Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Random Thoughts

Life seems to be really busy lately and I haven’t had a lot of spare time to write many blogs. Considering that’s one of the fun things I do, I’m kind of bummed that I’m not focused more on blogging. Probably I’d need to give up some other activity so I could squeeze in some extra time to compose.

So I vote for no more toilet cleaning. Yeah, I’d happily give up that activity.

Only problem with that plan is that that are no toilet cleaning fairies living in our home and the cats simply refuse to be trained. They’re either afraid of the toilet brush or that infernal Ty-D-Bol man, I’m not sure which. They are, however, mesmerized as they watch the water swirl down the drain whenever we flush.

So, considering I get a little squeamish around nasty toilets, I guess I’ll have to come up with another plan to carve out a little extra time in my schedule.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided to write a blog on random thoughts I’ve had lately:

  1. The checkout lady at Stein-Mart bears a remarkable resemblance to Carol Brady, up to and including the shag haircut. Have the 70s returned and, if so, why wasn’t I notified?
  1. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be funny if that check-out lady has sported that very same look since the 70s? If that’s the case, then, boy, could she ever use some help from that Extreme Makeover show.
  1. The urge to go to the bathroom increases a thousand-fold once you actually arrive anywhere near the facilities.
  1. Going to the grocery store without a list – even if your trip was prompted by tossing out the last empty milk container – means you will probably forget the milk.
  1. Nobody ever notices that you’ve dusted. They only notice when you don’t.
  1. Why is it that I hardly ever like a song the very first time I hear it on the radio – but by the 10th time, I think it’s a catchy tune?
  1. Saying the words, “Work is kind of slow right now” is immediately followed by an avalanche of work dumped unceremoniously on your desk. You even hear the big “Whump” sound.
  1. You should never, ever say the words, “Work is kind of slow right now.”
  1. I swear, three day holiday weekends go by faster than regular weekends. How is this possible?
  1. I can’t remember the last time I bought postage stamps. At some point along the way, I lost track of how much a first class postage stamp costs. For all I know, the book of stamps I currently have stashed in my desk drawer won’t be enough to mail a letter. And I don’t have any 1 cent stamps, either.
  1. You can never really say that the laundry is finished. As soon as you finish the last load, you go take a shower and the clothes you were wearing to wash laundry end up in the dirty clothes basket. I’m always tempted to just throw those clothes away so I don’t have to wash them and the laundry basket can stay empty for just a little while longer.
  1. I didn’t pack a salad for lunch today because I was tired of salads. So what was I craving for lunch? A salad from Max & Erma’s. Why does someone else’s salad always taste better than mine? Or is it just that I’d rather someone else do the chopping and slicing?
  1. I went to the bank the other day and pressed the elevator button for the 14th floor. Except that the bank is really on the 13th floor, because they don’t have a 13th floor. Are we that superstitious and afraid of the number 13 that we’re still numbering buildings without them?
  1. I just took a look at a Labor Day sales flyer I received. Its 50 pt. headline screams: “Absolutely Everything in the Store 40% Off!” And then underneath in small type it says, “Excludes select handbags, jewelry, and…blah, blah, blah.” Do they not understand that “absolutely everything” means there are no exclusions?? (Obviously not.)
  1. Why do these lists always look better when they end at “10”? Or if you have more than 10, then you need to go all the way to 25. But I can’t think of 10 more things. Well, I could. There are lots of random thoughts going on in my head, but if I write them all down, you’ll think I’m weird.
  1. Oops. Too late for that.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Plate Spinner Friday

You ever have one of those days where you’re too tired to even think anymore? That’s me today. I’ve had a hectic week and have had a lot on my mind. One of my more sarcastic friends (and, yes, I’m referring to you, TVH…) would say I couldn’t possibly have a lot on my mind since I’m blonde.

He’s hilarious, isn’t he?

But I feel like one of those old fashioned plate spinners whose goal is to keep a bunch of plates balanced and spinning on a bunch of sticks. In my case, alas, I think there are more plates smashed on the ground than balanced and spinning on the sticks.

And I think I’ve passed my quota on problems to solve. The Complaint Department is now closed.

Nevertheless, my brain won’t shut down. I want to tell all the thoughts swirling around in my head to shut up for half a second and give me a little peace, but they’re not listening.

Too bad I never got the hang of meditation. The one time I attempted it, I couldn’t seem to “empty my mind.” Instead, I kept peeking to see if anyone else had emptied their heads, but seeing as how I’m not a mind reader, it was hard to tell. Maybe everyone else in the class was faking it, too.

Part of my cranky mood is due to hunger. I’d hurriedly packed some chicken salad for lunch today, but due to an inadequate freezer pack it wasn’t properly chilled and I didn’t feel like starting the weekend off with a case of food poisoning. So instead I ate some pretzels from the big tub in the office. Normally, I make it a point to avoid eating foods in the office that (a) have been sitting around for a month, and (b) have been fingered by the grubby hands of everyone there, including my coworker’s three children and the UPS guy.

But it was either pretzels or nothing, so I ate the pretzels.

Could I have run across the street to the new, swanky little pizza parlor to pick up a “to go” pie? Sure, I could have. Except their food is so ridiculously overpriced, I didn’t feel like taking out a small loan to pay for a little sustenance.

Naturally, my food dilemma occurred on the very day that I promised myself to watch the carbs. I didn’t even pack crackers to have with my chicken salad for that very reason. So what do I eat? Pretzels. Are they carb-laden? Sure, they are! Might as well have run to Kroger and bought a big bag of Wonder Bread while I was at it.

Fortunately for me, it’s Friday. I can power down and regroup over the weekend and come back on Monday with a renewed sense of energy and purpose. I’ll get those plates spinning like nobody’s business. And if that doesn’t work, probably I can use the plates to smash over someone’s head.

Oops. Where did that come from?

I think it's time I sit myself cross-legged down on the floor, close my eyes, touch my fingers to my thumbs in that weird meditation way, empty my mind and say...

...Serenity now...serenity now...serenity now...”

Yeah. Still not workin' for me.

Oh well. I hope your weekend is fun-filled and stress-free. But take a little friendly advice: stay away from that Wonder Bread, okay? (“Helps build strong bodies 12 ways,” my foot!) And if you see me with a plate in my hand, you might want to back away. Slowly.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jane's Fantabulous Summer Staycation

I took a couple days of vacation last week – not to go anywhere or do anything – and I have to say that I really enjoyed myself! It has been a long, long time since I’ve taken a couple days off just to hang out at home.

Normally, any vacation days I take are preceded by frantic scrambling to get twice as much handled in half as much time at work before I leave. And at home there is an inordinate amount of cleaning, packing, schedule arranging, pre-trip automotive maintenance handling or dealing with airline travel. Usually, I feel like I need a vacation to recover from my vacation.

And, heck, the stress alone from trying to get all my lotions and potions into 2 oz containers and into one small Zip-Loc baggie so it will clear airport security is enough to warrant an extra few days of recovery.

So I decided to chuck my “normal” behavior and just take a couple days off to relax at home.

Of course, at the beginning of it, four whole days stretching in front of me seemed like a lifetime. I figured I’d have SO much time to do SO many things.

Yeah, not so much.

The first thing I planned to do was clear out some of the clutter that always seems to build up at home. I was going to separate items to take to charity and go through the closets that are rarely pruned.

Fortunately, I came to my senses before I even opened the door of the first closet. Instead, I plopped myself down in the easy chair with a novel and a strawberry margarita and had myself a good old-fashioned read. Even better, I didn’t have to watch the clock to make sure I was back at work on time after my lunch break – even if it usually means stopping right at a good part.

Oh, and truthfully, I just threw the margarita in there for effect. I didn’t really have a margarita. Mostly because we don’t have any tequila at home. Perhaps I should’ve made an effort to go booze shopping, but it seemed like too much trouble.

So I had a beer.

No, still, I joke. Alcohol played such a minor role in my long weekend off, that, well, frankly, I’m a little surprised. I usually enjoy a good glass of wine every now and then, and four days off in a row should have warranted opening at least one decent bottle of Cab.

Ah well. Something to keep in mind for next time.

Instead of sleeping in, though, I did get up in the mornings with Vince to make his breakfast and pack his lunch. I thought that was a nice, wifely thing to do, especially considering that sleeping in is one of my favorite pastimes.

But it's not like I did absolutely nothing around the house during my time off. I did the normal daily clean-up stuff in the kitchen and bathrooms, and I even did some laundry. I cleaned the kitty litter box out every day because, well, there are simply some things that cannot be delayed – and we cannot abide a stinky kitty litter box.

Oh, and – hey – I did scrub the grout in the shower.

Swishing some scrubbing bubbles around the tub every week is pretty much the attention that area gets…but seeing the shower walls in full daylight was a little shocking. Let’s just say that jumping in the shower every morning in the dark sans eyeglasses doesn’t allow a legally blind person to fully appreciate the condition of the shower. Yucky. So I donned the hazmat suit and gloves and went to work with the heavy-duty cleaner and the scrub brush. Forty-five sweat-filled and spaghetti arms minutes later, I realized I didn’t need to go to the gym after all. But we had gleaming grout.

And how did you spend your summer vacation?!

Probably I should have made an effort to write a blog or two during my time off. It is, after all, a whole week later, and I can barely remember the rest of the stuff I did with my four days. All I know for sure is that the time went by way too fast. I think there was a little grocery shopping in there. We did manage to see a movie one night. I vaguely recall returning something at Macy’s. And I did watch a little TV and took a nap or two.

Exciting, no? On the other hand, the point of taking a staycation isn’t really about cramming lots of activities in a short period of time at some sand- and sun-filled paradise – it’s more about relaxing and rejuvenating. And that’s exactly what I did. So I’m not sorry I took the time off. I needed the break.

Only now – looking back – I wish I’d gone to the store for that bottle of tequila. Cleaning the grout in a margarita-induced haze might have been a little more fun.

Or maybe not. I’m guessing that there isn’t enough alcohol in the world that could ever make cleaning grout “fun.”

Yeah. Next vacation is probably gonna have to involve a sand- and sun-filled paradise.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

More Memories of Alliance...

Once you start remembering your childhood, it’s hard to stop. Inevitably, of course, some of the more embarrassing memories come to the party even when they weren't invited.

Like the time in 2nd grade when I wasn’t feeling well, but went to school at Regina Coeli anyway. Sr. Lucy called my parents to come pick me up because I was clearly ill. So there I was sitting in the little reading chairs in front of the classroom all bundled up in my winter coat and mittens waiting for my dad, when it happened. I threw up. In front of everyone. Yep. Fried eggs all over the floor. Ugh. Bet the custodian LOVED me that day.
(To this day, I still cannot eat a fried egg.)

Or the time in 8th grade when Sr. Gerald made everyone in the class sing out loud. Individually. I like singing and all, but I hate singing alone in front of other people. Being half deaf means that I don’t get the whole concept of “stereo.” If someone to my right can carry a tune, I generally get by okay. If they can’t sing, I sing off-key right along with them. But if left to my own devices, I can either be a canary – or nails on a chalkboard.

I sang so quietly that she made me sing the same song three times. By the third time, my face was beet red and I was close to tears. When she asked me sing a fourth time because she still couldn’t hear me, my classmates took pity on me and told her they could hear me just fine. Of course, confirmation from my fellow classmates wasn’t good enough for her and she demanded that I try it one more time. But – in a rare display of defiance – I refused to sing again. Surprised when I wouldn’t comply, she moved on to the next victim, er, soloist.

Later, Sr. Gerald caught me alone in the hallway and made me sing one more time just to her. When she told me I had a “lovely” voice, I wanted to smack her. Of course, back in the day, you would never even think about smacking a nun. So maybe I’m just projecting. Adult selves tend to be pretty protective of their inner child selves, I guess.

But, hey, what can you expect from a nun who still wore a wimple and one of those long black habits even though the Church by then had relaxed the rules on nun clothing? Plus, that cardboard-like thing on her forehead looked really tight and uncomfortable, so probably torturing 8th graders was the highlight of her day.

Interestingly, I was in the choir all four years of high school. Mr. Hisey was clearly a lot less threatening than an old, cranky nun.

Besides, Mr. Hisey never made me sing all by myself in front of the class.

I loved high school. Other than those first few scary weeks when it felt like everyone in my class knew each other from middle school and I was one of the few odd ducks to come from the Catholic school in town, it was an easy transition. Maybe because for the first time in years I didn’t have to wear a short-sleeved white blouse and a blue plaid skirt. I was SO happy that I finally had some say in my school outfits!

Now, of course, I wouldn’t mind so much having to wear a uniform. Think about how many hours over the years I would’ve saved picking out outfits if instead I could've tossed on the same old thing day after day.

The grass is always greener, huh?!

We spent a lot of time at “AAYC” when I was in high school. Lazy summer days spent by the pool cooking ourselves with baby oil. Obviously, we hadn’t yet heard about those three important letters “S,” “P” and “F.” Evenings were spent dancing or watching scary movies or just hanging out.

I remember one time a school friend promised that her dad would give us a ride home one night – and then she reneged for reasons which I can no longer recall. So my friend Diana and I walked all the way to my house, which was a LONG way even for kids who were used to walking. My dad ended up changing out of his PJ’s, getting dressed and giving Diana a ride home that night.

Once we were able to drive, we went to Fred’s Drive-In. A lot. Apparently we wanted to make sure that everyone knew we had our driver’s licenses. So we’d sit there with the music blaring and we’d wait for a server to come to us and hang a tray filled with frosty mugs of root beer and burgers and fried food like apple fritters and onion rings on our car window. I'm guessing that back then we'd never even heard the word “cholesterol.”

I also remember going to the drive-in movie theater. Don't remember where it was, but I do remember hanging out with a bunch of friends, talking and laughing. The featured movie seemed to be irrelevant as we rarely paid much attention to it.

Except for one time when the movie itself was completely relevant. Yes, that particular time my friends came to pick me up – and for some reason my mother asked us what movie we were planning to see. I didn't know – and didn't really care. It was just a chance to spend time with my friends.
But someone piped up that we were going to see The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Well, you would've thought we were going to see some X-rated movie or something because my mother had a fit and she refused to let me go out with my friends that night.

I was pretty shocked as my parents rarely restricted my activities in high school. Probably because they knew I was a wimp and wouldn't do much in the way of misbehaving. So...I don't know – perhaps my mom thought I'd have nightmares about chainsaws or something.

But, boy, was I mad. I clearly remember stomping upstairs to my room, slamming my bedroom door, and refusing to talk to my mother for at least a day or two. And, buh-lieve me, I was gooood at giving the silent treatment when I was a teenager.

To this day, I have never seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre! (Yeah, yeah, I know – it's not like my life has been incomplete for having missed it.)

Another time my friends picked me up to go “cruising,” Kids in my hometown didn't have too many choices back then. Oh sure, we could drive up and down State Street or Union Avenue – and we did that. A lot. But you can only drive up and down the same old streets so many times before utter boredom sets in.

So my friends picked me up and once we were safely out of my neighborhood, they told me we were going to be “bad” that night. With a gleam in her eye, one of my friends pulled a couple cans of 3.2 beer out of a paper bag and told me we were going to Drink. It. All.

Mind you, there were about seven girls in the car. Seatbelts? We didn't need no stinkin' seatbelts! (It's amazing we survived at all, isn't it?!) Plus, a couple cans of beer weren't going to do a whole lot of damage to anyone. Especially with that old watered down 3.2 stuff. But my friends proceeded to drink the beer and then acted “sooo wasted.” I think it was pretty much for effect. And I vaguely recall someone even mooning another car. (And, no,for your information, it was NOT me.

 Matter of fact, I didn't drink any of the beer because – back then – I couldn't stand the smell of it, let alone the taste.) And, okay, call me “goody two-shoes.” I probably heard it before. In the vernacular of today, “Whatev.”

Besides, if that was the worst behavior I was ever around in high school, I think I came out of the experience pretty much unscathed.

Hmmm. It just occurred to me that my life as a teenager totally mimicked the movie American Graffiti with Ron Howard and Cindy Williams. Yikes.

Well, except that we grew up in the 70s and not the 50s. And we didn't have cool cars – we had Pintos. And I never once went to a drag race.

Okay, so my life growing up was nothing like American Graffiti. Never mind.

But, still. It was definitely small town U.S.A. It seemed like a more innocent time. And we had a lot of fun. So...on the was a pretty great place to grow up.

Even if I didn't get to see The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Remembering Alliance...

There is this group on Facebook called “You Know You’re From Alliance…” and people have been blowing up the site with memories from their childhoods. It’s been so much fun reading their memories and everyone’s comments after each one.

But…I have to say…: “Did I grow up in the same town??”

Either that, or I’ve just forgotten every memory I ever had of the place.

No, that’s not really true. I have wonderful memories of Alliance. But the specific details that people are recalling with names and businesses and locations, well, that’s a little murkier for me. Of course, I can’t tell you all the streets I drive to get myself home every day now – and I’ve been traveling those same streets for nearly nine years. AND I’m an adult.

Besides, as a kid, my tether wasn’t all that long.

I would add some of my own memories to the site itself, but I wouldn’t want everyone coming back at me with corrections. I’d say, “I remember ice skating somewhere near Mt. Union College.” And people would respond with the exact location, the names of the people who monitored the skaters, and the specific thickness the ice needed to be before skating was allowed.

I don’t remember any of that. All I remember is getting new ice skates. I don’t remember where we got them, but it surely was somewhere in town as we didn’t go to the “big city” of Canton for much. It was apparently too far away.

I remember King’s department store and Woolworth’s. I remember taking sewing lessons somewhere down on Main Street. And I remember going to Sugar & Spice bakery after church on Sundays where my dad bought chocolate frosted cream stix every week, which were the best cream stix I ever had. We never ever had maple or vanilla frosted cream stix, by the way. Only chocolate.

But do I remember where Sugar & Spice bakery was located? Nope. I didn’t know then and certainly don’t know now!

When I was a kid, we were allowed to walk or ride our bikes to Buckeye Village Market, which felt like freedom to us since that meant we could cross State Street. I’m not even sure what we bought at Buckeye, unless it was the odd can of corn or loaf of bread that mom needed for dinner that night.

I do remember buying my own birthday cake at Buckeye when I turned 16. My mom was out of town taking care of my sick grandmother and my dad, of course, was working. So I was responsible for making my birthday dinner for the five of us. Dad even gave me money and told me to buy a birthday cake.

Normally, I was the baker in the family, so all our birthday cakes were homemade. (Read: not as good as store bought birthday cakes.) So, even though I was mortally embarrassed to go to the bakery and order a cake for myself, I did it because a store-bought birthday cake was a real treat. And my brothers and sister would’ve killed me for passing up the opportunity. So off I went. Except that I knew the girl taking the order. It was the owner’s daughter – and I had been in the same class as her younger brother. I first told her that it didn’t need any writing on it – but she insisted. “Who’s it for, Jane? Your brother John – or is it for Andrew? Or maybe your little sister?”

“Um, nooo…,” I finally stammered. “It’s for me.”

The look she gave me was filled with pity. “Aw, Jane,” She said. “You have to order your own birthday cake?”

She probably thought my family was horrible.

Interestingly, I have absolutely no memory of getting that cake home. I can’t imagine schlepping a store-bought birthday cake across State Street and down…uh…y’know…that one street...before getting to…um…that other street before turning down Crestview.

Yikes. I need a remedial memory course. Either that, or a map.

But, let’s see – what else can I remember? Oh, I remember some other little store named…um…maybe, Meadowbrook? We’d ride our bikes there to get something cold to drink in the summers. I don’t remember what we got to drink. Other people have remembered the exact old-fashioned drinks they drank and where they drank them. Sheesh. Maybe I should have recorded more about the town in my diary and less about, say, “The Partridge Family” or “The Monkees.”

Wow. So many of my childhood memories are of food stores. Apparently they were the only ones close enough. The stores with the “good stuff” – like clothes and jewelry and shoes – were too far away. Probably why I don’t much care for grocery shopping today, but never pass up an opportunity to hit Macy’s or DSW.

As a kid, we played more in my neighborhood than around town. But I remember having a blast running and pogo-stick jumping and hoola-hooping and tree climbing. And we didn’t come home until we heard Mom ring the bell for dinner. (Yes, sadly, we were summoned by a ringing bell.)

Of course, once we were of driving age, my world opened up a little bit and I have lots of great memories of fun times with my friends. Maybe I’ll try to recall some of those memories next time. Hopefully, it won’t be, “I remember that one time when we were driving around that one place – you know – and we had fun.”

But don’t expect me to remember the name of the street we had fun on. Not gonna happen. After all, I haven’t taken that remedial memory course yet.

And I still don’t have a map.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just Call Me "Flash Fingers"

Have you ever borrowed someone’s computer and were shocked and appalled by how slowly it, well, computed? And you’ve thought, Oh, I’d SO be throwin’ this computer out the window if I had to work on it longer than five minutes!

Well, maybe you didn’t have that exact phrase running through your head since it’s grammatically incorrect, but if you have used a slow computer before, you know what I mean.

Anyway, welcome to my world.

For the past few months, my computer at work has been running on DOS, which does not stand for Disk Operating System. No, in my world, DOS stands for Decrepit Operating System.

I’m used to zipping around from Word documents to Excel spreadsheets and from Quickbooks to my various e-mail programs. I do this all day long. And I’m fast. Call me “Flash Fingers” if you’d like. Yeah, I’m that quick.

Except that lately, I’d have enough time to file my nails, take an excessive number of potty breaks and read an entire James Patterson novel in between the time I clicked to open a program and the time it actually opened.

Believe me, I’ve tried all the usual. Deleting unused files and programs. Running the File Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter programs. (Those took forever to work, but still didn’t make anything run faster.)

So I resorted to complaining about my slow computer. Loudly. When I was asked what was wrong with it, I’d shrug and say, “I don’t know, but it’s not workin’ right.” Hey, I did not get my degree in computers. I press the “on” button and if that doesn’t work, I’m pretty much stumped.

That’s what we have people who DID get their degree in computers for.

Fortunately, my boss was standing in my office yesterday when my computer froze. He wanted me to open a program so we could work on a project together, and I couldn’t do anything but stare helplessly at my computer and wait until that infernal hourglass timer stopped flipping. (Yeah, that’s how old my computer is. Nowadays, don’t they have a colorful little circle that spins while your computer does its thing? Or has even that been replaced by something newer?)

But the point is, our computer expert (aka our graphics guy) was instructed to get me a new computer. Immediately.


I have yet to work on the new computer, however, because he cannot get the old computer to transfer the files to the new computer. It keeps crashing. So we wasted two hours this morning waiting for something to happen. When it didn’t, he got me back on my old decrepit computer and I limped along making do. It was better, I suppose, than filing my nails and taking excessive potty breaks all day long. Besides, I finished the James Patterson novel yesterday. I even offered to go home for the day, but no one took me up on my offer. Darn my luck.

Hopefully, the file transfer will be completed by the time I get to work in the morning and I can resume my “Flash Fingers” persona where I can compute faster than a speeding bullet. Hey, there is usually a cape and a mask involved and I dig being incognito while at work.

Okay, I’m being silly. Probably I’ve had so much extra time while at work watching an endlessly spinning hourglass, I’ve developed a rich fantasy life. Interesting how my mind went to capes and masks, but I don’t think I want to explore the workings of my mind much further than that.

As my friend from New York says when he wants to change the subject: “How ‘bout them Yankees?”

So, anyway, I’m happy that I have a new computer. And I’ll be even happier when it is actually up and running.

I’ll miss taking excessive potty breaks, and the novel reading opportunities. And I suspect my nails will be a mess. But I’m lookin’ forward to donning that Flash Fingers cape and mask again.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Busy Bee (Jane), Smashed Toe (Vince)

My week was so busy last week I didn’t even get a chance to finish my blog about how busy I was! Since I don’t want to waste all those words I took the time to string together, you’ll just have to pretend like you’re reading this last Friday – okay?!

Busy Bee (Jane), Smashed Toe (Vince)

It has been a busy, busy week. I’ve been working like crazy during the day and my evenings have been filled, too. I have had a couple after-hour get-togethers with friends plus an eye doctor appointment this week. Oh, and throw in the odd bit of housework, too. That laundry isn’t washing itself and those toilets aren’t scrubbing themselves either, you know.

Normally I like being busy, but for some reason I’m feeling stressed about all there is to do. Don’t tell anyone, but I suspect that my To-Do list is plotting against me. Yeah, I think it’s even reproducing itself. It’s a little scary. Especially when a second little notebook showed up the other day filled with more stuff for me to cram into my day. How’d that happen?!

We started the week off without air conditioning at home, so maybe that set the tone for the week. Fortunately, that little problem was fixed. By the time I got home from work Monday evening it was no longer sweltering inside. Good thing, too, because I was starting to think I might have to shave Jinx and Twinks to put them out of their misery. Wearing fur in the summer has to be pretty uncomfortable, wouldn’t you think?!

And then the evening I had my eye doctor appointment, well, that night didn’t go quite as planned. Vince had had the day off work, so we got together for lunch and then he planned to run some errands. After my eye appointment we thought we might even catch a movie. At the actual movie theater.

Didn’t happen.

Vince, being the loving and very-good-to-me husband that he is, took my car to the car parts store. The “Check Engine” light had been on for a few days and if you’d read one of my previous blogs, you know that I tend to panic when I see that particular light pop up on my dashboard.

The day the check engine light came on, I had checked the oil level before driving the vehicle home. And later that evening Vince had checked the rest of the fluids in the car and all was well. But still, that check engine light wouldn’t give up and go away.

So Vince’s first stop was to the car parts place. He and the tech took a look under the hood and the guy decided it must be the sensor. The sensor that cost $75 to replace. So he replaced it. But then the tech heard a hissing noise and, ace car repair guy he is, decided that one of the hoses needed to be replaced. Fortunately, that was only a $6 part. But then he decided that the $75 sensor probably wasn’t the problem, so he took it out and put back the old one. And then – just for grins – he checked the battery. Turns out the battery was bad, too. I’m sure he was salivating with the anticipation of charging Vince for a new battery, too, but Vince knew the battery had been replaced only a couple years prior and was still under warranty.

At some point during all this automotive mechanical analysis, the car parts guy and Vince walked back into the store. Only Vince wanted to do it in grand style apparently – because when he opened the heavy glass door, he somehow managed to scrape it over his big toe. Naturally, he was wearing flip flops – and blood started spurting all over the floor.

Vince did the normal he-man thing and avoided screaming like a girl, although he probably wanted to. When I saw his toe later, I wouldn’t have blamed him for screaming like a girl. That thing looked nasty and HAD to hurt!

But did that stop my man from his car repair quest? Not a chance. They wrapped up his toe as best as car parts people can and he moved on to the next stop – Sam’s Club – to get the battery replaced.

Once this chore was completed – and only then – did Vince decide to seek medical attention for his throbbing, bloodied toe. He went to an Urgent Care place and they gave him a tetanus shot, prescribed oral antibiotics and an antibiotic cream and wrapped that appendage up so that it was three times its normal size and sent him on his way.

Meanwhile, I was at the eye doctor’s for an eye exam that included having my eyes dilated. When I walked out of the appointment and into the sunlight, I cringed and shielded my eyes like one of the vampires in Twilight. The doctor had given me a pair of those flimsy paper and plastic “sunglasses” (and I use the term loosely), but the moment I tried to put them on, the paper earpiece broke off. And, naturally, I was driving Vince’s car and didn’t have any of my own sunglasses in his car.

So, with my eyes opened only to mere slits, I drove home. Very slowly and carefully, mind you. Vince was also driving home from the pharmacy with his medications and his hugely wrapped big toe. Driving very slowly and carefully, mind you. We make quite a pair, don’t we?! All I can say is thank goodness we weren’t on the same road at the same time.

Fortunately, everything turned out okay and we had no more mishaps over the weekend. Well, unless you consider the 3” scratch on my neck that Jinx inflicted last night while trying to jump off the couch. It was probably an accident, although she could have been warning me what might happen if I EVER try to shave off her fur.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Umbrella Tab Stuck in the Car Window Incident

So the quote I posted on my Facebook page this morning was by e.e. cummings and had to do with laughter. That the most wasted of all days is one without it. Okay, I’m down with that. I’d far prefer spending my day laughing than spending it in tears.

Well, unless, of course, I’m laughing so hard I have tears streaming down my face. Then it’s mostly a good thing. It’s only bad if I’ve forgotten to wear waterproof mascara that day. Then it’s just plain scary.

But, anyway, the past couple days have been a little, um, “trying” – and my emotions could have gone either way. Fortunately, I was able to find the humor in the situations. Well, most of them, anyway.

Take, for instance, late Friday afternoon. I was sitting in my office minding my own business and watching the clock inch ever closer to 5 and pretending to work. My boss, who had run an errand, parked next to me and, when he came into the office, said, “Do you know your car windows are open?”

I said, “Yes” and he said, “Okay.” (Can you tell we’re big talkers in my office?)

Apparently, I should have followed up with a crucial “…why?”

Because not more than 10 minutes later, it was raining so hard that the rain was slanting sideways. I jumped out of my chair, grabbed my keys and the umbrella in my office and dashed outside. I was soaked within seconds, but still determined to get those windows closed.

I splashed my way through the puddles to my car and peered inside. Sure enough, the seats were soaked. I did not want to sit down, but I didn’t have much choice. So I plopped myself onto the very soggy leather seat and managed to get the key in the ignition with my right hand while holding onto the umbrella outside the half open car door with my left hand. Then the wind picked up and the umbrella flipped inside out. Perfect. Nevertheless, I held onto it for dear life as it is currently the only umbrella I own.

Once I was able to engage the ignition, I then twisted my right hand over toward the half open driver’s side door to hold the buttons to raise the windows. It sort of felt like I was playing Twister sitting there in my car with the rain hitting me in the face with my left hand holding onto an inside-out umbrella and my right hand crossed over my body holding onto window buttons. The thought occurred to me that Twister is not usually recommended for people my age and I could potentially suffer a cramp while I was all twisted around that way. And then who knows what could happen? I could fall face down onto the wet pavement and that would absolutely ruin my day.

Yeah, like my day wasn’t already heading down the tubes.

Plus, I never really enjoyed playing Twister.

Anyway, I finally managed to close the windows. I disengaged the engine and pulled the key out of the ignition, pocketed the key and then tried to get out of the car.

Only I couldn’t because the umbrella seemed to be stuck. I yanked at it, but nothing happened. I yanked again and still…nothin’. Finally, my IQ kicked in and I looked at the situation. When I had raised the window, the little tab with the snap on the end that keeps the umbrella closed got shut inside the window. And I couldn’t pull it out without lowering the window because the snap was too large to fit between the window and the door frame.


That meant I had to sit back down on the still-wet driver’s seat, pull the flippin’ key out of my pocket and put it back in the ignition and open the window far enough to pull the tab out. And then, of course, I had to close the window yet again.

Fortunately, I was able to keep the tab clear and close the window and shut the car door without trapping any much-needed appendages. I flipped the umbrella right side out. (Lot of good that did me by this point.) But, most importantly, I was able to get myself back into the office without further complications.

It felt like a steam bath outside because despite the rain, it was still horribly hot and humid. Oh, and the sun was still shining despite the rain. Which, by the way, was the reason I hadn’t worried about my car windows in the first place.)

Once inside, I knew I looked like a drowned rat with dripping hair and dripping clothes and even dripping mascara. Apparently “waterproof” means something different to Maybelline than it does to the rest of us.

I was immediately chilled upon re-entering my office, so I had to turn off the A/C. Figured it would really suck if I developed pneumonia just because I left the windows down in my car on a hot, sunny day.

My other boss came into my office and said, “What’s going on out there?” I narrowed my raccoon-like eyes and replied, “Is that some sort of trick question?!”

He just looked at me, shook his head, smiled, and then walked back to his side of the building. Which was probably a smart move on his part.

Shortly before closing time the boss who’d asked me about my windows in the first place bravely ventured near my office. He stood tentatively outside the doorway and said, “Are you mad at me?”

I looked at him, laughed and said, “No…but here’s a little hint. Next time you think you’re being helpful by telling someone their windows are open, you might also want to inform that person that it looks like rain.”

He laughed, too, but I think it was more out of relief. (Which makes me wonder about my reputation here. Am I that scary?!)

On my drive home, I called my parents and shared my story with my dad and we both got a good laugh out of the debacle. So at least I was able to see the humor in the situation.

And then the A/C went out in our place on Saturday. The temperature outside, just in case you’re not from this neck o’ the woods, was 93 degrees.

But that’s another blog for another day. I’m still working out the humor in that one.