My parents, my sister and I have a custom that is not very nice. If someone (within our family) has a pimple or a bump on their face, we’ll point at it and say, “You have a pimple…” This has to be said in a southern dialect. (We typically avoid doing this to strangers.) We do this as a joke, but it was started by my grandmother. She wasn’t joking, and she was very southern. When my sister and I were teenagers, if we had a pimple, she would be sure to point it out. We’d walk in the room, and she’d point and say, “You have a pimple…” Um, yeah. Thanks, Grandmother. And you have wrinkles.

When I was a teenager, I was so self-conscious about pimples. I can’t imagine why. It might have something to do with the old lady who pointed them out to me. Regardless of the reason, I can remember being horrified when I would have one. I usually didn’t get normal, everyday pimples. Oh, no, my friends. That would be too average. I would get the big, monster, underground pimples that would rise to the surface of my skin like a volcano waiting to burst. They were usually big and shiny and red. They were hideous. I would use cover-up to try and camouflage them, but Mount St. Helens could not be hidden.

When I was about 14, my mother took me to a dermatologist. Now, before I go further with this story, let me clarify something. I did not have a pizza face. In fact, most of the time, unless I was sporting a volcano, I did not have pimples in sight at all. Thank goodness, I never got them on my cheeks. Usually, they were on my chin and nose. Mt. Vesuvius would occasionally rear its ugly head between my eyebrows. Otherwise, I was free and clear. Unless you lifted my bangs.

Under my bangs, I had a minefield waiting to explode. I typically only had about 10 to 15 zits under there, but it was enough to alarm my mother. Therefore, to the dermatologist’s office we went. The doctor, we’ll call him Doc (It took me a while to think up that nickname), would treat my forehead with some kind of liquid gas (Don’t ask me…I don’t know) that he would rub on my forehead. I’m not sure it actually worked, but it felt kind of good, especially on a hot Florida day.

As if having to go to the dermatologist was not hard enough on my fragile teenaged self-image, this particular doctor was even worse. This man was about five foot-nothing. He was a little bitty Asian man, and I was a big white girl. Every time I had to see him, he would reach up and put his hands on my broad shoulders and tell my mother, “She big. She big strong girl. She big and healthy. Big strong girl.” That’ll make ya feel good about yourself, let me tell you. I used to dread going to him, because I hated being told how big and strong I was. Maybe if I had been a boy, it would have been pleased at his statements, but I was, and still am, indeed, a girl. Just a note to little Asian men out there…big white girls do not like to be told how big and strong they are.

So, after the visits to Doc ended, the volcanoes continued to erupt on my face. I just held onto the hope that someday, I would grow up and quit getting pimples.

In my twenties, I kept waiting for the change in my skin to happen. When I was pregnant, I got extra pimples. I did not find that fair at all. I mean, it was bad enough that I was as big as a house. Couldn’t my skin at least look good?

In my thirties, the volcanoes kept coming. I tried to console myself by saying they at least made me look younger. Why, I was practically a teenager with all the zits I was getting!

There was a week and a half in the second half of my 38th year when I thought the volcanoes had moved on to someone else. Then, they came back. With a vengeance.

Now, in my forties, they are still with me. Recently, I thought about the fact that I hadn’t had a volcano in a while. Then, a few days later, I woke up feeling like a unicorn. I had a big ole’ zit right between my eyes. It was so big, I could see it through the corners of my eyes. I was pretty convinced it was a horn breaking through the skin. I was really excited about being a mystical creature. However, I was disappointed when it popped and no horn came out. Oh, the disappointment.

So, here’s the thing. I used to care. I used to spend a lot of money on cover-up (which, by the way, never actually covered anything). Now, I really don’t care anymore. A few years ago, I taught a class of teenaged girls at church. I was horrified when I woke up and saw a volcano erupting on my chin. I was really struggling with the idea of speaking to them while they were staring at my zit. I knew I would never be judged more than while standing in front of a class of high school girls. So, I decided just to face it head-on (pardon the pun). I stood in front of the class and said, “Okay, girls. Let’s get this over with. It’s a zit. See it? It’s a beauty. Get a good look…….. Okay. You’ve seen it. Let’s get on with class.”

Since then, the volcanoes have not embarrassed me anymore. I figure, we all get them. At least I’m a big, strong girl and I can handle it. I figure, I’ll have them until I die, so as long as I get zits, I know I’m still alive.  -Al

Now, I know what you’re thinking. I have barely written anything in months, and now, I’m going to make my return to blogging by talking about my husband’s dirty drawers. Odd, huh?  I know. It’s not average. I found it appropriate, though, to bust back into my blog by writing a tale for you of my husband and dirty clothes. Now, don’t worry, I’m not going to embarrass him. Much. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t actually try to embarrass my family. In fact, I filter what I write for you so they don’t get embarrassed. (Imagine what life is REALLY like at our house if this is only the filtered version!)

No, I hate to disappoint you, but I’m not going to tell you about my husband’s tidy whities or whatever kind of underwear he wears. (See how evasive I was there?) Though, I will say, after almost 21 years of marriage, the man still folds his dirty clothes to put them in a hamper. There are just some bad habits that won’t die. That really does drive me crazy. I’ve told him from the beginning that if he has time to fold something, I will be happy to provide clean clothes for his folding pleasures.

I actually want to tell you about Mr. Everything and the washer and dryer. Sorry.  Not nearly as exciting as tidy whities.

Our washer and dryer came from my in-laws. They gave the machines to Mr. E before he and I got married. My in-laws bought them used. In 1981. Um. Yeah. The machines are older than some of you probably are. I was about 7 or 8 when they were made. That’s REALLY old.

When Mr. E and I first got married, I had a new house (well, at least it was new to me) and new furniture. I had new dishes and new towels. I really, really wanted a new washer and dryer. Every time those old dinosaurs would sputter or spew, I would look at them loathingly and say, “Die, die, die,” under my breath. However, over and over and over, Mr. Everything would resuscitate them. That’s the problem with being married to the man who can do anything. He can fix everything, whether you want him to or not.

I can’t tell you how many times I got my hopes up that the dinos were dead, only to have my hopes dashed by the phrase, “I fixed it.” Then, I would have to thank him and be, sigh, happy that he could fix anything. I would tell him he was a genius while in my mind thinking, “Just my luck.” Through the years, the man has replaced every part in both machines at least twice.

Fast forward a few years, a failed business and several new layers of financial despair later, and my attitude has changed. Now, when I hear my dinosaurs struggling, I pledge my undying love to them. “Oh washer, I don’t care that you’ve eaten holes in half my clothes, I love you. Stay with me.” “Oh dryer, don’t go to the light…”  Now, I dread the day when the machinery funeral will take place. How ever will I live without the dinosaurs?

I must say, just like old cars and old people, my old laundry machines have become much more high maintenance. While they used to break down yearly, they now break down monthly. More, if we let the Goose near them.

Two weeks ago, the Goose managed to knock out both machines in one day. I’ve talked to her about not loading the washer too full. If you do, it gets hungry and eats things. There’s no telling what you’ll pull out of the machine if put too much in. However, she didn’t listen, bless her pea-pickin’ heart. She loaded that bad boy down so heavy, a shiny new model couldn’t have handled it. She had a heavy bathrobe, 4 towels, 3 pair of jeans, 7 shirts and other various and sundry items in my washer. Needless to say, the washer gave up the ghost right in the middle the spin cycle. The Goose, not realizing she had committed murder, took the sopping wet clothes from the washer and put them in the dryer. The dryer sighed its last sigh and just stopped. We ended up with a huge, heavy load of spoiled, smelly wet clothes and 2 dead dinosaurs. (Well, dead if I were married to anyone else....)

Mr. E took the dryer apart and discovered it was the something-belt. (Sorry. I should pay more attention when he’s talking so I can get my facts straight.) He ordered one from EBay for $4.76, and the dryer was back in business. The washer? Not so much. It is currently still in a coma, but we are praying for the best. The doctor (Mr. E) seems to think the old dinosaur will pull out of it, but it’s still touch and go. Meanwhile, I have made the decree that if and when our beloved washer comes back to us, I am to inspect and approve all loads of laundry before they can get within 12 feet of either machine. I must protect the endangered species in my laundry room.

For now, I am just thankful Mr. E can fix, well, everything. Now, if he would get around to fixing my washer a little faster, I would appreciate it.  -Al