From lost notebooks to 'wet willies,' I learned a lot in 2006

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 6, 2007

By Susan Shinn

Salisbury Post

Drum roll, please. Stuff I learned in 2006:

* Last January, editorial page guru Chris Verner suggested I keep a notebook of stuff that happened throughout the year so this column would be easier to write. Note to self: Keep notebook in safe place. I lost it twice before unearthing it from my desk yesterday.

* It’s a heckuva lot harder to order a cup of coffee than it used to be.

Starbucks is where the hip, cool people meet.

It’s also where best friend Carol and I occasionally meet on Thursday mornings, provided none of the children is throwing up or has an ear infection or strep, Carol hasn’t thrown out her back, I haven’t broken my toe and neither she nor I have tummy troubles.

I try not to screw up my order (I get so nervous! Why can’t I just say, “I’d like a cup of decaf, please?”), and we sit in the good chairs and talk as hard as we can for an hour.

* Never, ever get in a hurry when I am making my bed, because I will catch my right pinky toe on the metal table beside the bed and it will break and/or hurt really, really bad. Owwwww!

* Also, watch the brick hearth in the den or I will catch same toe six months later and do same damage.

* I will never change my hairstyle unless I want to attract attention from Rose and Linda in the newsroom. I’m growing my hair out yet again for Locks of Love, and my goal is to have 12 inches of it to cut, just like Emily Ford, our LifeStyle freelancer extraordinaire, did.

(I don’t have two younger daughters with long hair like she did either, but I’m giving it my best shot anyway.)

I can always count on Rose and Lisa to make a fuss over me the few times I wear my hair down.

This is what is known in the business as a “slow news day.”

* Sometimes my job can be a drag, like everyone else’s, but most days, it’s pretty darn cool. And when people like Donna Wiseman come up and hug me and thank me for something I wrote, well, on those days, I have the best job in the world.

* On the other hand, Karen and Sherry at October House Bakery may have that distinction. Didja ever get a chance to try their oatmeal cookies? Lordy me, they’re good.

And these ladies were kind enough to donate cookies for me to send to my friend Christopher while he was in Iraq.

Karen and Sherry are as sweet as their cookies.

* If I can climb the high ropes course at the East Rowan YMCA, you can, too.

And no matter what you heard about me, I did not cry.

For long.

* There’s a reason they call it the OUTER Banks. Holy cow! It’s on the other side of the world!

* When you get a new computer, make sure the old computer will be able to talk to the new computer. Otherwise all your stuff is stuck in the old one and you are left to sit around and whine to all your IT friends, who will have to bail you out.

* My friend Debbie learned never to leave her dishwasher unattended. Especially after serving dinner to 26 at Christmastime.

She’s still waiting to hear from the insurance adjuster about her hardwood kitchen floors.


* My son Andrew has learned never to give or receive wet willies.

(If you don’t know what these are, consult the nearest 10-year-old.)

That way, he won’t ever wake up again on Christmas Eve morning with an ear infection.

Maybe next time he’ll listen when I tell him not to do something.

Yeah, right.

* I learned that my first name has “USA” in the middle of it.

Only took me 40 years to figure out that one.

And finally:

* If your parents send you on a treasure hunt through the house for cash on Christmas morning, and you have to run to keep ahead of your 10-year-old son, wear a bra.

* * *

Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or