The Eyebrow Incident

The wheels started to come off right away this morning when I moved a little slower than normal while getting ready. A little delay here, a little delay there and I found myself in a time crunch. And that’s never a good thing.

But, I figured I’d be OK. That I’d make up for lost time by moving a little more quickly than usual. And that’s when the wheels came off entirely.

See, here’s what happened: I was shaving. Quickly. And as I stood there in the bathroom, whipping the razor over my face in manic, almost jack-the-ripper-like fashion, I happened to catch a glance of something curious in the mirror. I brought the blade to a standstill, leaned in and, sure enough, there it was: a long, wispy hair shooting out of my eyebrow at a crazy angle. Hmmmm. Getting older seems to produce more and more of these.

Anyway, normally, I would have attempted a more precise method for removing the offending hair. Possibly a tweezers, maybe a scissors. You know, an implement with a little precision. Something with accuracy.

But, I was in a hurry. And hurry is the enemy of precision. And common sense. And a lot of other things. And so I looked at the razor in my hand, looked back at the eyebrow hair just standing there, taunting me, and I made a snap decision:  “Why don’t I just use this razor to mow down that one non-conformist hair? It’ll be quick and easy….”

And so I did it. And it worked remarkably well. I took that hair off at the base–right where it met the skin. A clean, precise cut. And then I looked in the mirror and realized that there was a white patch just a little smaller than a dime in the center of my eyebrow.

Shaving cream?

I looked closer and saw no shaving cream. Just a lot of skin. Pale skin peeking out around a dark ring of remaining hair, making my eyebrow look the head of a medieval monk.


The above is a recreation of the actual event. The results have been exaggerated in order to better reflect my humiliation….

I looked down at the counter and there it was: the rest of my eyebrow. It was scattered everywhere. Hairs here, hairs there.

Now, I have to be honest, my first reaction when I saw this was to carefully brush the counter with my (now shaking) hands and scoop the remnants up. And as I stood there, staring at all those hairs in my cupped hands, I began to wonder whether or not I could glue them back in place somehow. I’m not lying. My first thought was a reattachment procedure of some sort. But then sad, brutal, terrifying reality set in: you can’t glue your eyebrow back on.

And so I let the hairs fall back to the counter and I turned back to the mirror. Surely, it wasn’t as bad as I feared?  I leaned in, examined it closely, and discovered that yes, it was truly as bad as I’d feared. Possibly worse.

With only minutes before I had to march out the door, heading to work to deal with all the ridicule I was bound to receive, I started trying to get creative. Sure, the gluing it back on idea was dumb, but maybe I could just comb over the remaining hairs? It works for bald men, right?

I tried that for a minute, brushing and brushing, but the hairs were stiff and stubborn and refused to fan out to cover the bald spot. I thought about washing them and conditioning them to make them a little more manageable, but I discarded that as another dumb idea.

With my nose pressed nearly to the mirror, I stared at my eyebrow. Time travel would be awesome. But not possible. Yet. What else? Time was ticking. I needed answers. What to do?

As I stood there, staring, a seemingly reasonable voice filled my head: “I bet if you just removed that section over there, things would even out?”

I looked at the spot to which the voice had referred. Maybe he had a point. It could work. So, without thinking, I picked up the razor and went back to work on what was left of my eyebrow. Yes. I’m serious. I was in a fight or flight mentality and I needed solutions. Thinking things through never solves any actual problems, right? I needed action!

Well, it only took a couple more swipes to realize that now I’d removed another section of eyebrow further down. I think I heard that voice in my head chuckle a little.

Things were getting worse quickly. I set the razor down and looked back. And even now, in the midst of the situation, that same voice whispered enticingly: “you know, if you’d just hack off that other side, I think it would all balance everything out nicely . . . .”

I had the blade halfway to my face when a new voice sounded from the other part of my brain–the non-insane part.  This voice told me, in an authoritative tone, to put the razor down and step away from the mirror. I instantly listened because that part of me sounded like he knew what he was talking about. His tone was no-nonsense and I was honestly relieved. Finally. Someone was here to take charge of the situation. Someone was here to help.

“So,” I said to the sane side of my brain. “What do we do?”

“Let me think for a minute,” he said, strumming my fingers on the counter before snapping them in a gesture of inspiration. “Makeup! It solves every problem.”

And so I yanked open the makeup drawer and started digging through all these strange bottles and powders I didn’t understand. Finally my eyes fell upon an eyeliner pencil.

With shaky hands I colored over the pale bald spots where my eyebrow used to be and assessed my work in the mirror. Passable. As long as I kept my head turned slightly to the side while talking to people, I figured I’d get by until the hair grows back.

So, feeling somewhat relieved, I walked out, got dressed, and then found my wife in the kitchen. I relayed the story to her and then leaned in for a quick inspection. I figured I’d let her look me over to make sure I was alright.

So she leaned in and I stood there. Her eyes flicked from eyebrow to eyebrow before finally settling on one. I watched her fight against a smile that tugged at the corner of her lips and then, finally, she gave up and burst into laughter, shaking her head.

“Well, people may not notice, but you sure did a number on your eyebrow, that’s for sure!” She laughed, her eyes still focused on the eyebrow she found so hilarious.

I just stared at her. Watching the tears well up in her eyes as the laughter poured out of her mouth. Finally, I cleared my throat: “That’s the eyebrow I didn’t even touch.” I turned and walked briskly away to the soundtrack of my entire family cackling in a very immature manner.

And so, I sit here today, writing this post. I’ve got one eyebrow that I’ve nearly shaved off and another eyebrow that is apparently so naturally malformed as to be utterly hilarious when submitted to close examination. I’m sure the story will live on in in the family and will likely be used at my funeral someday.

At any rate, the scariest thing is that every time I step into the bathroom here at work, I stop by the mirror and give my eyebrows a once over. And every time I do, that same voice–the insane one–fills my head: “You know, if you would just razor off a little bit over here and a little bit over there, I think you’d have them both looking really, really good.”

I’m trying not to listen to him. But he can be very convincing when he wants to be….

Color Me Home Episode 1: Finding Inspiration

Welcome to Color Me Home! As a quick introduction, Color Me Home is a podcast about painting, decorating, creative projects, and whatever else happens to come up in the conversation. It’s hosted by Betsy Thompson and Dan Hansen from RepcoLite Paints.

This week Betsy and Dan discuss how to find the inspiration for your next color scheme. It often seems overwhelming to pick colors when you find yourself standing in front of a color display that offers over 3,000 varying tones and shades! But the good news is that finding inspiration is much easier than you might think!

Episode Outline

  • Nature (1:24)
  • Our Expanded Neighborhoods (3:24)
  • Our Existing Decor and Furniture (12:20)
  • Our Closets (15:54)
  • Magazines (19:07)
  • Your Own Photos (21:43)
  • Online Tools and Sources of Inspiration (25:15)
  • The Unusual and Unexpected (35:30)

Links for Online Tools and Sources of Inspiration

We spoke about a number of sites that we recommend for finding inspiration. Here are the links for everything we mentioned!

  • Design Seeds (browse 1000’s of photos/color schemes)
  • Houzz (browse 100’s of 1000’s of photos for inspiration)
  • Pictaculous (upload your own photos to create color schemes)
  • Easy RGB (to convert web-specific colors into Benjamin Moore color numbers!)

And here’s one more site we strongly, strongly recommend:


This site completely replaces Pictaculous (mentioned above). If we’d known about this one before we recorded our podcast, we’d have included it and left out Pictaculous. And here’s why: it’s way easier, it provides much better information, and, best of all, you can mark off a section of the photo you uploaded and only draw colors from that location! It is easily one of the best online sources for finding inspiration you’ll ever use–especially when you use it in conjunction with the EasyRGB site mentioned above. Below are just a few examples of color schemes Betsy put together based on her own photos and the color recommendations from!

The colors above came together quickly! And it was fun to do. Sure, the colors recommended by needed to be adjusted and toned down somewhat, but it still gave us some direction to get started. In fact, we both agreed that using the website was much quicker than even taking the photo to the store and trying to find colors to match. It’s a powerful tool to help you go from 1000’s of options down to just a few in literally seconds!

Dress for Success: 3 Tips for Your Next Paint Job!

bigstock-Man-s-Legs-83108792_webA number of years ago, in the middle of the night, we heard something that sounded like gunshots outside our window. Well, needless to say, the second I heard the “shots”, I hopped out of bed, ready for action. Fight or flight, right?

Anyway, I was standing there, running through all the potential scenarios in my head when I looked down and realized I was in my underpants.

Well, this wouldn’t do.

See, in all of the scenarios I’d imagined–fighting off burglars, bustling my family to safety amidst a hail of gunfire–in none of them was I dressed in my underpants.

And so I went straight to my dresser and started rummaging around for my jeans.

“What are you doing?” My wife’s whispered voice cut through the darkness.

I could see her sitting in the bed, staring at me. “I’m looking for my jeans.” Duh. I closed the drawer I’d just searched and opened the next one down.

“Why?” her whisper was sharp and cutting, laced with anxiety and a little bit of fear. Gunshots, you know.

“Because I’m in my underpants,” I said without turning around. Time was of the essence. “Do you have any idea where that one faded pair with the hole in the knee is?”

There was a sudden thud on the floor next to me and she said, “There! There’s the pair that was sitting on the nightstand.” Her words were tense, strained.

I picked them up, but they were my fancy jeans. They were stiff and a little uncomfortable. And, like I said, a little too fancy.

“Nah. I want my faded pair.”

There was silence for a second and then her whispers filled the void: “Seriously? You need a specific pair of jeans to go fight off a burglar?”

I just shook my head. She didn’t get it. But everyone knows you can’t fight off a burglar in fancy pants or underpants. You need action pants. It’s really not that complicated.

And that’s when I found them. Relief washed over me. I yanked them out of the drawer and stepped into them, instantly feeling cooler and much more ready for whatever was happening.

Ten minutes later, it was clear that there was no burglar lurking. Nobody shooting. It was just fireworks. It was honestly a bit of a let down.

As I pulled off my action pants and placed them back in my dresser, it hit me that there was a paint point in all of this. I just never knew what it was until now.

See, I’ve been discussing a number of painting tips for the Do-It-Yourselfer on our daily little radio blurbs. (You can click here to listen!) And one of the recommendations I’m making is to dress for the part whenever you paint.

Here’s what I mean:

1. Wear old clothes.

This is a no-brainer. I get that. And yet . . . it happens all the time. We tackle a small project thinking we’ll just be careful. 10 minutes later, we’re standing at the sink doing everything we can to rinse blue paint out of a nice shirt. Or a good pair of shorts. I’ve personally done this countless times and have resigned countless clothing items to the “can’t-wear-that-to-Church-again” bins. Instead of accidentally damaging good, expensive clothing, take the extra few minutes–even if the project is a quick one–to throw on some old clothes.

2. Wear the Right Clothes.

OK. The first recommendation was about wearing old clothes. What I’m talking about here revolves around wearing the right ones. And what I specifically mean is this: pick up a pair of painter’s pants or painter’s shorts at a RepcoLite, Port City Paints, or Snyder Paints store. These things come with extra pockets for putty knives, screwdrivers, brushes and other tools you’ll need when you’re working. If you’ve ever worked through a paint project and spent a fair amount of time running around trying to remember where you set your putty knife down or left your screwdriver, then check these out. They’re not very expensive and they’re definitely worth it if you tackle more than 1 or 2 painting projects in a year.

3. Dress your room appropriately.

Finally, the last tip that’s even remotely connected to my jeans story is this one: dress the room appropriately. And what I mean by this is simple: purchase some dropcloths and use them! Cover your furniture, cover your floors, protect your decor. Sure, it takes a few extra minutes, but the minute that first drip falls from your brush and lands on a plastic sheet instead of your couch, you’ll realize how smart you were!

And there you go. 3 Tips to help you dress for success on your next paint job! Give them a try! And if you have any other great ideas, leave them in the combox!

My Shortcut to the Movie Theater

"Century Theaters" by taviamcgrath is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Century Theaters” by taviamcgrath is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Hey, we all love shortcuts, don’t we? At any rate, I love shortcuts. I love the idea that there’s a path, a way–a quicker way–to get from point A to point B than the path that everybody else is taking. Yeah . . . shortcuts are cool. At least, they’re cool when they work. When they don’t . . . we’ll that’s another story.

Years ago, I was attending a seminary in Kentucky and for the first time in my entire life (at least since I graduated from elementary school)–for the first time in my entire life since elementary school, I was cool and people actually wanted to be around me–even girls. Of course, it was all because I was one of the few people there who had a car and therefore that meant I could drive them places and drop them off at malls and restaurants and come back and get them later so they wouldn’t have to ride the bus or just stay home . . . but hey, like I said, girls wanted to ride in my car with me and whatever their reason, I wasn’t arguing.

Well, one particular day–a day I’ll never forget–ever–a group of us were driving to a movie theater. My friend Rick from New York was in the passenger seat and our friends Kate, from Australia, and Mallory from somewhere in the deep south were in the back seat. I, of course, was driving. And I was on top of the world. I was driving up and down through the hilly, horse-country of Kentucky. They skies were clear blue–cloudless–and I hung my arm out the window and felt especially suave as the wind whipped through my medium-length brown hair: I was a man with women in my car. And they were going to let me go to the movie theater with them. And actually sit by them when we watched the movie. It was a whole new world. And I was clipping along on the very top of it.

That is, until we crested the top of a hill and looked down on the main road that would lead us to the theater and we saw that there was a huge traffic back-up. We were already pushing the limits for time and with this back up, there was absolutely no chance we’d make the movie. Everybody groaned–of course, we were all seminary students, so nobody said anything bad–though, just to shatter your image of seminary students, nobody said “Praise the Lord” either. The girls were sad, Rick was sad and I was depressed. But then I remembered something. There was a short cut I had taken a few weeks ago when I was by myself and this same thing had happened. I had cut through a Piggly Wiggly parking lot, caught a back road and had discovered, on accident, the back entrance to the theater.

Those memories flashed through my mind in an instant and I quickly looked around as we were approaching the traffic jam–ahhh, there it was, the entrance to the parking lot I had cut through–I still had time to make it–If I acted fast.

I put both hands on the wheel, set my jaw, checked my rearview mirror and jerked the car to the right. One of the girls screamed in a high pitched squeel–“What are you doing?” I turned to answer her when I realized it was Rick screaming. The girls were just white-knuckling it in the back seat. I donned my most action-hero-like voice and grumbled “We’re taking a shortcut.” And then I looked in the rearview mirror and made eye-contact with Kate–the girl I was rather interested in–and I said (yes, this all happened)–I said, “I’ll get you to that movie, Kate–don’t you worry.” Oh yeah . . . I lived in some sort of bizarre imaginary world back then and you can see why having girls in my car was a new experience for me.

Empty Space in a car parking Lot

Anyway, like some kind of renegade cowboy, I nosed my little blue cavalier into that parking lot and I hit the gas. In moments, we were rocketing (at what seemed like 40 miles per hour or so) through that empty parking lot. We were driving past that traffic on the main road like it was standing still. When my passengers saw the driveway exit I was heading for and when they saw the movie theater sign, they got over their initial fear and actually cheered. The girls patted me on the back and said things like “good thinking!” Rick quit squealing and started rubbing his hands together as he estimated that we still had time to get in, get tickets, get popcorn and find good seats before the flick started.

We were riding high. It was moment I’ll never forget–I was the hero–I had navigated our vehicle around the gridlock and had brought us–against all odds–successfully and on-time to our destination. The girls were impressed. I was the captain of that vessel and, for that brief second, I was the captain of our destinies.

But then something happened–as usually is the case for me. You see, I made the mistake of looking into the rearview mirror as we were rocketing toward that driveway that would lead us to the theater. For just a second, I locked eyes with Kate and I winked. (Yeah, just call me John Wayne).

I winked to let her know I had done it–that I had known all along that we’d be fine–that I had made good on my promise to get her to that movie. All that in a little wink that lasted just a split second.

However, unfortunately, at the exact moment, I was winking into the rearview mirror, I should have been looking ahead. If I had, I would have seen the parking lot abutment that was approaching my car at a tremendous speed. You know what these things are right? I know you do, I just don’t know what to call them–they’re the short concrete bumps at the end of each parking space in some parking lots–nothing tall, but definitely something solid.

Anyway, My little blue car hit one of those going . . . I don’t know 20 mph . . . 30 mph . . . 10 mph . . . I have no idea . . . all I remember is that one second, I was winking and the next second my head was smashing into the roof of the car as it went airborne–Dukes of Hazzard style–over the abutment.

That moment was chaos in the car–the girls were tossed all over the place in the back seat, Rick started screaming again–squeeling in a high-pitched, annoying scream–and I . . . Dan Hansen, Seminary student . . . child of God . . . hollered out only one thing. It was a short word, but I said it loudly and really stretched it out (almost as if I were saying it in slow motion) and then, just to be sure I had adequately covered the situation, I said it 5 more times in a row.

Well, somehow, when the car came down, I managed to get it under control and bring it to a stop. Rick was crying, I was shaking and wondering if I had really said what I thought I said out loud. The girls were shaken up and Kate asked me what the heck I was thinking . . . though, again, to taint your image of seminary students, she didn’t use the word “heck.” (But she’s from Australia, so that’s ok. Honestly, I think they even use it in place of “Amen” when they say the Lord’s Prayer).

I tried to regain my composure, but it was impossible. I started edging my car slowly toward the parking lot entrance we had been driving toward before the abutment event, but now the car was making weird thumping and banging sounds. These were not coming from the radio. I checked.

They were coming from somewhere underneath the car. There were problems–big problems–with my car and I was all alone in Kentucky and I didn’t know where to bring it and my car was the only thing making me cool. I said to Rick that we should probably drop by a shop and see if they can find out what’s wrong with the car. The girls asked if we could drop them off at the theater while we did that. And I did. And that was the end of my brief stint as a cool guy on campus. Even after my car was fixed, I never regained cool status–I had been labelled as a moron on the road.

Seminary students can be so cruel.

Anyway, some shortcuts are great. Some really help you get through projects quickly or get to a given location faster than everybody else. Other ones make you look like an idiot, blow your chances with Kate from Australia and cost you about $700 in damage to your car.

Those are the shortcuts I take most often. Next time we’ll discuss how this relates to paint.

The Inevitable Forgetting of Important Things

and_baseball_web_030816My family and I just wrapped up another Little League season and among all the wonderful things that baseball season brings into our lives, there’s one thing that I could do without:  the Inevitable Forgetting of Important Things.

There are a number of Capital Letters in that phrase, so let me explain:  Whenever there was a baseball game on a week night, our evening would devolve into chaos quite quickly.  I’d arrive home from work five minutes after the time we should have left.  To get back on schedule, I’d typically eat dinner without chewing it while I changed my clothes and brushed my teeth. This was a multi-tasking miracle in regards to the number of tasks accomplished at once.  However, because of the diverse nature of the tasks, it was also messy and somewhat disgusting.  Still, it’s what was necessary to get to the game on time.  So I did it.

Once that strange combination of eating/teeth brushing/clothes changing was done, I’d run out to the van, hop into the driver’s seat, turn the key and then, for the first time in the entire evening, I’d pause. Turning around, I’d stare each of the kids in the eye, hold their attention for a second or two, let the import of the moment sink into their little heads, and then I’d ask:  “Do you have everything?”

It was a simple question.  A question meant to jog their little memories.  A question meant to make them ask the question in their own heads:  “Do I really, truly have everything I might need for tonight’s athletic event?”

Instead, every time I asked the question, they’d respond immediately, with absolutely zero thought (and with some exasperation):  “yes, dad”.

Well, I’ve got five children and the oldest two are 13, so this isn’t my first rodeo, so to speak.  And so I would never let them off that easily:  “You have everything?  Really?  How about your glove?  Your hat?  Your bat bag?  Your bat?  Your cleats?”  I’d rattle off every single piece of baseball gear I could think of as they answered with an immediate “yes” to each item.

Finally, after what felt like a 30 minute deposition, I’d turn around in my seat, ease the van out of the driveway, and begin the journey to the baseball field.  And every single time, after I was far enough away from home to make going back frustrating, I’d hear it start:  the scuffling of their little fingers as they clawed through their bat bags looking for something.

I’d hope against hope every time I heard this that they were looking for a Mento.  But no.  After about 30 seconds of frantic scuffling, someone would nervously clear his throat as happened several nights ago:

“Uh, Dad?”

“Yes…” (through gritted teeth).

“Ummm.  Funny thing . . . you know when you asked if we had everything and then listed off all the things?”


“Well, you know what you forgot to list off?”

“No.  What did I forget to list off?” (through gritted teeth again).

“Well . . . and this really is hilarious . . . you never asked me if I was wearing my cup.”  At this point the kid usually breaks into nervous laughter and falls silent. No one else typically laughs at this point because they know trouble when they see it.

I try to keep my cool and clinging to a very unreasonable hope, I ask:  “Are you wearing your cup?”

“Ummm.  Not technically.  I actually forgot it.  We’ll have to go back and get it.  But don’t worry.  I’m pretty sure I know where it might be…”

Every time.  Every game. Oh, sometimes they’d forget gloves.  Sometimes, it was their bat.  Maybe their hat, their sunglasses, their Gatorade . . . it doesn’t matter.  Whatever it was they forgot, it was always something we’d have to go flying back to the house to retrieve.

And it drove me nuts, stressed me out, and got almost every single game night off to a rocky and uncomfortable start.  All because we weren’t organized.  All because we were starting something without having all the right equipment.

Well, the same thing often happens when we’re working on paint projects. We start the work and after we dip our expensive brush into a new gallon of oil-based paint, we realize we forgot to pick up paint thinner.  Or we pour our paint into a tray and realize that the roller cover we had isn’t the right one for the project. Or–and this just happened to me a week or so ago–we run downstairs to grab that paint brush we’ve got in the basement only to find that we didn’t clean it out well enough the last time.  Now it’s unusable and we’re standing there with our paint can open and no brush to apply it with.


When we forget to amass the right tools for our paint projects, we find the stress level rises quickly.  Our schedules are thrown into chaos, and all too often (if you’re like me) we try to make things work using the tools we have, not necessarily the right ones.  And usually, the results are frustrating and disappointing.

The good news about all of this is there’s a fix.  At least for the paint project part of it (I don’t know how to fix the baseball stuff!).  Anyway, the way to make sure you’ve got all the right tools for your next paint job is as simple as using a basic “Project Checklist”.

We’ve got one that you can download by clicking this link.  It’s a simple tool that will help you mentally go through your project ahead of time.  The list will recommend certain items and most of the time, you’ll discover one or two things you would never have thought to gather ahead of time.

Tackling a paint project can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience.  It can even be somewhat of a stress reliever–almost therapeutic in a way.  Just make sure you’ve got all the items necessary before you start and you’ll discover how smoothly a project can go!

The Incredible Shrinking Man

Incredible-Shrinking-man-film-stillLast week I went to the doctor. It was nothing serious–at least it didn’t start out that way–it was just a routine visit. Kind of a maintenance thing. However, in the course of this “maintenance” visit, I was made aware of potentially life-changing information:  I’m shrinking. At an incredible rate.

See, when they called my name and led me out of the waiting room, they brought me to a little corner of despair where they keep the scale and the wall-mounted “how-short-are-you-now?”-o-meter. I hate both of these devices and particularly dread this part of each doctor’s visit.

As was usual, they started with the scale. Now, normally, this part is a little awkward because while I’m not obscenely overweight, neither am I what you might call “fit”.  With the right clothes on, I look fine (if you squint), but if you really take a look . . . well, it’s not necessarily flattering.  At any rate, normally, when I climb onto the scale, the nurse clicks her tongue, shakes her head and makes a notation on my record.  Probably something about too many donuts.

However, this time, I was actually excited to get on the scale. Oh, it’d been 2 years since last I stood on that little device, but I knew my weight was down. In fact, I was willing to bet I was about 11 or 12 pounds lighter than last time. And so, with that confidence in my back pocket, I hopped onto the scale and waited for the digital numbers to stop ticking. And sure enough:  they showed a weight loss from last time of about 12 pounds.

The nurse, with a bit of surprise (and, I thought, disappointment), noted this in my record, even commenting on the fact that I was significantly lighter.

She then motioned toward the equipment on the wall–the “how-short-are-you-now” o-meter.  “Stand over there.  Back against the wall, head up straight, heels against the wall, chest in . . . “

I complied. Back straight. Eyes forward. Legs together. Chin rigid, strong.  And let me tell you:  I felt TALL.

She manipulated the equipment, sliding the little measuring bar until it hit the top of my head.  “Does that feel about right?”

“Yes.”  I was confident.  Cool.  Collected.  And why not?  I was 12 pounds lighter than 2 years ago.  More fit than ever.  And, did I mention that I felt TALL?  I can’t describe the feeling any better than that.  I just felt TALL.  Normally, I feel just the opposite.  Normally, when I stand up in the office where I work, I find myself eye-to-eye with people who are still sitting.  I’m not joking.  I work with such tall (some might say average height) people that I routinely spend every day feeling as if I’m about 12 years old among a gathering of grown-ups.  Normally, that’s the case.  But not that day.  That day I felt TALL.

And then the nurse spoke up:  “5 foot, 6 and 1 quarter.”

It was so matter of fact.  A veritable non-event for her.  But that short, er, simple declaration, that reading of the scales, was world-shattering to me.

I was trying to process whether or not I’d heard her correctly when the import of the measurements hit her. Her face split into an eager smile.

“Ooooh!  This is interesting!” she said, looking over the papers in her hand, flipping back through years and years of notes.  “Did you know that just 2 years ago you were 5′ 7″  Just 2 short years ago!  Did you realize that?”

I half-nodded since I was still processing the results.

“And did you hear that you are now 5′ 6 1/4″?”

I nodded again.

“You know what that means, right?  You know that means you’ve Shrunk, right?”  (I’m certain she used the word in the capitalized form for effect.)  “You know that means you’ve Shrunk at least 3/4 of an inch in just 2 years!  That’s amazing!”

She made a couple more notes in the book and then turned around to lead me to the room where I would wait until the doctor came.  However, after taking a couple of steps, she turned around and looked back at me.  She tilted her head to one side and stared for a long second or two before smiling and shaking her head.

“3/4 of an inch in two years!  Wow!  If you keep shrinking at that rate . . . well . . . ”  She trailed off, turned around and continued on her way to the examination room with me trailing along behind.  Like a small child who needed a sticker and his mommy.

She showed me into the room and closed the door as she left.  And there I sat, my little legs dangling off the chair, just short of the floor by about 3/4 of an inch.  And while I sat there, I did math in my head.  And I realized that if I continue shrinking at that rate, by the I’m sixty-four I’ll be 4′ tall, probably 180 pounds, and I’ll need a ladder to get into my car.  I’ll need a booster seat at restaurants and I’ll have to have one of my kids reach things off the top shelf of the refrigerator for me.  I’ll have to sit on phone books at work so I can reach the computer keyboard, but in so doing, I will move my feet farther from the floor.  I’ll have to . . . .

My thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door and the entrance of the doctor.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  At least now we could get on with the business at hand.  The maintenance check up.  We could infuse the situation with some professionalism, this doctor and I.  We could put away all this talk about shrinking and we could discuss important things like . . . .

“So,” the doctor broke into my thoughts as she flipped through some papers on a clipboard.  “So, it seems you’ve shrunk almost 3/4″ in 2 years!”  An amazed whistle escaped her lips.  “You know how amazing that is, right?”

Yeah.  I’ve heard.