Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Enjoying the Shade of the Family Tree

This year Heather and I are enjoying a holiday at my brother's house, which means we get to enjoy spending some time with him and his wife, as well as their four children.  It's interesting to see the family traits, both physical and personality wise, that you grew up with showing their form in a new generation of children.  Voracious reader - check.  Smaller than average stature - check.  Excelling at school without trying - check.    Lack of appreciable social skills - check.  Zero body fat and high muscle density - check.  Stubborn to a fault - check.

Of course knowing your family's personality quirks can be quite fun.  When I noticed that my 15 year old nephew had a bit of a beach fuzz mustache and goatee, I told him "10 bucks says that when my dad sees you he'll look you over like he's performing some kind of medical evaluation and say "What's that on your chin, it looks like something's growing there - did you forget to shave, son?" or something to that effect."  I didn't actually hear dad say anything about Bryan's budding beard, but Bryan did walk up to me about 10 minutes after dad arrived and said "Somebody owes you ten dollars".  It took a few seconds to register what he was talking about.  Then I just smiled and nodded.

The highlight of Christmas so far, though, has been the trip with mom this morning to Hardees for cinnamon raisin biscuits.  I wasn't even hungry, but I love me some cinnamon raisin biscuits, and they don't even sell them at the Hardees in San Antonio where I live!  I guess Mexicans just don't have a taste for them.  I had two and they were delicious.  Too bad I have to drive 1000 miles to get them.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's Like Secret Deodorant, For my Feet

When I was a kid I used to get a new pair of house shoes every year.  They all looked the same, except for being slightly larger to accommodate my growing feet.  The inside was a pale yellow fleece, while the exterior was a manila envelope brown vinyl.  I have terrible circulation in my feet, despite having veins there as large as some people have leading into their hearts.  Because of this my slippers were always on my feet, and since I only got one pair a year at Christmas, I had to make them last.

It didn't take long for the fleece to get matted to a nearly flat constitution, and eventually my big toes would work a hole in the bottoms of the soles.  The fact that the soles were made of the same thin vinyl as the rest of the shoe probably didn't help their longevity, but this was easily fixed with a couple of pieces of duct tape.  Before Christmas came around I would have some duct tape on the bottom of the heel as well.  Sure it looked ghetto, but it worked.  As a bonus, they didn't increase the friction of the shoes, so I could still run full speed and slide around corners in the house, which I'm sure my mom appreciated.

For years Heather would have to make an annual trek to Kmart, to get the modern version of my childhood house shoes, as they were the only place to find them.  This was an absolute act of love, as Heather hates Kmart, with a hatred as deep as the hate between cats and dogs.  Over the years the color had gotten darker brown, but not much else had changed.  I really don't like the moccasin shoes with the heavy sole, or any slippers that seem to be designed to allow me to wear them for a walk around the block.  I want them light, warm, and flexible.  So I was dismayed when even Kmart stopped carrying my favorite house shoes.  In hindsight, I should have bought a lifetime supply, but how was I to know?

Last year Heather found a semi-suitable substitute at Walmart, but I couldn't help but look longingly at her purple slippers, that have an exterior which is like shag carpeting, and which terminates just above her ankle.  The interior is super soft and warm, and the sole is thin and pliable.  So when I found a similar pair at the store, except in blue (they look like someone killed Cookie Monster and made slippers from his hide), I was intrigued by the thought...could my feet fit into a women's extra large?

The answer, if you're curious, is heck yeah!  My feet now luxuriate in some awesome house slippers as I traipse around the house.  I love my house shoes, no matter what gender they were designed for. They may not fit in with my den covered in deer heads and stuffed water fowl, but then, I don't have one of those, so that's ok.  And they aren't so overtly feminine that I feel like I should be wearing them with pink leotards or something.  Besides, who would wear pink leotards these days?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Perilous Situation

There is a lot of attention these days in the news about the coming Fiscal Cliff.  This refers to a host of economy dampeners that are set to take effect on January 1st.  The end of the Bush era tax cuts, a resumption of higher social security tax rates, stoppage of extended unemployment benefits, and more.  I am deeply concerned, not so much about the fiscal cliff, but another even more cataclysmic event that is on our horizon.

I am speaking about something you are probably already aware of and may think you have already come to terms with: the Twinkie Cliff.

That's right, thanks to labor issues and poor management, Hostess announced recently that they are going out of business, and that means no more Twinkies rolling off the bakery assembly line.  You may not realize it now, but there is a serious crisis coming.

We probably won't notice at first.  Most of us don't eat Twinkies every day, and there are other companies that offer similar products.  But eventually there are those among us, and you just may be one of them, who will want a Twinkie, a real honest to goodness bit of golden creme-filled heaven on earth with a little cowboy hat wearing cartoon pastry on the box, and then will come the sad realization.    The Twinkie is dead.

There are some things you just don't appreciate until they are gone.  Like Styrofoam fast food containers, and music videos on MTV.  But if the Rolling Stones, who's member's average age is greater than the average age of the Supreme Court justices (I'm not kidding) can make a come back, who's to say the Twinkie won't be resurrected by another bakery company?  I'm optimistically holding out hope for this solution.  It seems more feasible than politicians in Washington getting their collective acts together.  And I have a feeling we're going to need a lot of comfort food in the next few years.