Saturday, May 12, 2012

Time flies when you're burnin' down the house

It's amazing how time flies

I see it's now been more than a month since my last weekly post – but have no fear – the dialog is progressing in regards to teaming up with KRCG. I will be on the hunt for a sponsorship next week – if you're in the Columbia area and interested. Also working with techies on the logistics.

My new job is GREAT by the way and we haven't burnt the new house down yet, but we sure came close.

While re-seasoning my cast iron skillet, The Man and I chose to multitask and also make some progress on our DIY headboard.

Fabric, floral foam, plywood and staples littered the kitchen floor. The dogs took cover under the couch and pool table.

“I think we need a staple here,” The Man suggested.

“Why doesn't this fit? I measured twice.” I was getting frustrated.

According to the magazine, this was supposed to be a “free weekend” headboard project. It was now Wednesday.

The brief instructions had gone out the window and we were winging it.

Soon, staples weren't the only thing flying in the kitchen. The olive oil was now so hot it was jumping out of the skillet and onto the cooktop.

Leaving me to fend for myself armed with nothing more than scissors and a heavy duty staple gun, The Man tended to the skillet.

Looking back I now wonder what happened to my womanly instincts at that moment.

The Man, a skillet and high temperatures.

He “checked” the oil, added a splatter screen and came back to the headboard project.

“Shouldn't you shut it off if it's boiling,” I asked with moderate concern.

It was after all my favorite skillet and I was nearly sure he had little clue what he was doing to “re-season” it.

Before he could answer, a POOF came from the stove and the kitchen filled with smoke.

I raced to fan and silence the smoke alarm while The Man grabbed the flaming skillet and after a brief moment of 'oh no, what do I do, what do I do' he raced to the patio, still flaming.

Stella raced from under the couch only to cling to my feet as the smoke alarm continued to sound.

Now a bit less concerned since the fire was now contained outdoors, I did what any good girlfriend would do. I grabbed my iPhone snapped a few pictures of the The Man as he attempted to extinguish the skillet with flour and posted to Facebook.

*For the record, no animals were harmed in the making of this post and other than large amounts of smoke which quickly cleared, the kitchen was also spared.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Walk it off

This one is to keep the readers around - the handful of you around. I'm in the middle of dialogue with KRCG about running this on their site now that I'm employed there. Unfortunately, my Maryville and Boonville followers will have to get their weekly dose here.  Thanks for hanging with me all.


Walk It Off - - - 

It seemed like such a simple idea - take the dogs on a walk in a new park.

I'd been informed of a great location which included "flat trails, off-leash areas, a cliff with great views and no chances of getting lost."

The weather was unusually warm for March and with our yard mowed just days ago, The Man and I had nothing better to do. Couple that with a pathetic attempt at playing fetch by our 90-pound couch potato the day before, and a walk in the park became mandatory.

So there we were, tennis shoes laced, dog harnesses latched and poop bags packed, standing at the fork in the trail.

"She said there was a cliff and that one trail would lead you to the barn and another short walk would take you to the dog area," I said unsure as to what was which direction.

Guided only by the overloaded olfactory senses of our four-legged walking companions, we ventured right.

Two minutes into our hike - "Wow, this park is really pretty."

Five minutes into our hike - "Look a creek."

Ten minutes into our hike - "Where does this trail lead? She said 'short'."

Fifteen minutes into our walk - "OK, really, this girl's getting tired."\

Seventeen minutes into our walk and at a strange parking lot signaling a dead end - "Don't tell me we have to turn around and do all that again."

Staring blankly at the hand drawn park maps, which lacked the universal image for "you are here," I greeted the nearest hiking couple and asked for directions.

Ten minutes later we'd found our car - just minutes before The Man would have had to carry both our dogs and myself out of the park.

Too exhausted from our first spring hike to cook, we snagged a large pizza from the nearest Casey's and headed home.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

If chess were played with paint chips and tools

Last column as an employee of the Daily News. Look to the blog for more each week though.

"Oh, Windjammer sounds fun. What about Blue Tango or Summer Splash?"
I was whipping through paint sample cards faster than a Vegas Blackjack dealer.
"Peek-a-Boo Blue or Beach House," I asked, apparently to myself, as The Man was nowhere to be found.
Just when it looked like aliens had finally heard my pleas to beam him up, I found him -—holding a drill — a very large drill.
"Look," I demanded with the kind of urgency my three-year-old self would have been proud of. "I got these four samples for the living room and these three for the bedroom. I thought it'd be fun to paint an accent wall."
"Look what I found," he demanded, now holding drill bits.
He was uninterested in my colorful conundrum so I stuck the deck of cards in my purse and bided my time.
"We could use this to drill holes in the tile," he informed.
"This one cuts glass."
"I don't think they carry that screw driver I wanted for Christmas."
Following The Man through the tool department was exhausting, so I moved on to drapes.
Home owning is fun, at least in the first week.
Our 8 p.m. trip to the local hardware store wasn't the first, and won't be the last.
Once we returned to our castle, I began taping my paint samples to their designated walls. I stood back, hand on chin and contemplated like a professional.
"What's that for? You're going to paint the bedroom?"
Proving my hardware hunch correct, it was clear that The Man wasn't listening when I not so subtly demanded his attention. Men.
After explaining my painting plans — again — I pointed to one of the six shades of blue stuck to the middle of our wall.
"Which one," I asked.
"You're going to paint the wall blue?"
The lasers coming from my eyes said "YES!"
After a few more moments of my ESP and silence, he caved.
"That one looks grey. What are they called?"
"That's not what I asked and what names they have doesn't matter. Which one?"
This game was getting fun, like pin the tail on the donkey without pins or the threat of losing a finger.
"I don't know," as he picked up a drill.
Game over.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Marking my territory

 Daily News column for 3/9/12 

(Side Note: Have no fear "The Way It Is" fans, I have been asked to continue my column even though I will no longer be at the Daily News. So stay tuned for more of my musings.)

"Are you still alive over there?"

My male counterpart was looking a tad flush as his hand remained frozen in that clutched way you hold a pen.

We were nearly finished signing our lives away to the bank for the next 30 years. While I was giddy as a school girl, it was apparent that the reality of the situation had hit The Man.

After weeks of searching, excitement, disappointment and complete and total stress, we were buying a house — our first house.

For a solid hour, we had done nothing but sign here, date there and initial here, here and here, leaving The Man in a trance.

Knowing full well the faster I got my part signed, the faster I'd be scrubbing floors, wiping windows and unpacking, leaving the heavy lifting to The Man — It's tough being a girl.

When all 'T's were crossed, 'I's dotted and The Man brought back to reality, we swung by our tiny apartment to get the dogs. After all, we couldn't take the first steps into our new home without them, they're family.

Video camera in hand, like the mother of a walking toddler, I trotted along behind them as they verified the security of our new premises.

Sniff, bounce, sniff, sniff, spin in a circle, sniff, bounce, bounce.

Our smallest pooch, princess diva herself, Stella, could hardly contain herself. With more room to roam than she's seen in months and a whole new world of smells it was a miracle she stopped in time to miss smashing face first into the sliding glass door.

Just as their excitement began to fade along with the level of stranger danger, we flung open the door to their fenced in yard.

While they had missed their opportunity to initial here and place paw there, making the house just as much theirs as ours, it didn't matter.

Seconds later, each corner of the yard was marked, making every square inch of that section of neighborhood theirs.

Their responsibilities fulfilled, they each found their a spot to oversee the move — or sleep — something The Man wasn't going to let me get away with.

Staking my claim of the kitchen and master bath apparently wasn't enough to warrant my partaking in an early evening nap.

—Megan Tilk is a reporter who also writes a weekly column for the Boonville Daily News. She can be reached at or through her blog: megantilk.blogspot .com.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

There's no app for that

These days it seems nearly everyone has a cell phone and a good chunk of those with smart phones can do everything short of teleporting into deep space — but I hear they're working on that.
Apple boasts "Over 500,000 apps. For work, play, and everything in between." My iPhone has 44 — and that's counting the standards it came with.
I, like everyone who has them, use my apps for various reasons. One gets me where I need to go, another helps me find cheap gas to get home. Six different apps allow me to connect with friends far away in competitive childhood games. Another app keeps me posted with play-by-play action from my favorite teams and two apps make sure I'm getting the best deals while shopping.
My phone is often smudged and sticky, a result of an app that helps me prepare tasty meals.
An adorable 2-year-old often sings to me and shows me her latest toy thanks to another app.
Apps can be quite handy, even when used to hurdle birds at evil, green pigs — it's got entertainment value.
Though there isn't an app that will make my coffee for me, there is one that insures a tall, white chocolate mocha with whipped cream is ready when I arrive at the nearest coffee shop.
If only apps were available everywhere, life would be much simpler.
Techies have already began work on that concept. Several new car models come with built in apps for navigation, music, traffic patterns, to find a parking spot and much more.
Just think what life will be like as more and more things start coming with the capability to access apps.
I'm waiting very impatiently for Coach to develop a purse with apps for finding my misplaced keys and wallets.
Shopping carts equipped with GPS for locating grocery items would also be fantastic.
"What's for supper," The Man asked, as he does almost daily.
I've learned through the years that this statement is more than a quandary, it's my cue to get in the kitchen. He's hungry.
Often times his question comes at very inopportune moments, while I'm holding two leashes with excited dogs at the ends and a phone to my ear or on busy work days when I haven't had a moment to even remind myself to use the restroom.

Finally realizing that food may come faster if I have some assistance — it only took five years — he began to appear in the kitchen a bit more often.
"What are you doing to the chicken?"
"Don't you need more oil?"
"You just add water?"
Okay, so asking The Man for help in the kitchen may not have been my proudest moment, but there's no app that can capture the excitement that ensues at our house every time smoke fills the kitchen and the sliding glass door goes flying open. Oh wait, that's YouTube.

Friday, February 24, 2012

My dog is walking trademark infringement

I fear that my dog and I may soon come under attack from the CAT Police.

No, not the kind with four legs and whiskers, but the kind that will send you nasty letters if you improperly identify their products and services in weekly columns — a little group I like to call the Copyright And Trademark Police.

I received such a warning letter after improperly identifying my favorite beverage, SoBe Lifewater®, as two words apparently not meant to be used together unless identifying the specific brand of "enhanced water," VITAMINWATER®. My bad. Lesson learned.

The letter did come as a bit a of surprise though. To my knowledge, that column had only reached a very limited portion of the otherwise large audience which has the pleasure of reading my thoughts. So how did the CAT Police track me — in rural mid-Missouri — down?

Not only do I now live in fear of being placed in Smith & Wesson handcuffs (to be trademark correct) and tossed into a small cell papered with logos, but I now have a constant awareness of branding and the improper uses.

"Can you hand me a Sharpie," I asked my male counterpart last night.

When he handed me a MARKS-A-LOT®, I ducked and covered awaiting a helicopter drop of CAT policemen. Looks like I lucked out that time.

Apparently, I luck out a lot. As do many Americans.

The young lady in the fast food drive thru deserved more than a warning letter as she handed me a bottle of Pepsi last week when I had clearly stated "Coke" into the speaker.

Trying to wrap my head around all the various trademarked and copyrighted words and phrases out there makes me need a TYLENOL®, or is it actually Advil® that I take?

Just when I thought I was safe, I grabbed a HI-LITER® highlighter and got back to work, until I made a mistake and needed some Wite-Out®, but all I had was a bottle of Liquid Paper®. Darn the luck.

Giving up, I grabbed some Kleenex®, but I probably should call it tissue as it could have been Puffs®, and headed home for a good cry. Trying to live life the properly trademarked and copyrighted way was stressing me out.

The next day I started fresh, but still curious as to what other violations I could be committing, I hopped on Google — and it actually was Google, not a similar search engine.

Learning that The Man and I had inadvertently named our 90-pound pooch after a trademarked brand of elastic bandages, I raced home to verify that the CAT Police weren't holding him as collateral for my arrest.

Finding him where I left him, asleep on the couch, I grabbed a few zip-close bags — I say that because I'm not sure they were Ziploc® — I rationed what food we had left in the fridge.

Looking down at the floppy-eared pooch, I realized we had but one option.

"How do you feel about witness protection?"

Friday, February 17, 2012

Babies, babies, the magical fruit

Babies are fabulous creatures. The way they smell, the noises the make, their constant need for your attention, it's mesmerizing.

They're like the magical fruit. The more you're around them, the more you want one (that is, if you're a professional gal like myself).

It's becoming frighteningly more and more apparent that somewhere along the lines, I put my career, lifestyle, male counterpart and love for my fur babies above having children of my own. And Facebook won't let me forget that fact.

My life has spiraled into some formula and diaper driven frenzy. Gone are the days that my Facebook newsfeed was occupied by sorority stories and fraternity fibs. Gone are the photos of 10-carat diamonds the size of my head and the reception photos that followed.

My refrigerator is a testament to the direction my life has, or maybe hasn't, taken. Save the dates and wedding invites have now been hidden behind giant, flower beanies and pacifiers.

Babies are everywhere.

My friends were adamant that I (and the rest of the world) see the latest photos of rolling, feeding, crying, laughing and smiling. For awhile, I did a decent job of keeping my distance, not ready to admit that my friends were becoming parents, until a few days ago.

Call it "baby fever" or "the toddler trance." Whatever you call it, it made me succumb to what ended up a five-hour drive back to where I grew up.

Recently, (OK, so six months or more ago) several of my childhood friends became parents. It was a regular baby boom.

Crumbling under the pressures of Facebook and photos on my fridge, I had to meet the little buggers — hence, my trek across the Midwest.

After two full days of nothing but pure baby bliss, I headed back home to my apparently unusual life thinking I'd stifled the calls of babies everywhere, for another six months at least.

Boy, was I wrong.

Three days later, and a few weeks ahead of schedule, The Man's family welcomed a little one.

No matter how professional or opposed to traditional lifestyles I try to be, I've made sure that 7-pound 8-ounce bundle of joy is pictured all over my Facebook — and fridge.

While I may not be ready for the full-time gig of human burp rag or personal swing just yet, I'm not opposed to the idea of babysitting. I like knowing that after I have just fed them an entire bottle and spent what should have been nap time as play time, that I can load them up and send them back to Mom. (Sorry girls.)

Friday, February 10, 2012

It's OK, I admit it, I'm the crazy dog lady

Daily News Column for 2-10-12

My grandmother has Facebook.

While that may not be such a shock to some, it helps if you know the woman.

Fed up with Grandpa always having first dibs at the latest photos, video and life updates of our family, the woman who had never used anything more technologically advanced than a flip phone decided she would use a computer for the first time to learn the operations of Facebook.

Following a few brief posting problems and message mishaps, miraculously, she managed to master the basics and only required a few troubleshooting sessions – although sometimes I think she just used it as an excuse to call.

So a few weeks ago, when the dinosaur of a Powerbook she was using – still solely for Facebook – crashed, we each got a bit behind on the others life details.

Finally managing to talk Grandpa into getting her a new computer, she was up and running as if she’d never missed a day in Facebook world at all.

After announcing her return for all to see, she initiated a chat session with me. Can’t say I ever saw that coming, but I couldn’t be prouder.

There I was typing the next big news story, catching up on “The Big Bang Theory” and having a conversation with my grandma, who was five hours away, all at the same time. It was fabulous.
But when she shared some unsettling news via cyberspace, things got a bit deeper than I think Mark Zuckerberg or even Jeeves prepared for.

“Stella’s dad got ran over and killed a few days ago,” she typed.

Being the dedicated – some say crazy – dog owner that I am, the news was a shocker.

Let me be clear. For those of you who do not know, Stella is the 9-pound love of my life, princess of my house Shih-Tzu.

In fact, without my grandma and grandpa, she would be none of those.

Growing up, their house was always full of the little furballs, so it was only fitting that when I moved into a place of my own I got one too. Enter Stella, the puppy of their beloved pet.

Though I don’t know much about the male counterpart to Stella’s existence, or his owners, I do know that if it weren’t for the same stubbornness that got my grandmother to learn Facebook, Stella would have been theirs.

Since meeting her doggy daddy’s acquaintance, the poor pooch suffered a nearly fatal attack with another, much larger, dog. As if that wasn’t enough to make me oh-so grateful at the way our situation panned out, Grandma’s latest message sure was.

For those of you who understand the love, joy, companionship and comfort dog ownership brings, you know what I’m trying to say, and that is how I not only owe my grandparents an incredibly large thank you for giving me the gift of the best dog a girl could get, but for allowing me to make sure she had the best life she could get.

In my lap as I write this, I try not to imagine what her fate would have been had she gone as the pick of the litter to live with her dad and his owners. And I don’t imagine my life without her in it.

Dogs are wonderful creatures and if you have the chance, and the heart, I highly suggest you allow one to change life as you know it. There are plenty who live unimaginable lives and are just waiting for home with love and lots of treats.

Friday, February 3, 2012

May the force be with you

 Daily News column for 2/3/12

I'm convinced that Sam's Club is really a front for the Death Star and the grocery section is the hub for their tractor beam.

Reaching into the fridge for a beer and coming out with a vitamin water, The Man had finally hit his patience limit with my lack of concern for our food shortage.

No beer, no paper plates and no beef.

"I'll get some stuff tomorrow," I said.

I wasn't worried, I had Pop Tarts and SpaghettiOs stashed in my desk at work, just in case Darth Vader and his storm troopers chose to invade the Daily News.

The next day came with a phone call.

"Let's go to Sam's tonight," The Man demanded.

I was beginning to think he was concerned that letting him starve was part of my evil plot.

As with any trip to the Death Star, we couldn't just race in at light speed, we had to have a plan to combat the dark side.

"We're setting a limit, right now," The Man said. "Let's try to keep it under $100 this time."

His eyes suggested blame for the extra carton of chocolate chip cookies and bottle of wine that found their way home with us last time, even though I told him several times that a pack of Ewoks had been following us through the store.

They're so darn cute, it had to be them.

Grabbing a cart near the entrance, we huddled together in hopes of avoiding the Jedi mind tricks coming from the employees stationed in the entertainment section. Power in numbers they always say.

We made our way to the paper plates and beer without any added aversions.

With less than $100 worth of items in our cart, we were near the end of our list when I grabbed some cans of tomato sauce, spun around and noticed my male counterpart was gone.

Leaving the cart, and beer, unattended, I expected the worst. Was it a Wookiee or had Princess Leia made a pass? Either way, I was left with a very heavy cart to push through the store.

I weaved through the Milky Way and Snickers galaxy and past the rebel alliance just in time to spot The Man.

Cradling a 10-pound tube of ground beef, it was clear I'd met my match.

"That's going to put us over our limit," I said.

Waving the stick of meat back and forth, while making light saber noises, it was obvious that the dark side had him.

"Use the force," I begged. "Put the meat back."
It was no use.

Succumbing to the power of the produce tractor beam, I found myself clutching a giant pork loin, headed for the checkout.

—Megan Tilk is a reporter who also writes a weekly column for the Boonville Daily News. She can be reached at or through her blog: megantilk.blogspot .com.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Karma is glorious

Daily News Column for 1/27/12

Being a dog owner has its perks: the unconditional love, comedic relief and the ability to act as foot warmers on a cold winter night.
Most days, they require nothing more than to be rubbed, held, fed and watered. But the problem comes after they've had their food and water.
"Stella, hurry up it's freezing out here," I pleaded with the nine-pound fur ball at the end of the leash.
Her snort and tail whip told me that she could care less that it was only 25 degrees outside and I was freezing. She had fur, lots of it, because I hadn't had a chance to get her to the groomer yet.
Our other dog, Ace, who is all of 90 pounds and the king of my household, had already marked his territory — twice — and done the number two. I can always count on Ace.
"Really, Stella, hurry up!"
Princess Fluff on the other hand, has always been one for doing things at her own pace.
Arriving into this world more than two hours after her five, mouse-sized siblings, her trend only continued. I should have known then.
Taking a good four months longer to potty train than Mr. Reliable Ace, she also took several hours or even days more to learn the basics: sit, shake, lay down and roll over. It was exhausting.
"Stella, I can't feel my fingers. Would you please go potty?"
Yes, I talk to my dogs and yes, they understand — too well, sometimes.
As a half frozen leaf shuttered in the wind, Stella lost what little focus she had on doing her business and went straight for the kill.
Pounce, pounce, flop.
Snapping the leaf into a dozen pieces, it was back to doing what she does best — her own thing.
Threatening to tie her leash to the No Parking sign and leave her out there, she finally found the proper spot. But her do-things-at-my-own-pace attitude didn't end there.
She may have found the spot, but it didn't mean she would soon be ready to go inside.
So Ace and I stood, waiting, waiting, waiting.
Knowing full well that my male counterpart was nestled under a blanket in his recliner, I huddled close to Ace for warmth. Never challenge a man to a game of thumb war. You'll only end up with a leash in each numb hand.
Finally, when all was said and done, the three of us took our frozen fingers and paws inside, where Stella took a flying leap into The Man's chair and onto his warm and toasty face.
Karma is glorious.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stop this ride, I'm going to puke!

 BDN column for 1-20

Things rarely happen as planned for me, and I hear that's just life.

I awoke bit early and in an unusually cheery mood one day last week. I started my coffee, turned on the TV and was mentally preparing a great breakfast, when my good-day train made an unscheduled stop at the corner of dog doo and living room carpet.

Though that station was passed more often than not, occasionally a stinky, little train hopper named Stella would require a stop.

After a quick top-off of caffeinated fuel, the train continued as scheduled for the day. Luckily, that was just a minor bump in the road.

Speaking of bumps, yesterday was full of potholes. Just when I thought I had coasted through the very difficult journey that is putting together a newspaper, you know, reporting, photographs, web updates, page design and getting it to the printer on time, my Thursday train struck a giant pothole. I'd made a large error on the front page, the first of my career, and spelled a word wrong on the headline and failed to run a story in its entirety. The Friday train couldn't arrive soon enough.

My train of life makes stops and route changes quite often it seems and no matter which form of directional guidance I chose, it typically gets turned around — insert "make a U-turn when possible" in an electronic voice here.

Just the other day, my male counterpart and I found ourselves riding on the rental property train. Passing by the lavish, resort-style rentals (because we have dogs) we went straight to the mid-level apartments and town homes.

The train stopped for some sight seeing before making a slight route change which lead through sale properties.

After quickly stopping to pick up a realtor, lender and some very supportive parents, we found ourselves completely lost.

Winding through the language of a home loan application, down the emotional mountain and past the sea of desire, I did all I could to keep from vomiting.

How we managed to miss our stop along the route to rented bliss and wound up at the chaotic, cluttered homeowner's station I'll never know, but then again, that's life.

Now, finding ourselves with nothing but a map and two directions to choose from, I kind of wonder where the poop train went. That seems like a much simpler ride.

Armed with our map, cellphones to call home and a refill of coffee, we're off in search of the next life train.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The roller coaster from you-know-where

BDN column for 1-13-11

My car needed a good cleaning, and when it was 60 degrees on a January day, who was I to say no?

The car wash place was a full-service automatic type. I couldn't get out and wash my own car if I wanted to, which I kind of did. But I got in line with other 423,987,429 vehicles (OK, so I exaggerate) awaiting their turn.

Clueless as to how this luxury treatment worked, my blood pressure skyrocketing from the stress, I did what any clueless blonde would do. Played dumb.

Watching the car in front of me, I pulled to the same little window and waited until the girl inside couldn't take the awkward silence anymore.

"What kind of wash do you want?"

Kind? What did she mean kind? I just wanted a gun that shoots water.

Feeling like an underdressed second-cousin at a hotel wedding, I chose the most basic option in hopes of escaping quick, handed her my cash and was ready to move on.

"Do you want a towel with that," the obviously irritated teen asked between bubblegum pops.

Towel? What the heck do I need a towel for?

I saw the car in front of me take the towel option. So I took one too.

In second-grade, single-file fashion I followed the car in front of me around a curve where we stopped to await our turn near the entrance of what looked more like a cattle barn than a car wash.

The driver ahead began using their towel to wipe down every hard surface in her tiny coupe.

Oh, so that's what the towel's for.

After my dash got a good wipe down, it was my turn to enter. My excitement mounted as the two high-school aged boys began waving me in their direction.

Giving the universal signs for pull forward, keep coming, and a little to the left, I got my car situated right where he wanted it.

Using the only car washing tool I recognized in the place, a gun that shoots water, to give my car a good prewash, he then directed me to pull forward a bit more, a little to the right and STOP!

Unfortunately, I was so excited by the royal treatment I was receiving, I got distracted and forgot to watch the car in front of me as they entered "the barn."

So I sat and sat and sat, trying not to make that awkward eye contact with the kid with the hose outside.

Ka-thump, ka-thump. My car rocked a bit and in complete fear, I sprawled my arms out as if Godzilla was about to rise from below and eat my Jeep, with me inside.

I looked to the "hose guy" outside for help. After giggling a bit, he mouthed something I couldn't comprehend.

"Brake," another teen yelled from behind me.

Oh, shoot! While I had put my car in park, I forgot to take my foot off the brake. Was that what he wanted?

Apparently not. The "hose guy" gave another universal symbol — roll your window down — and hollered, "put it in neutral and keep your hands and feet free!"

Double shoot. This place needed instruction manuals, not towels.

I shifted into neutral as the Godzilla teeth below once again began to chop.

Buzz, buzz, wooohooo, buzz, buzz, wooohooo!

Alarms of all kinds started ringing, and the whole system stopped.

This one called for a bit more than "shoot," as I had apparently put the whole order of things out of sync with my little mess-up.

After a quick reset by the "hose guy," my car lunged into action like a roller coaster from you-know-where. Resisting the urge to steer and completely against my will at this point, I entered the black, soapy abyss.

I began to wonder if this was how it would all end for me. Girl found dead in fetal position on floor board. Cause of death, car wash related stress.

But then I saw it. Out of the deep, dark, soapy bowels of the beast, there was a light — and a roaring blowdryer.

With a new outlook on life and a shiny Jeep, I made my way to the free vacuum station, which is a tale for another time.

Friday, January 6, 2012

If politicians were like Apple

Daily News Column for Jan. 6

I heard a news blip on the radio a few mornings back that has stuck with me ever since.

It mentioned something about how artistic T-shirts of Barack Obama were the number-one selling item from shirt stands in larger cities in recent years.

Now I can't seem to find the actual news story those radio personalities were speaking of, but the idea itself has me thinking.

With politicians being at the forefront of most conversations these days, and the Iowa Caucus in my home state, I've decided it's more than time I get interested. Now before any stones are thrown, I'll publicly admit to being a political pinhead.

As a reporter, I realize I should be on the up and up when it comes to politics, but I am not, and I generally leave the political writing to others.

But when a state senator made a stop just a few doors down this week, I took it as an opportunity to become more involved. And it's not that I haven't wanted to be involved, I just can't get into it.

Sitting at the local carpet barn with a majority of folks old enough to be my great-grandparents, I knew from the beginning that this political event would probably not help me out.

Speaking of his dislike toward the operations of the federal government, his views of foreign oil dependency and a laundry list of things that didn't really pertain to me, I wondered when and how I would ever begin to like and understand politics.

And then came the radio.

Apparently, Obama's face is more popular with the "younger generations" than that of any other celebrity. Hence his shirt sales.

The radio hosts compared sales to that of T-shirts with Bob Marley and Marilyn Monroe's faces.

Now, Bob and Marilyn are two people I can understand. But I wondered how many of those shirt buyers really understood Obama and what he stood for when making their purchase. Did they vote for him because he was their favorite shirt? Or was it because they supported his fight for the American Jobs Act or his disproval of No Child Left Behind mandates?

I wonder now, how much of it was a combination of both.

For me, wearing a shirt with an algebra equation would be a major fashion faux pas. I don't know the first thing about algebra and in order for me to wear it, I'd have to be able to solve it.

And maybe that's the problem with politicians.

If politicians started marketing themselves to younger generations in a way we could understand — like the iPhone or Dr. Pepper  — I'd become more involved and want to know more.

Apple does a fantastic job of making sure I know who they are, what products they have and what those products can do for me.

When I saw that the iPhone would allow me to access all of my important information from a big giant iCloud of safe keeping, I was iHooked!

To heck with my old, clunky CD player. When I saw that an iPod would allow me to access all of my music, not just 12-20 songs at a time, I voted pro-iPod and tossed aside what had become useless.

And that's where Obama supporters got it right.

Not only did he follow the tradition methods of campaigning, but he was marketed.

With shirts, mugs, hats and what-have-yous, there isn't the awkward, dull meetings at a carpet shop or hardware store. It's quick, clear and to the point and that's essential in keeping this girl's attention. I'm too busy trying to keep both of my jobs.

So if even a small handful of those individuals who purchased Obama's shirts for looks, began to finally research the man on their chest, that's a few more interested individuals within the system. And maybe that's the way to go.