The Impending Doom of Bathing Suit Season


Time to put down that cinnamon roll, get off the couch, and take action!


Nothing brings fear into the hearts of women—especially women who ate their way through the holidays—than the knowledge that in a few short months they’ll once again be faced with trying to cram themselves into the worst reality check device in history: The Bathing Suit.

If you’re one of these women, you know it’s all fun and games—and food—during the winter months, where you and your extra pounds can go incognito under oversized sweaters and bulky coats. But when that abundant consumption of muffins leaves you with a muffin top, it’s time to do something about it before the top button of your jeans shoots off like a rocket into galaxies unknown.

Of course, you have the greatest intentions. In fact, you have big plans to start your new diet and exercise regime next week, right after that big dinner party which is certain to soar you into a dress so large it could double as a parachute.

So fast forward to June, and you’re fatter than you were in February. All of those good intentions got washed down the drain along with the soda, cheese cake, and hollandaise sauce you clandestinely consumed. And now you’re left with the raw truth that can’t be avoided–or  covered up with a Big Shirt—you’ve packed on pounds as if you’re storing up for Armageddon.

You’ve resigned yourself to the fact you have no hope of stuffing yourself into that adorable little two-piece number you bought back in in early January, to inspire you to get in shape. With that in mind, you head out into the cold, cruel world of bathing suit shopping.

You enter the store and wince, quickly walking past string bikinis even too tiny for a mouse to wear with any decency. Then you head straight to the section where the one-piece skirted suits, with patented turbo tummy tightening, hang out.

After picking out a suit your great-grandmother would wear, you head into the chamber of horrors—otherwise known as the dressing room. You convince yourself all you’re going to do is see if you can fit into the insipid suit, without even so much as glancing in the mirror, then get the heck out. But unfortunately you develop some sick unreasonable need to sneak a peek at your reflection, because who knows—maybe the suit will make you look thinner…

Well, that was a mistake now wasn’t it. The suit most certainly did not make you appear svelte, as the tag trumpeting the power of the turbo tummy tightening design promised, but made you look like a sausage ready to burst. Add to that the infamous dressing room lighting—lighting so bad that it would make a  supermodel never want to appear in public again, and the three-way funhouse mirrors the store so nicely provided . If they want to sell clothes, especially bathing suits, they need to install extraordinarily dim lighting and  instant airbrush mirrors (imagine the fortune to be made with that invention).

Irritated beyond all reason, you hastily change out of the suit, charge out of the store, and go home to sulk over a plate of sugar cookies.

Like Ebenezer Scrooge, you’ve just been visited by a ghost—the Ghost of Christmas Pounds—to give you a glimpse into your future if you don’t change your calorie consuming course now.

Just some fat-free food for thought, for the upcoming month of February.


“Check, Please!”


The whole restaurant experience can leave a bad taste in your mouth these days, not to mention how expensive it all is. Yet what do you get out of it other than bad service, terrible food, and killer cramps?

Nothing like spending $14.95 for a cheeseburger the size of an Oreo—fries not included—and $3.95 for a watered down beverage, served up with enough ice to rival the iceberg that took down the Titanic—refills not included. After the meal an over-friendly waitress will convince you to eat a dessert you don’t want, to the tune of $7.95, for something that tastes like rotten peaches in spaghetti sauce, in a bowl the size of a Fancy Feast can. By the time a family of three gets done with their meal—Bambi the waitress’s tip included—you can’t walk out of there without being at least $100 poorer than when you came in.

To kick off your dining experience, there’s always the bubbleheaded waitress meet and greet, which goes something like this:

“Hey there! Good golly gee, it’s great to see ya’ll! How ya’ll doin’? My name’s Bambi Sue and I’m super thrilled to be takin’ your order today!” Bambi Sue will gush, giggling wildly.

Now either Bambi Sue actually is a brainless fruitcake, or she figures it will earn her a bigger tip to act like one. When Bambi Sue finally takes your order, she’ll invade your personal space by plunking herself right down next to you in the booth.

Next, you aren’t sure whether the fault lies on Bambi Sue’s shoulders or the line cook’s dandruff ridden ones, but you could’ve wrestled a cow to the ground and made your own hamburgers in the time it takes them to actually get the food out to you. And once your order arrives it is, of course, wrong.

“Ummm…excuse me, Bambi Sue but I ordered onion rings, not fries.”

To which Bambi Sue will look puzzled, flop her hair to one side, then pick up one of your fries and eat it. A dim bulb will flick on above her head as she giggles and says, “Oooops, guess yer right! Let me just take those for you!” You’re done with the rest of your meal before you ever see Bambi Sue again.

At last, she’ll emerge from who knows where and ask if you’re ready for dessert. To which you explain you’re still waiting for your onion rings. The blank stare reveals she has no clue what you’re talking about, but dismisses it quickly and says, “You’ve just gotta try our Bavarian mango tart soufflé, or I’ll just burst into tears right here and now thinkin’ about how yer missin’ out!”

Without being given a choice in the matter, Bambi Sue takes off and is back in a millisecond with the grossest looking concoction the world’s ever seen—you soon discover it tastes far worse than it looks. Almost an hour goes by before you see her again, but you haven’t really noticed as you and the rest of your family had to take several desperate turns in the dining establishment’s questionable restroom, as the soufflé didn’t sit all that well with anyone.

Smiling, Bambi Sue finally reappears with your check—which is nearly as astronomical as the national debt. “Come back again real soon, cause I’ll miss ya if you don’t!” she says waving wildly at you, even though she’s right in front of you. You question whether to leave any tip at all, but Bambi Sue’s still standing right there eyeing you.

You shell out way too much of a tip onto the table and make a mad dash for toward the cash register, hoping beyond all hope to make it home before the soufflé begins to swirl in your family’s collective stomachs again.

Sort of makes staying at home and slaving away over a hot stove for hours appealing. Well, maybe.

Adventures in Grocery Shopping


I don’t know about you, but I would rather wrestle rabid alligators than deal with the weekly trip to the grocery store. Nothing against the notion of shopping itself, but it’s a jungle out there, or rather in there.

For me, it usually starts as soon as I reach the shopping carts. Guaranteed, the first one I go for is going to be super-glued to the one in front of it. You’d think I’d learn and move on. But no, I stand there tugging and pulling until people stare; then I move on to a different one. The next one is either soaking wet, has a suspicious-looking tissue in it, or is one of those special carts that not only has a squeaky wheel, but also pulls to the left. The latter is what I usually end up with.

So I’ll start making my way down the aisles–my cart sounding like a hospital gurney as I try not to take out every display on my left–when I’ll inevitably hit the first of many road blocks, otherwise known as the aisle hogs. These are the people who don’t care if there are other shoppers in the store, don’t care if other people are in the aisle; and certainly don’t give a flying French fry if you can’t get by them. With cart parked dead center in the middle of an aisle–at a slant–they’ll inevitably stand there for all of eternity, staring spiral-eyed at the macaroni and cheese display. Even if I offer a polite “Excuse me,” it still won’t rouse them from their shopping-induced stupor.

I’ll also surely encounter The Old Home Week Committee. The members of this group feel it’s right and just to conduct the business at hand, usually the town gossip or news of Old Man Winkle’s hernia operation, by congregating directly in front of the busiest promenade in the whole store–the meat counter. Then I and several other weary shoppers, now hopelessly stuck in the committee-generated traffic jam, will swap defeated, knowing looks until the meeting adjourns sometime within the next century.

Speaking of the meat counter, without fail I always encounter at least one of the meat fondlers. These souls apparently need to be “in touch” with their carnivorous cravings, and therefore take it upon themselves to personally poke and prod every package of meat in sight, while I wait to find a break in the action so I can squeeze in and grab a roast. I’ve learned to be cautious here, for if I take something they’ve had their mitts on within the past five minutes, the fondler in question–still feeling the rights of first refusal–will shoot me a look that could grill a hamburger.

Then, without fail, there’s always at least one complimentary coughing kid whose mom could care less that a.) junior is going to end up sicker than a dog from being out, and b.) everyone else in the store is also going to end up sicker than a dog from junior’s germs. Yet mom happily takes her time, making certain junior has sufficiently hacked up the contents of his lungs throughout every aisle and smeared snot on every piece of produce.

By some miracle, I will finally get–more or less–all that I came in for and go get in line. By the way, I’ve finally figured out how grocery store managers calculate the number of cashiers they need at any given time. I had several hours to think about it during the last time I stood in a checkout line. They take the number of shoppers and divide it by seventy-three. Any additional cashiers left over get sent on break. At this rate, customers are lucky if the expiration date on their milk is still valid by the time they get to their cars.

The cashier/shopper ratio is only part of the hold up, as inevitably several of the customers in front of me will all have their own little set of issues to make the line go at the rate of a snail sliding over something sticky. There are the coupon queens, the check writers who left their ID at home, and the people who need at least eighteen price checks. Not to mention the long lost relative of the cashier, who feels the need to reminisce–at length– while she plunks down her ravioli, rhubarb, and ricotta.

Once it’s finally my turn at the checkout, there’s the epic question of who’s going to bag. Since baggers seem to be an even rarer species than the people in the “12 Items or Less” lane who aren’t mathematically challenged, it’s usually a face-off between me and the cashier. If I decide I’ve been through enough already, and have absolutely no intention of putting anything in a bag, I’ll end up feeling guilt as I’m sure the cashier hates the place even more than I do. If I’m determined to hold my ground, the cashier will purposefully be as slow as the maple syrup that will inevitably end up leaking in my bag. So usually I do bag–and I’m bitter about it–but at least it gets me out of there that much sooner.

Only to realize I forgot the milk…