The Top 10 Things That Annoy Me

The new thing: I am ranting online instead of just in my head about what annoys me.

Here’s how it happened: At the gym this morning, a woman got on a treadmill, planted her towel on it, and walked away. She didn’t come back for 15 minutes! So rude, since that was the last free treadmill. I decided I needed the world (or the seven people reading my blog) to know about it, plus a couple of other things that grate on my nerves.

  1. People who “reserve” gym equipment.
  2. That three-second delay before a telemarketer starts speaking.
  3. When I read a trashy story online like “Celebrities With Cellulite!” and it shows up on my Facebook timeline.
  4. Those twisted wires that hold new toys in place inside the packaging, plus the heavy-duty plastic that you need a machete to cut through.
  5. The follow-the-crowd mentality at Penn Station. If the right side of a door is open, 100 people will all try squeezing through it; no one attempts to open the left side as well. Somebody (okay, me) eventually yells from the back of the crowd, “Open the other side!” That always prompts the people around me to talk trash about the knuckleheads in front. Satisfying!
  6. Pouring full glasses of juice for my son’s friends when they were young and everyone taking just two sips. (I’ve been holding this one in for 10 years.)
  7. When I clam up in a room full of loud, chatty people. I shouldn’t be so quiet—I’m from Brooklyn!
  8. America’s obsession with Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kris—it’s krazy!
  9. Bars that pour skimpy glasses of wine then charge $12.
  10. Sneezes. They’re painful, messy and, like potato chips, you can never have just one.Now tell me what annoys you!

The Car Washed Over Me

The new thing: washing my car by hand.

Here’s how it happened: My Honda Accord got covered with a sappy substance while parked near a landscaping truck on a windy day. I didn’t feel like driving to the car wash 20 minutes away, the weather was warm, and I was game to try washing it myself.

I bought some special soap, found some old cotton tee-shirts and a kitchen sponge, and got to work.

And then a funny thing happened.

As I was soaping up the car—which we bought 15 years ago and I call the Clampett Car for the many nicks and dents we’ve never gotten fixed—the last decade and a half of my life flashed before my eyes. I sponged the sunroof and remembered how my son, as a toddler, loved to look up through the open roof as we drove on bridges, his little face captivated by the massive steel structures overhead. I washed the front headlight that’s held in place by duct tape (classy!) and thought of how touched I was when my husband, not the world’s biggest animal lover, got upset after a deer ran into the road and into our moving car; he was so worried about the deer that he called the cops. (The deer survived.) I soaped up the dent (unknown origin) on the right side, which has been like a beacon over the years, its distinctive look signaling to me in crowded parking lots when I have only a vague idea of where I parked. And the trunk! It’s held our luggage and treasures for trips to the Berkshires, Tennessee, New England, and countless other places.

I may never go to a drive-through car wash again.

The Ice Cream Queen

The new thing: Instead of buying an ice cream cake from Carvel, I made one.

Here’s how it happened: Every year as I’m forking over $27 at my local Carvel for my son’s birthday cake, I vow that the next year I will make one myself. How hard could it be? It’s not like I would have to make the actual ice cream! My cake would be just as good and cheaper than Carvel’s.

This year, I had the time and motivation (hello, blog!). and I finally kept my vow.

I bought two gallons of Blue Bunny on sale– chocolate-chip mint and cookie dough, my son’s favorite flavors–a package of Oreos, and a tub of Cool-Whip. The bill came to $11.

I found a “conversational” recipe online where the writer sounded like she was standing in my kitchen giving me directions. (“The easiest crust is to crush the cookies you plan to use.”) Basically, all I did was spread some crushed Oreos at the bottom of a springform pan, added a gallon of softened ice cream, sprinkled on some more Oreos, and froze it for 30 minutes. Then I added another gallon of softened ice cream, topped the whole thing with more Oreos, and put it back in the freezer until my boy’s birthday party the next day.

You know that Carvel whipped-cream frosting that tastes so good? There’s nothing “whipped” or “cream” about it. A former store employee divulged a company secret: The frosting is actually made from a powder. So the Cool Whip I frosted the cake with, right before serving, wasn’t too far off the mark! Plenty of chemicals to go around, just in a different form.

My son and his friends gobbled up the cake.

Fudgie the whale, watch out.