Lost In Translation

I remember when I was growing up thinking that the adults in my family were totally not cool.  Their music was wimpy and they watched soap operas.  I distinctly remember thinking when I was twelve or so that I was never going to be uncool like they were.

Boy was I wrong.  As it turns out I am, as an adult, not only out of “The Loop” but said loop is now strange and scary to me.  Listening to teenagers speak causes me to cock my head to the side like a golden retriever and spike an eyebrow into my hairline.  My ears hear the words but my brain translates them in a completely different context than what was intended.

Daytime talk shows are responsible for exposing me to a lot of this contemporary dialogue.  In between the bleeped out expletives and modern colorful phrases I may as well be watching a show in French or Swahili. 

Listed below are the most commonly heard phrases and the literal interpretation that my mind offers.

Starting with the most comprehensible:

Hot Mess

While I was able to grasp what they were intending with this one I still couldn’t stop myself from picturing compost baking in the sun.


Okay, I can KIND OF understand this one.  Diamond, Ice.  I can see that.  I can’t bring myself to like it though.


Now we enter into the realm of “…huh?”  I don’t even have to poke fun at this one.  It doesn’t need my help.

Get out of my grill

Every time I hear this phrase I imagine someone sitting happily in the person’s BBQ while they tell them to get out of it.  Either that or someone trying to interrupt while the person interrogates a criminal.


There have been a lot of substitutions for “money” and I can’t understand why.  Money is a perfectly cromulent word (Points to anyone who can define cromulent).  But through the years it’s been called cash, bread, dough (see a pattern here?), benjamins, dead presidents, moolah, and now cheese.

 Oh yes, that’s me.  That is exactly the sort of thing I do and exactly the sort of thing I say.  And that is exactly the look my friends give me.  No one can try to use this phrase around me with any amount of seriousness because I will inevitably whip out my phone, turn on Pac Man, and announce that my game is better than theirs.

Shoot the Five
I had to go online to look up the meaning of this one.  Even knowing the definition (to fight) I still don’t understand it’s origin.  Are you shooting your fist at someone?  Do you throw five coins at them and hope one pokes them in the eye? 

As much as these phrases make no sense to me I am forced to admit that the idioms of my era weren’t any better. 

The Bomb

How is something or someone “the Bomb” exactly?  Are they prone to spontaneous explosion? 

All that and a bag of chips

Since when were chips considered to be attractive?  “Say, nice chips!”  Was that supposed to be a substitute for “Infinity” once “Infinity” wasn’t allowed anymore? 

“My hair is cute!”
“Mine is cuter!”
“Is not!”
”Is too!”
“Is not, infinity!”
“Infinity is not allowed!”
“Well then mine is cute PLUS chips!  So there!”
“…well screw you, jerk!”

Cool Beans
I know people who still use this phrase.  I even have a tattoo of beans on my arm hidden within a tattoo sleeve.  I really do.  I’m only slightly ashamed to admit it.

There are so many more phrases that I am either annoyed by or ashamed to have used but I had to force myself to stop before I drew an entire graphic novel.

I think a part II may be in my future…

Cause and Effect

Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen, Aristotle was definitely on to something.  Every action having a reaction and whatnot.  While under normal circumstances not a cause for concern (“If I eat this sandwich, my hunger will go away!”) there are times when the action isn’t at all what you intended and you would trade your favorite Prada shoes to get it back.  But guess what, darlin…some things are just irreversible.

It starts innocently enough.  You are waiting at the bus stop or perhaps in line at the grocery store when you notice that the woman in front of you is simply glowing with life.  Wanting to share in her joyous anticipation you smile your sweetest smile and…
Your cheerful thoughts come to a screeching halt as she confirms, quite aggressively, that no she is NOT pregnant.  You stand with your mouth slightly agape, your cheeks on fire, and stammer a barely audible apology. 

I’m sure that all of the parents out there, as well as aunts, uncles, and possibly cousins, can relate to this one.  Your toddler (or niece, nephew…you get the idea) is a little sponge, soaking up everything around them and repeating it back to you with their little hearts all aglow with pride.  Yet we inevitably let something slip that cannot be taken back.

You just know that little Billy or Sally will wait either until they are in church or in the company of strangers to whip our their new phrase.  And does anyone look at the little angel?  Oh no, those accusing eyes are firmly trained on you.

With all of this new technology you would think that people would take advantage of the “Lock Key” feature of their mobile devices to avoid this scenario.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve answered my phone only to hear the sounds of the caller’s cell phone rattling around in their purse or pocket.  Not such a big deal, you call them back and you both have a few laughs.  But you know that there will be that one time when you most definitely do NOT want to Butt-Dial someone.

This guy not only put the noose around his own neck by sneaking around but he is unaware that he also stepped onto the platform.  Miss Marcie is just waiting for him to get home so she can kick him off the edge.

Sometimes we let others influence us into the point of no return.  You’re out with a bunch of friends having a few drinks at the local dive and, expecting a great laugh, you dare your buddy to hit on the girl who just came in with her mammoth boyfriend.  Much to your dismay, he not only accepts the challenge and walks back with her phone number but now he has a dare for you. 

Man Law dictates that you can’t just punk out of the dare, you’d never hear the end of it.  So you find yourself sitting in a tattoo chair at two in the morning while some guy with green hair stands over you, drawing god knows what since you were too out of it to remember what you chose in the first place.  Talk about irreversible.

And finally I present you with the effect of ignoring the “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” philosophy.  Skydiving, parachuting, bungee jumping, hang gliding, they are all the same.  You are entrusting your very life in the hands of someone who doesn’t know you and could care less whether you bounce or splat. 

I think I would prefer to splat.

Cause and effect.  Aristotle was definitely on to something.

Grease = Gross

The whole thing started when she and I decided to take the boys to a large bookstore downtown to pick up a Christmas gift for my cousin.  We drove all the way out to the store without incident and I even found the perfect item on sale!  It seemed that things were going our way.  But then we had to drive home.  Thankfully the boys (ages 8 months and 18 months at the time) fell asleep not long after we had gotten onto the freeway. 

In the middle of our perfectly pleasant conversation we were faced with a crisis.  Much to my dismay the car shut off completely, leaving us coasting on the I-17 during the Christmas shopping rush.  After a frantic search for the hazard switch I pulled over in the only place available to me.  The first lane of the freeway sat on our left, the on ramp on the right.  We were squeezed into the the small triangle between them that you aren't supposed to drive on.

I tried several times to start the car with no success.  After the third attempt the car didn't even make a sound when I turned the key.  I dug out my cell phone and called my husband who said he would be right there to pick us up.  Thankfully we were only about five miles from home and not downtown near the bookstore.

Things went from worse to crap when both she and I started feeling ill due to the shaking of the car as the freeway traffic blew past us.  The heat pouring in through the closed windows wasn't helping either.  We had to get out of the car anyway so we decided sooner was better than later.  Not wanting to risk the majority of the traffic on the left, we both climbed out through the passenger side and pulled the boys out with us.

It seemed forever before my husband and father in law arrived.  Coincidentally they pulled up at the same time as the highway patrol who had finally stopped to see what the problem was.  Hubby sent us home in his car while he and his father took care of calling the tow truck. 
In all the time we stood there, two sleeping babies in our arms, not ONE person even slowed down.

Flash forward to yesterday.  It turns out that the timing chain had snapped and my husband was sure that we would be able to fix it ourselves.  You read that right...we.  I am the only one in the house whose hands are small enough to reach between the engine and that other dirty thing with screws poking out to take off the cover that housed said timing chain.
Once we got that cover off (and I had spent about an hour griping about how greasy and gross I was getting) we saw that yes, indeed, the timing chain was broken.  Not only broken, but stuck between two gears.  The trusty screwdriver finally prevailed and we got the broken one off.  I swear, I heard it laughing at me.

After this we went inside.  I cleaned up while he shopped around over the phone to find the replacement.  Since I had to go out anyway to pick up a couple of things, my husband asked if I would mind stopping at the auto parts store after 2pm to pick up the new timing chain since he had had to special order it.  No problem.  I took my best friend with me (the same one I got stranded with).  We took the boys to the toy store to spend a gift card that my son had gotten for Chanukkah and stopped at the pet store to pick up some ferret litter.  By the time we pulled into the auto parts store the boys were asleep so she stayed with them while I ventured inside.

At this point I feel it is important to confess that my knowledge of cars begins at "This is the gas pedal" and ends with "Don't slam on your brakes when you hit a puddle".  Nonetheless, I went inside, armed with the list that my husband had given me.  I found the silicone sealer on my own.  I even added a tub of Orange Cleanser to my cart, my confidence rising.  It didn't last.  I couldn't find a wire brush and I had no idea what PB Solvent was, let alone where to find it.  I was forced to admit defeat and ask for help. 

The man who helped me was amused enough by my stupid questions but was unable to choke back a laugh when I received a text message, causing my phone to announce quite loudly that "Everyone I know has a big butt".  It's not the first time that my choice of alert tones has caused my own embarrassment.
 We finally get back home and my husband and I return to the task at hand.  The new timing chain was pristine and only slightly intimidating.  Again...didn't last.  We tried for about two hours to cram that stupid thing on.

We accomplished the following:
I cut my hand about twelve times.
He almost got a spring poked through his finger.
The timing chain, when finally on, didn't fix it.

It was at this point that I stepped back to survey the damage.  Not to the car, to myself.  I couldn't see my skin because my hands were so stained.  I had gunk under my nails that I could FEEL every time I touched anything.  My hair looked like I hadn't brushed it in a week.  I knew without a doubt that I would have to throw my shirt away.  I swear I could feel the little grease monsters with their red eyes and fangs chewing on me.
After a phone call to a family friend who knows a lot more about cars than we do it was determined that this problem would wait until next week.  

So I ditched everyone and went upstairs to take a bath.

Take It Back

With the holiday season behind us it's time to talk presents.  I had to go to the store just a couple of days after Christmas to pick up a couple of things and I was astounded by the amount of people there returning gifts!  The customer service line practically wrapped around the store.  I can understand a quick exchange if a gift isn't the correct size but I doubt that all of these people were there because what they got didn't fit.  So it got me wondering: exactly what was it that these people were returning? 

I like to think that the gifts i gave weren't returned because not only did I put a lot of thought into them, they were things that I know my friends and family like/wanted/needed.  I don't just pick random gifts and try to match them to recipient later.  So in my (eternally long) trip to the store I started trying to guess what could be in the bags and boxes that people were returning.  The first one I guessed was that of a sweet elderly woman.  I could see her hip granddaughter trying to bring her modest grandma into the modern age.
The poor woman probably suffered a minor stroke.

Then of course there is the young woman standing with who appears to be either her best friend or her sister.  She is obviously fuming and has twice opened the bag she is carrying and glared inside.  My deduction is that she and here boyfriend just spent their first (and likely last) holiday season together.
While in a large line of my own at the checkout I started thinking of other inappropriate gifts.  As a new mom I of course thought of people giving the children of their friends annoying presents.  What parent hasn't let out an audible groan when their son or daughter unwraps a brand new drum set or a tickle me Elmo?
Thankfully that one didn't happen to me this year.

Another opportunity for crummy presents is at a wedding.  Especially if one or both families are against the union.  Then the parents step in with their ill-timed gifts.
While my husband and I didn't get this treatment I can imagine a few couples that I know who would.

And so as to avoid coming off like I believe myself to be perfect I include for your amusement the sort of gift mishap that is my forte. 
My husband is a computer genius as well as a technology buff.  I, on the other hand, am most assuredly not.  While out on my monthly scrounging escapades at the thrift stores I inevitably find something that I think is the coolest thing that he will love only to get it home and have him give me that look.  The one that plainly says "You're not serious, are you?"

Yes my dear, I am indeed serious.