In the Fold

I didn’t even know the world had burned down over the weekend until Monday morning.

I didn’t know because I didn’t look at Twitter most of the weekend; and I didn’t look at Twitter because I was busy fondling my clothing.

You read that right.

For clarification, the world burns down every weekend according to Twitter, I just chose not to watch this time.

As far as the clothes fondling, it’s not near as nefarious as it sounds and a good bit less interesting than coming up with the perfect 140 characters to address the recurring issue of burning down of the world.

But, to be more useful in this life, I spent the weekend cleaning out my closet.

No, my closet is not that big. It’s that messy, or I should say, it was. And if I know me – and I do – it will be again.

This past weekend is what I call my semi-annual pilgrimage to my personal Wizard of Oz, a glimpse of the Mecca of an organized life.

Midway through the pilgrimmage, I had the bright idea that I could probably fold my t-shirts and stretch pants (home team uniform) in a neater manner than my patented cram-them-in-there-and sort-it-out-later method.


My previous method, defined

I turned to YouTube for advice on this uncomfortable thought.

YouTube is where people like me go to find out about such foreign  concepts and it took me to Japan where I met a woman named Marie Kondo who according to YouTube, revolutionized clothes folding.

Thereafter, I spent two and a half hours, “smoothing the fabric, communicating my affection and gratitude to my clothes (this is very important according to the video),  fondling my shirts and generally feeling creepy.

My t-shirts were felt, thanked and folded with a love that can apparently only be found in Japan. I like to think I will continue this method, but history tells me this is the only love my folded shirts will feel all season. I hope they enjoyed it, a lot.

In fact, I have a date with my favorite vintage Nike t-shirt (c. 1980)  this weekend because we talked and decided to try again.

I saved the shirt folding for last, because having known myself my entire life, I knew I would need a good, stiff drink after all that human-fabric emotional entanglement. Also, Adele was heavy on the playlist that got me through it, so I toasted her as I leaned back against the shelf of properly-thanked and folded shirts.

Then, I tweeted a picture of how I cleaned up my world.

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Family keepsakes aren’t what they use to be


On the very day of my 50th birthday in January, I received my inaugural mailing from AARP with a membership card and life insurance application. I thought this was kind of rude and ill-timed.

My own sweet (and it turns out, smart) husband, who owns a retirement planning company that deals in annuities and life insurance products, would have received a signature Kari Collins chokehold had he waved a life insurance application in front of my eyes when they first opened that morning. Or, at any other time that day.

Apparently AARP is a rite of passage into 50-hood much like bifocals – only more obvious and snarky. Bifocals don’t remind you that you could die soon, but they do help in reading life insurance applications.

As a result, AARP made my “I probably hate you for life” list, right along side the Wizard of Oz and visible panty lines.

But since I turned 50, applications for life insurance are coming in faster than credit card applications came to my kids when they graduated high school.

It seems life insurance companies want you to think hard, and in my experience so far – often, about your eventual death.

What is it about turning 50 that makes life insurance companies want to be your bank draft pen pal? I’m closer to dying now than I was last year, that’s what.

One came in the mail this week from Mutual of Omaha, and if they hadn’t a Cracker Jack-reminiscent message on the outside of the envelope, I probably wouldn’t have opened it.

On the outside of the envelope read this seductive line: FREE “Family Keepsake” Enclosed(!). Since only a selfish hag wouldn’t want to give her family a lovely keepsake, I fell for it and ripped open the envelope just like their marketing department predicted.

Inside was the very predictable life insurance application – which I threw away because it occurred to me years ago that I was mortal and I already have that covered –  and the promised free family keepsake.


This family keepsake they spoke of was a tri-fold pamphlet, lovingly titled “Family Keepsake.” Damn. Really? They had me at ‘family’.

When I opened it, though, the words at the top read “Your Final Wishes” with  the sub-groups of Funeral and Business Arrangements: and Important People to Notify: with space for me to thoughtfully fill in the details, and presumably for my family to keep.

funeral_1 What passes for “Family Keepsakes” these days. 

In that instance, Mutual of Omaha successfully relegated themselves to the Wizard of Oz list.

Here’s the deal: the only thing my family needs to know upon my eventual demise is that the song “Play That Funky Music, White Boy” by Wild Cherry should be played at my funeral service.

Speaking of which,  every time I mention this comes up they get a look on their face like I’ve asked them to pose my body in the corner holding a glass of good champagne at my service. As a result, I just told Lynn Dutton to put the song in my file at Dutton Funeral Home. The rest of my service, I’ve assured my family, is completely up to them.

So, my family doesn’t need that keepsake because I’m pretty sure that’s not a memory they want to keep. But, I have assured them it will be a hoot.

Since I just aged myself into a specific and profitable marketing group, I have some advice to life insurance companies: If you want the 50+ business, send vouchers for cocktails and cruises and not pamphlets for funeral planning.

Those are memories my family will keep.

 Bonus footage: BMW is not paying me to put this on my blog, but I swear the little old lady in the third row seat will be me in 30 years. But if you buy a BMW because of this, be sure and let ’em know and maybe they’ll send me a check to go toward my final expenses.

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Terror from behind the chair

I have laughed.

I have cried.

I have had full-blown panic attacks.

Ladies, gents and sissies of all ages, we are smack-dab in the middle of Shark Week.

The much-promoted and anticipated 26th annual Shark Week began Sunday on the Discovery Channel, and might I say there are not enough anti-anxiety medications on earth to make it a stress-free experience for me.

And yet I watch it anyway.

Sure, I could turn off the TV and do something really Zen like knit, balance my checkbook or any number of other things I don’t do.

But no, I elect to watch videos of people being eaten alive off the coast of South Africa the same way I remember trying to watch the movie Wizard of Oz when I was three years old – from behind a chair with my ears covered.

Still, I am utterly fascinated by sharks for reasons I cannot explain. And although the thought of seeing, touching or being eaten by a shark scares the crap out of me, Shark Week is the train wreck I can’t not watch.

Every time I hear of a shark attack anywhere in the world, something in my head says, “Oh, hell no,” and just like that, I never get in the ocean. Shark Week is like my booster shot for that.

The last time I did get in the ocean was in 2007, and I actually snorkeled, which is somewhat like convincing a pig he can work at a pork processing plant.

I was in Cozumel and went snorkeling at night, which I suppose was my way of not seeing that which I did not want to see. Except I had a flashlight and saw a couple of barracudas swimming alongside me. I found out a lot about myself that night, including that I can scream really loud under water. After all, barracudas are the gateway fish to sharks, and I haven’t entered the ocean since.

Having watched Shark Week since it began in 1988, I’ve noted several differences in their approach in educating the public.

The early years served as a nightly straight-forward documentary on your average great white, bull, hammerhead and nurse sharks. But now, Discovery treats normal great white sharks as so 1990’s. This year they are featuring two sharks – Colossus and Submarine (how precious are those names?) – that are the size of city blocks and crave human flesh – or at least that’s what I got out of it.

Now they have turned those no-stress documentaries into stories with suspense – Will they die? Will they lose a limb in that flimsy underwater cage? Why are they getting in the water?  Seriously, why are you getting in the water, sir?

I don’t watch many movies because I’m not a huge fan of suspense. Just tell me now how many and who are going to die and you’ll save me an entire hour of chain smoking and feeling uncomfortable.

Tuesday night, they aired an episode on what they call “Alien Sharks”, which are sharks that look odd because they live so deep in the ocean they have adapted to no light, and apparently, no mirrors.

I learned about shark species with such names as Goblin Shark, Cookie Cutter Shark, Ghost Shark, Kite Fin Shark and, my personal favorite, the Big-Eye Ragged Tooth Shark – all of which leads me to believe they let six-year-olds make up shark names this season. But they were decidedly less scary because they inhabit parts of the ocean those six-year-olds will never be in danger of exploring.

So, what I have learned about sharks so far this season? There’s no need to get in the water with them when I can see them from behind the chair just fine.

Have you hugged a shark today? Exactly.
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