Changing Times

Today I was in the women’s restroom at a local restaurant and saw a changing table. These are such a nice amenity for moms who used to have to try to change a child on the floor of the bathroom while people walked around her as she was questioning all the decisions she had made in her life and longing for a strong adult drink. And this got me to thinking which, of course, got me to Googling, which got me here. Stay with me — I’m going somewhere with all of this.

I started wondering if there was a changing table in the men’s restroom. Now I haven’t been in a men’s room since the Bob Seger concert in 1987 when the line for the women’s room was too long and the beers in my bladder were too many so I boldly went where few women have gone before, and by “went” I mean the double entendre. So I truly didn’t know if there were changing tables in men’s rooms. I had a feeling if they were in men’s rooms they weren’t in very many. Then while Googling I found this on the Huffington Post:

On Oct. 7, President Obama signed into law the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act, aka the BABIES Act. This legislation requires that both men’s and women’s restrooms in publicly accessible federal buildings contain baby changing tables.

The entire article is here.   President Obama thought of everything except how to run for a third term (damn you Franklin Roosevelt for ruining this for us). Of course our current president will probably have this Act revoked by executive order because he doesn’t like anything that was enacted during the Obama administration, but until then it is the law.

After finding out about this law,  I found an article by a dad who was concerned that a changing table in a men’s room should be in an area that allows privacy. In this article “The Problem with Having Changing Tables in Men’s Restrooms (find it here), Jonathan Church stated:

I imagine it is rather unsettling for men relieving themselves in the restroom to be forced to maneuver around a table where a father is wiping down the private parts of an infant before applying a diaper, however deferential or understanding they may pretend to be.

I never realized how delicate men are when they are peeing. I have seen men peeing in public parks, at bus stops, on subway platforms, on buses, even into a beer cup at a rock concert (ironically the Bob Seger concert of 2016 but Kid Rock was the opener so I wasn’t all that surprised). So I guess I’m surprised at how a child having their diaper changed would be “unsettling” to men. And by “unsettling” does that mean it could result in an inability to vacate the bladder, visible shrinkage of the peepee, or could it result in CVSD (Changing Viewing Stress Disorder)?

Okay — I’m wrapping this up; thanks for hanging in with me. Today, seeing this changing table in the women’s restroom sent me on this journey. Why?

Because I know men, and I too have a concern about having this installed in a men’s restroom. It’s not because I think men are too fragile to witness a baby being changed; it is because I have a terrible feeling that intoxicated males will mistake it for a urinal. And wouldn’t that be sad. Maybe Jonathan Church was right and this should be hidden — drunk guys cannot be trusted.

And The Winner Isn’t…

I found out yesterday that I didn’t win the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. I have attended the workshop conference four times but this year the only way I was going to afford it was to win this contest or rob a bank and then kill off all the people in front of me on the wait list. Despite not winning I have decided not to proceed with my second option. It seems like a lot of work and I really need my beauty rest.

In an effort to make lemonade out of lemons I did learn an important lesson and will pass it on to you. Don’t go to Target after getting some disappointing news. It won’t end well. 

There is a double-secret Facebook page for people who have attended a workshop. I posted my sage advice about not shopping and also spoke of my disappointment. The feedback was fabulous and I discovered numerous other people who also shared my non-winning disappointment. We are considering forming our own triple-secret Facebook page to share recipes, mixed drink ideas, and coupons for fast food places. (Take that you winners!!!!)

The bottom line is that I got out of my funk and all the food is still unopened except the jelly beans that are in a quadruple-secret candy jar in my home and the cake bites that I tried but they tasted horrible so I tossed them out. The other items are actually for my get together with Annie tonight.

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Thanks Dad

My dad was a wonderful guy — and he had a great sense of humor and a big laugh. I was lucky enough to have those passed on to me. I remember one Easter when I came downstairs my dad had put chocolate covered raisins on the floor by our Easter baskets. He said “Look, the Easter Bunny pooped on the floor” and then picked up one of the droppings and ate it. I thought I was going to die at first of disgust then after I knew what it was I was going to die laughing.

When I was a bit older my dad came with us to church on Easter — this was unusual to have my dad in church with my mom, my brother and me — he preferred to stay home and watch reruns of “The Bowery Boys.” When we were singing an Easter anthem we all sang “Christ The Lord is risen today,” and during the alleluia my dad leans down and the next thing I hear is “Now we all are going to pay.” Well he and I are laughing so hard and my mom is giving us the dirtiest of looks.

Easter always reminds me of those great moments. Thanks Dad.

Good-bye Trees

Yesterday the City cut down three trees on my block. I know they were sick or dead but I am always sad when I see a tree is cut down. It will take decades for a new tree to grow that big. When you are 62 decades are not guaranteed like they used to be.

Many years ago I wrote a column about losing a tree outside my apartment. I have published it here as a salute to those three trees that have been lost.


Last week the City of Minneapolis cut down my tree. Well technically, it belonged to the rest of the city because it was on the boulevard, but because I had watched it for more than eight years from my window, I feel the rest of the city can relinquish their ownership and let me refer to it as my tree.

After all, I saw it without its leaves, it saw me without my leaves and that is just about as intimate as two living objects can get without becoming co-dependent, sharing bodily fluids, or ending up on Jerry Springer.

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Hidden Figures Is A Must See

Went with my friend Lisa yesterday to see “Hidden Figures. “If you haven’t seen it go see it. It is an eye opener. I was amazed to see the IBM Selectric being used and told Lisa I didn’t think that was around until the 1970s. Came home and looked it up and it actually was launched in 1961. I loved typing on the Selectric and miss the sound it made when you were typing. Now I want to buy one.

Back to the movie … it was an eye opener. What those women put up with to have a job was beyond the pale which, by definition, means outside the bounds of acceptable behavior, but in this case it has a double meaning because it was beyond what the pale (aka white) people had to put up with or probably would put up with. At the end of the movie when they show real pictures of the women who were depicted in the movie I started to cry — it was as if the movie morphed from “entertainment” to “reality.” I admire those women more than I can say — well I can say it but I don’t know how.

On a lighter side (again literally and skin tone wise) — at one point in the movie — during a scene much like the one in the photo below — I turned to Lisa and said “It looks like the cast of The Book of Mormon.” And it did.

Here is a video of Katherine Johnson receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.