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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!”


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.