in the shower, smelled your shampoo, and thought, "This smells delicious! I wish I could drink it." Or been washing your hands and thought, "This smells so good I want to lick my hands."

If you walk down the shampoo or soap aisles of any store you'll be bombarded with all kinds of yummy-sounding "flavors" of products you can't eat or drink. It can be very confusing.

For today, I've devised a quiz, to see if you can determine, by the flavor, if a product is a shampoo, soap, or some kind of actual food. (For the sake of this quiz, I'm going to consider hair conditioner as shampoo, and body wash as soap.) Let's see how you do.

1. "Vanilla Creme"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Candy

Answer #1--B. Soap

2. "Coconut, Jojoba, and Macadamia Oils"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Suntan lotion
Answer #2--A. Shampoo
3. "Mango Splash"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Aftershave
Answer #3--B. Soap
4. "Apple Mango with Rice and Vanilla"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Candy
Answer #4--C. Baby food
5. "Mango and Citrus Essence"-- is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Toothpaste
Answer #5--A. Shampoo
6. "Orange, Mango, Peach"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Fruit, fruit, fruit
Answer #6--D. Beverage
7. "Warm Mango Sunset"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Song by Jimmy Buffet
Answer #7--B. Soap
8. "Zucchini, Banana, and Amaranth"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Scented candle
Answer #8--C. Baby food
9. "Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Candy
Answer #9--E. Candy
10. "Chocolate"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Yarn
Answer #10--E. Yarn
11. "Green Apple"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Fruit
Answer #11--A. Shampoo
12. "Juicy Green Apple"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Fruit
Answer #12--A. Shampoo
13. "Apple Extract with Ceramide"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Fruit (with Ceramide)
Answer #13--A. Shampoo
(Don't worry, I don't know what "Ceramide" is, either. I don't think anyone does.)
14. "Apple with Spinach"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Fruit and vegetable
Answer #14--C. Baby food
15. "Crisp Pear and Fuji Apple"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Fruit and fruit
Answer #15--B. Soap
16. "Champagne Mango and White Ginger"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Singing duo
Answer #16--B. Soap
17. "Coconut Water Vanilla Milk"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Song by Jimmy Buffet
Answer #17--A. Shampoo
18. "Fresh Melon Margarita"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Song by Jimmy Buffet
Answer #18--B. Soap
19. "Peppermint Meringue"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Pie
O F. Ice cream
Answer #19--B. Soap
20. "Sweet & Salty Caramel"--is it:
O A. Shampoo
O B. Soap
O C. Baby food
O D. Beverage
O E. Scented Candle
Answer #20--E. Scented candle
And there you have it.

So, the next time you find yourself in a lounge chair on a sunny beach, listening to Jimmy Buffet, holding a tall glass with an umbrella sticking out of it, ask yourself this question: Should I wash my hair with this?

Edited from a post originally published on 4/21/2017.