Dancing with Green-Teeth

By Charmin Foth

Flickr: sean-b

As our 20th-anniversary approaches, I am reminded of a skinny cowboy propping up the wall. My dear husband and I met twenty-two years ago on December 9th.

At the time, I didn’t want a relationship. I didn’t want to date, I was pretty much over romance all-together. I had been in an abusive marriage for seven years and couldn’t believe the person I had become in that time.

I had lost my self-esteem and my sense of who I was, or what I wanted out of life. I was burned-out, struggling with my faith and feeling like a failure. Years of being treated badly had led me to believe I deserved such treatment. I was just beginning to figure myself out again, thanks to the help of some great girlfriends, who dragged me out of the house and into the world again. They took me to line dancing classes at the local skating rink and concerts, and weekend trips, keeping me from drowning in a pool of self-pity.

On December 9th, my friend Beth, did exactly that, she drug me out of the house. Living in Nashville, there was always an opportunity for musical entertainment. On that night David Lee Murphy was playing at the Wild Horse Saloon, one of Nashville’s hot, touristy spots on 2nd Avenue, Beth suggested we go and try out our new line-dancing skills. So, rather than sitting at home on a Friday night eating fish sticks and tater tots, I agreed.

When we got there, we found a table and ordered Diet Cokes. Not my usual fare, I’m more a Mountain Dew connoisseur (diet – now that I’m older). I know you thought I was going to say something else, but alcohol was never a vice for me. I preferred to abuse myself with bad relationships.

So, I am truly a wild woman hanging out at a saloon drinking Diet Coke. Beth and I had fun people-watching and dancing. The wonderful thing about line-dancing is it doesn’t require you to have a date, and no one has to be in your personal space. Both of which appealed to me at the time, since I had sworn off relationships with men. I had a strict rule, I never slow danced with anyone. PERIOD. That was WAYtoo close for me.

While Beth and I were people-watching, I had noticed a cowboy in a fringed jacket, Resistol cowboy hat pulled low over his eyes, Wrangler jeans and boots leaning up against the wall. He was cute, in that lone-wolf kind of way.

The place was packed with people and we were lucky to have a table with a good view of everything. They were having a beauty contest before the concert so the dances were spread out between the contest events. The place was crawling with very pretty, scantily-clad girls and all types of guys, trying to get their attention.

When the guys couldn’t get the time of day from the pretty girls, they would begin to look around and ask the rest of us to dance. I wasn’t particularly looking for a dance partner, but this nice looking young man came up to me and asked me to dance. Since it was a “Boot Scoot Boogie” it wasn’t as if I had to get too close to the guy, so I said, “yes.”

It wasn’t until he got on the dance floor, and started smiling at me, that I realized he had horrible green teeth. When he got close enough to where I could actually hear what he was trying to say, I realized he had horrible green breath to go along with it. This is exactly the reason I was against dating. UGGH!

Beth and I laughed over the green teeth once I got back to the table, and I marked another notch in the list of THINGS I DON’T WANT. But, I was still keeping an eye on the cowboy holding up the wall across the way. Beth and I may have made a few comments amongst ourselves about him too.

The beauty contest continued for a little while and then they played a slow love song.  Beth and I were talking and minding our own business when I looked up and saw “green teeth” headed straight for our table. The cowboy holding up the wall must have seen the look of sheer terror come across my face, because just before “green teeth” stepped up to ask me to dance, the cowboy stepped in front of “green teeth” and asked me to dance.

In that moment, the cowboy rescued me from certain awkwardness, and left “green teeth” standing there looking dazed and confused.

Much to my surprise, when the cowboy asked me to slow dance, I said, “YES!”

“Green teeth” did not look happy, but I was so relieved the cowboy was taking me in the opposite direction, I didn’t care. It wasn’t until I was on the dance floor I realized I had broken my own rule. Here I was dancing close to a tall cowboy with a buzz cut. Oh, this could be trouble!

Not wanting to waste time I figured I’d find out exactly what was wrong with this guy and then get back to the table and enjoy the rest of my evening. We exchanged names, I told him I didn’t usually slow dance and apologized if I stepped on his feet. He told me if a horse could step on his feet, then me stepping on his feet wasn’t anything to worry about. I had a snarky comment about the horse thing, but I kept it to myself.

As we made small talk I found out he was a soldier at Fort Campbell, looking for a tourist to “date.” We had a lot in common, he was coming out of a bad relationship too.

I asked him at least twenty questions during the dance. I was determined not to repeat the bad relationships of my past. So I had this checklist in my head and on the first wrong answer, this guy was going to be history. The only problem was, he was getting all the answers right, and from the way he answered, he seemed to be pretty honest. That was different. He was different.

I asked him if he did drugs? No. Did he drink a lot? Mountain Dew (Hmm, that’s what I drink). Drugs and alcohol abuse were the big deal breakers, I had been around those guys, and wasn’t going down that road again. He passed the first two big tests. Time to just hit him with the big list of WHAT I DON’T WANT.

I asked him if he knew how to read? What was the name of the last book he read? You name it, I was straightforward, to  the point and more than a little obnoxious. I was sure I had put this guy off. He would never look my way again.

When the song ended, he followed me back to my table. He made me laugh and spent the rest of the evening at the table with Beth and I. He ordered a Coke (they didn’t serve Mountain Dew). I told him he was free to order a beer if he liked, he didn’t have to drink Coke just because we were.

He replied, “I’ve been holding this same beer all night.” One-half of a beer ALL NIGHT, what strange world was this?

He got his soda and we talked until they closed. He still got all the answers right. I was amazed. As he walked me to my car, he asked me out for the next night. The rest is history.

The first date is another story. 🙂

It’s hard to believe I have been with that cowboy all these years and I love him more every passing day. Amazingly, I owe it all to a guy with green teeth.

It’s strange how God works in ways we could never imagine. Be open to the possibilities, but never settle for less than what God has for you.

Thanks for reading.

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10 Signs You Might be a Perimenopausal Woman…

A humorous look at getting older

By Charmin Foth ImageCaption: Perimenopause? What!?! Doc says, “Don’t worry, it only lasts 10 years or so!!!”                         Photo: Microsoft Images
 
  1. You can no longer remember the names for persons, places or things; everything becomes a whatcha-dittle, thing-a-ma-bob, or a whozy-whats-it, and you expect people to know what you are talking about.
  2. You want to nap at 4 in the afternoon, but are wide awake at 4 in the morning.
  3. You spend hours in the cosmetic aisle, looking for something that is unmeltable and sweatproof.
  4. You have an overwhelming urge to punch cute, cuddly couples in the face.
  5. Your bladder wakes you up about every 3 hours and every morning at least an hour before the alarm clock goes off.
  6. You cut up all your gym clothes to make a quilt that “wicks away moisture.”
  7. You mix your wrinkle cream with Clearasil.
  8. People who talk or breathe irritate you.
  9. You gain/lose/gain the same 10 pounds at least 50 times.
  10. You wake up at 3 am in a puddle of sweat and stick your head in the freezer to cool off only to wake at 6 am in a puddle of melted icecream with a lump on the back of your head from the freezer door.

Men, if you have a lady in your life exhibiting these symptoms, you may want run and hide, or for the brave of heart – arm yourself with chocolate, just don’t get too close!

Remember these are only a few of the warning signs, ladies, you know there are more lurking in the shadows.

The Count…

Count on your surroundings
The Count

There are no children at my house, not that I need any, my hubby, Andy is a big kid himself. Believe me when I tell you, the only difference is the cost of his toys.

We never had children together, I never felt bad about that. I have a beautiful step-daughter I am proud to say I know and love. She is an amazing young woman.

Andy and I love children, and relate to them because we function on their level. 🙂 The kids think we are great fun. I have had tea parties, colored, made friendship bracelets, built forts with sheets, played games, you name it. Andy loves to play video games, play pull my finger and burp letters of the alphabet, great boy stuff. We both watch cartoons. We once had a little boy turn around in the theater at a Disney movie and ask where our kids were? We have never lost our childish nature, and I think that is a good thing.

But, sometimes I think our friends, the parents, worry when we come to visit.

Please don’t, I think I finally have him trained…somewhat, and here’s how I did it.

At times, Andy is the Duke of Inappropriate Conversation. He has gotten better over the years but still sometimes there is no buffer between his brain and his mouth. When you don’t have children around all the time, you get used to saying exactly what’s on your mind at any given moment. That has always been one of my favorite parts of our marriage. We can truly be ourselves around each other. However, once you step into someone else’s world, at the very least you want to appear civilized.

When we were younger there were so many times a parent had to say, “Andy, the kids.” Don’t get me wrong, I am far from perfect, I can lose my filter too, especially if I feel safe with people.

Several years back we went to visit friends in Virginia. I reminded Andy, two weeks earlier he had offended another of our friends by saying or doing something goofy that was not intended for children’s ears. I did not wish to repeat that event. I told him that when he had a quick comeback to what someone said he needed to stall his quick response. I suggested that when the urge to utter something he thought was witty, that he count to ten slowly and think about who was in the room.

Five minutes after our arrival in Virginia, someone said something and I immediately saw the look on Andy’s face and he began to count out-loud, 1, 2, 3, 4… you get the picture. I couldn’t help but laugh and our friends asked, “what is he doing?”

I told them about my idea to make Andy aware of his surroundings. They began to laugh too.

Well, as the weekend progressed, Andy had to count many, many times, and soon the kids were in on it. As soon as someone would say something, the kids would look at Andy and begin to count. It was priceless. As soon as Andy began to count all the adults could guess the direction his thoughts and would begin to laugh. So he never had to actually say the comment out loud.

My friend said she was going to make it a family rule and apply it to both her brothers and her brothers-in-law. It seems that Andy is not the only “Duke of Inappropriate Conversation” out there.

I think everyone had a great time with the count. If you have a “Duke of Inappropriate Conversation” in your life, don’t get discouraged. Suggest they count. It could be fun. I recommend to ten, but if they are really bad, you may want to consider more. Just be sure you do it with a smile.

Thanks for reading.

Republished from November 2010.

Are you a toon?

Woody and Jess Pez I love cartoons and puppets. I always have. Maybe it comes from my love art, drawing, and doodling or from growing up on Sesame Street, but cartoons and puppets have always made me smile. On a dreary day or when I’m in a bad mood nothing can lift my spirits and bring me out of the dark places like an episode of the Muppets, Despicable Me, Minions, or old episodes of Pinky and the Brain, Animaniacs or just good ole’ Looney Tunes.

I have always been a bit of a toon myself. Over the years, many of my friends have said so. Andy, my hubby, agrees with the statement too, he even thinks I’m part Muppet. He says he can tell when I’m really mad because I get “Muppet lips.” Except for Janice on the Muppets, they don’t have lips. So, I guess that means my lips disappear. He knows I can’t stay mad when he tells me I have “Muppet lips.” I can’t seem to keep myself from laughing when he says it.

I am blessed that I have a husband that loves cartoons as much as I do. There have been many times when Andy and I were the only adults in the theater without children with us. We even had one little boy, barely able to see over the seat, turn around and say, “Where are your kids? What are you doing here?” He just couldn’t wrap his little mind around the fact that we were there to see the movie with just as much excitement as he had. Often times when asked what the last movie we saw together was, we received a strange look when Andy and I both name whatever the last cartoon released on the big screen.

It wasn’t until we moved with the Army to Germany in the late 90s that I realized I wasn’t the only toon in the family. Most people don’t see it, but my husband is quite the toon himself. If you have never met my husband, here is the visual… Andy is 6 feet tall and weighs about a buck forty-five soaking wet. He is lean and mean and still wears the same clothes he had in high school. He wears his hair Army short. He never wears anything but cowboy boots and jeans. His idea of dressing up is a big silver belt buckle and a western shirt to go along with the boots and jeans. He tops it all off with a straw cowboy hat. I fell in love with the guy in that cowboy hat.

One afternoon we made our way across post housing in Bad Kreuznach, Germany where we lived at the time, to barbecue with friends. As we walked closer to the playground where the barbecue area was, our friends 4-year-old son yells across the play ground in a crystal clear voice, “Woody!”

At that time, “Toy Story” was the latest Disney movie and 4-year-old Shane, thought Andy was the cartoon character come-to-life. Well, from that moment on every kid in the neighborhood and most of the adults called him “Woody.” Sometimes, I still do. I even have a little Woody figurine that sits on my computer desk at work to remind me of the toon that I love the most.

Shane is all grown now, and probably doesn’t even remember “Woody” but we will never forget that adorable little 4-year-old and the cartoon legacy he left with Andy.

Are you a toon? Maybe you just need to let your inner toon free. Trust me, it will make you smile, even if you don’t want to. If you could be a toon, which one would it be?

🙂

Thanks for reading.

Reposted from January 2011.

The Gummy Bear “Cleanse”

Sure, they look innocent, but are they? That grin looks a little evil.
Sure, they look innocent, but are they? That grin looks a little evil.

I have been on a low-carb diet for a few years now and I love it when I find a new product that fits into my lifestyle. I thought I had found just that product this weekend when I bought sugar-free gummy bears. Low-carb, sweet, perfect for movie night. Or so I thought, until the next day. Let’s just say I will NEVER touch another sugar-free gummy bear as long as I live.

I only wish I had seen the following Amazon review, BEFORE I made my movie night selection. All I can say is this review is dead-on. Please let this be a warning to any consumer.

POSTED REVIEW ON AMAZON
40,637 of 41,263 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just don’t. Unless it’s a gift for someone you hate., October 3, 2012
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Haribo Gummi Bears Sugar Free 5lb Bag (Grocery)
Oh man…words cannot express what happened to me after eating these. The Gummi Bear “Cleanse”. If you are someone that can tolerate the sugar substitute, enjoy. If you are like the dozens of people that tried my order, RUN!

First of all, for taste I would rate these a 5. So good. Soft, true-to-taste fruit flavors like the sugar variety…I was a happy camper.

BUT (or should I say BUTT), not long after eating about 20 of these all hell broke loose. I had a gastrointestinal experience like nothing I’ve ever imagined. Cramps, sweating, bloating beyond my worst nightmare. I’ve had food poisoning from some bad shellfish and that was almost like a skip in the park compared to what was going on inside me.

Then came the, uh, flatulence. Heavens to Murgatroyd, the sounds, like trumpets calling the demons back to Hell…the stench, like 1,000 rotten corpses vomited. I couldn’t stand to stay in one room for fear of succumbing to my own odors.

But wait; there’s more. What came out of me felt like someone tried to funnel Niagara Falls through a coffee straw. I swear my sphincters were screaming. It felt like my delicate starfish was a gaping maw projectile vomiting a torrential flood of toxic waste. 100% liquid. Flammable liquid. NAPALM. It was actually a bit humorous (for a nanosecond)as it was just beyond anything I could imagine possible.

AND IT WENT ON FOR HOURS.

I felt violated when it was over, which I think might have been sometime in the early morning of the next day. There was stuff coming out of me that I ate at my wedding in 2005.

I had FIVE POUNDS of these innocent-looking delicious-tasting HELLBEARS so I told a friend about what happened to me, thinking it HAD to be some type of sensitivity I had to the sugar substitute, and in spite of my warnings and graphic descriptions, she decided to take her chances and take them off my hands.

Silly woman. All of the same for her, and a phone call from her while on the toilet (because you kinda end up living in the bathroom for a spell) telling me she really wished she would have listened. I think she was crying.

Her sister was skeptical and suspected that we were exaggerating. She took them to work, since there was still 99% of a 5 pound bag left. She works for a construction company, where there are builders, roofers, house painters, landscapers, etc. Lots of people who generally have limited access to toilets on a given day. I can’t imagine where all of those poor men (and women) pooped that day. I keep envisioning men on roofs, crossing their legs and trying to decide if they can make it down the ladder, or if they should just jump.

If you order these, best of luck to you. And please, don’t post a video review during the aftershocks.

PS: When I ordered these, the warnings and disclaimers and legalese were NOT posted. I’m not a moron. Also, not sure why so many people assume I’m a man. I am a woman. We poop too. Of course, our poop sparkles and smells like a walk in a meadow of wildflowers. Thanks for all the great comments. I’ve been enjoying reading them and so glad that the horror show I experienced from snacking on these has at least made some people smile.

 

The Hatchet Lady

Hatchet on wood
Picture of a hatchet: Microsoft Clipart

Running a business can be full of life lessons. Shortly after I became the managing editor of the Knoxville Focus Newspaper, I learned a very valuable lesson. A great team is worth more than gold, and that one bad apple, can spoil the whole basket.

It was a hard lesson to learn, but it has served me well over the years. I had been in management roles before, but I was never in control of who to hire and who to fire. This was my first foray into that aspect of Human Resources. I inherited a good team and everything went great for a while; but as we grew and things changed, people left for one reason or another and I found myself needing to replace team members.

After a long time employee left the front desk position, I had to begin the search for someone to fill that very important position. The person had to be good with people, able to multitask, take classified ads, invoice customers, do collections and work with route carriers, all with a pleasant attitude.

After going through countless resumes, I thought I had found the perfect candidate. On paper she had the skills, her background came back clean, she interviewed wonderfully. I thought I had found the missing piece of the puzzle.

Sometimes, what seems to be, and what actually are, can be very different things. After training was complete and a few months of settling into the position, she became comfortable, too comfortable. The nice portion of her facade began to crack away and something witchy, this way came.

At first I tried to be tactful and ask if there was a problem, then I tried to counsel, finally a write up. Other members of my team were complaining about invoices and tearsheets going to the wrong people, messages not getting to them and worse, leads not getting to them. The writing was on the wall, I was going to have to lower the ax.

It was just after Thanksgiving, and being the nice person I am, I felt that if I could just hold off until after the holidays it wouldn’t be so hard on the lady. I mean who wants to get fired at Christmas?

It just wasn’t meant to be. After walking in the office and hearing a very loud, rude conversation with a customer, I fired her on the spot and escorted her from the building. I felt horrible. I was Ebeneezer Scrooge!

Thankfully, the rest of my team breathed a collective sigh of relief and rallied around me. It was then, that I knew I had done the right thing for the business and the team.

It wasn’t until Christmas week that I knew how deeply this bad apple had actually effected everyone else.I believe in open and honest communication, so I encouraged dialog. I needed to know where I had gone wrong. Things came to light that no one wanted to talk about before, I learned a few things. we cleared the air and started fresh.

Christmas eve, my sales manager walked into my office with a gift from her and her husband. She snickered as she handed me the box. She had an air of childish mischief about her and I knew it couldn’t be good. Much to my surprise, I opened the box to find a gleaming hatchet with a huge red bow on it. Seems she had told her husband about it all and he figured that if I was going to have to give people the ax, I needed the proper equipment.

I laughed so hard I cried.

Then I hung it on the wall above my desk.

For my next 4 years at the paper, everyone I interviewed had sit across the desk from me and look at that hatchet adorned with a big red bow.

It was a constant reminder to me that sometimes you have to do the hard things, prune the deadwood from an organization, for the good of the whole vine, too keep things growing and going in the right direction.

When a prospective employee would eventually look up on the wall, I could literally see the question forming. “Why do you have a hatchet with a big red bow hanging on your wall?”

I would smile and say with a giggle, “I’m the hatchet lady.” Then in the way of explanation I told them something along the lines of, “With business management comes responsibility, and if a person’s actions harm the business the team is trying to grow, they have to be cut, regardless of the season.”

They either got the symbolism in the conversation or they left thinking I was an ax murder. Since things went really smooth after that, I’d like to think they got the symbolism.

I’m way too nice to be an ax murder, I’m just the hatchet lady.

Sidebar: For those of you who don’t know me. I’m harmless, really, with a nerdy sense of humor. Honest. 🙂

The Deviled Egg Debacle of 2011

By Charmin Foth

For those of you who know me, housewifery is not my strong suit.

Don’t get me wrong, I can clean and do laundry with the best of them, but when it comes to all things kitchen, it’s scary. I’m not saying I can’t cook. I can, and generally the things I make are edible, even tasty. I would say I’m better at baking, but that’s not entirely true either. And sharp objects, don’t even get me started. They banned me from the kitchen of the church where I used to attend, because of a little accident cutting apples at a church sleepover. Let’s just say, life with me is never boring.

The church where we attend was having a church picnic and someone suggested that I make deviled eggs. Since we have chickens and usually an abundance of eggs, I thought, “cool, I can do that, no problem.” Ha, I should have known better.

My wonderful hubby, helped me out by boiling the eggs and putting them in the fridge for me. That way I could make the deviled eggs at my convenience after I got home from work. (I really think he is afraid for me to use the stove.)

Well, after a day of crazy work and errands, I open the door and see the pesky boiled eggs staring at me when I open the refrigerator door. So I sigh, and set myself about the task of making deviled eggs. I get all my ingredients out, a mixing bowl, a big wooden spoon and then I spy a long forgotten gadget hiding in the drawer with the mixer, my cookie gun. Yes, I said, cookie gun.

I thought, “Oh! That will make fancy work of these eggs, I’ll be done in no time.” Ha, again.

I prep the eggs, mix all the ingredients and I’m ready to fill the cookie gun with the yummy egg filling. There are several different options for how I want the mix to fill the eggs. there is an attachment for making Christmas tree cookies, stars and all sorts of cookie shapes and then there are attachments for cake decorating, like rose petals and ribbons and such. So I thought, “Hmmm, egg filling is kind of thick so lets go with the one that has a wide star shaped opening.”

 Sounds easy enough, so I set it up, and load the egg filling into the gun. Here’s where it gets interesting…
The first few eggs looked beautiful, and then nothing so I keep pressing the trigger on the gun. Rapid fire, is never a good idea.

Before I knew it, so much pressure had built up in the cookie gun, that it exploded deviled egg filling across the kitchen counter top and it ricocheted all over me. I was covered in deviled eggs. I looked like I had been spackling a very colored ugly room.

Not all of the egg concoction fit into the gun, I still had enough to fill the eggs I had, so I thought, “all is not lost, I can still make this work.” So I wiped the egg off the counter and me. For some reason, I still thought the cookie gun was a good idea. All I can say, looking back, is duh. Anyway, I changed the decorating tip on the cookie gun to different tip, thinking the star pattern was the problem.

It wasn’t. The problem is that pickle relish gets stuck in the little prongs of the decorating tips and causes a huge back up in the gun. And it has serious repercussions to the one wielding the weapon. I don’t know if I will ever get all the egg out of my spiky hair. It is now brown, silver and yolk colored.

Ah, but alas, I am not one to give up. I must have a persistence gene that just won’t allow me to give up on things. I think it has plagued me all of my life, now that I think about it. At any rate, I still had egg goo left and I was determined I was going to get the gun to work or die trying.

I did get the gun to work. I took the decorator tip off all together and it worked like a charm, and I had just enough egg filling left to fill all the eggs. However, there was a drawback to this methodology, without the pretty decorator edges, my eggs looked like little yellow piles of dog poop. Yumm! How appetizing is that?!

So I’m home all alone, looking at these eggs, and laughing my butt off. I have truly lost it. I can’t serve dog poop eggs to the people at church, or can I? Hummmm. So I got a little spoon and smashed all the little piles down and swirled them around and covered them with paprika. Maybe, maybe not, I can’t decide, take them don’t take them? I’m the only one who knows they looked like dog poop for a short time in their lives. Andy may get to eat a lot of deviled eggs, and then he’s going to have to sleep in the barn.

The moral of the story is, use a spoon, unless you are authorized to use the gun.

Thanks for reading.