Sometimes it's ok for a man to wear the pants.

Every person has good parts of their personalities and bad parts of their personalities. Most of the time they are the same parts of their personalities. For example...

I am a fairly independent girl. I was raised by an independent girl - and an independent boy. For those of you that know my parents, enough said. For those of you who do not...

My mother was raised on a farm in one of those towns where they could've filmed the movie "Hoosiers". Except the town was in Montana, not Indiana. It's one of those quickly disappearing rural communities that no one knew existed in the first place. As a matter of fact, I don't know if it's there anymore. Anyway... she was raised on a farm with 6 brothers and 3 sisters, and when I say she was "raised" I use the word as loosely as possible. My mom was "free range" long before they started applying the word to really expensive meat and dairy products. Let's just say that when your mom has 10 kids, and a farm and works a job at the post office to help ends meet, you aren't exactly sitting around waiting for her to make your lunch. If you need food, you fix it yourself. If you need clean clothes, you wash them yourself. If you need to get your dad from... wherever farmers are... during a snow storm... uphill both ways... because your mom's in labor, you drive the car yourself, license or no license.

It stuck with her I guess, because, for as long as I've known her, if my mother needs something done, she does it herself. (Except polish her toenails. That girl likes her pedicures.)

My father, on the other hand, was raised by a woman that would've been happy to take care of him for his entire life. Not that I blame her. He was in and out of hospitals and clinics and doctor's offices a lot during his childhood and adolescence and she learned, sometimes the hard way, to guard her son. Too bad for her, my dad wasn't super interested in being guarded.

Eventually, because of complications from his disease, he ended up in a wheel chair (I don't remember him any other way). I think it would've been very easy for him to have other people do lots of stuff for him, but like my mother, if he needed something done - like changing the horrible, awful, greasy, pulley wires on the lift for his van, or making sure his daughters had a decent softball coach, or curling the hair (and sometimes burning the ears) of 4 girls everyday before school - he did it himself.

Which brings me back to me - and a clogged pipe. I went down to the basement of the house that we're renting and the utility sink was overflowing with, what can only be described as, pipe vomit. Yep, vomity smell, vomity appearance... vomity reaction. So, because I am who I am, I got my utility vacuum and starting sucking. A couple of things about utility vacuums - they eventually fill up and then they must be emptied. Our vacuum holds 16 gallons of pipe vomit. Pipe vomit weighs roughly 8 lbs per gallon. Now, I'm not that great at math, but what I found out is that when you're 30 weeks pregnant, pipe vomit is really heavy, even if you're only lifting it into the bathtub where it will hopefully run into the sewer and not the basement. I filled and lifted and emptied that stupid thing 4 times. I'm not going to lie - it hurt, and I sounded a lot like those men in the Scottish Highland Games that throw that big log thing.

After clearing the water I proceeded to get under the sink (admittedly with some difficulty), disassemble the plumbing, snake the pipes, locate and snake the clean-out-hole-thingy in the wall next to the sink, locate and snake the clean-out-hole-thingys in the ground outside, locate and snake the clean-out-hole-thingys under the deck, reassemble the plumbing...and then, because all of my snaking was for naught, purchase what I can only assume to be one of the main ingredients in chemical explosives, to dump down the drain.

The pipe stayed blocked.

Like I said, I am an independent girl, but having exhausted all other options, I did something that I despise above almost anything else. I asked my husband for help. Now, I am very well aware that if this had been one of my sisters, I would've welcomed the rescue, but... what I'm pretty sure that this boils down to is ... my husband is a man, and asking for man help makes me... very unhappy - like the time that I drove to church for a big meeting, and there were so many cars that the usher guys wanted everyone to back into the parking spaces, presumably to make it easier for the worshipers to make a quick escape in case they got bored. (Which I'm pretty sure I did.) I had to get out of the car and let my husband park because I cannot back a car in a straight line. Rrrr.

So... when he got home from work, my husband opened up the clean-out-holey-thing in the wall, pushed the snake through
and - WHOOSH. Unclogged pipe.

I tried to be annoyed, (since he did exactly what I had done, but apparently his plumbing voodoo is better than mine), but between having a husband that could solve the pipe problem and knowing that I could safely shower and get the pipe vomit out of my hair, I was so happy, I just had to hug his neck.

So much for independence... or maybe just pride.

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Act now and you get the second pair of pants free.

When I was maybe 10 or 11 years old I was obsessed with this guy on TV named "Chef Crowley". Looking back, I'm not totally convinced that that was his real name... or that he was actually a chef for that matter. However, he did have a very excellent set of knives...and he was selling them...and I was so buying.

Chef Crowley had a knife for any and all culinary eventualities. There was a little tiny knife that you could use to transform a radish into a mouse - tail and everything people. There was a knife that sort of twisted down inside any solid vegetable giving you a super nutritious and edible slinky. (The potato was my favorite. French fried slinky. What's bad about that?) There was a knife that was kind of v-shape so that you could fancy up your boring old melons into fluted edged baskets that you would then fill with all kinds of other fruit that you fancied up right there in your own fancy kitchen saving you hundreds of dollars a year in catering expenses. (Apparently the soaring costs of catering expenses was a big selling point for the "11 year old girls living in Billings Montana" demographic.)

I had no idea when I was 11 years old that Chef Crowley was doing a commercial. I sort of thought he was doing a kind of public service announcement for aspiring food preparation experts the whole world 'round. I had never heard the term "infomercial". I didn't know any better. You'd think I would've learned, but...

After I learned of the death of Billy Mays, (don't pretend like I need to explain who this guy is), I started to think of all of the things that I have purchased from TV infomercials. Then I called my family for an informal survey. It appears that this is a congenital defect for which there is no cure, and over which we have no control. I regret to say that my sweet son is also affected by this disorder. Sad. One day he said to me ... and I quote... "Mom, I really think Grammy should get "Life Alert". Then she can live alone, without ever being alone." I thanked him for his concern for his grandmother and then laughed until I wet my pants. (Not really, but I laughed pretty hard.) I'm sure my mom will be totally on board with wearing the stylish Life Alert necklace.

So... In honor of Billy (and his totally inexplicable hair - whoa) here is a list of my favorite TV infomercial purchases. (Either I or a member of my family actually own/have owned/own multiples of each of these items. I'm not saying who owns them though. Confidentiality is an important part of the healing process.) Note: You don't even want to see the full list, I actually broke it down into categories: beauty, exercise, kitchen accessories, cleaning products, strange and unlikely children's toys, misc. clutter.

10. The Slap Chop- This is one of those containers with a blade that has a sort of plunger thing attached to it. The plunger thing moves the blade up and down and ... voila. Chopped stuff. Now, the reason that this made my favorites list has nothing to do with the product, but with the commercial. The pitch man is chopping nuts (because you can't do that with a knife) and he states emphatically, as only a man can "you're gonna love my nuts." Sorry, it makes me laugh. A little 13 year-old boyish, but there you go.

9. Moon Sand - Whoever came up with this stuff should be forced to visit the homes of everyone who bought some and pick up every last grain with their bare hands. Also, I don't think it actually comes from the moon. I think it might be the bi-product of some kind of industrial waste disposal project and I'm pretty sure it's gonna give somebody cancer.

8. Caruso Steam Curlers- Okay, this one is just mean. Mr. Caruso, who I assume is ex-mafia turned infomercial hair dresser, promised me - I mean he promised me, that his curlers that were heated with the power of steam could transform my stubbornly-straight-awesome-for-the-70s-not-awesome-for-the-80s hair into curly fabulousness in 15 minutes. Turns out, steam... good for the industrial revolution and saunas, but not so much for curling the hair of a desperate 13 year old. All I got out of this was burned fingers... and what you get when curly hair is exposed to steam - frizz. Curse you Mr. Caruso.

7. Core Secrets- Also known as "that big silver ball that has a pile of dry cleaning on it" or sometimes "the birth ball" (if you don't know why this is "the birth ball" you've never had back labor with a baby - count yourself lucky.)

6. The Gazelle- Seriously. I think this may have been purchased out of fear. Tony Little is scary and there's no way around this. I didn't know that face skin could be so tight, nor did I know that "mandex" (my word for man spandex) was acceptable attire on anyone not competing for multiple Olympic medals. In swimming. Not gymnastics. Yuck. (Don't even get me started on, what my husband has christened, his "tonytail".)

5. Ronco "Set It and Forget It Rotisserie Cooker" - Finally. A countertop rotisserie cooker for the whole family. Too bad for you... every time it's magic rotisseries make a turn it sounds like a car that is long overdue for a break job. We used this little beauty to cook a Christmas roast and the whole family was on sedatives by dinner to stop us from committing Roncocide. If "set it and forget it" means "stand and watch it cook so that you can figure out if your rib roast is off center" then I'm totally with them. (The best part of this is the giant, elbow length, latex gloves that you wear while pulling/prying the meat from the skewers. Have you ever tried to hold 10 pounds of hot meat in too big latex gloves. Hopefully the "5 second rule" applies to Christmas dinner.)

4. The Ped Egg - The commercials make me gag a little, (who really wants to see someone empty out their nasty foot skin shavings into the trash), but if it helps combat public grooming then I'm for it.

3. Urine Gone- Yep, that's its real name. This handy cleaning solution comes with its very own blue light to help you search out whatever dried bodily fluids might be hiding in your home. It's like playing CSI. Mostly I just laugh at the name.

2. The Flowbee- I've decided that this was invented, produced and marketed on a dare - it was either going to be a handy vacuum haircutting device, or a handy vacuum hickey machine. Too bad for my nephews the haircutting thing won out.

1. I think it's called "Nads": Edible Honey Based Body Wax- If anyone ever tries to sell you something that promises to pull out your hair by the root without causing any pain, straighten yourself up, point your finger at them, and yell "liar" (picture Billy Crystal's wife in "The Princess Bride" while you're doing it). Of course you only need to do this if buying something with the words "edible" and "wax" in the description weren't enough of a warning for you. They weren't for me. I schmered this stuff all over one of my legs, gave a mighty yank and ... not so much "pulling the hair out" as just "pulling the hair". Not one hair was actually removed by this alleged hair removal system. However, it did effectively remove the top two layers of skin leaving me looking like I had a giant rug burn on one shin and calf. PS - the reason it's edible is that you have to practically chew off your own leg to get the stuff off.

Note: (It was a tough choice for #1 between this one and something my sisters and I loving refer to as "idiot sticks". These are essentially popsicle sticks covered in fine grain sand paper used to "gently buff away unwanted facial hair". Yeah - I know.)

There you have it. The consumer sins of my family. Maybe we'll start a support group for those afflicted with the dreaded "as seen on TV" addiction. If all this sounds familiar - just put on your Snuggy, and head on over. I promise, you're gonna love our nuts.

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Short pants

Why do the people at the Twitter assume that a bird must "tweet". My favorite bird is an owl and it does not tweet - it hoots. I don't use the Twitter (because I think it's arrogant, presumptuous and narcissistic), but if I did I would send out "hoots" and change the name to the Hooter.

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