Tag Archives: funny stories

How I Slipped on a Dryer Sheet and Opened a Can of Worms

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It amazes me how my life’s journey takes twists and turns and in the process valuable lessons are learned.  The first twist is I have had lower back pain off and on for the last few years.  It happened when huge german shepherd I was working with took an unexpected turn at full speed and wrenched my back out of whack.  Being the hippie and naturalist that I am, I do not seek medical help unless it is a life or death situation.  I’ve probably only been to the Doctor a couple of times in the last decade.  I try to eat healthy, exercise and use natural alternatives to medication when possible.

 The second twist is the great dryer sheet debate that has gone on in my household for years.  My husband Scott hates using dryer sheets and never puts them in when he loads the dryer.  Then I take the clothes out and they are full of static and the inevitable argument ensues.  He says they are full of chemicals and not necessary.  I say it’s hard to look cute if your clothes are plastered to your body like lumpy wallpaper.  To add to the debate, my daughter Rachel has been on me for years about leaving the dryer sheets on the floor after I fold the laundry.  Dryer sheets have been and are destined to remain a hot topic in our family.  The third twist is I lost my job on Monday.
 

Now, on to the valuable life lesson.  Earlier this week I was doing my daily household chores and in the background I heard one of my dogs yelp.  I hurried through the house in search of the commotion (the dog turned out to be fine), but as I was dashing through the laundry room my barefoot stepped on a dryer sheet (the ones I always leave on the floor) and down I went like fat kid on a seesaw.  The dryer sheet skiing foot slid out in front making me do a partial split and I ended up landing on my opposite knee, while sitting down hard on my crumpled non-skiing foot.  After uttering string of words that would make a sailor blush, I was left with a skinned knee and badly bruised toe, but the pain in my lower back was totally gone!  I think may have received an unintentional chiropractic back adjustment.  This is how the karma of my life flows, the good always makes its way back around.  Even bad things can have a positive outcome.  So I’ll try to have faith and not sweat it when life takes the unexpected twist or turn.  Usually there is something better waiting to be discovered around the bend.

This past week has been one of introspect which led me to think about how dangerous those darn little sheets are (Scott and Rachel, you were right and I was wrong). 🙂  So I started searching the internet for similar stories.  To my surprise, I found out that many people complain about getting sick from dryer sheets and liquid fabric softeners.  Go ahead and read the ingredients on your dryer sheets, if you can find them.  For some reason, dryer sheets seem to have escaped having to list their ingredients on the package.  Could it be the manufacturers are trying to hide something?   My own dryer sheet ingredients simply say: contains fabric-softening agents (cationic types) and perfume in a non-woven sheet

Here’s a list of just some of the dangerous chemicals found in dryer sheets and fabric softeners.

  • Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer.
  • Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant.
  • Ethanol: On the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders.
  • Limonene: Known carcinogen.
  • A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage.
  • Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list.
  • Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders.
  • Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic.
  • Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders.
  • Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled

Some of the symptoms experienced from prolonged exposure to the types of chemicals found in dryer sheets include headaches, nausea, vomiting , dizziness, central nervous system disorders, blood pressure reduction, fatigue, difficulty breathing, skin irritation, difficulty concentrating and remembering, cancer, irritation to skin, mucus membranes and respiratory tract, and liver damage.  This can’t help but make one wonder if dryer sheet usage may somehow be contributing to our current rise in Alzheimer’s disease?

Although I will miss their sweet scent and static control, I am going to make an effort to eliminate them from my household.  Here are some natural alternatives to using dryer sheets and fabric softeners:

  • Hang your clothes outside on a clothesline.  People today think that hanging clothes out to dry in the sun is old-fashioned, but it is actually a more effective way to kill germs than a dryer, does not produce static electricity and is much more environmentally safe.  Go green and put up a clothesline.

colorful clothesline

Click on image above for a great DIY clothesline project.

  • Wear natural fabrics to avoid static cling.  Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and lycra are prone to static.
  • For softness and to kill germs, add vinegar to the wash.  Just add ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to the rinse water of the laundry cycle.
  • Use an eco-friendly fabric softener.  There are a number of alternative “green” fabric softeners on the market made with natural fragrance or are fragrance-free.
  • Try dryer balls.  Many consumers report great results when they toss a couple of rubbery dryer balls in with each load in the dryer.
  • Remove clothes while still damp.  You can hang your clothes up damp to avoid static cling.
  • Toss in a dish cloth with a drop of essential oil or add a natural sachet of herbs, such as lavender or mint.  This may not eliminate static, but will add a nice fragrance to your clothes.

With all the natural alternatives, surely we can eliminate those chemically soaked sheets of destruction from our households and maybe in the process improve our overall health.

Bring it on Down to My House Honey

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The little boy front and center is my dad Kenneth (aka Ken, aka Benjamin, aka Ben).  My dad grew up in Central Texas during the hard lean times of the 30’s and 40’s.  He was the second child in a family of eight children.  His family was dirt poor and barely had enough money for food and clothing.  In order to survive they all spent many long hours out in the fields, picking cotton.  Life was hard, but they got by as best they could.  The one thing of great value that they possessed was their talent.  The whole family consisted of a hodgepodge of talented musicians, singers, songwriters and storytellers.

His family had very few possessions, but there was always an old guitar or fiddle in the house.  When my dad was about six years old, he was allowed to start learning to play the guitar.  He was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn and like the rest of his family, was blessed with a natural talent.  He learned to play by ear while listening to a songs on the old battery-powered radio and then figuring out the correct chords to play.  In no time at all he was playing entire songs and singing along.

One Sunday after church my Papaw, who later became a minister himself,  invited the Preacher over for Sunday dinner (in the South dinner is the meal served at noon and supper is the evening meal.  (For a of humorous explanation of supper vs dinner check out the Real Southern Men blog:  http://real-southern.com/2011/07/13/twanglish-lesson-supper-vs-dinner/)  After dinner, which I’m sure consisted of fried chicken, pinto beans, collard greens, cornbread, and tea cakes for dessert, my Papaw was eager to show off his son’s newly developed talent to the visiting Preacher.  Papaw said “Ken go get your guitar and play us a little something.”  Little Ken acted shy at first, but with a bit of prodding from my Mamaw, he tuned up his guitar and belted out the following song:

“Well, bring it on down to my house honey there ain’t nobody home but me.  Bring it on down to my house honey I need your company.  Yeah, your momma won’t fret if you bring it over here.  Preacher won’t know and the neighbors don’t care.  So bring it on down to my house honey ain’t nobody home but me.”

To this day my dad is still hilarious and full of mischief.  Thank you Dad for showing me the importance of music, the art of storytelling and most of all for having such a great sense humor.

The Blood Bank Incident

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Last week my darling daughter Rachel asked if I would like to go with her to donate blood.  She donated once before and the blood bank had recently sent her a card letting her know that her blood had gone to a young boy in need.  She was so excited to know that her blood had actually helped and she was looking forward to donating once again.  I know that donating blood is so important and God bless all the people who donate regularly.  That being said, I have never donated blood before and was not totally comfortable doing so.  I remember the blood drives at my high school and seeing my friend’s pass out in the hall after giving blood, so I had a negative impression of the whole process.  But I wanted to do my part to help and seeing Rachel’s enthusiasm spurred me on to give it a try.

We arrived at the blood bank and went through the screening questionnaire and had our iron levels checked.  Mine was only one point above the lowest limit allowed… this should have been my first clue.  We were escorted to the donation area, our arms were prepped and poked and we settled back to wait until our bags were full.   Everything went pretty well until the phlebotomist removed the needle from my arm.  I started getting fidgety and feeling a little queasy, then the room began to close in on me.  The phlebotomist jumped into action with ice packs, juice and a package of Oreo cookies.   After about ten minutes, I felt fine.  The last thing we were told was to be sure and have a hearty meal for dinner.

Well, I hadn’t been shopping lately and the cupboard was a little bare.  There was a Tom Thumb grocery store right next to the blood bank, so we decided to run in and grab a few items for dinner.  When we got to the checkout line Rachel said “Mom, I don’t feel very well, will you go get me a juice?”  I sat her down on the end of the checkout counter and ran through the store trying to find the little bottles of cold juice.  Now, any other time I would have known right where to go, but this time I went from one end of the store to the other, frantically searching for the juice.  I finally found some cold coconut water and ran back up to give it to her.  But then I thought, I better pay for this first.  So I went over the self checkout line and chose to pay by cash, but the stupid thing wouldn’t take my dollar.  I thought, you’ve got to be kidding me!  I took my bill and smoothed it out, then tried again with no luck, then back to smoothing when I heard Rachel say “Mom I can’t see!” I’m panicking, what do I do, what do I do?  After what seems like forever I finally get the damn thing to take my dollar and rush the coconut water over to Rachel.

Here baby, drink this.  “Mom, I’m hot and I can’t see anything.”  I’m thinking, people can’t die from giving blood, can they?  Then I hear “Mom, I’ve got to go to the bathroom… now!”  Well, one thing I know for sure, this Momma is not about to let her baby mess herself in the Tom Thumb checkout line!  So I grab her up and put her hands on the cart and ask one of the cashier’s to help me get her to the restroom.  Rachel can barely stand up, much less walk, and I’m thinking this cashier must think we are drug addicts or something.  I look at her apologetically and say we just gave blood and she is not feeling well.  Meanwhile, Rachel is saying “Mom, I can’t see anything!”

We’re trotting along with the cart, trying to hold Rachel up, but her knees buckle and she starts to go down.  When she does, she hits her knees on the bottom rack of the cart and the jolt brings her back around.  We finally make it to the restroom door and I thank the cashier and let her know I can take it from here.

It’s just a single restroom with the sink right beside the toilet and thank God it was not occupied.  I drag Rachel inside and get her on the toilet with mere seconds to spare.  She is teetering on the toilet and I have to hold her up with one hand while running cold water in the sink and trying to splash her face with the other.  After a minute I hear her say “I feel better, I can see again.”  I say, great why don’t you go sit down in the lounge and drink the rest of your coconut water.

As soon as she is out of the door, I begin to feel weird and hot all over.  I strip off my hoodie and begin splashing water on my face and even drinking water right out of the bathroom faucet.  Normally, I would NEVER drink water in a bathroom, but I’ve since discovered that you will do the most unusual things when you think you’re about to die.  Unfortunately, the water doesn’t help and I begin to slowly nod out. The last thing I remember thinking is, I look like one of those junkies on Intervention right after they shoot up with heroin.  Then I slide into darkness.

After a minute or two I come back around and to my horror I’m sitting in a wet puddle.  Yes people, I had wet my pants!  Now this is the first time in my entire adult life that I have ever wet my pants.  Even in my younger heavy partying, passing out drunk days, I never wet my pants for Pete’s sake.  So, as I am struggling to get to my feet, the door suddenly opens.  There stands some strange lady looking at me with this awful shocked expression on her face, I think she actually gasped.  I’m sure I was quite a sight, with my wet face and hair, mascara running down my cheeks, wearing a white wife beater, with my hoodie thrown in a heap on the floor and a big wet spot on my jeans.  Poor lady, I bet she thought, wow, this store has really gone down hill!

I put myself together as best as I could, wrapped my hoodie around my waist to hide my shame and go out to collect Rachel.  As we are walking out to the parking lot we turned to each other and in perfect unison say “I’m never giving blood again!”  I follow with “I hope I don’t get mouth herpes from drinking out of the bathroom faucet.  To which Rachel replies “Yeah, and we better find another place to shop.”  We hug each other and begin laughing hysterically, thankful we survived and happy to have yet another crazy memory to look back on.