Currently viewing the tag: "Happily Ever After Reality? Not Really"

by Valerie Nusbaum

The Best Laid Plans

I’ve always been a planner.  That’s my nature. I make lists for everything and organize my life and projects down to the minute details.  If I’m hosting a party or an event, the plans begin months in advance and I prepare lists of guests, food, activities, and incidentals, along with a timeline telling me when I need to do all these things. People have frequently referred to me as anal, and I’ve taken it as a compliment. At least, this is the way I used to be.

Life has had other plans for me. Over the last decade or so, I couldn’t begin to list the number of things I’ve had to change, cancel, or reschedule. Trips have been canceled, concert tickets sold or unused, and lunches and dinners with friends are always subject to change. Even the weather is a factor in whether or not my plans come to fruition.

If you assume that flexibility and spontaneity (I had to look up the spelling) don’t come easily to me, you’re correct. I struggle with this issue daily, but I’m getting better at it because I know now that I can’t plan for much of anything; if I want to have any kind of fun, I have to grab it when and where I can.

Randy is also a planner and a list maker, but he’s always been more likely to say “yes” to a last-minute invitation or to roll with a change of plans. This might be, in part, because when we travel, he only takes one small piece of luggage containing a change of clothes and an extra pair of underwear, while I have to remember medicines, lotions for every body part, and enough makeup and hair products, as well as wardrobe options, for at least five kinds of weather.

 When I plan a dinner or a party, I make a list of things for Randy to do so he doesn’t have to think about it. To his credit, if I give that man a list of chores, he will run with it. I learned early on though, that I need to be specific. I can’t just say “peel potatoes” because I’ll return to the kitchen to find an entire 10-pound bag of potatoes peeled and waiting for me. I need to say “peel six potatoes, each the size of half your closed fist.” I use the fist reference because I know Randy has his fist with him and he won’t have to wander off looking for a softball and forget about the potatoes.

The mister and I love a good road trip, but lately, we’ve had to content ourselves with taking short ones.  There are so many local sights to see that we haven’t really missed those long drives and all the roadside attractions we’ve so enjoyed over the years. For example, we visited The Lion Pottery outside of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Admit it. You’ve seen all the little signs along Rt. 15 north, and you’ve wondered about the place selling mugs and fruit.  You should go and see for yourself.  There’s a similar set of signs along Rt. 32, heading toward Annapolis, advertising Jenny’s Market. Yep, we investigated that, too. Another day, we saw the signs and had to go to Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium. It’s worth the trip, if only to see the elephant graveyard. Steve told us about a wonderful food truck in Littlestown, Pennsylvania. The truck is called “Melted” and features grilled cheese sandwiches in several iterations.  The food is delicious and reasonably priced, so you’re welcome.

Most recently, Randy and I took a semi-spontaneous quick trip to Ocean City, Maryland. I’d been invited to apply for a space in the O.C. Art League’s Arts Day event, and when I was accepted, Randy insisted that we go. This quick trip did involve quite a bit of planning because I had to send in a space fee in advance, we had to make a hotel reservation, and my brother needed to get a plane ticket and fly in from Montana to stay with our mother while I was away. We worried and agonized that the weather would be nasty since we’d be at an outdoor event. My brother texted me that his flight might be delayed because of storms outside Denver. So many things could have gone wrong, but for once, it all came together and we lucked out. The weather at the beach was gorgeous—unseasonably so for early June—and the event went well. My brother and our mom had a nice visit. 

It was a quick working trip, but Randy and I enjoyed ourselves and will store that one in our memory book. We both needed a few days away from the daily grind. On the way home, we spontaneously decided to stop at a restaurant on the Bay and get some steamed crabs to bring home. We stopped by Mom’s, and the men picked crabs until they couldn’t eat anymore.  Randy and I finished picking the crabs and made nine huge crab cakes which we enjoyed for several days. It was a lot of work but well worth the effort. And since the restaurant had given us extra crabs, we saved a bunch of money.

Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t. Our plan is to keep trying.

by Valerie Nusbaum

In my ongoing effort to educate as well as entertain (and believe me, I know I haven’t been doing a good job of either lately), I thought we could create some limericks together in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. It’s not that difficult, and I can assure you that you’ll amaze and delight your friends and family. Your kids will love it, too, because it’s a time-honored tradition of poking fun at someone else and being able to get away with it.

When I was younger, my family and I spent more than one Irish holiday with our friends, the Murphys. We had epic game nights and lots of themed parties and foods, and we did more than our share of silly stuff. The night we wrote the limericks is a fond memory, in part because we couldn’t rhyme much with Lillian, Barbara, or Anita.  Rhyming the name Johnny was easier, but there were three Johns in our group, and don’t even get me started on Rockne.

What exactly is a limerick, you ask? It’s a short, usually funny poem largely associated with the Irish and probably named after the county of Limerick in Ireland.

Limericks have five lines, with the first, second, and fifth line rhyming with each other. Lines three and four must also rhyme with each other, and there’s a certain cadence to follow.  A limerick is usually written about a person and the first line generally ends with the person’s name. If the name is difficult to rhyme, however, it can be used somewhere other than the end of line one, or you may opt to write about a place or activity. It’s really up to you.

Here’s an example:

There was a young fellow called Randy.

With tools he was really quite handy.

But he cut off his thumb,

And stuck it back on with gum.

Now nothing he makes looks as dandy.

I never said I was good at writing limericks. My job is to explain the basics and turn you loose. I have faith in you and know you can do it, probably much better than I can.

Here’s another one:

This next is a tale about Wanda,

Who liked to work out with Jane Fonda.

Twas back in the eighties,

When some of the ladies

Liked to hang their firm buns off a Honda.

Armed with the knowledge of how to create a limerick, I struck out to spread the word and begin the creative process with my loved ones. As predicted, Randy and Gail were the only people who agreed to help me with my project. Randy and I spent a little time working on the cadence of the limerick, but I don’t think I explained it very well. The cadence goes something like this:

Da dum da da dum da da dum dum (Lines 1, 2 and 5), and

Da dum da da dum (Lines 3 & 4).

This is what Randy came up with:

There once was a girl who was smart in

  the head.

Her horoscope said don’t get out of bed.

She once saw a dog

That looked like a frog.

It told her she’d nothing to dread.

I must tell you that he sat straight up in bed last night, asked if he could turn on the light, and grabbed a pencil and paper to write this down.  He’d apparently been thinking about his limerick for quite a while.

A year or so ago, I had a strange dream, and to this day, Randy still laughs about it. I dreamt that I was a young lady in Ireland, and I was being courted by a young Irish lad.  He was very sincere and sweet, but one of his ears was funky looking. 

When I told Randy about the dream, I misspoke and said I’d dreamed about being chased by an Irishman with one funky ear. Randy thought the poor man had only one ear, but that’s not what I meant. Never mind the dream. I’ve evidently started something because I just got an email from Randy containing this limerick:

There once was a fellow named Dylan,

He had only one ear, which was thrillin’,

He didn’t hear the thud,

Which left him in the mud,

Now he’s just lying there chillin’.

My sweet friend Gail came up with this ditty:

I once had a fine friend named Val

She was a super-doop pal

She had quite the mother

Just like no other

The quirkiest kind of a gal.

And she just emailed me another one:

I start out each morning with coffee

It’s best with a wee bit o’ toffee.

Without it I’m mean.

I make quite a scene.

I start out the day a bit “off-ey.”

I had to respond, so I came up with this one:

There once was a lassie named Gail

Who was so good at spinning a tale.

She told us a story

Of a murder quite gory.

Now the house where it happened’s for sale.

That’s all there is to it, my friends.  You have a few weeks until St. Patrick’s Day, and even if you’re not Irish, this is a fun thing to try. Grab a pen and paper, maybe a green beer if you enjoy it, or some corned beef and cabbage and soda bread, and prepare to amaze (and possibly insult) the people you know. Just please don’t tell them I put you up to it.

by Valerie Nusbaum

Your friend Randy has decided that it would be a great idea for us to star in our own reality television show. He thinks that having a camera crew follow us around all day, every day, would make for some terrific TV. I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. First, because the people from Hollywood wouldn’t consider us interesting enough, and second, I’m not doing that.

No way do I want someone documenting my every move and conversation. Can you imagine what that would be like? I’d be getting sued every week for saying something politically incorrect, not to mention the fact that my appearance first-thing in the morning would scare off the crew.

Since the hubby isn’t going to get his own show, he says that he’ll settle for getting a slot on an already existing program. Randy likes Survivor, and he’s pretty sure he could make it the entire thirty-nine days out in the wild, even though he’d be the “old” guy on the tribe. He can make fire. I know this because he yells at the TV when the show is on and calls the contestants bad names when they can’t do anything right. Randy can hunt and fish, so he’d be responsible for feeding his tribe. That’s an important job because the tribe members need to eat to keep up their strength. The only drawback that I can see to Randy being on Survivor would come during the episode where the family members visit. I don’t think any of Randy’s family would show up. I know I certainly don’t want to travel halfway around the world to spend the night in some hovel, filled with dirty, stinky people, even if one of them is my husband. I can sleep with him at home when he’s dirty and stinky if I want to, but I don’t. There’s also that whole “eat a bug” thing. Contestants’ family members are usually put on the spot in some kind of challenge to win a reward. I’m not eating any bugs, nor am I eating any intestines or other gross animal parts that are considered delicacies in other parts of the world.  That’s not gonna happen; therefore, Randy would lose the game.

With Survivor no longer an option, my dear husband has decided that we should team up for The Amazing Race. Unfortunately, there are disgusting eating contests on that show, too; as stated before, I draw the line at eating things I’m not familiar with. I also don’t want to do any of the water challenges, and I am scared to death of heights. Randy has my blessing to find another partner for this show, but he seems to think that him going off with Steve or Andrew for several weeks defeats the purpose of us becoming reality stars together. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make to allow my husband’s dreams to come true. Plus, I’d get a whole month of “me” time, and I could take baths in my tub and sleep in my own bed.

We can’t become contestants on either The Amazing Race or The Voice because neither of us can sing. Dancing With the Stars should exclude us due to the fact that neither of us is a star; although, in recent seasons of that show, the actual stars have been few and far between, so we might actually stand a chance of making the cast. Randy is a pretty good dancer, but don’t ask him to do the tango. Seriously.

American Ninja Warrior would be the ultimate challenge. We both love that show. The problem is that the only way we’d make it there is if the producers were looking for two really old and rickety examples of what not to do.

We could try out for Naked and Afraid, but I’m afraid to be naked and there’s that whole dirt and bugs thing again.

This leaves us with the Real Housewives franchise. If Andy Cohen ever comes to Thurmont and puts out a call for auditions, I’m all in. Can’t you just picture it? A real housewives show with REAL women! There’d be no swanky parties, no hair and makeup people, and no jets or limousines.  Instead, I and the other “housewives” would get together and discuss our very real problems, while we shopped for groceries and put gas in our cars. We’d go to work, and then we’d go to dinner at Mountain Gate and eat real food with nary a drop of alcohol in sight. When the name-calling and hair-pulling commenced, we couldn’t blame it on intoxication. The best part is that Randy would love being a trophy husband. Sadly, I don’t see “The Real Housewives of Thurmont” happening any time soon, even though a lot of my friends and neighbors have the potential to become overnight sensations.

My only other option is to relent and make a real reality show with Randy. My vision is of the cameraman being set up behind our couch, filming the backs of our heads as we watch television and make fun of everyone on the “reality” shows. I think it could work.