Friday, March 15, 2013

Flying the not so friendly skies

Did you happen to read about the bomb scare at the Eugene Airport last week? No? That’s because the TSA agents were on top of their game at 5:30 a.m. and intercepted me before I could do some real damage.

Let me back up.

When I travel, I make sure that I wear the perfect outfit for skating through security. I usually wear sweat pants so I don’t slow down the process by being forced to take off a belt. Then I have a long-sleeved t-shirt on without a jacket (I’ve already thrown that in my carry-on bag which is being scanned at this point because I’m a ninja packer). I keep all jewelry in my suitcase so that my huge diamonds don’t set off any alarms (kidding … I meant to say sterling silver).

And to top off this outfit, I usually wear flip flops so I can slip in and out of my footwear before you can say, “Ma’am, can you please take off your shoes?” Have I mentioned I’m like a ninja when it comes to airport security?

But not last Tuesday. Last Tuesday was entirely different.

Let me back WAY up now to my birth.

I inherited a head with a ton of hair atop it. I’m not just talking a good amount of hair; I’m talking circus freak proportions of hair. Just ask my hairdresser, who is regularly thinning it out for me just so I look normal (okay, somewhat normal). Left to nature, my hair resembles Rosanna Rosanna Dana on a bad hair day. As a result, my flat iron is my most important hair tool.

But a 6 a.m. flight doesn’t exactly constitute a flat iron kind of morning, so instead I threw my crazy hair in a messy bun atop my head and was off.

I checked my luggage, got my ticket, and headed to security where I would glide through as usual. Just as I was sending my flip flops through the scanner, I heard, “Ma’am, can you please come over here? We need to pat down your hair.”


So after standing with arms akimbo over my head while they electronically scanned my bladder, pancreas et al, I had to have my hair “patted down” by a gloved TSA agent who has no respect for hair self esteem.

Never before had this happened.

Just days before the country was freaking out over sequestration, which would surely result in cuts to schools, governments services and airport security. Well, let me assure you that the Eugene TSA members are no worse for the wear at this point. In fact, they seem to be upping their game.

Looking for a little sympathy after my harrowing experience, I texted my husband: “You know you have big hair when you get pulled aside by the TSA agent for a ‘hair pat down.’”

His response? “Did you have the hair bomb on you or is it still at home?”

Everyone’s a comedian.

Eileen Burmeister is a freelance writer who lives, writes and straightens her hair in Winchester, Ore. She can be reached at or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Welcome to the family Angus the wonder pup

After our unsuccessful attempt at dog ownership with our last dog, our daughter Lily has been doggedly after us to get another. We’ve held her off for three years, setting impossible targets that we couldn’t imagine she’d ever meet in order to get the dog. One target we set was that she had to save up the money to buy the puppy.

At the time that we set this target she was seven and spent money just as fast as she could get it. There wasn’t a stuffed animal or lollipop that she could say no to. We were safe … until she caught on to use and actually started saving money. I’d go into her room to clean and find dollar bills stashed in her jewelry box, a wad of cash that grew and grew with each passing week. Finally at Christmas, after getting some grandparent money (thanks grandparents), she came out with about $200 dollars and said, “Now, can we please get a puppy?”

We spoke to our teenage son and he too admitted that he’d wanted a dog since the day we gave our last one away.

We were frankly not in the position to bargain any more. Plus, both kids aren’t getting any younger. My husband and I finally said, “Look, our kids are only going to be home for a few more years, so let’s buck up and get a dog.”

Enter Angus, the wonder pup. He’s a purebred Scottish terrier, black with a little brindle sprinkled in, and he’s stolen our hearts.

As a result, I have become one of those “dog people” that I have always made fun of, until now. A picture of Angus is my screensaver on my computer and my cell phone. I take pictures of him sleeping, eating and running and post them on Facebook as if the entire world is richer for knowing how my dog spent his day. In short, I’ve become that crazy pet lady.

But in spite of my own personal unraveling, there are a few things I have discovered about owning a puppy:

1. The joy that a puppy brings to a family is unmatched.

2. When the puppy is asleep next to me I can feel my heart beating slower, my blood pressure lowering, and my good cholesterol increasing. I have no scientific proof of this, but I have a pretty good hunch that it’s true.

3. There is nothing cuter than a puppy dreaming. Nothing.

4. When the puppy licks my face I am surprisingly not disgusted.

5. A puppy loves you unconditionally and is incredibly demonstrative in that love.

6. A puppy is the only member of my family who can pee on the carpet and get away with it.

I’m sure there will be those days when he will make me want to pull my hair out, but for now, we couldn’t be happier with our wonder pup.

And Lily, I’m so glad you pushed us to make our lives better by adding him to the family.

Eileen Burmeister is a freelance writer who lives, writes and walks her dog in Winchester, Ore. She can be reached at or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.

Mama Bear

Over the years, my kids have teased me when I’ve thrown my arm across their chest anytime I brake hard in the car. You know what I’m talking...