Thursday, October 18, 2012

It Was Miss Scarlett in the Spa with a Dumbbell. Wait. What???

As a mom, I have been waiting for my kids to be old enough to enjoy the things that I do.  Or force them to do those activities anyway while I can still boss them around.

Anyway, I've always been a person who enjoys playing games - I love Phase 10 (both dice and cards), have cut-throat games of Rummikube with my parents, and almost didn't graduate from college because my roommates and I got so addicted to a card game that left us no time to study.

In recent weeks, I have been talking to my kids about buying the game Clue.  I loved it as a kid and now 2 out of 3 of my children are old enough to understand how to play and the youngest one will probably catch on immediately (even though she's only 6) and beat the pants off the rest of us.  So last night, we stopped by the store and bought it.  And when I opened it up, one thought crossed my mind.

What the hell is this?

There is now a spa in the mansion.  Professor Plum and Colonel Mustard are not distinguished old gentlemen but metro-sexual yuppies with designer glasses and perfect wardrobes.  At the end of the game, we found out that Miss Scarlett had offed someone with a dumbbell, something I don't even think existed in the 1980s outside of Arnold Schwarznegger's home. 

I'm kind of worried that the next time I play, it will be Mrs. White in the kitchen with a botched botox injection.

Anyway, that got me thinking about what other games could be updated from my childhood.  For example:  I'm worried that Chutes and Ladders will no longer be the same.  In order to go down a chute, one must sign a release that you won't sue in case of injury and the ladders will be replaced with escalators to get you to your destination.

Monopoly will be renamed Foreclosure with all of the prices on the real-estate cards slashed in red to indicate the buyer's market it is now.  Cash will no longer be included in the game and it will come with its own credit card swiper.  A banker will no longer be needed  - but someone will need to take on the role of Credit Counselor.

Candyland will keep its name but instead of the peanut brittle house, there will be a frozen yogurt stand and the molasses swamp will be replaced by a Lifetime Fitness.  Children will no longer pull cards that send them back to the candy cane or the dreaded heart and will instead have to backtrack to the Fruit Snacks that don't contain high-fructose corn syrup or the gluten-free chocolate cookie with sugar-free sprinkles.

Battleship won't be worth playing after budget cuts.

The Game of Life will be updated to include a surprise college pregnancy and at least 3 layoffs.  

Scrabble will be obsolete because no one can function without spell-check.

And then I guess all of my childhood games will fit the life my kids are leading now.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Scenes from a Mall

While I consider myself a shopper, very rarely do I go to the mall.  I'm a bargain hunter so Old Navy, Marshall's, and Ross are my usual stomping grounds.  Buying clothes that cost a lot are too much pressure for the attention span I don't have and I will spend a lot of time worrying that I won't wear something enough to get my money's worth.  So I'd rather spend a few dollars on something that will only wash twice before it falls apart and be done with it.

Today was an emergency, though, because my daughter came home with a little slip of paper from her choir teacher yesterday that said:

Make sure you kids have black pants and white shirts!

Thanks for the heads-up, lady.  As I type this I'm praying that the pants I bought my kid will fit otherwise she's going to be in her black yoga pants and I don't want to hear a word about it.

The mall has changed a lot from my younger days.  They used to be dark, a little dingy, and the best place for us teenagers to practice our skulking skills.  We'd wander around for hours, going into novelty shops like Spencer's that carried nothing that anyone on earth could possibly need and hit the music stores holding our extra large drinks from Taco Bell while we flipped through the selections for hours until we spent $1.00 on a single track.

These days the mall is brightly lit and sucks the very life out of you the moment you walk in the door.  Seriously.  It's like I can feel the moisture leave my body and I'm immediately dehydrated.  About a half hour in, I find myself getting dizzy as I ride the escalator down so that I can begin the slow crawl toward daylight and fresh air.

Not only that, but the teenagers don't skulk because they're too busy texting and they're not carrying the Taco Bell cups of old, but rather large lattes from Starbucks.  

It's amazing the false hope that the mall gives us.  That our lives can be changed by color-blocking.  That those boots will keep us warm and never mind that 5" heel - you'll be fine in the snow.  That if we buy that Pottery Barn dining room set - marked down from $10,000 to $9,950 - our homes will be complete and our families will never say a cross word at dinner because they'll be sitting at that perfectly appointed table, complete with 3 table runners, a large basket of rustic pumpkins that cost $1000, and linen napkins that we will never use again.

For some reason today, I couldn't help but notice the bags that people were carrying and I wondered if they realized what it said about them.  There was an older gentleman in his 60s carrying an Abercrombie & Fitch bag who looked like he might be gearing up for a later-in-life round of dating and was trying to look as young as possible.  I thought about drawing his attention to the woman who was carrying the Anne Taylor bag, but most women who can fit into those clothes are a B cup or less and he might be looking for more. 

And then there was me - walking around with a bag from Bath & Body Works because the soap I bought today was the only thing that fit.

When I go to the mall, it's usually the department stores that I go into.  I start from the bottom and work my way up.  JC Penney's is doing a facelift and I'm a little confused by their new identity but I'm willing to give anything a try.  I'm not sure why I go into Dillard's anymore because most of what I find there I think I'll be more comfortable in when I'm 80.  Macy's will work in a pinch for the bargain hunter in me and if I'm wearing my nice jeans...I'll go into Nordstrom.
I don't know how they do it, but when you walk into Nordstrom, you just look more put together.  Somehow everyone looks perfectly mismatched and carefully uncoordinated and I just know that if I saw the same woman walking around TJMaxx...she wouldn't look as good to me.

I've also spent more at Nordstrom than I do anywhere else and I don't know why.  For some reason, I'll feel compelled to buy a shirt on the sale rack there that still costs $70 even though I wouldn't give it a second thought at Macy's.  There is something about seeing an article of clothing marked down 33% at Nordstrom that makes me think I'm getting a great deal.  

That is, until I get home and think, "Wait.  What did I just buy?"

The truth is, I feel my age every time I go to the mall.  I'm reminded of my very wise grandmother who, when asked if she wanted to go shopping, replied, "Why?  I've already seen everything."

And even though she said that at 90, I'm thinking it at 36.  I feel like I've seen every pair of shoes that someone could possibly invent.  I've been around long enough to see trends go and come back again.  And I'm old enough now to know that the perfect shirt won't fix a bad day and that another pair of black pants are probably no better than the 10 I already have in my closet.

But there's still a part of me that's foolish enough to try.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Know Nothing About Politics. And I Approve This Message

Like many Americans, I watched the Presidential Debate last night, but I'll be the first to admit that I watched it for a reason that really wasn't all that patriotic.

I just wanted to see if Mitt Romney would say something stupid.

But he didn't.  He did very well.  And after last night, there is a clear front-runner in this race.




Clearly, for those who are worried about the educational system in America, Big Bird is the only choice.  And with The Count as his running mate it seems that he just can't lose.

"We can't wait to roll out our new economic policy entitled We'll Get the Country Back on Track Because I Can't Count Higher than 10," The Count said in an interview this morning. "Ah ah ahhhh."

I know that doesn't seem like a very good reason to watch what should be a very important 2 hours to me as an American citizen, but I can't help it.  As soon as any numbers are mentioned, my mind comes to a screeching halt and I get a glazed look.  So if waiting for someone to say something ridiculous was my reason for watching the debate, then I think the Republicans have picked a great candidate who will get even the politically unaware (that would be me) interested in listening to what both candidates have to say.

Much ado was made about the facial expressions of both candidates during the debate while the other was speaking.  Let me sum it up for you:

 "It's my anniversary.  I wonder if I'll get lucky tonight?"

"He's so pretty."

But I really think we should give them a break.  Do you know what my face would look like if I had to argue with someone I hated for two hours on television?

Many people also remarked on how Romney seemed to run the show from the very beginning.  But after his comment about getting rid of the funding that's going to PBS, I began to wonder if Jim Lehrer was giving him the go-ahead so that, if elected, Romney might offer him a job after he was canned from Public Television.  

Then again, maybe Romney was just ignoring the moderator because he wasn't sure if he was real...or a product of Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.

What I truly did enjoy during the debate was my 2 hour vacation from political commercials.  I have gotten to the point where I DVR every single show I want to watch so that I can skip through all of those ads claiming that if we vote one side or the other, the world as we know it will end.

My mom is sick of it, too.  "I just hate talking politics with anyone," she told me yesterday in a tired voice.  "They all seem to think that if one party or the other is elected, none of us will survive."

She's not kidding and I know she's not the only one who feels this way.  I have been reading posts from friends and family on Twitter and Facebook that seem to indicate that Americans now more than ever aren't voting for someone - they're voting against the other party.  Even the people I know who are staunch Republicans seem to be saying, "Well...if that's the best you could do...." and the Democrats are just trying to hold on with their fingertips so that they might have a chance to finish what they started.

Well.  I have news for you.  In another 4 years, no one will really finish anything.

For those people who think that the country will collapse if either party is elected, you have clearly never sat on a board before.  My impatience with working with a group of people who all have no doubt that their way is the best way and are completely unwilling to yield has made me a very uncivic-minded person.  My last experience with this was about 10 years ago when I sat on the board of the local cultural commission that spent 6 months trying to get a statue in front of a restaurant approved.  By the time I resigned, I was so damn frustrated that I was ready to vote against the arts in every poll that was put in front of me.

So imagine how hard it must be to get little things like taxes and healthcare approved.

What might take a dictator 2 days to roll out (not that I'm for that form of politics), Congress will never get off the ground in 4 years because every person seems to think they know best.  If the Republicans are elected, they'll spend the next 4 years trying to overturn everything the Democrats have done and if the Democrats are elected they'll keep plugging away, trying to get what they want done before the next group gets in there and changes it all.

This would be why Big Bird might be the best alternative.  And with all of those Stanley Steemer commercials that are set in the Oval Office, they already have things covered should a bird take office.

Anyway, after watching 2 hours of candidates telling each other that they were wrong about each other's policies and listening to Jim Lehrer say uh, wait, and you only have 5 seconds when he had clearly lost all control of what was going on, I had only one thing running through my mind the entire time.

They preempted Modern Family for this?