Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Waiting...waiting...waiting...


Why is it that working the week between Christmas and New Year’s is pure torture? It shouldn’t be. I mean, it’s quiet and relatively peaceful. The phone is unusually silent and there isn’t much going on. I should be organizing my office and getting ready for the debut of 2011, but instead I’m daydreaming and wishing I were at home with my family.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I’m sitting here doing nothing. It’s just that I’m not doing things very fast. Maybe I’m on sensory overload from all the twinkling Christmas lights. Or perhaps I ate one too many sugar cookies?!

Or maybe I’m just ready for a nice long weekend.

Yeah, that’s probably it. No matter how many days off I get for the holiday, it seems to go by much too quickly. The only people who might disagree are those short folks whose age can be measured in single digits. Since they’re the ones eagerly awaiting the arrival of the white bearded guy in the red suit, the days leading up to his arrival seem interminable.

I, on the other hand, think someone has been spinning the clocks faster than normal just to confuse me. Wasn’t it just September?? I swear…

Of course, it’s been so long since my age could be measured in single digits, I can’t remember the last time I thought the wait time was interminable. Well, unless you count the time waiting at red lights in front of the mall at Christmastime. Or sitting in the dentist chair waiting to hear if you need a root canal. Yeah, those waits are pretty interminable. I guess I should clarify the statement by saying that I can’t remember the last time I was so eagerly awaiting a day to arrive that the wait seemed interminable.

Sure, I eagerly awaited the arrival of our wedding day last September…but it was mixed in with feelings of panic as I realized the day was getting closer and closer and we still had so many details to finish.

Okay, so that’s not really true. Our wedding went surprisingly smoothly and we were ready for the big day. Probably the only time in my life that I didn’t procrastinate, but that was mostly because I didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of a large group of people who know me.

No, I guess the only time you eagerly await an event in which you don’t have to handle a multitude of details is when you’re a kid. You get to reap the rewards (i.e., birthday presents, trips to Disney World, the arrival of Santa, summer vacations), but you don’t have to do much to get the ball rolling. That’s the adults’ job.

So my basic premise here is that the only time the wait seems long is when you’re a kid. But I realized that’s not entirely true. As I sit here anxiously awaiting 5 o’clock to roll around, I’m thinkin’ the wait is pretty interminable.

Sigh.

Yep. It will be an interminable wait – but I guarantee you that the rest of my long weekend will be gone in a flash and January 3rd will arrive before I’m ready to be sitting back in my office starting the new year!

So…in case I run out of time to write another blog before 2011 rolls around, I wish you health and happiness. I wish you lots of love and much laughter. And I wish for you to remember how it felt to be a child who has so many events to be eagerly anticipated that time seems interminable. Yeah, that’s what I wish for you. And for me, too.

C’mon, clock. It's not 5PM yet??

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Twinks and Jinx



Wow – eighteen days have passed since my last blog…hope I remember how to write one!

Well, despite having all of our Christmas “chores” completed in plenty of time so that we didn’t have any last-minute hustling and bustling to do, things still seemed hectic for me and I didn’t find time to write. Too bad I didn’t get an iPad for Christmas…perhaps then I could’ve kept up with my blogging. (Yeah, like anyone cares enough about my blogs to fork over $600 for a new iPad!)

Anyway, we had a lovely holiday. Christmas Eve was spent in Newark with Vince’s dad and family. It was a fun evening spent with family and friends. And Marilyn, as always, gave everyone amazing gifts.

My favorite? A Garmin! (Did’ja hear that, Cousin Brian?!) I swear – I had a tear in my eye when I tore off the wrapping paper and then wouldn’t let the thing out of my sight all evening! Perhaps I will never again write a blog about getting lost…buuuut, on the other hand, I wouldn’t count on it. Not unless my GPS machine will also physically drive my car for me so I get to my destination without getting turned around! (At this point, I have little faith in my navigational abilities. I pray Garmin proves me wrong!!)

Ah, but I was talking about the holidays and not just about my cool gifts! My parents drove to Columbus on Christmas Day. Still here, as a matter of fact, which is a gift in and of itself. Plus, my sister and her family will arrive here tomorrow to spend a few days with us.

Oh, and small point…but we have two new kittens at home!

NOW it’s clear why I haven’t had time to write! We’ve been cuddling and petting them. And feeding and watering them. And cleaning up litterboxes. And pulling them off furniture that they seem determine to claw to death. Not to mention the store runs to pick up kitten food and little pink collars with jingly bells and kitty nail clippers and Neosporin and Band-Aids!

So it has been a busy time at home, but oh so much fun! We have Twinklebelle who is a black and white “Tuxedo” kitten. I lost my cat, Tux, over a year and a half ago and have been thinking for some time about getting a new little furball at home. (Oh, and yes, Tux was black and white. And, no, I did not know that the proper name for such cats is actually “Tuxedo”! By the time I found out, it was too late to change her name. But it was always a little like naming your Beagle, um, “Beagle.”)

Anyway, Twinklebelle – or Twinks for short – is a little bundle of energy. Except when she’s napping and she does, in fact, nap a lot. But when she’s not napping, she’s whizzing about like a little crazy kitty. We have several nicknames for her already – Vince calls her “Motocross.” And we both call her “Killer.”

See, she isn’t too crazy about our other little kitten, Jinx. She hisses or growls at Jinx whenever she spies her and then chases her under furniture. Fortunately, Jinx is just a tiny little thing so she can hide under cabinets and other pieces that Twinks can’t fit under.

Fortunately, I think Twinks is getting used to Jinx. As a matter of fact, I was holding Jinx and Twinks came right up to Jinx and looked at her for several seconds without making a sound. Suddenly, it must have occurred to her that she was standing next to the “enemy” so she let out a weird kitty cry and then threw in a hiss for good measure. But we think that soon they’ll both be playing together like happy kitties. Or at least we hope so!

Twinklebelle seems to have bonded with Vince. She lets me pet her, but she lets Vince hold her for HOURS. She’ll fall asleep in his arm while the other attempts to carry on IM chats with his family and friends. (Not an easy thing to do!) And Jinx is a placid little girl who doesn’t seem to be bothered by Twink’s hissing. She curls up on just about anyone’s lap and purrs. So we’re spending time holding kittens and playing with them and laughing at their antics.

So…life is good. And, even though I don’t have a new iPad, I’ll try to write more. Now I have additional fodder for my blogs - especially since I’ll NEVER get lost again and, thus, lost one big topic.

Ah well. There are always things to spill on myself and stuff in the garage to fall on me…or the car.

Until later then.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Good Thing It’s Friday…


For some reason, I’ve been really sleepy this week. I’m even going to bed earlier and still getting up at my regular time…so I’m getting plenty (and I mean plenty!) of sleep. Maybe it’s the cold weather. I far prefer staying snuggled under the covers than getting up and heading out into the cold.

Whatever the reason, I’m not likin’ this snow stuff, even if it is just a “dusting.” Oh, sure, it’s pretty and all – but when I wake up and hear about school delays on the radio, I know I’m going to head into a big ol’ traffic jam and will have to fight my way downtown.

This morning my first instinct was to pull my comfy clothes out of the closet, including my warm fleece jacket. It’s not very professional-looking, but I work in a place where people wore jeans and sweatshirts to our holiday party – so it’s not like I need to dress up. Yet I did. I wore a nice cream-colored blouse with a red blazer and black slacks. I look like I’m ready for another holiday party, except that I don’t have any holiday-party-attending plans today. But that’s okay. Dressing up is what I do and I’m actually more comfortable dressed up a bit than dressed down.

I hop in my car grateful that it came equipped with “butt warmers,” which are perpetually in the “on” mode once the temps outside hit anywhere close to freezing. I rarely wear gloves or button up my coat because it’s so nice and toasty in my car.

So I drive downtown sipping coffee from one of our many travel mugs in between grumbling at the other drivers going speeds of about 5MPH on roads that may have been a little damp, but that’s about it.

When I arrive in the office and hang up my winter coat, I notice that my blouse is all wet. Yes, every time I took a sip of coffee, it dribbled out from the side of the mug and spilled onto my blouse. Because I don’t drink really hot coffee, I never noticed.

Grrrr.

Maybe I should have worn my fleece jacket – I wouldn’t have cared that I had a big coffee spill down the front of me. I could’ve zipped up the jacket and would have been good to go.

Instead, I had to take my blouse off in the restroom and do a quick clean-up to get me through the day. Except that I keep smelling coffee. And I’m not all that fond of the stuff to begin with – so smelling like coffee all day is not really a great thing.

I tell you – I never had these sorts of problems when I drank Diet Coke in the morning.

That’s why I say it’s a good thing it’s Friday. Now it’s just a matter of getting home safely and beginning our weekend. Of course, I have no idea what we’re doing this weekend. Darn me and my organizational craziness of the past couple weeks. We don’t have any cards or letters to write. We don’t have any trees or decorations to put up. We don’t have any gifts to buy (unless we go shopping for ME, which is always a great idea!). And we don’t have any real cleaning/organizing to do. Well, except for maybe laundry - to at the very least de-funkify my coffee-stained blouse.

No, instead we can just R-E-L-A-X all weekend. What an awesome concept. Maybe we’ll have to light a fire in the fireplace and enjoy a glass of wine while watching the flames. Nice. I’m in!

Although I DO think we may have to take a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a 12-pack of Diet Coke. Just in case.

And the travel coffee mug I used this morning? It’s in coffee mug purgatory now. That’ll teach it to mess with me!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Out with the Old?


One of the things I did when I was trying to clear out some of the clutter in the garage was to throw out a box of old Christmas cards. This was not easy as I’m one of those “saver” types and will save basically anything that is addressed to me, including pizza coupons and ads for new siding installation.

Okay, not really. But I do save all my birthday, Christmas and thank you cards – pretty much anything that is from an actual person I know. I save it until there is just too much clutter and I get aggravated and I go on a tossing rampage. Which is what happened last week.

Sometimes when I’m cleaning, I’ll come across a box filled with cards or – gasp! – an actual letter from someone – and I will stop myself from tossing it. If I’m not terribly focused I might even start reading the cards and letters, which is a fun way to while away some time, but is not so great when you’re trying to make some headway in the cleaning process.

This got me to thinking about our sending out Christmas cards – a project Vince and I finished up last weekend. We sent out about 100 cards and included one of those generic Christmas letters in each one. It’s the second week of December and we have received exactly two cards in return.

Now, maybe it’s just payback for writing that generic Christmas letter…but I sort of doubt it. It could be that people haven’t bought enough stamps. Or maybe the only cards they have at home are some ratty thank you cards left over from their wedding 10 years ago, which won’t work so well for a Christmas card unless they draw a pretty fir tree over the words “thank you” and throw some glitter on the thing. Or – I don’t know – maybe it comes down to either buying us a Christmas card – or buying their kid an Xbox 360.

Yeah, we pretty much have no shot at getting a Christmas card from that person, do we?

So is the whole process of sending out Christmas cards becoming another one of those antiquated rituals that is slowly going the way of the dinosaur? Are we holding on to the way it has always been? With emails and blogs and Twitter and social media sites like Facebook, is sending out actual cards to family and friends a waste of time and money?

I’m sort of on the fence about it. I wouldn’t mind letting the whole costly and time-consuming process go by the wayside. But I also love writing actual letters to folks or sending cards through the mail.

Yet I have to admit that I’m sending far fewer cards and letters than I have sent in the past. I send emails instead. Or I figure people can read my blog and find out what’s going on with me since I pretty much detail our days as we go along.

Plus, since I pay all my bills online and I don’t buy stamps on a regular basis anymore, it’s a little difficult to send a snail-mail letter. I’m guessing that the Post Office frowns on affixing a smiley face sticker where the 44 cent stamp is supposed to go.

Besides, sending out cards during the holidays isn’t cheap – first you have to buy the cards and then you have to buy the stamps for each one and then the paper for each letter and also the labels (because ain’t no way I’m writing out 100 addresses and 100 return addresses!).

And I’m sure the "green" people would say we could save a coupla trees by not performing this annual ritual.

So maybe we should all agree to stop sending cards to each other during the holidays. (As Hallmark faints…and the USPS frantically makes plans to hike the cost of a first class stamp to a buck forty…)

The thing is… I really do love getting cards in the mail. It’s so nice to discover a hand-written envelope amid the sales circulars and credit card solicitations. With all the hype about the holidays and the rush of shopping, cooking, baking, decorating, wrapping, socializing and all that – stopping for a moment to open a card from a relative or a friend is a wonderful little time out – and if they’ve included a generic Christmas letter with it, it’s that much more of a bonus.

For now I guess we’ll keep on sending out our annual Christmas cards. But lemme tell you…I’m willing to revisit this subject again next year before we start on the process. Especially if those two cards are the only two cards we receive all season. It’s not all about “getting” – but we’re not going to be the only ones “giving” either!

So what do you think? Are you sending out cards this year?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Project Clean-Up



I went out to lunch with some friends on Friday and, during our conversation, I told them of my weekend plans to finish Project Clean-Up, aka my home organization plan.

I said that I had bins of clothes to sort through and a closet that resembled one of those sitcom closets wherein some unsuspecting character opens the door and gets conked on the head with things that fall out of it like Jimmy Hoffa, bowling balls, hockey sticks, Santa costumes, and other miscellaneous flotsam that got shoved in there back in the mid-70s. In real life, though, I was most likely to get conked in the head by an errant shoe. Plus, there’d be no laugh track. (Well, unless Vince happened to be passing by.)

Nevertheless, I knew I couldn’t wait any longer to get this little chore handled – so telling my friends was one way of ensuring that I’d follow through. I told them they were welcome to write on my Facebook page and embarrass me if I didn’t accomplish this little task.

Nice friends that they are, neither wrote a word about it.

However, I’m happy to report that I did, indeed, accomplish all I’d set out to do.

The first part of the task was the scariest – going through my closet. I didn’t have any hockey sticks stashed in there, but strangely enough I did find half a ham sandwich and my tax returns from 1988.

Nah, just kidding. I shudder to think what sort of person stows partially eaten processed meats in their clothes closet! I do confess, however, that probably – somewhere – I still have my tax returns from 1988. Gotta tackle paperwork next…

Anyway, for the first time in two years, I actually pulled out my summer sandals and sorted them and put them away in an under-the-bed shoe carrier. And I pulled out all those shoes that I never wore because they pinched or the heels were too high, or were just plain ugly and I never did like them (and wonder why on earth I bought them in the first place). Shoes that were worn out went into the Discard pile and shoes that might not pinch some other person in need went into the Donate pile.

Then I moved on to my clothes. This required the use of every flat surface in the bedroom for sorting purposes – plus Post-Its to identify which season the pile included.

This was a task of gargantuan proportion – but eventually I got it done.

Somehow I managed to clear out three dresser drawers so Vince can stop using the guest room bed as his supplemental closet/dresser. He didn’t seem nearly as thrilled as I that no longer would we have to hurriedly shove a bunch of polo shirts into his filled-to-bursting closet whenever unexpected overnight guests dropped by (or even expected overnight guests!).

All I can say is that the effort was worth it. My morning is far less chaotic now that I can see all the clothes in my closet and can pull together an outfit appropriate to wear in 8 degree weather – as opposed to sorting through several pairs of flip flops to find a pair of boots and moving tank tops in an effort to find a turtleneck.

My mission will be complete once I find an appropriate charity to donate several large bags full of clothing. I hauled them to my car and put them in my backseat yesterday with the intention of taking them to the AmVets located near us…only to discover that they are no longer there. Sigh.

Now my car resembles what I’ve always feared being called – The Bag Lady!

This weekend, I’m looking forward to relaxing just a little bit since the last two weekends have been hectic. I might even let Vince decide our weekend plans. I’m guessing they will in no way involve moving anything, sorting anything, rearranging anything, hanging anything or clearing out anything.

And that’s just fine with me!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Just Call Me Martha!


Well, it was a busy Thanksgiving holiday weekend and it has been a busy week, so this is the first time I’ve even thought about writing a blog. I’m sure you’ve all been anxiously awaiting my next entry in the wonderful world of blogdom…right? If not, don’t tell me about it, okay? I choose to think I spread sunshine and lightness wherever I go and with whatever I write. (Why yes, I DO live in a fantasy world. How did you know?!)

Anyway, despite our burgeoning colds, Vince and I had a productive weekend last weekend. We got the tree up and the decorations out and even managed to wrap the gifts and place them festively under the tree. We worked on our Christmas card list and wrote our annual letter and labeled and stamped at least half the envelopes. And we even managed to do a little cleanup around the place. Not bad, eh?

But what I’m even more proud of is the fact that I made some organizational progress in the bedroom. Just call me Martha Stewart, Jr.! I rearranged the room so that when Vince gets up at the ungodly hour of 4:15AM, he doesn’t have to stumble across to my side of the room in the dark to dig his work clothes out of the dresser. Not only that, but his dresser is now organized so that he can easily find what he’s looking for and doesn’t have to sort through a pile of socks to find an undershirt. (I may have even pruned a few of the old, ratty undershirts, but that’s just a rumor and I’m not willing to confirm…)

This means, of course, that my dresser is now on the other side of the room, too. And the only problem with this arrangement is that so far I’ve gotten up every morning and crossed to the wrong side of the room to reach my dresser. We are such creatures of habit, aren’t we? Ah well. Eventually, I’ll get it right. (And by then I may have figured out a new configuration for the room!)

I turned my old desk into a vanity table and set up a lighted mirror so that I can actually see when I apply my makeup in the mornings. The mirror is even magnified on one side, although I admit this is a little scary. Our eyesight tends to get worse as we age, so we need magnification to see – but nobody (and I mean nobody!) needs to see their wrinkling-as-we-speak skin magnified 8X. Boy, is Mother Nature cruel, or what?!

Nevertheless, I am thrilled with having my makeup table set up and organized.

Not only that, but a friend of ours delivered my Christmas gift from Vince early – and I would have none of that “Wait to Open Until December 25th” stuff. It is a beautiful jewelry armoire; something I’ve wanted since, well, forever.

I’m a jewelry-lovin’ fool and I have lots of it. Some of it is fine jewelry, but much of it is not – and that’s okay with me. Until now, it has been spread all over the place. Necklaces hung up there, rings hidden away here, bracelets in this bowl, watches in that box…well, you get the picture. As a matter of fact, I had so much fun rediscovering jewelry I’d forgotten about, I might not have to go shopping for any more jewelry for a good long time. (Yeah, I wouldn’t count on it, either…)

I was particularly happy to find some of the sentimental pieces that I’d stowed away – like the sapphire earrings my Uncle Joe gave me when I graduated from college and the charm bracelet that belonged to my Nanna, which she gave to me before she passed away.

So now that I have been bitten by the organization bug, I’m turning my laser focus on other areas of our home that need some attention. Frankly, I think this scares Vince just a little bit. Before I could get to his desk and all the paperwork piled on his table, he boxed it all up and practically wrote on it “DO NOT TOUCH! THIS MEANS YOU, JANE!”

But we also had a little incident where something (like maybe an old desk chair) fell onto the hood of my car in the garage and put a nice ding in it last weekend. Some of us in the household were not happy about this little event, and so we made an unexpected detour from our holiday cheer to work on reducing the clutter in the garage. I’m happier, although not completely satisfied. But I have several large bags filled with items to donate to charity – and we gave the trash collection guys a workout yesterday. We’ll have to see what else we can part with this coming weekend.

And that darn old desk chair has magically disappeared, too. Yahoo!

The only problem with all this organization? It never seems to last. Every time I get organized, I vow to keep the drawers and the closet in pristine condition…and then life gets hectic or the seasons change – and then it’s a slow slide back to disorganization. Why oh why is this?

Martha Stewart, indeed. Wonder if her stuff ever gets disorganized? Maybe she has “people” to help keep her organized.

But I’d be willing to bet that no old office chair ever fell off a stack of boxes in her garage and onto the hood of her car! (Just a guess.)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving is Over. Now on to Christmas!


It’s 9:15AM on Black Friday and there are probably scads of people whose day began more than 7 hours ago. If so, I hope you snagged all got those great bargains and deals that I couldn’t possibly hope to get if I were to walk into Target or Best Buy at a far more reasonable time of, oh, say, noon-ish.

But that’s okay – you can gloat if you want. I imagine anyone who is dedicated enough to set their alarm early enough to be at a store’s 3AM opening on Black Friday deserves their moment of glory.

Meanwhile I was snug in my bed struggling to breathe.

Yep, caught another cold. Seems like I JUST got over one, although if I actually check the calendar, it was over seven months ago. It doesn’t matter, colds make me miserable and they seem like they drag on endlessly.

I am now of the opinion, by the way, that Vitamin C and Airborne and all that other stuff you take as a preventative measure is just a bunch of hooey.

For a couple months now Vince and I have been taking a Vitamin C tablet both in the morning and at bedtime in the hopes that there will be some super-strong invisible Vitamin C shield protecting us from every tiny germ sprayed by some errant passerby who didn’t cover his mouth when he sneezed.

So either the sneezer had some super-strong germs, or my Vitamin C shield has a hole in it.

So I sit here with a box of Kleenex perpetually attached to my fingertips (which makes it a little hard to type), and I sneeze and cough and whine a lot about how lousy I feel.

Fortunately, the Day-Quil and Ny-Quil seem to be doing the trick and I’ve been able to sleep mostly through the night and am not too bad during the day…so perhaps my invisible Vitamin C shield is struggling to cover me – just a little bit.

Ah well. One cannot whine too much about one’s cold. (Well, one could – but people really don’t want to hear all the details), so I’ll have to move on to something else.

Like how I feel this incredible urge to hurry up and get the place decorated for the holidays – pronto. With radio stations like Sunny 95 already playing Christmas music and this Black Friday business and holiday decorations and Christmas lights already out on front lawns and strung up over garages, well, I’m feeling a little behind the times.

A friend of ours from Denmark remarked that Americans are funny because we’re in such a rush to get our Christmas decorations and trees up. She said that they do not put up their Christmas tree until December 24th…and by January 1st, it is gone. This is because they only use real trees. Artificial trees do not signify Christmas to our Danish friend.

Well, I can understand that. The heavenly smell of a freshly cut evergreen tree totally signifies Christmas. However, as a formerly single woman for many, MANY years, the idea of wrestling a real tree into a stand and taking the time to water it every day so it didn’t turn into a pathetic Charlie Brown-type of Christmas tree, never appealed to me. Besides, I love watching the lights at night on my Christmas tree and one week wouldn’t be long enough.

Theoretically, artificial trees could stay up all year long. Not that I’d want to be known as the Crazy Lady who has an artificial tree in her living room decorated with pastel lights and Easter Eggs in April or red, white and blue lights and American flags in July. I’m sure people will find reasons to call me the Crazy Lady soon enough and I don’t need a year-round decorated tree in my living room to give anyone additional ammunition.

Nevertheless, I am sure that before this weekend is over, the tree will be up and the lights will be out and the gifts will (hopefully) be wrapped and placed under the tree. I love all things sparkly and Christmas is the absolute best time of the year for me.

Let’s just hope the Day-Quil continues to work its magic and I don’t give in to this cold before the job is done.

So this crazy lady is signing off to go on a mission and untangle some lights. Provided, of course, she can find the box she stored them in last January!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


So today is Thanksgiving and we all have much to be thankful for. Everyone will be spending the day (hopefully) with family and friends and enjoying a turkey that someone has gotten up early to prepare.

That someone, however, would not be me.

I’ve never actually cooked a turkey and I’m perfectly okay with that. I’m happy to be the person bringing a side or two and perhaps even a pumpkin pie for dessert, but being the one responsible for preparing a 10-20 lb. bird is a little outside my range of expertise.

Maybe it’s because I’m not all that fond of turkey, so have never had a burning desire to prepare it. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any major objection to it. And turkey sandwiches the next day? Cool. Slap a slice or two on some nice crusty French bread, add a little mayo and lettuce and tomato – and we’re good to go. No muss, no fuss – and it meets my standards for the subsequent kitchen clean-up. As Vince says, I rate meals on how few dishes there are to clean up afterwards.

But having to thaw a turkey and pulling all that icky stuff out of the “cavity” of the bird? Ugh. I still can recall the first time I saw my mom boiling the heart and kidneys and gizzard of the turkey. I asked her what she was going to do with it and she actually said, “eat it.” I was horrified!

Yeah, okay, I’m a little squeamish when it comes to exotic foods. And pretty much anything in the organ family would be considered exotic.

And, don’t tell me about how wonderful liver and onions are. The only way I could choke that down when I was a kid was by taking the most miniscule amount of liver allowable (according to Mom’s Law) and smothering it with so many sautéed onions that I barely tasted the liver. No, I probably didn’t leave many onions for the other kids, but they were so busy complaining about the liver and making gagging sounds, that mom got perturbed with the lot of them and invariably gave them larger portions. I sort of slid under the radar when it came to liver, so much so that she honestly thought I liked it. I didn’t disabuse her of that notion until I was grown up and there was no risk of being at home on liver and onions night.

Pretty slick, eh?

Ever since Vince and I have been together, my parents have come to Columbus to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. This year, however, they are in Milwaukee with my sister, brother-in-law and niece. And my brothers will be spending the holiday with their wives and families.

So this will be the first year I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with my new family. Certainly, I’ve spent other holidays with them, but it will be fun to share a meal with my in-laws.

Vince is downstairs in the kitchen preparing the side dish he agreed to bring while I’m up here writing. I should be down there with him preparing one of those pumpkin pie concoctions that have a yummy cream cheese and whipped cream layer, but I forgot to buy a key ingredient at the store yesterday (and, no, funny person, it was not the pumpkin.) So I guess I’ll have to wait and make it for another occasion during this holiday season, provided I manage to remember to pick up a couple boxes of pudding the next time I go Krogering.

Not that anyone is counting on me to bring dessert, but now I’m feeling a little empty-handed. Do M&Ms count technically as dessert?

Oh well. I’m sure there will be plenty of other yummy foods to eat – there always is at Thanksgiving, isn’t there?

And, really, the day is more about how thankful we are – and I, for one, am truly blessed. I have an amazing husband, and a loving family and wonderful friends. I have a warm, cozy home to come home to each night and a job that keeps a dollar or two in my pocket. And I just feel so grateful for everything that God has given to me – including a brain to be able to write the crazy things that I write and a body that lets me get up each morning to accomplish the things that I want to accomplish – even if I complain about doing it.

I could probably get gushier, but I think I’ll save you from rolling your eyes and making that gagging motion with your finger to your throat, okay? You’re welcome.

So to all who are celebrating Thanksgiving on this day, may your holiday be spent surrounded by family and friends. May you have plenty of food to fill your belly and enough football games to watch while you’re digesting. And for those of you crazy enough to get up in the early morning hours to shop on Black Friday, well, I was going to say may you get plenty of rest beforehand. But you’re just crazy, so I’ll let that alone.

One last Thanksgiving thought about gratitude? I’m grateful that the Pilgrims did not choose to feature liver and onions as the main course for their first Thanksgiving dinner. Yep, LOTS to be grateful for.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New iPhone. The Rest of the Story...



So the other day I wrote a blog about getting my iPhone 3G replaced for free. There is, of course, more to the story. (Isn’t there always?!)

When we were at the Apple store (the first time), Vince pulled me over to the iPod Touch display and said he’d really like one for Christmas. (Yet he totally ignored my plea for a new iPad. Hmmm…what’s up with that?!)

Anyway, wouldn’t you know, I’d just spent some hard-earned dollars on a new iPod Nano for him for Christmas – and it had just arrived that very day via UPS. I had selected the color he liked and even had it engraved with a quote special to us both.

But he said he’d prefer the iPod Touch with its additional bells and whistles. “It doesn’t have a phone,” I said. “Why would you want it?”

Personally, I think he was a little jealous of my iPhone, but I couldn’t swear to it.

With his new job, Vince has plenty of time to listen to music – and my old iPod Nano that he was using was slowly dying. Or maybe not so slowly, as the sales guy at Apple commented on what an antique we had. It was no surprise to him that the battery life was nearly gone.

Actually, many of our battery-powered gadgets at home were getting ready to kick the bucket. My iPhone (the one I dropped Thursday night) was nearly 2-1/2 years old and required a mid-day charge to keep going throughout the evening. And Vince’s old-fashioned flip-top cell phone was more than ready for the cell phone graveyard. (My reaction whenever Vince asked me to send a text message from his phone? “You gotta be kiddin’ me, pal,” I’d say. “There’s no QUERTY keyboard on this thing and I have to press this button three times to get a flippin’ ‘c’!”)

I had intended to wait until after the holidays to replace both of our old cell phones, but it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get it taken care of now.

So I exchanged his iPod Nano for a new iPhone 4. Um. For me. And I gave him the iPhone 3. He keeps telling everyone that I gave him my old phone, but the truth of the matter is, it’s a brand, spankin’ new phone! And it’s wayyyyy better than his old crappy flip-top cell phone.

Besides, I didn’t think he’d appreciate the subtle differences between the iPhone 3 and the iPhone 4. Or at least that’s my justification. Flawed or not, it’s what I’m stickin’ with.

Plus, we got him a nifty case for the phone that includes a charger, so his new iPhone will operate twice as long. And a slick Bluetooth with stereo headphones.

Now, c’mon. Wouldn’t you say that’s a pretty nice Christmas gift package?

Of course, it’s not even December 1st. He will probably look at me with sad, puppy-dog eyes if I don’t get him something else to open on December 25th.

Sigh.

Maybe I should give him a bunch of extension cords with extra plugs. With all these gadgets we’ve got now, we’re running out of electrical outlets at home. Only problem is, we have to fumble our way to the fuse box every time we plug in the vacuum cleaner. (Guess that simply means we shouldn’t attempt to clean the carpet – ever. Right?!)

Ah well. It’s very easy to get sucked in buying all these new gizmos. I’m sure we could survive without them. But I, for one, don’t want to test the theory. And (cue the sad puppy-dog eyes), I still want an iPad. Really, really bad…

Are you listening, Santa??

Saturday, November 20, 2010

iPhone Withdrawal


I was at the grocery store the other night and, on my way out of the store, I pulled my iPhone out of my pocket to see if Vince had called. Before I had the chance to do the left-to-right swipe across the bottom to view my voicemail icon, I dropped the damn thing. And it broke.

Arrrrggghhhh!

I’ve dropped it a million times, but evidently one million and one times is just one too many and it gave up the ghost. It even sported a ghost-like blank white screen as a sort of visual taunt. This was not good.

Later, Vince tried taking it apart to reach the battery thinking that if he took the battery out and put it back in, it would “reset.” Not so much. He managed to remove the tiny screws from the bottom of the phone and then wasn’t sure how to pry it apart. So he searched online for a “how-to” video.

The amateurish video he found was at least 20 minutes long and the guy narrating indicated that all sorts of special tools were needed. I sat in the chair behind Vince shaking my head in dismay the whole time hoping that he wouldn’t attempt to take it apart.

Fortunately, he didn’t. In defeat, I took my white-screened iPhone upstairs to try to back it up so I could save my photos and contacts and apps. Oh my. I have no idea if it actually worked, because before I went to bed the message on my computer read: “Backing up Jane’s iPhone.” And when I got up the next morning the screen still read: “Backing up Jane’s iPhone.” Seeing as how I really don’t have all that much stuff on my iPhone, I guessed there was a problem and the iPhone didn’t get backed up.

Sigh.

Before I went to bed I had to check my email the old-fashioned way using my desktop computer. A lunch get-together with some friends had been scheduled so I immediately picked up my iPhone to add it to my calendar. Oops. Couldn’t. Then I went to set my alarm to wake up this morning on my iPhone. Drat. Foiled again!

Since I never ever spring up out of bed before my alarm sounds in the morning, I had to request my husband’s assistance in setting up an actual alarm clock so I didn’t oversleep.

Vince usually sends me a text in the morning so I have a sweet message to wake up to…but that didn’t happen on Friday. And to communicate with me, he had to call me on the office landline. Can you imagine??

Wow. I truly AM addicted to my iPhone!

So much so that my first order of business on Friday (well, besides going to work!), was to schedule a lunchtime appointment with the wizards at Apple. Vince met me at Easton and we walked into the bright, shiny store that is Apple where all sorts of toys and gadgets abound. My eyes grew big with wonder as they feasted on such pretty sights as the iPads and the iPhone 4s and the incredibly thin and lightweight MacBook Airs. I WANTED IT ALL!

Vince had to practically drag me past all those yummy toys to the back of the store, which is where the technicians stand with tiny little screwdrivers waiting to help the next victim. The guys in their bright blue Apple shirts looked at my white-screened iPhone and tsk-tsked. Yes, they actually made that sound. But then they sprang into action. Instead of merely handing it back to me and saying, “Sorry, lady, this phone is toast,” they replaced it. FOR FREE. This would be no big deal if the phone was still under warranty or if I’d paid for the insurance on it, but neither was true.

So now the techs at Apple are my new best friends.

And, even though there was a glitch in backing up my white-screened iPhone, somehow all the information, contacts, photos and apps magically appeared on my new phone when I plugged it into my computer last night.

And, today? All is right with the world again.

Call me, okay? Or send a text. Whatever – I’ve got a working iPhone!! (Does anyone else hear a choir of angels singing - or is it just me?!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Black Friday? Who Needs It? (Well, Except for Maybe the Retail Industry…)


So the other day I bought a couple more Christmas gifts. I’ve never been one of those people who feels the need to get up at 2AM on the Friday after Thanksgiving to hit the stores to begin my Christmas shopping. For one thing, I’m not crazy about mob scenes at the mall. And for another, well, I like to sleep in wayyy too much.

Instead, I’ve been buying a few gifts every pay period. So we’re pretty much down to the stocking stuffer kinds of things by now. You know – the everyday things that people need but don’t feel like spending their hard-earned cash on.

Like socks and underwear.

I bought Vince a package of socks because he was complaining about his old ones. And when I got home from the store, I gave them to him. Duh.

Clearly, there is a flaw in my thinking when it comes to early Christmas shopping, since I seem to be giving the stuff away before Christmas. So on December 25th when there is nothing under the tree what am I gonna say? “Hey, honey, remember that package of socks I gave you in November? Well, Merry Christmas!”

The other day I bought him another gift online – one of his two “major” gifts (and, no, we’re not talking a new Maserati. Our budget for major gifts is rather minor). At any rate, I excitedly told him the package will be here on Tuesday – and I know I won’t be able to wait until Christmas morning to give it to him.

Maybe I’ll have to make sure to put a bow on the package so he knows for sure it is an early Christmas gift. And maybe that way he’ll know not to expect a whole slew of packages under the tree.

Or maybe I should show a little self restraint and not give him the gift early?

. . .

Nah. I don’t have that much self restraint. But I want you to know that I did think about it for about a whole half a second (that’s what those little dots were…me thinking.) (Hey, now – there is no need to be sarcastic.)

There is an upside to giving him things well before the holidays. It means that I have fewer packages to wrap. I’m a terrible gift wrapper. I either don’t cut enough paper to sufficiently cover the gift, or I have so much excess that I end up winding the paper around the thing a couple times. Most people in this situation would simply cut off the excess paper. Not me. Because if I do, I end up cutting it crooked. And so then I try to even out the cut. And I keep cutting until – you guessed it – there isn’t enough paper to sufficiently cover the gift.

Sigh.

I once dated a guy whose day job was as a finish carpenter. His Christmas presents were wrapped with such precision – perfectly straight cuts with not one inch of excess paper. He’d tape the ends with such a small piece of tape that it was nearly invisible to the naked eye. And the bow would be placed drop dead center on the gift. I used to watch in awe when he wrapped gifts. He, on the other hand, would watch in utter dismay whenever it was my turn to wrap gifts. “Oh, for crying out loud, Jane,” he eventually exclaim. “Step aside. I’ll do it!”

Yeah, dumb like a fox, I am.

Vince, on the other hand, has not shown an iota of interest in taking over the gift wrapping chores. Thus, I have become a firm believer in gift bags. Throw the gift in a gaily decorated bag, toss in a couple sheets of tissue paper and – voilà – done. Make me a sandwich.

Not only that, but they’re reusable. In our family, we give away the gifts and then we get all the tissue paper and gift bags back. We were being green before being green was cool. My parents simply called anything else “wasteful.”

Except my mom would also give me back anything I attempted to wrap in paper. She’d carefully pick off the gobs of tape I’d slapped on the package to make sure it stayed closed and would hand me back the paper to reuse the next Christmas. I’d roll my eyes and say, “Oh come on, Mom. Unless I get you the exact same thing next year, I will not be able to fit that particular piece of wrapping paper back on any gift.”

Still, she’d hand it back to me and give me a stern lecture on being wasteful. So I learned to shut my mouth and simply accept the mangled sheet of crookedly cut paper with holes in it from where the tape could not be easily removed.

No wonder I learned to use gift bags.

Anyway, like I said, if I don’t stop handing out gifts early, I won’t be needing all that many gift bags. Unless I decide that Black Friday is a very good day to go out shopping. For myself. I won’t even expect anything to be gift wrapped.

Heyyy…now there’s a wonderful idea! Let me think on that a minute . . .

(Really, now. Sarcasm doesn’t become you.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Birthday Celebration That Almost Wasn't


We had a great weekend celebrating Vince’s birthday with friends on Friday night and with family and friends on Saturday evening. Only it didn’t start out quite so promising.

When I spoke to Vince at lunchtime on Friday, I told him that I had to make one stop after work and wasn’t sure when I’d be home. I knew I wasn’t going on a major shopping spree, so I assumed it would be within a half hour or so of my normal arrival time.

You know what they say when you assume – right? Yeah, well, that’s pretty much true.

Vince, on the other hand, assumed that when he heard “shopping” and “Jane” in the same sentence that it would be several hours before I arrived home tired, flushed and loaded down with enough shopping bags that required his brute strength assistance to carry them all in from the car.

Sure, if I’d uttered the words “retail therapy,” he may have been correct in assuming that I was going on a mall hopping frenzy – but I was only planning a quick run to the store to pick up his birthday cake.

And then, as life is wont to do, plans changed.

During the afternoon, some friends told me they were going to Bob’s Bar after work. Neither of them, by the way, is named “Bob.” But I asked if we could join them – and then perhaps we could all head to the movie theater afterwards to see Due Date, which I’d heard was pretty funny. They agreed and we made plans to meet up around 6PM.

And then, because I like complications, I sent out a last-second invite to some of our other friends to see if any of them might be available to meet us at Bob’s Bar for a drink in honor of Vince’s birthday. Normally, I’m the Queen of Preparation and Special Events, but because I’d been sick earlier in the week, I hadn’t done any advance planning. My bad.

At 4PM I sent a quick text to Vince to alert him to our change of plans.

At 5PM on my commute home, I called him and left him a voicemail reiterating our change of plans.

At 5:45PM, coiffed and ready for our evening out, I sat at the dining room table semi-patiently waiting for the birthday boy.

At 6:20PM, I sent him a text in capital letters, “WHERE ARE YOU?” (For the sake of decorum, I won’t tell you what I was doing/thinking/saying/cursing between 5:45 and 6:20!)

And, finally, at 7PM, he showed up. You should know that I was standing in the open doorway with my purse in one hand, tapping my foot so vigorously I got a cramp in my toes. In my other hand, I held a fresh shirt for Vince to change into, along with his deodorant (in case he’d had a sweaty day at work). He wasn’t even allowed in past the kitchen – he had to change in the doorway, swipe on a little Rite Guard and immediately head back out.

What a GREAT way to start a birthday weekend, eh?! Poor Vince.

Turns out that he hadn’t checked his phone for messages and, figuring that I wasn’t t going to be home immediately after work, he offered to fill in for an absent coworker after his regular shift had ended.

By the time we arrived at Bob’s Bar, the original couple we’d agreed to meet up with had already left for the movie. Another couple had stopped in at the bar and when they didn’t see any of us firmly planted on Bob’s barstools, headed back out to their car. We were only able to catch them because they’d flipped on the interior dome light to peruse the movie section of the newspaper to find out what else was playing.

We convinced them to head back to Bob’s with us. And then another couple of friends joined us shortly thereafter. Once I’d had a beer and settled down a bit, we all enjoyed ourselves and toasted both the start of the weekend and Vince’s birthday.

We were having so much fun together that we left Bob’s and headed to our friends’ house where we got the fire pit going and we sat around laughing and telling stories, some perhaps a little more long-winded than others. But it was all good.

On Saturday (Vince’s actual birthday), we decided to go shopping together – so nobody had to assume nothin’! We picked up Vince’s birthday cake. And then we came home to get ready for a fun dinner out with Vince’s family and a couple friends. It was another great evening and we laughed and told more stories.

Vince’s dad had also gone shopping and bought birthday cake. Not one – but two birthday cakes – one for Vince and one for Vince’s brother who had celebrated his birthday earlier in the week. Egad. We had three flippin’ birthday cakes and there were only five of us gathered together after dinner to eat them!

Despite sending cake home with everyone, and despite having cake for breakfast yesterday morning (hey, it’s got eggs in it), we still have plenty of leftovers. If cake doesn’t freeze well, I may be eating cake for breakfast for the next month!

But I think the Birthday Boy had a good birthday weekend, the questionable start notwithstanding.

And next year? Well, I think I’ll send out engraved invitations at least six weeks prior to Vince’s birthday. That way, we’ll both be prepared and in-the-know about our plans. Even if it’s just to head to Bob’s Bar for a quick birthday drink!

Hmmm…I don’t have any engraved invitations sitting around at home. Maybe I should go shopping?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again...


I spent the last day and a half at home with a stomachache, low-grade fever and a major headache that just wouldn’t quit. My head is still thumping, but I went to work today anyway.

I don’t like missing work – mostly because it’s a small office and having one person out of the office makes a big difference. Plus, I never know what I’m going to come back to. Usually I figure it’s a big pile of work and things rearranged on my desk and possibly a missing item or two. Y’know…like my stapler hiding on the filing cabinet across the room, my 3-hole punch relocated to the copy room and my favorite pen missing.

Sure enough, all of the above was true. Most irksome is that my favorite green pen is gone. Not that anyone took it on purpose, mind you…but it is gone nonetheless. You know how it is. You walk into someone’s office, you pick up a pen to write them a note – and you walk off with their pen.

I’d consider implanting a homing device on the thing – except that I can pick up another one at Office Max for a buck forty-nine – so it’s probably not worth the expense of installing a GPS tracking system.

Oh well. Once I located all my belongings (except for that darned green pen), I set about catching up on my workload.

Why is it that I always feel like I’m trying to catch up? I mean, I don’t think I’ve been off work sick all year and yet I feel like I’m paddling like mad under the surface.

I felt the same way at home – only I was too miserable to do anything about it. I moved from the bed to the couch to the leather lounger – and then back to the bed. All I did was sleep. And when I was awake I was massaging my aching head.

Thus, the front section of Sunday’s newspaper remained on the coffee table, along with several discarded napkins and an empty soda can. All kinds of “stuff” had been left on the kitchen counters that needed to be looked at (and then promptly thrown away). And the shoes that I kicked off on Wednesday when I came home sick from work were still sitting by the coffee table.

And I didn’t care!

That fact alone should have told Vince I wasn’t feeling well. But he thought he’d “test” me – by bringing home a pizza with black olives on it, which is my favorite pizza topping. He ate in front of me and I didn’t show the slightest interest in it – proof positive that I wasn’t feeling well.

Why is it that when you’re home sick, you wish you were feeling better so you could get all sorts of things done. But when you’re feeling well and you’re faced with those same sorts of chores, you find every excuse under the sun not to do them? Or is it just me who does that?!

I was lying in bed yesterday thinking that I should go through my closets and really get them organized. Get serious about throwing stuff out or donating it or whatever. But, naturally, since I was feeling bad, I didn’t do anything but think about it.

Fortunately, I’m feeling a bit better – and the weekend is here – so hopefully I’ll be productive this weekend. Well, at least enough to pick up my shoes from underneath the coffee table. Organizing the closets is a fairly ambitious project and just might cause me to relapse. And we wouldn’t want that, would we?

But who knows. Maybe I'll manage to stop at Office Max and pick up another pen. This time I'll look for one in hot pink. That would eliminate at least three-fourths of the office from inadvertently picking up and walking off with it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

WHAT Time is It?


I am not a big fan of the whole Fall Back/Spring Forward thing. My body seems to have a hard time adjusting to the change – whether I’m losing an hour of sleep or gaining one.

And I’m not crazy about driving home in the dark at 5PM. This act totally signifies that winter is coming and I immediately start shivering. It could be 60 degrees outside, but in my little ol’ head, I know that snowdrifts and icy roads are in my near future.

Plus, it’s a major pain because we have a whole lot of clocks at home that need to be changed. And since I sort of have this wrist watch fetish, I’m in danger of developing carpal tunnel after fiddling with so many tiny watch stems.

But there are always one or two clocks we forget to adjust – and then mass confusion ensues.

Take this morning, for instance.

Vince, as you probably know by now, gets up at the ungodly hour of 4:15AM to get ready for work. I don’t care who you are, it can’t be easy getting up in the middle of the night to get ready for work and I can’t imagine that anyone is highly alert at that time.

As for me, it barely registers that Vince is getting out of bed to start his day, although he always kisses me goodbye before I drop back into my sleep coma.

Well, this morning I did hear Vince mumble something about having overslept as he jumped out of bed to get dressed and out the door. He has overslept only one other time and that time I had a co-starring role as the concerned wife. I got up with him and started the coffeemaker and made him breakfast.

But this morning? Yeah, not so much. I immediately fell back asleep and left the poor guy to fend for himself.

Somewhere deep in my subconscious it all registered, though, because there was no more REM sleep for me. I kept waking up worried that he missed the first stop on his route. Plus, I was a little worried that I, too, would oversleep.

The latter concern was unfounded. As a matter of fact, I had so much extra time this morning, I ate a leisurely breakfast actually sitting at the dining room table, read a magazine from cover to cover and even rearranged my sock drawer.

Okay, I didn’t really do that last thing…but it’s slightly better than admitting that I wasted time playing three games of Solitaire.

But it wasn’t until I arrived at work that I checked my cell phone. Vince had sent me a text telling me that he had arrived at work an hour early! He was the only one there, which was his first clue that he had miscalculated.

He evidently hadn't looked at the time on his cell phone, but had instead looked at the clock radio on the dresser that flashes the time in great big 4 inch numerals.

Since I can’t even see that clock without my eyeglasses (which, strangely enough, I don’t wear to bed), I never pay attention to it. So I didn’t change the time on that clock yesterday.

Guess that’s a big OOPS, huh?! You’d think between the two of us, one of us would have realized that the clock radio with the 4 inch numerals needed to be changed. But, noooo.

I’d be willing to bet that before Vince collapses into bed tonight, he’ll double check to make sure the time is correct on that clock radio with the 4 inch numerals.

So, no, not a big fan of the whole Fall Back/Spring Forward thing. And I can assure you that after this morning, neither is Vince!

Is it spring yet?

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Friday Night Plans...


I’m so glad it’s Friday. Well, for more than the usual simple reason that the weekend is here. See, my parents are coming in to visit this weekend and I’m looking forward to seeing them. They spend their summers in Cape Cod, so we’ve only seen them one time in the past five months.

Normally they drive in on Friday and leave on Monday, but this time they won’t be here ‘til tomorrow. Why? Well, because they bought tickets to the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast in Alliance and they want to go. Eat pancakes. I told ‘em we have pancakes here, too, and we (read: Vince) would be happy to make pancakes for them, but they insisted on using their tickets.

My parents aren’t the sort of people who spend good money for tickets and then don’t utilize them.

This is actually a blessing in disguise. Why? Well, because the guest bedroom looks like a tornado hit it. There are clothes all over the spare room bed. To be accurate, the clothes are mostly in bins that used to be on the floor, but got moved off the floor when we had our carpet cleaned a couple weeks ago. The only problem is, I don’t really have anywhere to put these bins. So I’m going to have to figure out something since I can’t exactly suggest that my 80-something parents bunk on the floor.

So you know what I’ll be doing tonight. Scrabbling through my closet trying to cram more stuff in there. Finding hidey-holes in which to stuff tank tops and summer pants. I think it’s clear that we’re rapidly outgrowing this place, but I also think the idea of moving is more than I can handle right now.

The thought of renting a storage unit is also growing more appealing. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little breathing room? On the other hand, I don’t see that happening today either. So it’s back to finding some place to store three large clothes bins. (The illustration I found for this blog, while interesting, would not be a workable solution for me. I'd get itchy thinking everything needed to be properly stored...)

I also might need to take a little time to, oh, swish a scrubber brush around the inside of the toilet and clean the guest room sink. That would only be hospitable, wouldn’t it?

Anyway, that’s the night I have ahead of me. Hopefully, I will be able to entice Vince to lend a hand. Probably he’ll be willing – as long as it in no way involves moving bins of my clothing.

I swear I’m going to adopt the male attitude when it comes to clothing. A couple pair of all-around pants, a couple dress pants and a few shirts in neutral colors. They can wear basically the same outfit day after day and week after week and not one person reports them to the fashion police.

I, on the other hand, own at least 10 pair of black slacks and if I wear the same pair twice in one week, I think someone is going to point out my fashion faux pas or look at me with sad eyes because I don’t have a more extensive wardrobe.

It’s silly, I know, but what can I say? I grew up reading fashion magazines like Glamour and In Style and somehow – despite being a relatively intelligent person – believe all their hype. Sure, I know it’s a way to not only sell magazines, but it keeps retailers in business, too. After all, where would Macy’s be without my frequent forays into their hallowed halls to check out the latest and greatest?

I’ll tell you where I’d be. I’d be sitting in my living room tonight relaxing with a big glass of wine not worrying about where to stuff three bins full of clothes! (Darn. I hate it when my practical and logical side comes out in any sort of discussion about clothes, shoes or accessories.)

Hmmm. I think maybe I should have a glass of wine tonight anyway so I can figure out a loophole.

(Oh, and please don’t bring up this discussion the next time I say I’m headed to Macy’s for a little retail therapy.)

Happy weekend, everyone! May your chores be light and your wine glasses full!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Got a New Windshield Today. Woohoo?


This morning I had a decided lack of calamities befall me – so I was afraid I wouldn’t have anything to write about. I mean, I didn’t trip over anything, spill anything, drop anything and nothing fell on my head. That right there is a good morning, folks!

But then I thought…Uh oh…what am I gonna write about today?!

I was a little worried that I might force myself to trip on the cement stairs to my office on purpose or do a face plant in the shrubbery. Neither activity sounded even remotely like fun, so I quickly abandoned those ideas. I’m not one of those people who finds it necessary to suffer for my art. (If blog writing could even be considered an “art.”)

Besides, I am sure Klutzy Jane will return for a repeat performance without any sort of intervention or assistance required.

If it helps, I did run smack into the doorjamb on my way to the copy machine. Vince saw it, too, because he was sitting in my office at the time. I was also hurrying, so I nearly bounced off the right side of the doorframe and into the left side like a life-sized pinball. Yikes. When I turned around to see if Vince had noticed, he was sitting there with a wry grin on his face and he was looking at me, rolling his eyes and shaking his head. Yeah, I guess he saw me. I here I was hoping I didn’t have an eyewitness. Darn.

I am not always this klutzy. Really. I mean, sometimes I’m even graceful. It is apparently a phase I’m going through.

Nevertheless, my morning was not without newsworthy events. I did, after all, have the windshield in my car replaced. Woohoo.

Well, actually, having the windshield in your car replaced is not necessarily worthy of a “woohoo.” What’s worthy of the “woohoo” is that when I drive home, I will actually be able to see out the windshield.

No, the crack, which necessitated the replacement in the first place, was not the reason I wasn’t able to see out. Even though the crack ran from left to right along the entire width of my windshield, it was cracked along the bottom. So it never obstructed my view.

On the other hand, I haven’t cleaned the damn thing in so long, I could barely see out of it. What can I say? I really don’t “do windows.” Okay, sure, I take a swipe at it with a cloth every so often, but I can’t seem to get it clean without making matters worse. I’d get streaks and smears and swirls, which were enough to convince me that it was better to leave well enough alone.

So I’m pretty excited about getting behind the wheel tonight. I will probably marvel at how well I can see. I might even wonder if a miracle has been performed, although I doubt God has spent much time worrying about the state of my windshield. Probably He figures that’s why he gave us Windex and Bounty paper towels.

The only problem with having a blemish-free, brand, spankin’ new windshield is that now I’m going to be worried about driving on the freeway. Inevitably, I get stuck behind some dump truck spilling small pieces of gravel out the back or a garbage truck with trash falling from it.

Oh well. I guess I’ll just have to be extra careful and hope that my windshield stays crack-free for the next few years. And maybe – just maybe – I’ll make a better effort at cleaning this windshield so that it remains streak-, smear- and swirl-free.

Yeah, right.

Guess I’d better look up the number of a good auto detailer.

Woohoo?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Unfortunate Re-Appearance of Calamity Jane


When I was a kid I occasionally had a case of the “klutzies” and my dad would affectionately call me Calamity Jane. Naturally, I didn’t like the nickname so I was grateful that my brothers didn’t pick it up. (No, instead they called me Jane-The-Pain. Muuuchh better.)

Anyway, there are times it’s an appropriate nickname. Like this morning, for instance.

Fortunately, I didn’t have a repeat of yesterday’s calamitous situation where a virtual tower of boxes threatened to topple over onto my car. I managed to get my car out of the garage without disturbing a single carton. Nor did any conk me on the head.

No, my problems began before I ever reached my vehicle.

It began as a normal morning. I showered, dressed and applied my makeup without rushing. I made the bed as I do every morning. And I even had time to wipe down the sink and pick up after myself.

And then as I walked downstairs I lost my footing and slid down the last two steps on the slippery soles of my shoes. I guess they don’t call ‘em “slides” for nothin’. When I had both feet planted firmly on the ground and that rush of adrenaline had subsided, I assessed the damage – and realized I was okay. No twisted ankle or throbbing knee. No broken shoe strap. Wow. Calamity averted.

I walked to the dining room feeling relieved. I gathered up my purse and book and jacket and a flower from the bouquet on the table to bring to work. Instead of carrying all that stuff to the car, I set it all down on the counter to prepare my to-go cup of coffee. This was Mistake #1. Well, unless you consider getting out of bed as Mistake #1. (And I have to admit…I’m beginning to.)

Anyway, as my coffee was warming in the microwave, I put my lunch in an insulated bag and set it on the counter with the other items to carry to my car.

My sweetheart of a husband had prepared an egg sandwich for me that merely needed to be zapped in the microwave and assembled. So I put my breakfast sandwich together, wrote a little love note to Vince and started gathering all my stuff to go to the car. I am one of those people who would rather be loaded down on one trip than to make several. Probably I should reconsider this practice. It was Mistake #2.

I had everything in my arms, but made Mistake #3 when I bent down to grab a Diet Dr. Pepper from the mini-fridge in the pantry on the way out the door. The lid on my to-go coffee cup was not firmly attached, and hot coffee ran down my arms. It leaked all over my new insulated lunch bag. At that point, I didn’t even know if my clothes were now drenched in hot coffee or not. I didn’t even care. I stood up, reattached the lid more firmly and made my way to the garage.

Only my arms were so full, I ran into the back door and dropped at least half of the items in my arms, including my egg sandwich which landed face down on the garage floor.

Oh, come on!

Now I suppose it’s possible that someone out there has a garage floor so clean they could eat off it, but (a) I wouldn’t on a bet, and (b) that someone would not be me.

I picked up my stuff and threw it in the passenger seat of the car. And then I picked up the now inedible egg sandwich and set it in the kitchen sink. Despite the fact that I was now on the verge of being late, I even took a moment to wipe off the cement floor. The mess on the mat where we wipe our feet was another problem and I couldn’t take time to hose it off.

Naturally, I didn’t write Vince a note explaining what happened. He’ll come home and see egg sandwich bits in the mat, and the remainder of the egg sandwich in the sink – and he’ll wonder What now? He might even roll his eyes, but I won’t be there to see it.

I suppose it’s inevitable that one of these days blood will be shed. When that happens, I will have to take the time to leave him a note. “Don’t worry, honey, I just ran into the door with my nose. No Emergency Room visit required. Have a nice day!”

Sigh.

I’ve written about mornings where I dropped my egg sandwich. I’ve written about mornings where I spilled my coffee. This morning I did both.

I certainly hope the appearance of Calamity Jane is a limited engagement and that she’ll be moseying on outta here soon. She’s starting to annoy me!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Where Can I Buy A Giant Shoe Horn?


Vince and I went shopping the other day for miscellaneous stuff. It can only be called “miscellaneous” when you have to shop at one store to replace a broken glass globe for a ceiling light, another store for a bottle of mature multivitamins and a third store for a shoe horn. There was no such thing as one-stop shopping for us the other day.

We went to three stores before we chanced upon the very last shoe horn that Target carried. Vince had a bit of a desperate look in his eye as he practically badgered the clerk into finding another one – any other broken down and ratty old shoe horn they might have lingering “in the back.” Why? Well, because it was an animal stripe print. Only I don’t really know any animals that are hot pink- and black-striped.

The clerk said it was the last one they had and even tried to convince Vince that it was a “manly” sort of shoe horn. The look he gave her caused her to scurry away in hopes of finding something easier to handle, like perhaps tackling a shoplifter or something. In defeat, we ended up purchasing it. Vince wasn’t very happy about having to use a hot pink striped shoe horn, but was a little happier when it rang up as a dollar, down from $10. Frugality wins over manly posturing every time.

I was thinking about that shoe horn last night when I parked my car in the garage. We have so much crap in there I can barely fit the car inside. Could’ve used a giant shoe horn to maneuver the vehicle so that it doesn’t hit the sky-high pile of boxes on the right, or the shelving unit in the front – but leave enough room to get out the driver’s side door without bashing into the trash can on the left. Even worse, we currently have a large carton that needs to be unpacked sitting in front of the shelving unit – so I had even less room to maneuver.

Sigh. We need a bigger garage.

Or maybe we just need to get rid of a whole bunch of junk.

Sadly, I didn’t have that giant shoe horn last night because I didn’t pull the car in far enough, and unbeknownst to me, the garage door scraped the bumper on the way down. Vince noticed it right off when he came home after me – probably because he heard the screeching sound as the garage door scraped the bumper on the way back up, too.

So he kindly moved my car farther into the garage and then also kindly didn’t mention it until we finished dinner. Probably he wanted to have a nice meal together before I got all pissy about the bumper. And, sure enough, I was mad at myself about it all night about it. Not to mention a little sick about it, too.

This morning was a different story. I started to pull my car straight back out of the garage as I do every morning…only I couldn’t. Apparently, Vince had pulled the car in a little too close to the right-hand side of the garage so that it was rubbing up against the sky-high stack of cartons.

I hadn’t moved two inches before one of the boxes lost its precarious hold on top of the pile and crashed down upon the top of my car. I immediately stopped and got out to see the next cataclysmic tragedy that had befallen my vehicle and noticed that the entire pile of boxes was leaning dangerously close to my car ready to topple over at the slightest movement.

Clearly I couldn’t fit between the right side of the car and the stack of boxes to do any good. Heck, a 90lb. emaciated supermodel wouldn’t even have been able to get through there. Nor would a giant shoe horn have helped in this situation. Feeling the beginnings of a headache coming on, I walked around to the front of the car, but couldn’t even reach the boxes to move them away from my car.

I stood there for a moment debating whether or not to call my boss and tell him I’d be late as I was feeling a little, uh, “boxed in,” (sorry), but instead figured it was more prudent to shut off my car. No need to asphyxiate myself as the garage – despite the open door – was filling up with carbon monoxide. While scratches on the bumper are upsetting, they are not a good enough reason to end it all.

Feeling even more determined (and a little desperate) to get myself out of this situation, I gave a superhuman stretch and was somehow able to shove some of the boxes out of the way – although not before disturbing another stack of flattened boxes, which slid off and conked me on the head, making my headache even worse.

By this point, I could only shake my head a laugh a little ruefully. It was either that – or scream. And I didn’t want to disturb any neighbors that had the good fortune of sleeping in this morning.

So I got back in my car, started it up and gingerly pulled away from the boxes. And, lo and behold, I was out of the garage without suffering more dings or dents to my car.

I quickly shut the automatic garage door opener without looking at the mess inside because I didn’t want to deal with it. And then I drove like a bat out of hell toward work so I wouldn’t have to explain my tardiness.

I can only wonder what Vince will think when he gets home. He’ll see a pile of flattened box (probably impeding his progress to the back door). He’ll also see either (a) a Jenga-like configuration of boxes haphazardly stacked along the wall ready to topple over any moment or (b) a disturbing pile of boxes lying in the middle of the garage floor because they finally gave up and fell over.

Yeah…I think we’re definitely gonna need that giant shoe horn. It’s either that – or we’re gonna have to rent another garage somewhere. I don’t think my car can take any more dings, dents or scratches and I don’t think I can take too many more shots to the head. I’m dizzy enough.

Friday, October 29, 2010

If We Say “Two Thumbs Up” Are You Going to Call Us Crazy?!


Last night Vince and I went to the movies for an impromptu Thursday night date night. We saw the movie, Red, with Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren. We enjoyed it – and had some actual Laugh Out Loud moments. Now, don’t get me wrong…I don’t think anyone is going to get an Oscar nod for their performance, but it certainly was enough to entertain us for a couple hours.

When I came to work this morning, I told my boss that we saw a good movie last night – that we saw Red.

“My wife and I saw a really lousy movie last night,” he responded. “We saw Red.”

He was so incensed that we enjoyed it that he even called his wife while he was standing in my office to tell her. They thought it was garbage and that we were nuts.

Don'cha just love being called crazy by your boss? I sure do.

But, anyway. Isn’t it interesting how people can have such diverse opinions about the same thing? If you don’t believe me, I have two words for you: Jersey Shore. How people can make stars out of characters like Snookie and The Situation, well, it just doesn't compute to me. But it takes all kinds - right?

But back to the movies. Now, perhaps my standards aren’t excessively high when it comes to movies and entertainment. I figure if it’s billed as a comedy and it makes me laugh a few times and takes me out of my everyday life, well, then, it’s a decent flick.

It also depends on my current mood or frame of mind. There are times I love intrigue and the complexity of certain films and I don’t mind watching the same film multiple times as I get additional insight each time I watch.

Other times those kinds of movies annoy the crap out of me – and I just want to watch a chick flick and either sigh over the happily-ever-after ending - or bawl my eyes out. (Sometimes I can do both at the same time. We'll just call this the "complexity" of chick flicks.)

Of course, when it's a simple movie and we watch it multiple times, well, there are some interesting moments.

Like on our recent “camping” weekend, for example. We have what has over the years become known as “Hangover Theater” on Saturday and we sit around and watch campy, goofy flicks.

This year our film of choice was Hot Tub Time Machine. I hadn’t seen it when it came out in theaters, so I was sitting front and center in anticipation. And it was perfect for the kind of weekend we were enjoying. But then we watched it again. And again.

Yeah, it wasn’t one of those movies where I needed to see it three times to get any additional insight. It was pretty much self-explanatory the first time.

By the second and third viewing, it might have been serving more as background noise than anything else, although I did hear loud guffaws – from the same people – when certain lines were uttered. First time, third time, sixteenth time – didn’t matter. They still apparently got a kick out of it.

But, hey, that’s the whole point. Some people enjoy campy movies. Some people enjoy foreign films with subtitles. Some people enjoy both. And isn’t it a wonderful world we live in where we don’t have to pick just one?

So I guess maybe I’ll keep in mind what movies my boss thinks are garbage. And whenever he tells me he saw a crappy movie, I’ll make an extra effort to go see it.

Meanwhile, I enjoyed an evening out with my husband where we got to sit in the last row together, hold hands and LOL a few times. Call me crazy, but isn't that what life is all about?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Go Ahead...Make My Day!


The other day at lunchtime I was in my car driving through a not-so-great neighborhood to get to Target for the very important task of picking up a razor. (Read previous blog as to the reason behind this very important task!)

My first thought as I was driving through the not-so-great neighborhood was to get through it as quickly as possible. Well, actually, that was my second thought. My first thought was, I should probably activate the automatic car door locks.

Naturally, I got stopped at a light in this not-so-great neighborhood. Nobody bothered me, although I did see someone with a dirty rag and a spray bottle of water who wanted to clean windshields in exchange for a few bucks. No, I’m kidding. Because if I had seen someone with a dirty rag and a spray bottle of water who wanted to clean my windshield, I might have let him; it couldn’t have made my dirty windshield any worse.

Anyway, while I was stopped at the light, I noticed the car behind me. The car was what is affectionately known as a POS and at first I thought the shocks were completely gone on the thing because the car was bouncing up and down.

And then I realized it was the driver. There he was in his POS, with a big grin on his face, singing at the top of his lungs to the radio. Or, I don’t know – maybe he was singing at the top of his lungs to a song in his own head. Either way, he seemed very happy.

As soon as the light turned green and traffic started up again, I noticed that he was also dancing. His entire upper body – what I could see of it anyway – was moving around to the beat. And we are not talking unobtrusive little moves. No, we are talking full-on gyrations.

I sincerely hoped that he had at least one foot available to hit the brake, should that become necessary. I didn’t want his day ruined – or mine either – by his running into the back end of my car. He would have had to admit to the officer that it was an accident caused by excessive dancing.

Eventually he turned, but I found myself smiling the rest of the drive to the store. For all I know the guy could’ve been under the influence of more than just his favorite music. But I prefer to think that he was simply listening to music that made him happy. And, in turn, he made me a little happier.

I guess it’s true that sometimes we really don’t know what we do that can affect someone else’s day – either in a good way or in a bad way. I am positive this guy didn’t know that he made me smile. He was in his own little world and certainly wasn’t self-conscious about singing and dancing to the music playing in his car.

Nevertheless, it affected my mood and I was grinning as I walked through Target. And a couple people passing me smiled at me in return.

I decided to see if I could also get the cashier to smile. No, I didn’t tell her that I was buying the razor and an extra large package of replacement blades to deal with the monkey hair on my legs, although that may have done the trick.

Instead, when she asked me if I’d found everything I was looking for, I just smiled and said, “Well, no. I was looking for Brad Pitt and a million dollars, but couldn't find either one. Maybe Housewares is the wrong department?” In response, she looked up from her scanning, grinned and said, “Well, when you find out which department they’re in, let me know, would you?!”

Yeehaw. Mission accomplished.

I’m probably never going be the person singing and dancing in my car so much that the person in the car in front of me laughs at my antics…but sometimes it only takes a smile.

And if that doesn’t work, I can always tell ‘em the monkey hair story…

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Happiest Day of the Week


Ah, Friday has once again rolled around. I love Fridays when the whole weekend looms ahead of us with all sorts of possibilities. What to do, what to do?

One thing we know for sure we’re not doing is heading out of town. We’ve been out of town three times in the past month or so and we’re sick of packing our shampoo and undies and socks and toothbrushes. And then unpacking them again.

Besides, I keep losing stuff. I lost my razor (one of the non-disposable kinds) on our first trip and I haven’t replaced it. I keep saying I’m going to, but haven’t. Needless to say, if I don’t replace it soon I will be braiding the hair on my legs. I did borrow Vince’s razor for my underarms because, well, eww. But the legs require more commitment and effort. Plus, I don’t want Vince to shave his face and nick it all up from using a dull blade.

So perhaps “Buy New Razor” should be first on my weekend to-do list, eh? Maybe I should buy an extra large can of shaving cream, too, while I’m at it?

The other thing we will have to do is put the furniture back where it belongs once the carpet cleaners finish cleaning today. We managed to clear out a lot of stuff so there are large areas for them to shampoo, but this means we have no surfaces available to sit on or lie on or eat on. Our coffee table is currently residing atop the couch – and you can’t even see the spare room bed because there is so much stuff piled on top of it.

Who knows, a clean carpet might even inspire me to spend part of the weekend attending to things that never get attended to. Like baseboards. Who spends a lot of time (or gives much attention) to the baseboards?

Yeah, not me, either. Nor am I feeling it. Cleaning baseboards might have just gotten crossed off my to-do list.

We may attend Vince’s son’s football game tonight, but it depends on the temperature. Or maybe it depends on whether or not I can find some of those hand warmer things. While it’s a beautiful day today, the high is only going to be something like 61 degrees. And once the sun goes down? Brrrrr! So if I can find some hand warmers, I might brave the elements. Their team – the New Albany Eagles – is undefeated, though, so it might be fun to cheer him on from the sidelines. Maybe I can find my parka?

One of the things I’m most looking forward to doing is sleeping in on Saturday. I LOVE to sleep in. That whole “early bird catching the worm” thing? Lemme tell you somethin’ – I’m totally okay letting someone else have the worm. They don’t look terribly appetizing, anyway. And I’m quite happy hitting the snooze button.

We’ll also be rooting on the Buckeyes tomorrow. Hopefully they’ll have a better day than they did last Saturday. If not, I can always switch the channel to my saved programs – like Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives. Need to catch up on my “stories.”

Or maybe we’ll have great weather and I can go outside and do something that I haven’t done for a while. No, silly, not go for a walk, although God knows I need the exercise. No, I’m talking about washing my car. It’s at the stage where some smart aleck kid could easily write “WASH ME” on the back window. Actually, I’m kind of hoping someone will – at least that will give me a shot at being able to see out the back window. Opaque windows aren’t a real plus in car driving situations.

I think at some point this weekend I need to drink a glass of wine. It has been a while since I’ve had a glass of wine – and I do, after all, have a reputation to uphold. No, not the wine-bottle-in-a-paper-bag kind of reputation. I prefer to think of myself as more of a wine connoisseur – even if it IS only in my own little mind.

Do bottles of wine with screw tops count? Hehehe.

Ah well. I am sure that whatever we do this weekend, it will be fun. Just spending time with my Vince will be fun enough. Hopefully we can also be a little productive and get some of the household chores done that have been neglected during all this out of towning we’ve been doing.

So, happy Friday. Let’s raise our glasses to a great weekend! And maybe also to smooth legs…