Filed under: Middle Age, Misc. Humor, Posts | Tags: adulthood, amazon, bourbon, burial, buried, casket, coffin, costco, cryogenics, death, death star, family, funerals, humor, monty python, parents, resomation, ryan lochte, Science, shopping, subourbonmom, urn, walmart
I recently received a text from my friend Kristin late one night that just said Costco sells caskets and urns. Naturally, I had to go look it up, and sure enough they do.
So does Walmart…and Amazon.
Did I miss something? When did the big box stores get involved in the big box business? (Apparently, this business is actually referred to as “Death Care,” the death-sensitive phrase I learned while Googling.) In addition to the assortment of caskets and urns available, Costco also posted a must-read FAQ that informed me about all kinds of death-care rules I knew nothing about. For example, not all states will let you order a casket from somewhere other than a funeral home. Of those that do, you are required to be present when it’s delivered.
Of course, I toyed with the idea of ordering one the next time Hubby makes me furious and just leaving it on the front porch with Universal Casket Company (Costco’s supplier) emblazoned on the box as a hint/threat. But now that we live in the country, only the coyotes and screech owls would see it, so I’ll just have to go back to regular yelling.
I couldn’t believe how expensive these caskets were, and mind you, these were from Costco and Walmart, so I’m sure they had a tiny markup compared to the markup funeral homes add. So, in search of other options, I Googled alternative ways to be buried.
There are more ways to be buried than there are ways to have a baby – and that’s after watching every episode of A Baby Story. Actually, many burial methods are eerily similar to methods of having a baby – standing up; in water; natural (read “green”); and, cut open and filled with chemicals. I guess you really do come full circle, like they say.
I have a weird fear of being cremated. I can’t rationalize it, but the idea of it freaks me out. I much prefer Monty Python’s “Nibble, Nibble, Nibble to Crackle, Crackle, Crackle.”
I’ve also always assumed I would be buried in a plot of land overlooking something meaningful and gorgeous, like Robert Redford’s character in Out of Africa. Since we are running out of planet space and it’s uber-expensive, I started looking for alternative burial options. A few stuck with me, if only because they fell into the OH HELL NO I’M NOT DOING THAT category.
Resomation – in which the remains are dissolved in an alkaline solution, leaving a white powder not unlike ashes from cremation. Or a giant pile of coke.
Freeze Drying – I believe this method is still in development, but the process is similar to resomation, except they use liquid nitrogen. After being exposed to the nitrogen, the remains become super brittle and are shaken into a powder. I imagine this to be much like the old rock tumblers we used to use to polish rocks. Afterward, fillings and other non-biodegradable parts are sifted out…in keeping with the rock analogy, kind of like panning for gold. No thanks.
Cryogenics – in which the body is frozen until scientists can figure out how to transcend death in the future and bring you back to life. Jurassic Park ring a bell anyone? That went well. What if you are respected now but turn out to be the biggest douche bag in the future (think Walt Disney)? Or worse, what if Ryan Lochte opts for cryogenics and he’s our representative from the 21st century?
My personal favorite is becoming part of an artificial reef. These reefs are being created off-shore using a mixture of cremation remains and whatever else they make artificial reefs with. These eco-friendly reefs are part of the green death care movement, and are increasing fish habitats and scuba diving opportunities, all while resembling the lost city of Atlantis. I like the idea of building something good for the environment out of peoples’ remains. But why stop there? Why not just start making an entire new planet – WAIT!!!! We could call it the Death Star!!
But seriously, for a subject that is so personal and impactful to so many people, both the living and the dead, I find it offensive that we can now buy burial items online the same way we can buy clothes or get a pizza delivery. I understand why people will shop at the box stores for these things – the same reason we buy our food and eBooks there. Prices for caskets and funeral services are ridiculous. In my opinion, there should be limits placed on the costs of caskets, urns, shrouds, and burial options. Alternative burial options should be allowed to be explored and utilized. But the big box stores should stay out of an industry that requires sensitivity and dignity. There are entire industries welcoming the box stores with open arms, but the death care industry shouldn’t be one of them – no bones about it.
Filed under: Food/Drink, Middle Age, Posts | Tags: adulthood, alcohol, alcoholic, Beer, bourbon, drinks, family, health, humor, liver, love, Marriage, Middle-Age, rum, sex, south, southern, subourbonmom, tequila, wine
There are a lot of body organs that can be equated to types of people. My heart is the parent of teenagers – steadily working to keep things moving forward and occasionally feeling like it can’t keep up, and skipping a beat when exciting things are happening. My brain is definitely the five-year-old of the body family, with the ability to be shockingly accurate and annoyingly obtuse at the same.
But the most interesting body organ is my liver – she’s a slut – or at least she used to be. She would take in anything, but like a lot of older sluts, doing so now comes with a lot of consequences.
I think the history of alcoholic drinks my liver has filtered also reflects the relationships (and I use the word “relationships” loosely) I’ve had.
In the beginning, there were the sweet early-years boyfriends, who felt good at the time, compared to, well, nothing much else yet… but who left me in the end with monster headaches and an upset stomach. For my liver these years were marked by avid consumption of your staple redneck beers, occasionally spiked with an unusual combination of vodka and whatever else was available.
Of course, everyone has a tequila story. Let’s just say I still can’t even think about it to this day without gagging…and that was just that one guy…(Daughters 1 & 2, be smarter and better than your mom…please!)
Like many people, my liver and heart were indiscriminate for a while, trying to find a basis for comparison. You have to know the bad before you can appreciate the good, right?
Eventually there was the first reciprocated love – and the introduction to wine. Sweet white wine was delightful and full of promise. Unfortunately, I still hadn’t tried a lot of other drinks or relationships, and needed to branch out to truly understand what my liver, er, heart thought was best. European beers with their fancy labels had always been a draw, but in the end they made me sick at heart and in the toilet.
And then my liver and I discovered rum – a drink traditionally from the islands, with a bite that will cut through too much sweet and not leave me with the dreaded wine headache/hangover. That lasted for years and years, and is still a favorite.
But as I’ve gotten older, my liver is thankfully starting to show her age, getting more and more picky about what spills inside, creating all kinds of side effects when I make a bad choice. Beer leaves me feeling tired and fat, wine gives me hot flashes, and vodka just eliminates any mental filters I have – none of these are desirable side effects in my body or in a relationship.
I have now switched from rum to bourbon, and before anyone freaks out and thinks something is wrong between me and Hubby, we are fine. But after 27 years, relationships change. I no longer need the flash fire and overt sweetness of rum drinks. Instead, I prefer the steady burn of bourbon, warming me from the inside. It keeps the hot flashes away, and I rarely have a hangover. Same with Hubby – he’s my Blanton’s, my Basil Hayden, my Jefferson Ocean.
So there you have it, folks. Whether you are in the Boones Farm stage (or, God forbid, never got out of it), trying your first sweet, white wine or still throwing back those nasty shots of tequila, think about what it might be telling. My liver was a slut – but thankfully she held up long enough so that I can now ingest quality.
Filed under: Misc. Humor | Tags: adulthood, doctor, doctors, employment, gynecology, health, humor, jobs, manufacturing, medicine, Middle-Age, OBGYN, occupation, occupations, sex, sex toys, subourbonmom
The other day I made my sort-of annual visit to the “girl doctor.” Now, I know that we all have to check our dignity at the door for that particular visit. my way of coping is to stare at the annoyingly cheerful pictures of kittens and tropical beaches taped to the ceiling, willing myself away to my happy place while they do whatever they have to do.
Which brings me to my question about OBGYN visits: With all of our medical knowledge and scientific advancements, why does visiting the OBGYN still have to be so awkward and uncomfortable?
Spas have heated massage tables – why must we lay on a cold, vinyl-covered table in a chilly room wearing a tissue paper “robe?” How about a heated table and some steamy towels instead?
And for that matter, since we end up waiting interminably for the doctor to arrive once we’re scantily clad, why not add cup holders and a minibar so we can relax a little bit? If they can add stirrups, they can add cup holders.
We have medicine to eliminate pain, repair skin and counteract venom. How have we not developed OBGYN instruments and examination rooms to make an awkward situation less…awkward?
So, while I was in the waiting room, I started Googling on my phone. For those of you that know me, this is NEVER A GOOD THING.
I learned that medical instrument sales and manufacturing is an estimated $133 billion industry. The sex toy industry, pre-Fifty Shades of Gray, was about $15 billion, and estimated to reach $52 billion by 2020. So how is it that these two industries have not gotten into bed together and made gynecological instruments that are more comfortable? To me, mating these products should be an obvious business decision.
The main tool that’s used looks (to me) pretty much like a curling iron with a light attached to the end. When I looked at the ones for sale (because for some reason you can just buy these on eBay – exactly who is buying this stuff?), they were all metal or acrylic. Why not make them out of the same latex-free materials that (I hear) are on sex toys? In fact, why stop there? Why not put a heater in there too? Our body temperature is 98.6 degrees – why on earth are we using instruments that feel like an icicle?
If these two industries could just swipe right and meet in the middle, I guaranty women would be more likely to come.
In fact, if all those crazy sex toys ads that clutter up our email are even remotely true, by using their technology OBGYN medical instrument manufacturers could change how women view going to that particular kind of doctor – in fact, they could revolutionize the industry. Preventative OBGYN medicine would become the norm as women no longer dreaded their visits, but actually looked forward to them. Disease rates would decline with early detection. Jobs would be created as new product lines are developed and manufacturing could return to the U.S.
So their you have it folks – how I would bring the “O” (I mean “occupations”, you gutter-minded people) back to the dreaded OBGYN visit.
Filed under: Posts
One of the best things about Senior Year where we live is a game the Seniors in high school play in the spring called “Senior Assassin.” Although not sanctioned in any way by the schools, students at the different schools in the area compete against their classmates to win money be being the last, remaining assassin. The rules vary from school to school, but the basics are pretty simple:
- Weapons are squirt guns
- Targets are randomly assigned; when you “kill” your target, their target automatically becomes your new target
- No “assassinating” on school grounds, at a school event, at your place of work, in your home, or if you are in your underwear.
- Periodically the organizer can call for a “purge” in which those who have not “killed” their target are eliminated after a period of time.
In March and April, it’s not unusual to see strange cars camped in the cul-de-sacs around town, and nervous teenagers looking out their windows to see if the coast is clear. For parents this means having to inform the neighbors that no, the creepy guy sitting in the old minivan down the street isn’t a rapist or pedophile – he’s just a Senior Assassin. It also means losing your parking space in the garage for a couple of months so your child doesn’t get “shot” while trying to go from the car to the house. For siblings this is a wonderful opportunity to make some cash while getting revenge, or to make up for some transgression earlier in the year by staying loyal and not giving up their brother or sister’s whereabouts.
A couple of weeks ago, Daughter #1 made a bold move to get her target. She found out he was at the Tropical Smoothie across the street from the local mall; she lurked outside, waiting for him to come out. When he saw her, he sprinted across the street and into the mall, with our sweet angel in hot pursuit, brandishing her water pistol like Elliott Ness. It seemed her cross country training was going to prove to have another benefit: they sprinted past Maggiano’s restaurant faster than Donald Trump can alienate woman voters. Restaurant patrons waiting outside shouted encouragement, telling her which way he went. Unfortunately, her victim also ran cross country that fall, and eventually she lost him, but not before getting off a couple of shots that went wild.
While some may criticize the whole affair, saying it sends the wrong message and minimalizes the danger of guns and terrorists, I think the game has a few valuable lessons to teach:
- Your child’s addiction to social media can and will be their downfall in this game; all those Instagram and SnapChat pics they post will eventually let folks know where they are. Plus, you never know who’s following who.
- Senior Assassin is a great way for stressed out Seniors to blow off some steam after applying to colleges and staying focused long enough to pass their exams.
- It’s much harder to shoot a moving target than it looks in the movies
- Parents DO NOT like to get squirted with cold water at 6:30am when they go out to get the paper.
- There’s no shame in walking in your underwear from your car to the front door if it means your parents get their garage parking space back. For girls, you should be wearing sensible underwear anyway (i.e. Granny Panties). For boys, well, thanks to Seinfeld we all know about shrinkage anyway. No shame there.
- Consider it a first job – if you do it the best, you’ll take home the money.
At the time of this publication, Daughter #1 is still “alive,” and contemplating her next move. Years of watching the TV show Survivor have honed her skills in making alliances and trusting no one. Her Find-a-Friend app is off, and I am still parking outside. Daughter #2 has proved to be a loyal ally, offering to shield her as they go into stores. So when you see one teenager in hot pursuit of another down the street, or a teen getting hosed with a water gun randomly in a Starbucks, don’t be alarmed. Well, be alarmed, but realize the game is underway, and money for midnight snacks at college is on the line. But most of all, wish them luck as they prepare to embark on the next stage of their journey – there aren’t many more times when they will be allowed to embrace their childhood like this again.
Filed under: Middle Age, Misc. Humor, Parenting | Tags: adulthood, children, family, graduation, high school, humor, kids, Middle-Age, mom, parenting, parents, Seniors, south, southern, subourbonmom, teenagers, teens
As the end of Daughter #1’s Senior Year approaches, the final sprint towards final exams, AP tests, and Senior Project has begun. Not to mention prom, graduation, college selection, and the never-ending game of Senior Assassin (more on this later). For Seniors this means tearing themselves away from watching vines and shopping for prom dresses and studying for exams, throwing together last-minute power point presentations and agonizing over roommate selection. For parents this means panicking when you realize you never ordered graduation announcements, approving and paying for the last prom and graduation dresses, and deciding how to celebrate this momentous of times – do we have a keg at the party for the adults or not?
It also means attending the Senior project presentations. At our school, Senior Project is a year-long process involving learning a new skill or challenging yourself in a new way (like learning to make cheese, hatching and raising chickens, trying to understand the lyrics to Rhianna’s songs, etc.), documenting it, doing a research paper, and presenting the whole thing in front of a small group of parents and teachers.
As I sat there watching these impressive young adults show how they started their own yoga classes, created scholarships, ran half-marathons, published their own international blog on Russian politics and even learned how to fly fish, I wondered What the hell have I been doing with my life?
I was impressed and depressed all at the same time. These young people were avidly exploring new ideas, challenging themselves and getting out of their comfort zones in ways that many adults never will.
Thank goodness these kids will be in charge of me when I finally become an adult.
I was depressed because I took an inventory of my recent years and realized I haven’t done much in the way of challenging myself other than to start a new job. Somehow I don’t think trying new food at the local Iranian restaurant counts.
And then I realized that my Senior Project isn’t done yet. I’m still researching how to raise successful women on a daily basis. I’m nearly always out of my comfort zone. My PowerPoint presentation is currently still housed in my laptop under “Pictures” and in the copies of report cards and assignments I’ve kept over the years. And, I present my project in front of my parents every time they visit or call.
I don’t know what my final grade will be, but I’m no longer depressed. I’m more and more impressed with my project every day.
Now if I could just figure out how to cite all those parenting how-to websites I’ve visited over the years.