Thursday, July 28, 2011


People like to talk about baggage.  "He comes with a lot of baggage."  "She's got a lot of baggage."  "I can't believe I have to pay $50 to fly with extra baggage."  Everyone has their 'stuff' that they bring into a relationship.  Most of it is trivial; carry-ons, if you will.  For example, my husband can't eat dill pickles if he plans on kissing me within the following ten hours.  Also, use of the word "moist" is prohibited in my house.  I, myself, haven't had asparagus in ten years because my husband doesn't like it.  We make little sacrifices to accommodate the baggage of the people we love.

Speaking of baggage, I once saw Dom DeLuise in the Los Angeles airport. I will always remember him getting his luggage off of the carousel not only because of his great stature covered in a vibrant Hawaiian shirt, but also because he had no fewer than 137-thousand tiny little pieces of luggage. He had three or four of those big huge luggage carts you used to be able to find at the airport (back in the days when your luggage got to fly for free) filled to toppling with bags that were no wider than my laptop. Not only did it seem odd for such a large man to have so many dainty bags, I don't think he could have fit more than one shirt in each one, I was also struck by the fact that not a single one matched another. There was one that was a bright, shiny red like the seat cover in a '50's style diner. Another was neon green. There was one that had airplanes printed on it. There were none that were plain black or blue like almost all of the rest of the luggage being pulled out of the bottom of the plane. As my family pulled our own luggage off of the carousel I thought to myself, "Our luggage may be olive green hard cases from the '60's, but at least it's a matched set!" The other thing that struck me about Dom DeLuise was that he was not smiling... at all. Maybe it's because he had to schlep 137-thousand tiny cases around the country when he traveled.

I seem to be a collector of bags.  Not purses, although I have my fair share of those as well.  I'm talking about bags.  My mother-in-law will send us home from her house with several items for the kids and she'll put them in a nice, sturdy shopping bag.  Or I'll go shopping at Ann Taylor (with a gift card, of course) and they'll put my new clothes in a shopping bag with a ribbon handle.  For some reason, I feel compelled to save these bags.  I have no idea why.  I don't think I have ever re-used such a bag.  They mostly just sit around and collect dust until I go insane and finally throw them out in a fit of angry cleaning.  I've also started collecting re-usable cloth or nylon shopping bags, you know, to save the environment.  I have one that folds into a perfect 4"x4" square and one that tucks into itself until it looks like a strawberry.  I have never once remembered to bring any of these bags to the grocery store.  But luckily, I have a very reasonable use for saving the plastic Wegmans bags that I bring home instead.  My son is not yet potty trained and some of those stinky diapers need some serious wrapping before being tossed in the trash.

I heard a story about a bag boy at a grocery store who was mentally handicapped.  Each night before work he would think up a "thought of the day" and print it out on a bunch of strips of paper.  He would drop one of these strips of paper into each grocery bag he packed.  After about a month, the manager of the store noticed that all of the customers were lined up at one lane.  He tried to direct them to other open lanes to get things moving, but they all told him no.  They wanted to be in this boy's lane just so that they could get his encouraging thought of the day.

All this talk of bags reminds me, I need to pick up some goodie bags for my son's birthday party this weekend.  I made a pinata (you heard me, I made it myself!) and it's stuffed full of little treats.  Each kid will need a bag to stash their loot in.  Maybe I just found a use for all those shopping bags!

Monday, July 11, 2011

I wore flip flops to Wegmans....

It's hot.  It's very hot.  And muggy.  The sky wants to rain but there's just something stopping it, as if the atmosphere is biting its lip trying not to cry when it's angry.  Anyhow, it's hot.

I have a general rule... flip flops are fine for the beach or the pool, but they are not appropriate footwear for general life.  I understand that some people "live" in their flip flops all summer, but I just can't do that.  The only exception to my no-flip-flop rule is when I am pregnant and so swollen nothing else will fit on my sausage feet.  Otherwise, there's just something about flip flops that rub me the wrong way.  I feel the same way about people who wear pajama bottoms as pants.  It's just wrong and should be stopped.

Feet, in general, are not at all attractive and, in my humble opinion, should be covered as much as possible.  I also firmly believe that if your toes are going to peep out from your shoes they should be trimmed, clean, and painted.  Toenails are gross in any scenario.  The only acceptable way to show the world your toe is to paint it.  Preferably bright pink.

Anyhow, back to the flip-flops.  Many years ago I had foot surgery and needed a shoe to fit over my bandaged, mangled feet.  I found a pair of bright red rubber flip flops with sparkly red beads on the straps.  They were $4.73.  I remember that because I went back and forth several times before I was willing to pay the whopping $4.73 for a shoe that I was adamantly against wearing.  I bought them and painted my toes red to match.  It worked out okay, but I was glad when I was able to wear normal shoes again.

Shortly before Independence Day this year I went to a family reunion and ended up getting a blister on the back of my ankle.  So the next day I searched the back of my closet floor until I came across my bright red flip flops and decided to wear them to my In-Laws house.  They live on a beautiful lake and my kids would be swimming, so I convinced myself that the beach attire was appropriate.  Also, I don't have a lot of clothes in "patriotic" colors, so I felt I needed to wear as much red as I could.

After wearing them all day at the lake, I decided to wear them to the town parade.  That lead me to wear them to the Independence Day barbecue at my sister's house.  Then I wore them to the fireworks.  When I finally got home, the red flip flops ended up with the pile of shoes by the front door.  For the rest of the weekend and into the week I would slip them on real quick to run outside to get the mail, or to dig in the garden, or to sit in the back yard while the kids played or splashed in the pool. 

And then it happened.  I ran to Wegmans real quick to pick up some diapers and ice cream.  (It's still hot.)  When I got into my car my shoe slid off my foot.  (This happens to me more often than you would think.)  I looked down at the black pavement and saw the bright red flip flop sparkling in the sunshine.  I couldn't believe I had gone to the store wearing them.  It's against my rule!  I'm sure it was just the heat that caused my lapse in judgment, but I'm afraid I may have gotten into the habit of slipping them on before I fly out the door and now I can't stop! 

These patriotic flip flops were the gateway shoe.  If you ever see me in church wearing my slippers, please organize a footwear intervention for me.