Tag Archives: funny stories

Family Board Games: A Holiday Hazard?

In case you’re thinking about board games to keep your extended family engaged,  this holiday season, let me share what can go wrong.

 

Christmas Monopoly

From morning routines to family customs, our lives are filled with rituals. I figured there was no time like the holidays to incorporate a new one into my repertoire. But trouble arrived when one of my four children suggested we add a Monopoly game to our holiday boredom prevention program.

My oldest son Ron and his wife Julie had driven into town to stay with us for a few days. Their visits, which typically last just about long enough to digest a meal, are always welcomed. However, this time they’d brought along with them the dog they endearingly called my “grandpuppy,” a wiry-haired, hyperactive mixed breed with a vision problem. To this dog, everything must look like a tennis ball—because nothing is deemed unworthy of a good chase. So as you might imagine, our two cats were nonplussed about this houseguest.  

After a food orgy that began at noon and continued well past the point of intestinal discomfort, I commenced pitching camp in front of the television. (I mean, let’s face it; there’s only so much eating you can do before every bathroom in the house is clogged.) It was time to yell, “Back away from the table, and put down your fork.”

But just as I lifted the TV remote controller, Ron blurted, “Don’t turn on the TV! Let’s all do something together. You know, like family bonding.”

First he says he’s staying for two days, and now he says, “Don’t turn on the television”? This can’t be my child.

“I know,” Ryan, my twelve-year-old, said. “Let’s play MONOPOLY!”

Ron’s face brightened. “Yeah. It’ll be our new family tradition,” he chimed.

Right then, I was glad I hadn’t followed through on selling that game in my last garage sale.

As we gathered around the family dining table with Parker Brothers, the dog and one cat joined us. Each gave the other a suspicious eye, though thus far they’d been fairly tolerant.

About twenty minutes into the game, Ron said, “Hey, Mom, I’ll give you these two blue ones for that railroad you’re holding.”

I didn’t really need what he’d offered me, but I said, “Sure,” anyway.

His eyes lit up as he snatched away my railroad card. “Suck-Er-Er-er-er!”

Okay.  This is my child.

I’d forgotten how long a game of Monopoly can last.

Ryan was the first to go bankrupt, so he moved into position to help me. Already, I’d given Ron his third of four railroads. What blunders were left?

If any family bonding was taking place, I hadn’t yet observed it. More like it was every man, woman, child, and dog for himself.

My arms vibrated from all the table shaking that Ron’s leg bouncing produced. His childhood tics had reemerged, the ones that had caused him to be sent home from school with report cards that said, “Refuses to sit still in class.” That was back in the days before Ritalin.

Next, it was my husband’s turn. He drew a Chance Card that condemned him to pay the last of his money to the remaining three players. “No-o-o!” he shouted, slamming his fist down onto the table.

The dog yelped. Then the cat, thinking she might be in jeopardy, attacked with a hiss and a few punches to the muzzle. Ryan fell out of his chair, laughing, and hurt his knee.

Julie, who was by now almost out of money, maintained a glum expression. So Ron looked lovingly into his wife’s eyes and asked, “Would you like me to give you five hundred dollars for that railroad, Hon—just to keep you in the game?”

She gazed back at him and smiled. “Would ya?”

“Of course. What are husbands for?” he gushed. Then he whisked the card from her hand and hollered, “All R-R-I-I-I-IGHT!”

 No one was surprised when eventually Ron won the game, and he was the only one who went to bed happy that night. My husband felt his position as “head-of-household” had been usurped. Julie had been deceived by her own spouse. The other children had been once again outdone by their older brother. And thanks to this entire ruckus, the dog and cat now had more trust issues than ever before.

That evening, I fell asleep and dreamed about traipsing cross-county to view exterior illumination like most normal families do.

This year, we’ll need to establish a new holiday ritual—because the most I got out of that Monopoly game was the two bucks it brought during last summer’s garage sale.

Excerpted from the book, Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road, by Diana Estill.

 

Available in paperback and Kindle format

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Free book alert

You Can’t Change Crazy is currently available for free from Apple iTunes and iBooks and from Smashwords. Here are the links:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/you-cant-change-crazy/id465242449?mt=11
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/86759

Kindle: 99 Cents

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What’s Funny about IBS?

 

What’s Funny about IBS?

After years of shunning “potty humor,” I’ve written a book on crap. Well, okay, I didn’t actually write on crap—that would be disgusting—I wrote about the subject. Now I feel the need to explain why I changed my mind. Like any sane reasoning individual, I blame my family. 

You see, most of my clan suffers from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), or as I call it, “Infinite Bouts of Shoo-Shoo.” Why do they call it “irritable,” anyway? Wouldn’t “dangerous” or “explosive”  be more accurate? But I’ve digressed. 

For years, my relatives have regaled each other with stories of diarrhea disasters. Each time one of my kin offered another hilarious tale about being doubled over in some remote location that lacked a toilet, I threatened to include his or her story in my next humor book.

 Over time, my imaginary manuscript gained a title. Soon my adult children were beginning their “uh-oh” reports with, “I’ve got another story for your Crap Chronicles book!” 

A few years passed before my son and husband began pressing me for action. “Quit threatening and DO IT,” my husband taunted. “If you think there’s no market for it, it’s sure to go viral.” 

I wondered if diarrhea could be all that funny. I mean, other than to junior high school students. Yet weren’t we all hee-hawing privately about these untimely attacks? Either my kinfolks were completely warped (a strong possibility), or I was shortchanging readers’ ability to identify with, and laugh at, someone who’d pooped his pants.

 To be truthful, I think I held back because I felt ashamed of my own, and maybe my spouse’s, mishaps. Why would I want to admit to the kinds of embarrassing behaviors these stories revealed?  Hadn’t I already exposed enough family craziness in my other humor books? Did I really need to discuss our bathroom habits too?   

After I considered this more carefully, I realized anything feared is great fodder for humor. When it comes to dreaded outcomes, losing bowel control in public ranks right up there with discovering your prior spouse made a secret sex tape.

 No one is too powerful or smart or refined or beautiful to suffer an intestinal revolt. No one. But plenty of folks are too insecure or ashamed to admit they’ve “shart” their shorts. Those who swear they’ve never come close to crapping their britches just haven’t lived long enough. We come in to this world needing diapers, and the majority of us leave the same way. 

Anyone who’s experienced the aftermath of going toe-to-toe with a “Hell Burger” or ever caught a case of “traveler’s trots” will surely agree that, given enough time and distance from the ensuing humiliation, there’s something therapeutic about sharing news of such events with a close friend or family member. In fact, doing so is the best way to get rid of any residual negative emotions. 

We can choose to be either embarrassed or tickled by our limitations, but not both at the same time. Shame and amusement simply cannot coexist. 

Confessing tummy turmoil is nothing to be ashamed of, anyway. It’s healthy to laugh at ourselves and to be reminded of our physical and human constraints. 

This is why I decided to write Crap Chronicles, an eBook that includes my seven best IBS stories. The title is available now for 99 cents in Kindle format. (Actually, you can get the title plus the stories for that price.) I don’t know how many people will buy the book, but at least I’ve finally found the courage to divulge what I swore I’d never write. Already, I’m feeling lighter! And, no, not from IBS.

So can IBS be funny? Perhaps that depends on who is the victim and what are the circumstances. But to my clan, we never tire of trying to “one up” each other with our tales of affliction. And I’m guessing that, when it comes to potty humor, we’re not chuckling alone. 

If you’d care to read an excerpt from Crap Chronicles: When IBS Strikes in all the Wrong Places, you can find one here

I’d love to hang around, but I have to run because I’m feeling a little rumble I can’t ignore . . .

   Crap Chronicles: When IBS Strikes in all the Wrong Places

   Available now from Amazon for Kindle: 99 cents!

www.thecrapchronicles.com

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Last-minute Tax Deductions

Last-Minute Tax Deductions

Every year, I search for tax deductions to lower my bill to Uncle Sam. So far, the best way I’ve found to escape paying federal income tax is to remain unemployed.

But if you were smarter than me and you actually earned something last year, it’s time to get creative. Don’t worry about being audited. If your computers are like mine, they’ll crash sometime within the next 24 months—and then you can just tell the IRS that you’re unable to locate your records. They won’t care. But you can tell them this anyway.

I didn’t earn anything last year, after I accounted for all my valid deductions. By the time I subtracted for my costs of paper, printing supplies, and decent-quality Merlot (You don’t think I can write this stuff without alcohol, do you?), I didn’t make a profit.

In fact, my auditor husband tallied my expenses just so he could prove that my financial contributions have been, to be overgenerous, nonexistent. According to him, if I stay on course and continue to work hard, by age 65, I might achieve a positive cash flow.

My spouse doesn’t understand why I purchase thousands of dollars’ worth of books every year. I try to explain that I need to compare my writing style to those who are making money. But he thinks I should spend more time at the library, despite the fact that our community doesn’t have one. And he can’t fathom why I need a Web presence when my own family members refuse to read my columns, which is exactly the point of why I need one.

Still, it would be nice to feel valued for what I produce—which is why I’m begging you to consider me for any last-minute tax write-offs you might need. I know you’re thinking that all charity deductions had to have been made before year end. But I’m perfectly okay with backdated checks.

I’ll also accept leftover holiday gift cards and unexpired free meal coupons. Please send your donations to the Save a Humorist Fund, a U4(c) my scam corporation, c/o Totally Skewed Productions, 555 Obscure Lane, Nowhere, TX, 77890. All contributions are fully tax objectionable.

Additionally, you may purchase my one of my books and claim it as a tax deduction—provided you can invent some business reason for owning it. *

* Consult your tax advisor before making any stupid decisions. Actual deductions may vary. Past audit evasions are not valid predictors of future detection. Not suitable for persons under age 12, individuals who are laugh-impaired, oxygen-deprived, or for those who are taking mood inhibitors. Do not read while driving, operating heavy machinery, or texting. Some thinking could be required. May cause sudden excitability, unexpected oral emissions, snorting, frequent howling, and abdominal cramps. Should any of these symptoms occur, stop reading and immediately notify your book club.

http://www.TotallySkewed.com

 Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road

Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life

Stilettos No More

 

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Book offers humorous advice for women over 40

My third humor book, Stilettos No More, is now available in paperback and eBook formats (Kindle, iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Smashwords). This title offers zany advice for women over 40. Here’s a short news release, followed by an excerpt:

Time to Hang Up the Stilettos?

Whether she’s warning women about the hazards of high heels or lamenting over the fashion persistence of thong panties, author Diana Estill milks humor from midlife. In her new book, Stilettos No More (Corncob Press), Estill lampoons shoes that cost more than tires and swears on her “thigh trimmer” she’s past the age to “walk on stilts.”

Fatigued by all the anti-aging rhetoric that pervades our current culture, Estill, 56, claims 50 isn’t the new 40 . . . “without the help of Botox, a plastic surgeon, or Photoshop.”

Instead of trying to look like a Desperate Housewife star, the author suggests women should learn to expect and accept some physical changes during midlife. It’s the feisty, funny side of 50 that Estill seeks to promote by sharing her own perspective as a reluctant “senior.” She’s not afraid to tell the truth about her tummy woes or unwanted toe hairs—or to caution younger gals of what awaits them.

Stilettos No More is Estill’s third book of humorous essays and is available now in paperback and eBook formats from Amazon and other booksellers.

Estill’s previous book, Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life (Corncob Press) was a humor category 2008 ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist and a 2010 International Book Awards Winner.

From the book, Stilettos No More:

The Big “M”

As much as I hate to beat up on doctors, the truth is, once a woman nears the “Big M,” she might as well not whine to a physician about anything during her annual checkup. No matter what her complaints might be, her doctor will likely dismiss them by telling her that she’s either entering or in the midst of menopause.

This is kind of like seeing a fortune teller who says your luck is about to change. Of course it is! Nothing remains static. So it’s pretty easy to be accurate when you’re being this vague.

It can easily take a decade to pass through “the change.” Therefore, being told that almost every minor health symptom (no matter how wardrobe threatening) during this time is somehow related to menopause is more than an annoyance. It’s a waste of your “health spending” dollars.

We interrupt this stream of consciousness writing to bring you the following important medical disclaimer:

I am in no way qualified to offer medical advice, so please consult your doctor if you’re looking for anything other than absurd health opinions. A physician may give you even more bizarre instruction, but at least those recommendations will be offered by a professional who is properly insured.

So, like I was saying, save your medical co-pays and buy a personal hair trimmer. You’re going to need it. But I’ll get to that in a second.

Despite the frustrations of being told so, much of what occurs during midlife is attributable to hormone fluctuations. And that includes the appearance of unwanted hair and the loss of one’s car keys.

First, it’ll be only a lone dark spike emerging from your chin. But then, overnight, this hair will grow faster than the US deficit. You won’t see it before bedtime and yet, by the next morning, this new arrival will be long enough to fashion into a pin curl.

The next thing you know, all sorts of fuzz and freak whiskers will erupt. And that’s when a good hairstylist can be your best friend. Just make sure she’s young enough to see well.

My hairdresser is a second pair of eyes scrutinizing my ever changing appearance. She was the first person to call my attention to the billy goat beard I’d sprouted under my chin—a necklace of platinum-colored fringe framing my drooping jowls. This hair was so light and fine that, without my reading glasses, I couldn’t see it.

In her diplomatic way, my stylist offered her best professional advice: “LET ME SHAVE THIS STUFF OFF!”

A few months later, when my hairdresser began fretting over something on my forehead, I feared the worst. Surely I wasn’t going to have to start using Botox too!

While cutting my bangs, she paused and stared at me. With one hand she scooped my hair straight back and peered more closely.

I waited to hear the dire news, whatever it was.

With an index finger and thumb, she plucked at something.

I felt a tug on my forehead.

“Omigod,” she exclaimed. “It’s attached!”

Glancing up, I saw her pulling on a single strand of white hair that must have been four inches long.
When she finally stopped laughing, she said, “Do you want me to remove it?”

Briefly I considered leaving the sprout intact and saving it as a conversation piece. Imagine all the laughs such an oddity might generate. If I left it alone, once my bangs were in place, only my hairdresser and I would know the straggler wasn’t part of my normal mane. But then I reconsidered and asked her to pluck the hormonally haywire hair. To whom would I have shown it, anyway? None of my friends see well enough to notice their own strays.

****

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Award-winning humor book now $2.99 on Kindle

I know how much Kindle owners (I’m one) appreciate a good read at a low price, so I’ve just made both my humor books available on Amazon for the low list price of $2.99.  But it gets better! Amazon is discounting Driving (not sure for how long) to $1.99!

Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road: Humorous Views on Love, Lust, & Lawn Care includes tales of misadventures in travel, home repairs, and everyday life.

 

Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life offers wacky wisdom and advice to help conquer life’s daily annoyances. Deedee (my alter ego) explains why women won’t read maps, Bubbas build the best burgers, and wise men should never use the B-word, “budget.”  A ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist.

These titles are available in paperback too.

Thank you for checking out my books!

Diana

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Should have never left him home alone with the remote

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I Shouldn’t Have Left Him Alone With the Remote   

 My first mistake was hinting that I wanted an upright freezer. My second was leaving my husband home alone, bored and recovering from spine surgery.

 “I might as well tell you,” he confessed, “I did something bad while you were gone.”

 Visions of 65-inch TV screens and credit card bills large enough to threaten our mortgage payment flashed through my mind. “Wha-a-a-t?” I gripped the kitchen countertop for extra support.

 “Well, you know how you said you were planning to get a freezer?”

 “I didn’t say I was ‘planning’ to get one,” I corrected. “I just said I needed more freezer space and wanted to price a few.”

“Yeah, well, anyway, I figured you were serious about getting one, so I bought us something to go in it!” hubby exclaimed.

 “I already have something to go in it . . . the overflow from the existing one,” I reminded.

 “Oh, wait until you see the steaks I bought!” said my mystery shopper. “They’re awesome. Not the crappy kind you’ve been getting from the grocery store, either. These are big and juicy and taste wonderful!”

 “Someone came to our door offering steak samples?” I asked. Man, the economy must be worse than I’d thought.

 “No. But I saw them.”

“Huh? Where?”

 He ducked his head low and peered up at me. “On QVC.”

 “You bought meat off the TV?” I gasped. Please tell me you’re kidding.”

 “Hon, they are going to be SOOOOO good.”

 “How do you know?”

 “Because I SAW them!”

 “And you think you viewed the actual steaks you’re going to receive?”MPj01827510000[1]

 Hubby shrugged.

 I jaunted to our side-by-side unit and, because I wasn’t wearing hard-toe shoes, gingerly opened the freezer door. With one hand, I rubbed at my forehead and counted to . . . well, at least two. “When are these steaks suppose to arrive?”

 “Soon,” he said.

 “How soon?”  If I threw away the ice cream bucket wedged between the pizza and the burgers I hadn’t yet compared to the most recent recall list, maybe I could make room for a sirloin or two.

 “I don’t know.”

 “Have you looked in here?” I motioned to the refrigerator. Then I remembered he’d been eating mostly soft foods and taking pain meds. “Okay,” I said, faking renewed calm. “Just tell me exactly how many steaks you ordered. Four? Six? Eight?”

 “Twenty-four.”

 I’m not sure where we’re heading with health care reform, but I need family medical insurance that includes QVC protection.

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