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Family follies and personal perils
by Ann Ipock

My family seems to have all the luck — bad luck, that is. If there is a nasty hair to be found when having dinner, Kelly, our older daughter, will be the one to find it on HER plate.

If there is a menacing waterbug to be found late at night, Katie, our younger daughter, will be the one to find it in HER bedroom.

What is it about my daughters that attracts bad luck? Oh. I just answered my own self. They are MY daughters, indeed.

Once at a charity golf tournament, Katie and I volunteered to help Russell, my husband, by watching from a golf cart near the green on a par 3. We were supposed to verify any holes-in-one. Not being familiar with the sport, we positioned ourselves too close to the green and were immediately scolded by a ranger to “move away from the whizzing balls flying overhead.”

And then there was the time Katie and I set up our lounge chairs right in the middle of a game of horseshoes on the beach. How were we to know?

Recently my sister Nancy and Kelly visited us. One night Russell and Kelly were going out to pick up a meal. Nancy told them to take her car since she was parked in back. Russell heard this, but Kelly didn’t. It turned out they both sat there in separate cars before the error was discovered. That was when Kelly looked out from inside our car parked in the garage and saw Russell inside Nancy’s car, waiting in the driveway.

Amazingly, this “ditz-ease, i.e., ditziness” has rarely affected Russell — the only level-headed one in the bunch; though there was that one time he ended up in the hospital E.R. with a bleeding tongue from a piece of chewing gum that went awry.

And now that I ponder this phenomenon, I realize even my nephew Huck (Nancy’s son) and his fiancée Heather aren’t immune. They told me about a strange thing that happened when they volunteered at their church nursery: The fire alarm went off right in the middle of the 11 a.m. service.

Panicked, Huck and Heather fumbled around, trying to scoop up five squirming babies — aged 6 to 9 months. Dozens of other volunteers and children scrambled about simultaneously, running out of the building en masse, covering their ears to the sound of the ear-splitting “beeeeeeeep” of the alarm, which droned out any possible communication.

Next, the supervisor of the nursery zoomed past them, urging Huck and Heather to “throw some of the babies in the crib and hold the others.” Following her orders, they put three babies in a crib and carried one baby each. They then proceeded to a grassy courtyard outside, using a free hand to move the crib through the thick green grass.

The wheels locked up as Heather and Huck pushed-and-pulled, going forward, then backwards, then sideways — each of them dizzy, out of breath, and trembling, with an adrenaline rush. Can you imagine how this fiasco looked from the road? The lawn was packed with a confused congregation, frantic nursery folks, a stunned minister, and one very naughty kid, who they discovered later, had pulled the fire alarm.

I’d hate to have that on my conscience for the rest of my life.

Another calamity happened when we were out of town having dinner with family at a nearby restaurant. My brother Steve asked Katie if she’d like to ride back with them. In the parking lot, Katie somehow lost Steve and his wife Lori, but then caught sight of their green Explorer. She eagerly jumped in the back seat, only to discover that was NOT Steve and Lori. The stunned front-seat passengers never knew what hit ’em, or what left ’em, as the case might be. After all, she was with the wrong family.

Kelly once burned her nose when she got too close to a curling iron. Don’t ask.

On the night of her prom, she backed into a mailbox. This might have something to do with her inability to drive in reverse. I don’t know what it is, but let that girl back out of our driveway and she’ll end up in the ditch. She even says to me if I’m in the car with her, “Which way should I turn my wheel?”

My steadfast readers who have been reading this column for 7 years in the Georgetown Times might remember these next personal stories, but just in case . . .

A recap of my most horrific, embarrassing moments are: When working as a dental hygienist, I got the mayor’s mustache caught in my polisher; another time my shoes were nearly stolen out from under me at a store in Raleigh; and there was the time I was interviewed on TV and didn’t realize the cameras were rolling; and the first time I ever went on a cruise and thought during the “drill” that after we donned our life preservers we had to jump in the ocean, just to make sure everything was working.

Well, everything wasn’t working. My brain is a fine example.

I guess all of this just goes to show you: My family’s follies and personal perils have proved a rich, fertile ground in which to write columns; and thankfully for you all — it’s a safe one where no one gets hurt!


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Inattentional blindness

Ann M. Ipock, author of Life Is Short, But It’s Wide (In The Southern State of Reality) can be reached at amipock@sc.rr.com.

Ann is a biweekly humor columnist with the Georgetown Times, South Carolina’s oldest newspaper.

Whether we are hearing about Ann’s unspeakable accident—the time she got the mayor’s mustache caught up in her dental hygiene polisher, her view on prissy Southern women who actually resort to toothpicks after meals—(those thick fake nails just can’t possibly remove spinach from one’s front teeth), or her frustration with sticking to a budget—the normally-$100 supper club night she hosted which turned into a $2400 remodeling job (blame it on the new carpet), we can only think of one thing to say, “Tell us more!”

Life Is Short, But It’s Wide (In the Southern State of Reality) is Ann’s second book of humor columns. Published by Carolina Avenue Press, the book was released in September, 2003. Her first book was entitled What Was It I Was Saying? She is a regular contributor to Sasee Magazine, and she also writes for Pee Dee Magazine, Strand, and Gateway Publications. She is active in community theatre, where her favorite role to date was that of Truvy Jones in Steel Magnolias. Her day job consists of being a home-based, self-employed medical transcriptionist for twelve years.

Visit Ann’s WEB SITE to read more of her delightful columns.


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