Monthly Archives: August 2022

Nothing like a brisk shower

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Jackie Wells-Fauth

I have always been behind the times when it came to taking care of myself physically. I ate poorly (and still do from time to time) for many years–red meats every night, sugar on top of sugar, and processed foods by the fishstick! My favorite pizza in the world is one of those little frozen square ones that cook up to the consistency of a cardboard carton–nothing could be better!

In addition, I did most of that junk-food eating sitting in a chair watching television and stirring myself to nothing more strenuous than changing the channel on the remote. Finally, my doctor gave me the sad eye and informed me that my blood numbers were not good and if I wanted to kill myself early, it was quicker to run my car into a tree. Okay, he didn’t say it like that, but that is darn sure what he meant!

Okay, so I’ve had to bake the potato instead of fry it and enjoy it with less butter and sour cream. I have had to peel my lips off the constant soda pop bottle and teach them to welcome a little tea or water instead. I have had to break off my long-standing relationship with chips and rolls every morning and try a few bananas or melon or apples in place of it. I have worked hard to do this, but I have to admit that a nutritious, crispy apple is a sad replacement for a succulent roll full of cream and chocolate.

I’ve had to revise my physical life as well. I do stretches and yoga…okay it doesn’t look like yoga when I do it, but it seems to serve the purpose. During the last year, I have adopted a lot of back exercises as well in order to avoid another round of spinal shots, which make having to eat cauliflower instead of steak look easy by comparison.

I took up walking a few years ago (I know, I know, I’ve always been able to walk) operating on the premise that I either use it or lose it. I have done well with walking, even walked mornings in the dead of winter until that particular practice began to bother my husband. He felt getting my overbundled butt hit by a car that can’t see me in the early morning fog might do the body more harm than good, so he bought me a treadmill. I don’t mind the treadmill, but the view is seriously less interesting from there!

My latest undertaking, however, has to have most of my former actions beaten. Over the radio one day, I heard that if a person turns the shower on cold for 30 seconds to two minutes or so of their overall time, it will be very beneficial to one’s health. Now this was upsetting! One of my chief joys in life has always been a nice, hot shower. I dismissed this report, until I began to hear others say that yes, their doctors were recommending it.

Oh dear, I knew that I was going to have to try it, but I was of two minds about the result: If I had no benefit from it, I could say I tried and go back to my warm showers. BUT what if it helped? What would I do them? I’d be doomed to a chilly blast every day!

I got in the shower, took my usual ablution routine and then stood there, letting the warm water cascade across me, building up my nerve. I turned down the temperature a little. It began to run rather tepid. The next inch down brought medium cold. All I could think was, “30 seconds, surely I can take 30 seconds.” But that was before I turned it all the way down. What I discovered is that when I am taking a cold shower, everyone will know it, because I bellow like a banshee in a cold spray!

Out I got, put on my flannel pajamas and shivered in a chair for an hour. Well! That was one sacrifice for my health that I was not going to make! Except the longer I sat there, the more I became aware that my chronic neck pain and my chronic knee complaint were absent. Now, they came back, but they disappeared every time I took a cold shower and stayed away longer each time. Darn!

So, I have made one more sacrifice to try and keep myself alive and kicking longer. And just the other day, I read in some Internet post (your red flag here) that you have a better chance of a complete bowel movement if you balance yourself above the stool, and sit backwards. No, No, NO! I refuse to even think about it…unless I start having bowel problems…..

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A list of facts…from the Internet!

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I was reading an interesting article on the Internet the other day…this should be your first red flag! The article gave a series of “facts” that it labeled as “things you didn’t know.” I am pretty sure, after reading some of them, that they don’t know either. I want to share some of these facts with you, only for the purpose of making fun of them. Not one of them has been “fact-checked,” and pretty much all of them are ridiculous in one way or another. Having issued that caveat, here we go:

Fact #1: 85% of statistics are wrong. I felt it was important to lead with this one, because so many of these statistics are questionable at best!

Fact #2: 30% of all traffic in cities is people circling around trying to find a parking spot! If you have ever circled the block ten times, praying a parking space magically appears so you can run in and pick up your cleaning or your prescriptions, you know that this one feels real, even if it isn’t. I’d rather hear some statistics on how many hours of my life I waste, looking for that space.

Fact #3: You can fit about $3 billion worth of plutonium into a shoebox. Now, as the article pointed out, plutonium is apparently radio-active (I’m not up on plutonium properties). That being the case, if you found a need to store something like this in your closet, it’s likely that one of two things will happen: you will be arrested for having it or you will die from the green cloud in your closet!

Fact #4: In feudal Japan, lords purposely built squeaky floors as a defense against ninjas. This one made me a little emotional, because if it were true, I have a home ready-made to sell to some feudal Japanese lord…and in the meantime, ninjas will not get me!

Fact #5: The human eye blinks about 4.2 million times a year. When the job comes up that calls for someone to sit and count the blinks of their eye for a year, I’m applying!

Fact #6: It would take 1.2 million mosquitos, each sucking just once, to drain an average human of blood. The nightmares this particular statement is going to give me have no end! Who is the unlucky fellow that this was tested on?????

Fact #7: Canada eats more mac n’ cheese than the US by volume. I don’t know exactly what this means, but I feel bad, because I didn’t know we had a competition going. I’ll step up my pasta game!

Fact #8: There is a state in the union where there are more tigers living with people than there are tigers in the wild anywhere. In that same state, it is illegal to own six or more sex toys (imagine being the cop on that case). I’m just going leave this one to your imagination.

Fact #9: Sperm count in men have gone down 50% since 1970. This has so many possibilities, I don’t even know where to begin, but if it were true (and imagine the testing), maybe it’s God unique way of “culling the herd?”

Fact #10: A wild boar can ejaculate up to a quarter of a gallon of semen in one go. Who is testing this, how are they testing it and most important WHY are they testing it?

Fact #11: If you are over 7 feet tall, there is a 17% chance that you will play in the NBA. But, there is a 100% chance that you will hit your head on the underside of my deck, because I do it all the time and I’m nowhere near that tall!

Fact #12: 6% of Americans think they could beat a grizzly bear in unarmed combat. I can feel the new reality show coming already: So You Think You Can Beat a Grizzly Bear: the show where everyone had better had their wills up to date!

I saved my favorite fact for the end, and it is this: Female fish (I believe it was goldfish) fake “sexual completion” to trick males into thinking they have been successful, so the female can move on to another mate. On top of the fact that I have no idea exactly how fish reproduce, who is the serious scientist out there with a clipboard asking some promiscuous female fish, about her sex life?

I know what you’re all thinking now and I do definitely agree with you: I’m going to stop reading fact articles on the Internet!

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Paintbrush Peccadillos

Jackie Wells-Fauth

Every eight years or so, my husband makes a decision that imperils his marriage: he says, “I think we should paint the house!” I’m not sure if he is unaware that this decision imperils his marriage or if this is just his clever ploy to wrangle a divorce! If the later is the case, he hasn’t succeeded yet–I wouldn’t divorce him for this, I’d just feed him a paintbrush!

This week, he came in on a fateful Monday, looked at me profoundly for a moment and declared, “It’s time to paint the house.”

I was unimpressed, “So? Who are you, Caesar Augustus announcing an edict throughout the land? Call a painting service,” and I went back to my book.

“Oh no! That would be a lot of money. We can do it ourselves!” and he smiled as though he had just conceived of a brilliant idea for slicing bread or something.

“What’s this ‘we’ stuff?” I squealed, my romance novel hitting the floor, “By ‘we’ you had better mean you and your mistress, cause I’m not doing it! Besides, you said after the last time that we would be hiring it done from now on!”

“Yeah, but I was tired when I said that. I think I can handle one more house-painting job,” he flexed his muscles–I think that’s what he was doing.

“The last one was eight years ago and we have barely recovered from it physically yet, let alone mentally,” I protested further, but by this time, I could see it was a futile discussion and that, indeed, ‘we’ were going to be painting the house.

Now, when Roy paints a house, there are certain rules we abide by. One, we will both be on ladders of some type or another and we must not whine, whimper, or wrap ourselves around the ladder, using all four limbs. Why no wrap-around, you ask? Because then you have no limbs left to paint with, of course. As for the no whine and whimper rule, that’s because it annoys the head painter. Yes, that’s the second rule: Roy is always the head painter.

Rule number three: you may not throw a loaded yellow paintbrush at the head painter after he reaches over and smooths out your “brush strokes” for the fiftieth time. Apparently, it might hit the head painter or worse, miss him and hit the brown trim he just finished painting.

Painting the house with my head painter involves arising in the morning before Gabriel has sounded the trumpet for the day, eating a breakfast at the unheard of hour of 8 a.m. and being on a ladder with a paintbrush in your hand before you’ve even had your fourth cup of coffee, while relaxing on the deck. And speaking of coffee, this is the only way I can ever get my husband to serve me coffee in bed.

He appeared at my bedside at (there isn’t a time for how early it was) and presented me with a cup of coffee and the sweet words, “Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey!”

“Oh, you made breakfast,” I sat up and sniffed the air, so pleased by his effort.

“Heck no, I left you a banana on the kitchen counter. Get a move on here, daylight’s a wasting!”

“Daylight hasn’t happened yet,” I grumbled, but I got out of bed, sipped the coffee and ate the banana (which was on it’s last leg, by the way) and stumbled out the door.

Another problem with our painting projects: the discussion of a break. I think a break should occur every ten minutes or so and should include freshly brewed tea and perhaps some muffins. Roy thinks a break should happen after two sides of the house are done and the break consists of going to the outdoor spigot, bending so your head is under it and turning it on. The break lasts as long as your glasses stay on your face!

Well, we are mid-way through our house painting project and we haven’t contacted the divorce lawyers yet, although we came close when he criticized my paint spray on the ground. “It will wash off in the next rain,” I reassured him. “In that case, so will the paint on the house,” he growled. Technicalities, technicalities, don’t bother me with technicalities!

Clean-up is an equally fun time with my “head painter”. For me, it is imperative that I buy a cheap brush for painting, because my idea of clean-up is to throw the paintbrush away. Roy wipes down his paint ladder (as you can see from the picture, I do not), cleans and wipes the rim of the paint can (why is this necessary) and washes his paintbrushes to within an inch of their lives. First there is the water bath, then the soak, then the soap and water followed by four or five rinse cycles. I’ve heard of people who have an unhealthy attachment to their paintbrushes, but this boy has paintbrushes still in his possession that were used to paint his baby crib–with something lead-based, no doubt!

It will be another eight years before the “let’s paint the house” hurricane breezes through our marriage, but I’ve vowed to be better prepared next time. Before the painting the house subject comes up, I plan to burn all of his paint brushes and stir sticks at a giant barbeque in the back yard…and I may throw in his trusty paint shoes (bought for him in high school) as well!

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