Lucie and the Princess are Baffled!

There are certain things in life I could have gone to my grave not knowing, but living with the Princess brings with it an awareness and knowledge of things that most of us could give two hoots about before we die.

But what do I know?

Up until recently, I always thought the word baffle was a verb, meaning bewildered, perplexed. I now know that baffle is also a noun, as in how many baffles does your clothes dryer have that are currently loose and creating havoc with your very expensive, limited braziers?

While most of you spent your Friday night having a leisurely dinner enjoying a glass of wine with a friend and/or loved one, I was home in my garage repairing the baffles in my dryer tumbler.

You say you never heard of dryer baffles or for that matter a tumbler? May I assume that your braziers and jock straps are still in one piece and haven’t been latched onto and gnawed on by the detached baffles of your dryer? Either that or not in a relationship with a “Princess”?

Baffles are those plastic dividers attached to the inside of your dryer on the tumbler that catch and fluff your clothes as they tumble and spin in the dryer. And if you’re like the Princess and have to have your quilts and blankees extra fluffy, you dry them with 2 or 3 tennis balls to fluff them out and beat the hell out of your dryer baffles; which in turn creates loose, clanging baffles that eventually grab ahold of one’s bra straps and hoodie drawstrings and rip the hell out of said bra’s and hoodies.

Not wanting this scenario to play out again for the next guy, Friday night I graciously decided to take one for the team and fix the damn thing.

Un-hun.

So I googled how to fix dryers and I found a number of videos on the subject. I’m viewing the videos and thought to myself, “This is gonna be a piece of cake. I’ll have the dryer lid off and those baffles tightened up in no time flat!”

Yep.

I got my ratchet set, my screw drivers, and everything prepped and ready to go and then proceeded to snap open the top of the dryer. I leaned the top as far back as I could get it and wedged a screw driver under the hood to keep it propped open, while I worked on the outside of the tumbler and tightened the screws attached to the baffles. Noticing the one baffle was missing a screw and not able to find the same size to replace it with, I chose a larger one as a substitute. Struggling to screw the larger screw into the baffle, I decided to ask for assistance from my stronger, more adept Princess, who unlike her partner, could use a screwdriver and not strip the head of the screw.

Yeah…

Well, the Princess took the screwdriver from me, stuck her head under the lid of the dryer, proceeded to turn the screw, and suddenly sneezed; causing a chain of events that had her screwdriver taking a back flip down the side of the tumbler, her head to collide with the top of the lid and the propped screw driver to dislodge and disappear into some black hole in the back of the dryer.

Yes-siree, Bob!

So we had baffles that were mostly fixed, one screw driver wedged next to the tumbler on the bottom of the dryer; the second screw driver God knows where, and me ready to blow a gasket staring at the Princess, who’s ready to bust a gut laughing, but knows I’m fuming inside and aptly decides to control herself.

This simple, piece of cake job turned into a Pandora’s box that gifted us with the dilemma of figuring out how to retrieve not one, but two of our Philip screwdrivers; and unlike the mythical Pandora’s box, no hope inside of ever locating the one.

After spending an unsuccessful hour trying to lasso, pluck, pull and extract the driver I could see, I reluctantly decided that we had no choice but to take apart the front section of the dryer. I figured if I found a video on how to repair dryer baffles, there had to be one on taking apart the front section of a dryer. And lucky me, there’s You-tube for idiots.

We get the front section of the dryer off without dropping the tumbler on our feet, retrieve the Princess’s screw driver and still cannot find the screw driver that I used to prop-open the lid.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” I mumbled to myself. “If that screwdriver fell down the lint tunnel, we’re totally screwed!”

I strapped my camping lantern onto my head to give the situation some more light, checked the motor and surrounding areas; got myself propped on a step stool bending over the top area of the dryer, so I could get a better view of the back section; and suddenly spotted the elusive screwdriver wedged in the narrow space of the dryer behind the tumbler and second panel.

At this point, I’m ready to cry because I realize that it’s 10 o’clock at night; I’m exhausted, and I am just not up for arm wrestling with a dryer tumbler and tinkering with that second panel.

No siree Bob! Not. Not. Not.

In the meantime, the Princess took one look at my sullen, defeated face and trying (I assume) to be reassuring said, “You know, Hun, I have no problem calling a repair man – no problem whatsoever.”

Now if y’all recall, I have no problem calling a repair man, either. No problem whatsoever. The last one was so helpful with his super glue recommendation on my shower’s diverter handle, but I was bound and determined not to look like some klutzy, needy woman.

And then it suddenly dawned on me – “What two items do the Princess and me most often use to fix everything?”

Super glue and duct tape!

I rolled up a piece of duct tape, stuck it on the end of a small pipe, lowered it down to the screwdriver and grabbed it with the sticky end of the duct tape.

Who needed a repair man?

Yep!

Worked like a charm.

A half an hour job only took us just under 3 hours, we had quality bonding time and learned some new mechanical and interpersonal communication skills.

And the next time we’re out and about with friends or family members and the topic of how to fix one’s dryer baffles comes up, think about how impressed everyone is going to be when we tell them how to do it!

Life is good at our end, People.

Until next time, keep your balls on the tennis courts and your drivers out on the golf course and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes!

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I’m a Noodle!

Years ago a close friend asked me what it was like for me to come out of the closet. Not one of our more typical topics of conversation for breakfast, but I figured, “What the heck? I’m game.” Actually, I was quite honored that he trusted and valued our friendship enough to even ask me; until then, no one had even attempted to broach the subject.

I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I remembered talking about the fact that it certainly had nothing to do with any closets for me. To me closets have always been a source of comfort – kind of a safety zone. I remember during the Bay Area’s 1989 earthquake, I actually went to my closet a number of times during the numerous aftershocks that took place – thought my behavior was a little stranger than normal – until my therapist assured me that a lot of people were exhibiting a lot of different behaviors during this disaster.

Boy was I relieved! I was already wrestling with the vague awareness that I was different. I certainly didn’t want to be certifiable nuts on top of that.

No siree, Bob! We had enough wackos in the family.

My closet had always been a safe zone from the craziness of my childhood, so my therapist felt my sitting in it after the quake was totally appropriate. And I was paying her the bucks to validate my saneness, so I figured she had to be right.

Coming out for me, however, felt anything but safe. I felt alone and afraid; like I was driving down a long black tunnel with no lights and I didn’t see any “light at the end of the tunnel”; until more and more celebrities started their coming out process and I saw that I wasn’t alone in this tunnel of uncertainty – there were other “blind drivers” with me – and they were important people.

My initial disclosures that I made to family and close friends were mostly smooth sailing. The first friend I told actually laughed and was relieved that I wasn’t just diagnosed with some terminal illness. I was so nervous coming out to her during breakfast, that I choked on my tea a number of times and had a hard time swallowing my blue germ pancakes. When I finally did confide in her, I coughed out my blueberries and tea onto my plate and quickly uttered, “I’m gay, alright? I’m gay! I don’t know why the hell I’m gay, but I am!”

And then in case she felt I was hitting on her while I was spitting out my blueberries and tea, I quickly blurted out, “And no, you’re not my type, so don’t worry.”

For the first few seconds, I wasn’t sure she totally got what I said because she just quietly stared at me with what appeared to be a look of confusion, and then suddenly she howled with laughter and said, “For Pete’s sake, Lucie, you were so squirrely, I thought you were gonna tell me you had cancer or something! My boyfriend, Ralph, thought you were gay. Guess it was just me and you who didn’t know, eh?”

And then we both started laughing and I settled down and enjoyed what was left of my spit-out breakfast.

Coming out to Paula, at 35 years old, was a “piece of cake” compared to telling some of my other friends and family members. The fact is, there are still a number of family members that don’t really talk too much about it. They know the Princess is my special live-in friend, and most of the time, we leave it that way. I continue to correct them when they introduce us as “friends”, and they continue to do it. It’s one of those dances that will probably continue until they die, and it’s ok because it’s really not my problem; it’s theirs.

I realize that there are people that hate the Princess and me simply because we love each other. I also realize that many of these same people hate others because of their preconceived notion of what they think these people’s “differences” represent.

I get that.

We’re afraid of what we don’t understand.

As a young, innocent white woman from upstate New York, teaching a challenging group of predominately black kids in inner city Oakland years ago, I was afraid.

It was my kick-ass, Italian, New York attitude, that saved my butt many-a-time during those first few months teaching in Oakland. When I think back to those early morning walks with my kids through the drug-infested neighborhood of our school, I seriously believe I had an angelic guardian “Goombah” watching over me. To this day, I can’t explain it, but as soon as the gang-bangers saw my kid-lings and I headed toward them, all drug deals came to a screeching halt, and we were greeted with smiles and enthusiastic “Good mornings!” as we strolled by them, like nobody’s business.

Parading with my kids through the drug-infested streets of inner-city Oakland was much easier for me, than coming out to my family, friends and co-workers. Much easier. At least I knew who the bad guys were in Oakland. Coming out to my family members and friends was harder. Much harder.

Some days I felt like I was blindly driving down a tunnel, defiantly participating in a game of bumper cars with other reluctant drivers; until I was so banged up that I decided a “pit stop” was necessary and declared a moratorium on everything dealing with my sexuality because I was so emotionally beat-up that I couldn’t “drive” any more. It was brutally exhausting and it shouldn’t have been.

I never understood why my loving another woman was any big deal. I was still the same person. I was still a good teacher, a good friend, a good sister, a good Aunt, a good daughter……

Why did people care who I loved?

Because somehow their God cared and judged me?

My God doesn’t judge me. My God loves and accepts me. Why would he have made me the way he made me?

Contrary to popular opinion, I didn’t choose this life-style.

I am an intelligent, kind, reasonably evolved woman.

I am not crazy.

(And, sorry, but I think you’d have to be a “little crazy” to choose this life-style.)

I think my Mom summed it up pretty well when I came out to her before dinner one night and I asked her, “So, what da ya think about having a gay kid, Ma?”

She looked at me like only she can when you’ve asked her a stupid question, and said, “Cazzo! You’re my daughter! You’ll always be my daughter. Now what do you want for dinner? Rigatoni’s or spaghetti’s?”

Yep.

I think that’s as important an issue my sexuality should be for everyone.

As far as I’m concerned, we’re all pasta and I’m a noodle. And who cares?

Have a great day, People, and I’ll catch ya next time, looking at life from my shoes!