Sunday, April 28, 2013

Foodie Fare "Smitty's Cinema" by Brian Rounds

As the columnist who writes the Foodie Fare column of our community’s newspaper, I also get to write about our food culture and in Windham and Raymond this means restaurants. In our communities we are lucky to have a diverse base of restaurants from chain restaurants to small family owned breakfast and lunch eateries; all of which shine in their own special way.

In December, I learned that Smitty’s Cinema was coming back to town.  My excitement was hard to contain – seven movie theaters within one restaurant, full kitchen and all. 

As a foodie, I have to admit that I love all food: high-end hoity-toity food, down home food, comfort food, and, yes, pub food.  I tend to order the same thing at every pub – buffalo wings, a sandwich of some kind (usually a burger) and some fries.  I sometimes enjoy an Angry Orchard when delving into the world of pub food, but I typically keep things on the soft drink end of the spectrum – usually a Diet Pepsi. 

My Smitty’s experience that I am going to share with you transpired on Saturday night.  I decided to see Evil Dead as I am an avid horror movie fan. I am greeted warmly by a young man at the ticket counter where I grab my ticket and menu and wander down the hallway to theater five. Inside I find comfy leather chairs and a bunch of different seating options from bar style to family style. I take a moment to look through the menu and soon enough my server, Jennifer, is at my side greeting me with a smile. As I am ordering, she is entering my order directly into her handheld device which links up directly to the kitchen.  Once my order is in, I sit back and enjoy the pre-movie programming. 

My appetizer came out of the kitchen pretty quickly.  The person who brought my food, a food runner, was more than helpful when dropping off my food.  My starter was their “Man on Fire Tenders”.  The chicken was moist and cooked to perfection and the buffalo sauce was not over powering. I made it a point to even try the celery sticks because that’s a true sign of a good head in the kitchen – if the celery on the side is fresh and crispy, this means the cooks are on top of what is coming out of the kitchen. My celery was cool, crispy, and fresh.

Soon enough, another food runner was at my side with my main course – a Philly Cheese Steak.  I happen to be allergic to bell peppers and was thrilled that I could order this without peppers. My sandwich was built on a soft sub roll warmed through and piled high with shaved steak, grilled onions and mushrooms, and American cheese – it was fantastic. Probably the best Philly Cheese Steak I’ve ever had. I upgraded my fries to waffle fries. The extra cost was well worth it.  The fries were crispy, well seasoned and hot. The movie began.

About twenty minutes into my movie, I stood my menu up. This was my signal to my server that I wanted something else. I asked for a refill on my soda and small popcorn.  Remember my first column? I am a popcorn snob. Smitty’s popcorn was the best movie theater popcorn I have had since I was a kid.  The texture and seasoning was perfect. Their melted butter topping even tastes better than at other theaters. 

Half-way through my movie, I decided I wanted something sweet to cut the effect of the salt from the popcorn.  My menu went up and my server appeared at my side. I chose the raspberry cheesecake. This was definitely not a mistake. The cheesecake was pretty decent cheesecake, but what made it was the fresh-tasting raspberry sauce.  I probably could’ve just asked for a bowl of this sauce and a spoon and would’ve been happy the entire night. The cheesecake complimented the raspberry sauce well.  There were even two dollops of fresh whipped cream.

Smitty’s is a package deal - dinner and a movie. The staff there is friendly, the food is great, and the atmosphere is comfortable.  The addition of digital projection and audio systems is a nice perk, too. Remember when you go, sit back, relax and enjoy your food – there’s no reason to scarf down your meal so that you can catch the movie now that dinner is served in the theater. They also have a great list of beers and cocktails that I have yet to try.

Things I recommend:

Man on Fire Tenders
Benchwarmer Potato Skins

The Incredible Hulk Burger
Philadelphia Cheese Steak Sub
King Kong Ribs

Raspberry Cheesecake
Any Given Brownie Sundae


A message from your State Representative by Rep. Jane Pringle

On Tuesday April 9, third graders from Windham Primary School came to Augusta as guests of the Windham legislators Senator Gary Plummer, Rep Tom Tyler and me.  Accompanied on the guitar by their teacher Nancy Cash Cobb they helped begin the House Legislative session for the day by singing the National Anthem. After the Pledge of Allegiance was recited they received a standing ovation by the House.

I was very impressed by the quality of their performance and very proud. It confirms for me that the Windham Schools (RSU14) continue with the strong music program I experienced when my children were in school.  After singing they went to tour the Maine State Museum where they had some hands on learning and hopefully ended their field trip having learned both about their state government and their state history.

The legislative schedule is very busy now with many bills coming out of the various Joint Standing Committees where they have had their public hearings and bi-partisan work sessions. The bills come out of committee with either unanimous "ought to pass" or a split vote and will come to the senate and the house chambers for a vote by the full legislature.

I have sponsored or been lead co-sponsor of several bills relating to healthcare.  They include a bill to ensure that we cover all Maine people under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act so we can begin to realize the savings that come from covering everyone with health insurance.
I am also sponsoring a bill to provide coverage for reproductive health and family planning for women making up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.  The third bill is aimed at allowing nurse care managers to communicate with other providers to help care for patients with mental illness.

I would be glad to speak with anyone about any of these bills or other bills coming before the legislature.  I am grateful for those of you who have taken time to send me an email or call me about legislation that you support or that concerns you as it helps me better understand the issues and how I can represent you in the legislature.

District 111, Windham

At the library by Sally Holt

Volunteerism in America has a long history and is believed to have taken root in colonial times when Americans banded together in order to survive the harsh realities of everyday life. Neighbors cleared land to help one another build houses and barns and harvest crops. Churches were built by volunteers and quilting bees and weaving parties were the norm. Colonists formed fire brigades. Today 70 percent of firefighters in the United States are volunteers.

Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week focuses national attention on the impact and power of volunteerism and service as an integral aspect of civic leadership. April 21-27 draws the support and endorsement of the government as well as corporate and community groups across the country.
Proudly, during the year 2011, in the state of Maine, 32.8 percent of residents volunteered ranking them 12th among the 50 states and Washington, D.C. There were 349,380 volunteers who contributed 39.6 million hours of service adding up to $862.2 million dollars of service contributed.

A few weeks ago, one of Raymond Village Library’s, veteran volunteers who has been with the library for 20 years brought some historical documentation about the library to share with me. The first paragraph on the first page reads, “On January 24, 1950, a meeting was held at the home of Rena Lambert for the purpose of organizing a library club for the younger women’s group in Raymond, Thirty-two ladies were present. So a beginning was made.”

Since that chilly day in Mrs. Lambert’s parlor, Raymond Village Library has grown, and changed, and during these tough economic times continues to serve the community by providing programming for children, teens and adults. Books, DVDs and audiobooks are popular and technology is advancing the library’s mission to serve a broad population of people. Outreach to the community and to area schools and collaboration with other libraries and organizations has become an important aspect of the library. Through all the changes over the years, our volunteers have constantly and selflessly devoted hundreds of hours to the library.

During National Volunteer Week the Library’s Board of Trustees, Sally Holt - library director, Connie Bouchard - library assistant and Lisa Davison - youth services assistant want to express their gratitude and appreciation to all of our wonderful volunteers. “It wouldn’t happen without you!”

Sally Holt, is the library director at Raymond Village Library.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Tiger by Josh Giberti

Bloody slaughter, or a happy marriage.  In the short story “THE LADY OR THE TIGER” written by Frank Stockton, a princess had a love affair with a man. That man was put up for trial where the accused person chooses a door. If the accused is innocent, a lady comes out of the door that is chosen, and they get married, but if they are guilty then behind the door they choose comes a tiger to kill the accused. The princess tells the man which door to pick but is it the lady or the tiger.  The tiger comes out from behind the doors. In the story it said, “There lived a semi-barbaric king.” That may mean that the princess is semi-barbaric so she may not care that much if the man she loves dies. The book quotes, “ Had it not been for the moiety of barbarism in her nature it is probable that lady would not been there.”  The story also quotes, “And not only did she know in which room stood the lady ready to emerge, all blushing and radiant, should her door to be opened, but she knew who the lady was. It was one of the fairest and loveliest of the damsels of the court who had been selected as the reward of the accused youth, should he be proved innocent of the crime of aspiring to one so far above him; and the princess hated her.” If the princess hated the girl that he would have to marry, if she told him open the lady door, then why would she tell him to open it? If he opened the tiger door then the princess would not have to see the man she loves marry the woman she hates. The tiger clearly comes out from behind the doors or else the princess would live in hate and jealousy her whole life.

Baseball by Tyler Grant

It sits in a prison waiting for the time to come when it can go outside to show off its bright red necklace. It gets so dirty the white slowly fades away from falling in the dirt so much. It also has grass stains on its face.  One time its dreams might come true it will fly over that big fence and become a boy’s dream.  Then one day it keeps flying back and forth through the soft and comfy leather that cradles it for only a couple seconds and then it soars through the air again.

Staying Adhead In Uncertain Financial Times by Chris Wallace

Whatever the economic climate, following a few financial principles can help protect your nest egg and retirement plan. 

Stay Focused
Remember that the best way to ride out the ups and downs of the stock market is to maximize the power of dollar cost averaging—investing a certain fixed amount consistently, regardless of market fluctuations. While the technique does not ensure profit or protect against loss, history shows that you’ll make up 80 percent of your bear market loss within the first year of recovery—but only if you stay in the market.

Slash Bills
Take a look at your regular bills and find places to cut costs. An easy place to start: auto and homeowner’s insurance—even if you’ve been with the same agency for a long period of time. Try to get a quote from a number of insurers every two years.

Credit Counts
To keep your all-important credit score attractive, pay your bills on time, limit the number of credit cards you have and avoid financing big-ticket items all at once. Credit scores affect the rates you pay for loans and credit cards, car insurance and more. Protecting your score can be a smart way to save.

Reduce Risk
In uncertain times, having good legal protection makes sense. It can help limit your vulnerability and can be more affordable than you might expect.

Boost Income
Adding a second or third job is a great way to get through a crunch. You might even start your own business on the side to earn some extra cash—just be sure to keep start-up costs to a minimum.

Create An Emergency Fund
Experts recommend having an emergency fund of at least six months’ savings. A few tips: Open a separate savings account or money market account and designate it for emergency only. You might also put your single bills or coins in a jar each day, or once you’ve paid off a big debt, keep those payments coming—into your emergency fund.

Learn More
Chris Wallace an independent representative of Primerica located at 456 Roosevelt Trail in Windham. For more information, email

In the Margin "Monthly Book Review" by Kim McBride

Drive: The Surprising Truth About  What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

Why do we do the things we do?  Sometimes the answers are easy. We go to work because we need to earn a living (and with any luck, also because we enjoy what we do).  We eat because we’re hungry.  We buckle our seatbelts because we want to be safe.  It seems so simple -- most of what we do seems to be done for one of two reasons – to get something or to avoid something.

 If behavior is just about “getting” or “avoiding,” then it should be simple to influence behavior – encourage good behavior with rewards and discourage bad behavior with punishment.  But Daniel Pink, in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (Riverhead books, 2009), takes a close look at behavior in various settings and concludes that the story of what motivates us to do good work is really much more complicated.

In one compelling example, Pink takes us back to the early days of the Internet.  In the mid-90s, Microsoft decided to publish the first digital encyclopedia, sold on CD-ROM’s and later available for purchase over the web.  The company assembled an impressive (and expensive) project team of researchers, editors, software developers and managers.  At about the same time, a rag-tag group of visionaries decided to create a different kind of online encyclopedia – one that would be written and maintained by volunteers and available for free.  The results are instructive.  Microsoft’s Encarta has long-since disappeared, but Wikipedia has a strong and loyal following.

According to Pink, the old carrots and sticks no longer work.  Everyone needs to be paid for their work, of course, but assuming that the pay is fair and adequate, money alone does not motivate people to do their best work.  This is especially true in occupations that require risk-taking, creative problem-solving and the development of new ideas – in other words, in most of the work of the Information Age. In fact, rewarding workers with extrinsic rewards can sometimes discourage excellence by implying that the work isn’t worth doing for its own sake, but only for the reward (which is why paying children for good grades is probably not a great idea).

So what does motivate us?  Three factors deserve mention – we need to have some autonomy in our workplace, we need to have the opportunity to achieve mastery, and we need to feel a connectedness to our purpose and our coworkers. All of those factors were present in the Wikipedia workplace, while the Encarta engineers were well-compensated, but not well-motivated.

Much of human behavior remains a mystery, as any parent of teenagers knows.  But when we have some choices about how we spend our time, when we have opportunities to learn and grow, and when we feel committed to a higher purpose, we are likely to do our best work. 

McBride is the Reach teacher at Windham Middle School.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Foodie Fare "Burgers on the Grill" by Brian Rounds

As the freezing temperatures give way to mild spring sunshine, I become more and more excited to pull out my fire pit. I know what you’re thinking, what does a fire pit have to do with food?  My answer to you is that when the fire pit comes out the grill gets cleaned up for regular use.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m no sissy – I grill even when the temperatures are in the single digits and the snow is falling.  That being said, however, I prefer warmer weather when I’m going to be nursing delicious food from the grates of my grill.

When I was a kid my mother’s gas grill would be stored in the shed until just about this time of year. The family would get very excited when we’d hear my father dragging it out.  This meant hot dogs and hamburgers, ribs, grilled chicken, steak, and so much more coming to the dinner table. My mother worked magic with her gas grill.  One of my favorite meals as a child was my mother’s barbecued pork ribs – not only could I put away an entire rack of ribs on my own, but I would beg for her to make them for my birthday, which happened to fall in late July. I started getting adventurous on the grill when my mother felt comfortable with teaching me how to use it – I have yet to blow anything up. 

Now, if you’re anything like me you do not have a formal meal plan for your week. Many home economists are cringing, I know, but if I plan my meals ahead of time, I can’t be as creative in the kitchen when it comes time to cook.  I simply stock up my fridge with great fresh food – nothing processed.  I then open my fridge, freezer and cupboards and figure out what I’m going to cook each day. Sometimes, if I need to thaw something, I’ll pull it from the freezer and let it thaw properly in the fridge about a day ahead – I then let the creative juices flow.

One particular day about a month ago I was craving cheeseburgers from the grill – apparently my palette was also sick of winter.  The biggest problem I had, though, was that I did not have any burger buns.  I grabbed the necessary accoutrements and set out for burger deliciousness. I don’t know about you, but I get my burgers from Hoggy’s in Windham – I think they are pretty amazing. I take two patties, salt and pepper them and put them on my grill, set to high so that I can get a good sear on the outside. While they were cooking, I buttered four slices of bread and placed them on the back of the grill to toast.  I laid out one slice of Vermont cheddar cheese on  each slice of bread, added some of my favorite condiments (sautéed onions, dill pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise) to two of the bread slices.  When the burgers were done, I put them on top of the mountain of toppings and topped off the burger with the other slice of bread and cheese.

The problem I found with this, though was that it was huge and would be unmanageable, and fall apart. I decided to use my spatula to press the sandwiches together. Essentially it was  a grilled cheese with a cheeseburger in the middle. This was paired with left over roasted sliced potatoes heated in a foil packet on the grill.  From the first bite I started considering other burgers that would taste equally amazing in this format.  The one I look forward to trying this weekend would be a sirloin and chorizo burger with grilled onions and manchego cheese.  I’m not one who enjoys a lot of spice, but my Portuguese heritage requires me by blood-law to love chorizo.  Pardon me while I fire up the grill!

Gun Rights Debated in Augusta

Here in Maine, there are few, if any, issues that provoke as many strong opinions as those on gun control. If you needed any proof of that, all you had to do was go to the Capitol this week, where nearly two dozen gun bills were being introduced before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, where I serve as the ranking republican senator.

On the first day of these public hearings, the Committee heard 11 hours of non-stop testimony from Maine citizens. So far, hundreds of people have come to testify in favor of or against these bills, some of which would restrict the rights of owners, while others would expand them. 

One piece of proposed legislation, for example, LD 997, would limit the number of rounds in a magazine to 10. 

Another, LD 1183, would exempt Maine from any federal regulations on firearms and ammunition. 

LD 267 would require federal criminal background checks to be conducted for sales held at gun shows in Maine.

Other bills would repeal gun legislation that passed in the previous legislative session. LD 265, for example, would take away the right of a concealed weapon permit holder from storing a weapon in his or her vehicle at work if the employer prohibits this practice.

At this early point in the process, it is difficult to say how likely it is that any of these bills will end up being approved by the committee, the full legislature and then getting the Governor’s signature. I can tell you that each one will be carefully considered on its own merit following testimony from members of the public.

Much of the legislation that would restrict gun rights is a result of the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. 

While there may be differing opinions on gun rights within the Legislature, we all share in the profound grief over the unthinkable, evil act that took the lives of these young, innocent children whose lives had barely begun. The inclination to take some sort of action to prevent another such tragedy is understandable.
Having said that, I would caution that what happened in Newtown does not necessarily make every gun bill that is introduced to the Maine Legislature a sound one. It is important for those of us on the committee to have complete, accurate information when considering proposed legislation. Some of those testifying have cited supposed facts from the police report on the Sandy Hook tragedy. In fact, the final report has not been released and likely won’t be for months.

We should proceed carefully before adopting new laws that would restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners based on the actions of a deranged individual who has no respect for the law.  As we have seen during this week’s committee hearings, Mainers take their constitutional right to bear arms very seriously, as well they should.

For these reasons, it’s very important that all sides be heard in this very important debate.

Senator Gary Plummer (R-Cumberland) serves on the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pause 4 Paws - "Natural Alternatives for flea and tick Control" by Amy Hebert

With warm weather fast approaching it’s time to think about flea and tick control for our beloved dogs and cats. I follow a more natural regimen for all my animals.

Orally, I give my dogs garlic powder on every meal year-round and during the summer months I give them Black or Green Walnut Hull liquid on their food three times weekly.  The garlic permeates through the skin to deter insects from coming close while the black walnut hull causes the animal’s blood to taste very bitter to insects so they stop biting.

Topically, I put Sentry Natural Flea & Tick Squeeze-on treatment once per month (contains only natural ingredients). I spray each dog down once per day with one of the following sprays - cedar oil, Neem oil, Flee, Flea! or Sentry Natural Flea Spray (I rotate between all of these to prevent resistance); I also rotate the sprays with Diatomaceous Earth (DE) which is a powder that I rub into the dog’s coat. (Please read caution statements prior to using DE as it is dusty.) Each evening, I firmly brush each dog to disrupt any ticks or fleas that may have gotten on them.

Cedar oil can be sprayed around your home on carpets, furniture and outside in the yard.  I also use cedar oil on my children and myself as a bug repellant.  Gardens Alive makes a product that is mixed with water and then sprayed around your home inside and out to kill and prevent flea infestations.  It is safe for dogs and children after it dries so spray it and wait an hour before letting anyone or thing go on that area.

Here is a list of products I use and where you can get them.                  Flee, Flea! spray                              Sentry All Natural Flea & Tick drops and spray                   All natural cedar oil spray                    Bug Off garlic pills or powder (Feed daily, it works great)    Diatomaceous Earth (flea/tick control, natural wormer)

If you have a flea infestation, please contact your veterinarian, as natural products cannot combat infestations, but can be used once you rid your home of fleas.

You know what really Grinds my Gears? by Jeffrey J. Thivierge

You know what really grinds my gears….?

The self-checkout lanes that they have so conveniently set up for us at the grocery store.

For years, grocery stores were staffed with helpful clerks that would gleefully walk up and down the aisles, straightening products, always making sure things were dress-right-dress so the manager and/or owner would be pleased if they walked by.  If a customer had a question, they were more than happy to get you an answer. 

And don’t get me started on the prices….

Every item had a price tag.  It was actually required of the stock-boy to ensure that every item had the correct price tag displayed on either the front or top of the item.  On some occasions, if the item happened to be on sale, they would even place a “SPECIAL” sticker on it to show that it was on sale.

If you went to the meat counter, you could either pick your cut of meat or have a special cut for a little extra cost.  In some towns or stores, the butcher might even know your name and your favorite cuts of meat.

At the end of your shopping experience, you’d reach the check-out counter, where you would no doubt be greeted by the smiling face of a check-out woman that would gladly either enter in the prices or scan (I’m not that old) all of your items and give you your final total.  All the while, the cashier would be supervising the helpful bagger who would be gingerly placing all of your goods into bags, ensuring that your eggs and bread were treated with the type of kindness you would treat a newborn kitten.

The other day, I went to (insert large grocery store here) and found myself searching for eight minutes before I could find a specific type of powdered drink mix.  From there, I went over to the meat section, where I would’ve liked to get a rib-eye steak, but there weren’t any visible.  I looked for the button to push to get a person to come out, but couldn’t even find the button.

By the time my shopping was done, I had successfully navigated this massive grocery store without having encountered a single employee to answer my question regarding my powdered drink beverage.  (It contains aspartame, so I probably shouldn’t have it anyway.)  I ended up at the self-checkout, scanning my four items.  In high school, I actually worked at a small grocery store, so I consider myself pretty good at scanning things.  (Sarcasm).  Item #3, however, wouldn’t scan properly, and in my frustration trying to scan it, I eventually scanned it twice.  Now I had to call an employee over for assistance.  I looked over to the other three self-checkouts, only to see that all three were manned by citizens such as myself that were having nearly identical problems.  Either their grapes were ringing up improperly or their Flintstone’s Vitamins coupon wasn’t accepted by the system.  All problems requiring the swipe of an employee badge and some fancy keystrokes to make everything better.

When all was said and done, is this really saving us any time and money?  Are these really a convenience?   I’ve seen more than one grocery store that actually removed them.

For once, I will have to admit, yes, honey, you’re right.  I’ll just go to the register with a cashier.  It will be faster.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Meet Your State Representative by Rep. Mike McClellan

Hello to The Windham Eagle. I congratulate you on your opening. I represent Maine House Seat 103, including Raymond, Frye Island parts Poland and Standish.

In joining the legislature in 2010, I was asked to pick a committee assignment and I was assigned to my second choice, the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. I have felt blessed to be there ever since. This committee is overseer of all public education areas, the various other school types (magnet, private and charter) and all university and community college areas. In terms of cultural affairs, we manage organizations such as The Maine State Museum, The Maine State Library, The Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Maine Historical Society, Maine State Cultural Affairs Council, Maine Arts Commission, Maine Humanities Council, MPBN (Maine Public Broadcasting Network) and FAME (Finance Authority of Maine).

Arguably this is the second busiest committee after Health and Human Services (not including Appropriations who seem to be at work continually).

We expect to consider 150 bills this session out of the 1,548 so far being put forward to the 17 committees.

The Education and Cultural Affairs Committee is noteworthy due to the fact that it seems to operate differently than other standing committees. This year it consists of eight Democrats, five Republicans and one Native American. The past two years had the numbers flipped by party (8 Republicans and 5 Democrats). I say operate differently, perhaps with a little bias as it is the committee I have spent most of my time in. However, I did serve for one year on the special Regulatory Fairness Committee, and for the next two years I will be on the Insurance and Financial Services Committee. Both of these committees have been enjoyable but my premise in discussing the education committee is that somehow the members of the EDU committee do a better job than most leaving their personal agendas at the door. 

Perhaps it is due to the fact we all experience education in our lives or maybe it is because all involved truly want our kids to thrive. Whatever the reason, this committee seems to work well together. Discussions are lively, but respectful and votes over the past 2.5 years are not consistent party line votes but any number of different voting patterns. We have worked through issues such as charter schools, standards-based education, teacher evaluations, student restraints, bullying and of course the various fiscal issues. Educate Maine, an organization that promotes education and business partnerships gave the Maine Education and Cultural Affairs Committee its Weston L. Bonney Leadership Award for our work in bi-partisan efforts to pass a proficiency based education model known as LD 1422 in an event a few months back.

This new year has seen new leadership and a 50 percent change in the makeup of the committee, but you still see no pattern in the voting as committee members seek to do what they each believe is best for our children. I can not say I agree with all my peers on the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, but I know I respect each highly.

Rep. Mike McClellan

You know what really Grinds my Gears? by Jeffrey J. Thivierge

You know what really grinds my gears….?

The number of bodily cleansing products in my shower….. which is 9.

For some people, that number might not be startling, but for me, it’s slightly disturbing because there are only two people who live full-time in my house.

Growing up, I was the youngest in a family of five people, which consisted of three boys.  We had a standard fiberglass tub.  Nothing fancy.  No tiled benches.  We got fancy when dad got sick of water on the floor and installed a sliding glass shower door for his “numbskull” sons that couldn’t figure out how to keep the shower curtain closed to keep water off the floor.  In our shower, we had three products:  shampoo, conditioner and soap.  These three products were universal and worked for all five family members.

Fast forward 25-30 years.  (That just made me feel old.)

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I were on vacation in a foreign country.  On the last day of our trip, I ran out of whatever brand of discount body wash I had been using at the time, so I tossed it out prior to flying home.  Upon our return, I neglected to go to my local big-box retailer to replenish my supply of “manly” body wash/shampoo/conditioner, so I was relegated to using what was available.

Then it hit me yesterday.  Actually, I hit IT yesterday.  As I was climbing into my generic fiberglass shower, I kicked three of my wife’s bath/shower products that had been conveniently lined up on the edge of the tub for her use.  I stood there for a moment, taking count of the number of products that were there.

Facial cleanser.  Shampoo.  Conditioner.  Body wash.  Bar of soap.   Healing conditioner.  Hydrating shampoo.  Shave gel for girls.  More conditioner.  Tweezers.  A pink scrub brush that I can only assume is for fingernails.  Finally, a shower pouf on a stick, which is actually mine because I have bad shoulder and struggle getting those hard to reach areas.

I suppose I’ll end up at the store today using one of my coupons from the newspaper to get whatever is on sale to keep my body and head clean for the next month.  When I run out, I just hope that there are enough of these products left in my tub for me to use until I pick some up at the store.  For some reason, I don’t think that will be a problem.