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Resolutions: Banishing baby voices, internet impulse buys


I love-a you, Ollie.


By Janet Storm

Sunday, January 6, 2019

A new year is a time for resolutions, a prospect that always gives me pause. It is not that I don’t need a little self-improvement, it’s simply that changing bad habits is challenging and difficult and those are not words I readily embrace.

In the past, I often have limited my goals to either things I never planned to do — ”I will not spend all my money on tango lessons” — or things I have done but will never do again — ”My hairdresser shall not be given free reign to give me a cool new look.”

Still, mired as I am in middle age, perhaps it is time to get serious about my resolutions. Here are a few ideas:

1. I will stop talking to my dogs in a baby voice.

This is a surprisingly difficult resolution. Ever since I adopted them, I have been speaking to my two dogs, Ollie and Einstein, in a voice roughly two octaves about my normal vocal range.

I am not sure why this is — it just seems to happen whenever I open my mouth. I can’t praise them without squealing “I love-a you puppies!” and even when I am outside and know other people will overhear, the high squeaky voice endures.

Making a switch might prevent people from eyeing me as though I need medical supervision, but when the boys are in my sights I can’t seem to speak normally. The only time I sound like myself is when they are up to some mischief — grabbing a bite from my sandwich or lifting their legs in the proximity of the couch. Then my voice sinks at or below its usual timber as I shout, “No! No!”

This concerns me. I don’t want the boys to think I am scolding them when I’m expressing my affection. Perhaps the solution is to seek an octave below the baby voice yet above the scolding shout. I had better Google vocal coaches.

2. I will stop clicking on online ads that tempt me to buy things I don’t really want or need.

When I go into a store, I am a careful buyer. I scrutinize prices and try on clothing to make sure it fits well. Home goods are carefully examined for quality. I make sure I am getting my money’s worth. My mother would be proud.

It’s a different story, however, when ads pop up on my social media feeds. Everything there seems so inexpensive and alluring. I think to myself, “Oh, what’s the harm of buying this … it’s only a few dollars.”

The harm, of course, is that those dollars add up and many of the products are an abject disappointment. Ill-fitting clothes, thin, tatty towels, “magic” cleaners that just don’t do the trick — I have experienced them all.

Mother would be appalled.

And the more you click, the more of those sort ads appear. So my goal for 2019 is to kick the quick-click habit and stick to stores where I can hem and haw and pinch pennies to my heart’s delight. Mother, give me strength.

3. I will not begin using popular phrases I hear or read that I am not cool enough to understand.

Hitting middle age can cause some people to grasp for ways to feel young again. One way to start spouting words they have seen in a headline or heard from their children.

This is almost always a mistake. Instead of making them sound cool, middle-aged people who ramble on about being “woke” or “shook” or toss around words like “yeet” sound as awkward and out of touch as they probably are.

I am not saying I will never say shook. I will just use the word as it was intended to be used by a middle-aged person: “I shook the bottle of salad dressing to meld its delightful flavors,” or “I shook like a leaf when I realized that my doctor’s appointment would include a weigh-in.”

Whew! That is plenty of resolutions for now. My little dogs need to be told that I love-a them and the internet is selling lucky bells that might help me win the lottery.

I’m shook just thinking about the year to come.

Contact Janet Storm at jstorm@reflector.com or 252-329-9587.