Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dear Mother Nature...

Hello, lady?? It’s almost April – what’s with the weather??

Okay, I can understand a day here and there on the cool side because you’re still changing into your spring bloomers, but come on. It’s 37 degrees out there and you’re spitting snowflakes, for crying out loud! Perhaps you forgot to flip your calendar? Again: It's. Almost. April!

All I can say is that you’d better clean up your act, ma’am, or I’m afraid we’ll have no choice but to let you go. With this economy and your one-directional focus, it may not be as easy to get another gig as you might think.

I don’t believe we’re being unreasonable here as we’re certainly not expecting you to roll out the balmy 70 degree temps and full-on bright blue skies. We’re patient. We have to be – we live in the Midwest. We can give you until, oh, let’s say, May 1st. (And that may well be pushing it given your recent performance.)

I have to admit that my impatience with your choices in temperature and precipitation may be due in part to my jumping the gun and taking my winter coat to the dry cleaners already in preparation of off-season storage. Thus, I have been forced to wear a thin raincoat for the past two days. And wearing a thin raincoat when I’m dodging snowflakes and gale-force winds does nothing for my mood. Neither does uncontrollable shivering.

Trust me, a little sunshine goes a long way toward improving dispositions around here, and I’d like to change mine to “sunny,” okay? (I’m sure Vince would appreciate that as well.)

Not only are my lips and cheeks chapping from the bitter wind, but I have to admit I’m feeling a little bitter myself. I mean, because of your actions, I’m hiding a perfectly good pedicure under heavy woolen socks! And I’d dearly love to ditch the snow boots as they are not in the least stylish or attractive.

Now we’re not completely insensitive, Mother Nature, and we do realize that you have a difficult job to do. You’re responsible for remembering which parts of the world are experiencing summer at the same time other areas of the world are in the middle of winter. Probably because of this, I’m able to enjoy pretty flowers (in photo) that can’t yet be grown in the frozen tundra that is currently Ohio. (And, thank you, Vince, for said lovely spring flowers.)

But, Ms. Nature? Can you please pony up and throw a little warmth our way? I, for one, would truly appreciate it.

Thank you,


Jane’s Domain

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekend Update

It’s hard to believe the weekend is over already. I swear, it seems only moments ago that it was 5PM on Friday and I was picking up a guy from a downtown alley and driving him home.

And the margaritas we had later were…


Oh, you wanted me to clarify that first sentence?

Aw, c’mon. Let me have a little fun, why don’t you?!

Yeah, yeah, okay. This IS me talkin’, after all, and I’d no more pick up a stranger from an alley than I would to try to sneak 13 items in the 12-items-or-less line at Kroger.

The “guy” is a friend who normally takes the bus home from work. But since a group of us had after-work plans to go out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant close to where I live, I offered to give him a ride. His wife, who works close to the restaurant, was meeting us there and she and her husband would then drive home together.

The truth isn’t nearly so intriguing, is it?!

Ah well. We still had fun. And the margaritas were pretty tasty!

I spent Saturday cleaning and shopping. Did the shopping part sound like fun? Yeah, not so much. I was shopping for Vince. And I’ve discovered that buying clothes for men isn’t nearly as much fun as buying stuff for women – and, in particular, buying stuff for me.

I could be dragging myself home from work barely able to hold my head aloft and if someone suggested we go shopping for fun new spring sandals, for example, my eyes would pop open, a big smile would cross my face and I’d perk right the hell up.

And, of course, if that someone were to suggest we use their credit card for any fun new spring sandals purchased, I’d be downright ecstatic. Not that I’d really know what that feels like as this scenario has never happened. But it’s always nice to dream.

Sunday was more shopping, but lest you think I was all perky and stuff, let me just clarify and tell you that we were buying things like yogurt and chicken breasts and romaine lettuce. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to work up much enthusiasm when tossing a loaf of wheat bread in my shopping cart.

But at least the pantry has been replenished. If we hadn’t gone on that particular shopping excursion, we were pretty much lookin’ a can of corn and a box of Triscuit crackers for dinner.

And then we headed to bowling. While my team isn’t in last place, we’re pretty darn close. As there is no chance of moving up in the standings and taking home any trophies for the season, we’re now just bowling for fun. Uh huh. “Fun” is a relative term. When I can’t even break 100, I’m not exactly sure how much fun I’m having. Yikes. Fortunately, I somehow managed to rally and by the third game I bowled something like 170, which is my best score for the year.

And thus ended another exciting weekend.

…oh, wait! I forgot to tell you about cleaning out the kitty litterboxes…!

(Boy, do I need a vacation!)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wonky Weather

Spring is clearly here because the weather is all wonky. It’s sunny one minute, storming the next. And this morning we woke up to a dusting of snow on the cars outside. Yikes. I’m either freezing cold or boiling hot and I have absolutely no idea how to dress these days! Yeah, yeah, I know all about layering and all that – but by the end of the days sometimes I fear I’d be down to my skivvies if I truly wanted to be comfortable.

All day long yesterday we heard we were in for some nasty weather. I was willing to believe the meteorologists this one time, too, because it was dark and ominous off and on most of the day. We even had an occasional raindrop hit the window. But there was no major rainstorm.

As the day wore on, I sort of figured Mother Nature was just waiting for the 5 o’clock rush hour to hit before she unleashed her venom on us poor commuters. I don’t know about anyone else, but I just l-o-v-e driving home when it’s raining so hard my overtaxed windshield wipers can’t keep up and I can barely see the car ahead of me. Or when it hails. I hate hail. Whenever it hails, I want my car to be safe and sound inside the garage so the poor thing doesn’t suffer any more dings and dents.

The radio announcers don’t help the situation any when they interrupt regular programming every five minutes to tell us about the catastrophic winds and severe thunderstorm warnings – in counties so far removed from my own that when the storm finally hits my area, it’s reduced to a coupla halfhearted raindrops and a little puff of wind.

I’m also starting to rethink my decision to “like” on Facebook the television stations in Columbus. Why? Because they, too, do a play-by-play as the storm progresses from one county to the next. This mostly pisses me off because I’m so directionally challenged, I don’t know if the storm is heading toward me or away from me.

Oh, and the traffic reporters get everyone in a tizzy when they talk about how roadways are slick because some of the hail might be coating the road surfaces and we need to leave plenty of room between vehicles in case we slide. Well, come on. It was 60 degrees out there – how long was the hail going to stay in solid form before melting into a tiny puff of steam?

It did start raining shortly before 5 o’clock, so we left a few minutes early to get a jumpstart on the commute home. I devised my travel strategy avoiding the freeway that was already backed up. And…nothing. Cars were driving normally. The rain completely dissipated the farther north I drove. And I got home without a single piece of hail striking the roof of my car.

Talk about a letdown. Here I was all prepared for yet another storm of the century and I didn’t even get to see a flicker of lightning. Now, true enough, it did hail up north. But I missed it all.

And then this morning when we woke up and saw a coating of snow on the roofs of the cars outside, well, we knew we were in for another chilly day so I hauled out my turtleneck and winter coat again.

Hopefully I won’t be down to my skivvies by the end of the day. I got dressed in a hurry and they don’t match. Oops.

Hope you’re all staying warm today. Or…cool. You know what they say – we live in the Midwest. Give it a minute; the weather will change.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

So…show of hands…Who took the day off to drink green beer today? And, okay, so who is taking tomorrow off to recover from all that green beer consumption?

Not me. Never have. And at this rate, probably never will. Drinking beer (green or otherwise) all day and all night long is an activity for the young. We older folk just can’t hang like we used to.

Oh sure, give me a beer or two and I’m fine. Giving me three or four is okay – as long as the glasses become a whole lot smaller! More than that, and I’m in trouble. Hangovers at my age are simply not pretty.

I can remember years ago going to a downtown bar at lunchtime with a co-worker who wanted to experience a touch of the St. Paddy’s day celebration with her friends who had taken the day off. We were only taking our allotted hour, but we gamely joined the party in progress at noon.

And, yes, by the time we arrived everyone was pretty much hammered. I hadn’t seen that much partying since I tailgated as an undergrad at Ohio State on football Saturdays. And this particular St. Paddy’s Day was probably only 2-3 years away from my any-excuse-to-have-a-beer college student mentality – but I still couldn’t see being hammered by noontime on a Thursday, St. Paddy’s Day notwithstanding.

I don’t know. When did celebrating St. Patrick mean just going out and getting drunk? I think it originally started as a religious celebration…but then, I suppose some people think drinking mass quantities of alcohol is a religious experience. Or maybe it’s just the aftermath when they call upon God to help them with their achin’ heads and queasy stomachs… Or, even worse, those who have overdone it to the extent where they’re, uh, “bowing before the porcelain god.” (Yuck.)

The one thing I’ve attempted to do every single year of my life – or at least since I started grade school, anyway – is to wear something green on March 17th.

When I was a little girl I remember my Nanna teasing me that she’d have to pinch me if I didn’t wear green on St. Paddy’s Day. First of all, I was a little shocked that my Nanna might pinch me. But even worse, I didn’t want any of my classmates to feel obliged to pinch me either! So, even though green is not really my color, I scoured my closet and dresser drawers for something that would do. In grade school, since we wore navy blue plaid uniforms, it was a little tougher to work in the green. But most of us owned a pair of green knee socks expressly for St. Patrick’s Day. By the time I hit the 8th grade and was allowed to get my ears pierced, tiny green shamrock earrings were the way to go.

As for food, well, I was never a big fan of boiled potatoes and cabbage. Plus, I don’t really remember eating a lot of corned beef as a kid, though I’m sure we did. My mom is most definitely Irish. My dad? Well, not so much. But he – like every other non-Irishman – gets to pretend for a day.

I’m not sure how Vince and I will celebrate St. Paddy’s Day. We’ve both had a busy week and are pretty tired – so a “pub crawl” is out. Heck, we’ll count it as the luck o’ the Irish just to be able to crawl upstairs and get eight hours of sleep tonight!

Plus, we don’t have any corned beef at home ‘cause Vince is waiting for the after-holiday sale at Kroger’s.

So…Happy St. Paddy’s Day. Hope you all get kissed rather than pinched. Well, unless you happen to like getting pinched. But I don’t want to know the details, okay?!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Alarming Alarm

It’s not often I have to use an actual key to unlock a door. For one thing, I have Vince and he does most of the door unlocking. And I use the remote to lock and unlock my car.

Once in a great while I will be the first person to arrive at the office and then I’m forced to dig my keys back out of my suitcase of a purse and unlock the door.

This would not be that big a deal…except that I’m then required to disarm the alarm. And that task, my friends, is not a good way to start my day. Why? Because I hate the loud beeping noise the alarm makes. And when I enter the code to disarm the alarm, the little red light refuses to turn green. So, while the beeping continues, I enter the code again. And, yes, the alarm continues to beep and the red light continues to flash at me.

By this point, I’m starting to panic because I know there are only so many seconds left before the horrendously LOUD screeching alarm starts. So I enter the code in once again – and by this point, I’m furiously punching the keypad.

If the light doesn’t switch to green, one of two things will happen: 1) I will have mere nanoseconds to try the code one more time, which I enter amid loud cursing, or 2) the alarm will start and then I will have to answer the ringing of the phone that I can barely hear when the alarm company calls to get me to utter some secret code that I can barely remember.

Most of the time, I’m able to turn off the alarm. So apparently the cursing helps.

I am, by the way, entering the correct digits to the code. But for some reason, the keypad doesn’t like the way I enter them.

Needless to say, I’m never anxious to be the first person to enter the building.

I was a little nonplussed this morning to realize that I was, indeed, the first to arrive. So I dawdled in my car for a minute or two hoping against hope that someone else would show up. I listened to the answer to a trivia question on the radio. I took a few last sips of my coffee. I searched – without success – for my umbrella (which I would later discover hiding under my desk).

I even checked the status of my fingernails and debated about taking a few moments to polish my nails with the handy bottle of nail polish I carry in my purse for just such stalling moments. I didn’t – but mostly because I realized I’d probably smudge them in my panicked state while punching in the alarm code.

And then, realizing I couldn’t put it off any longer, I got out of my car. With a heavy sigh and a "put-upon" look on my face, I made the long slow trek up to the dreaded door to the office.

I pulled my big wad of keys out of my purse and – almost as if I were moving in slow motion – started to put the key into the lock and…

…the key didn’t fit!

Oh happy day!!

No, the locks hadn’t been changed in a not-so-subtle message telling me my job had been eliminated. Instead, when I took a closer look at the key, I realized it was badly twisted. And, yes, this happened last week when I inadvertently tried to grind up my keys in the garbage disposal. Clearly, I hadn’t examined all of my keys carefully.

So, even though it was a rainy and rather cold morning, I happily and patiently waited for someone else to arrive so they could let me in.

And did my colleague have any problem whatsoever keying in the code and disarming the alarm? Of course not.

So it’s me. Gotta be me. Sigh…

I spent the morning feeling relieved that I would no longer be responsible for opening the office door what with the bent and twisted key and all.

And then I came back from lunch to find a shiny new key sitting in the middle of my desk. Mocking me.

Hmmm… Wonder if anyone offers a remedial alarm disarming course?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm "Officially" Old!

I’ve decided I’m officially old. Yeah, yeah, so I suppose that technically I’ve been “officially old” for quite some time now, but what sealed the deal was my trip to the drugstore at lunchtime.

And, no, smarty-pants, I did not have to pick up a package of Depends or a tube of Fixodent.

The clear indication – for me – was that I couldn’t select a nail polish color. Nail polish colors are no longer light pink, hot pink and red. They are purple, lime green, orange, dark blue and an assortment of weird colors that can’t even be found in the biggest box of Crayola Crayons.

I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy a bottle of flat gray nail polish that looks sort of like the gray paint primer you see on half-painted junker cars on the road. And, like those half-painted junker cars on the road, I’d feel the need to take a “real” color and cover up the gray.

Where I got the idea that it’s acceptable to polish fingernails a hot pink but not an ocean blue, I don’t know. Probably they didn’t have the technology to make all these bizarre nail polish colors when I was young.

Nevertheless, I walked out of CVS without a bottle of pretty nail polish and my nails remain plain old boring “natural.” I guess my head was spinning from looking at the color palettes available to me that I didn’t even think to purchase a bottle of clear polish so I could at least give my nails a little shine.

Not that I don’t support younger folks in their quest to be “different.” Seeing a teenager strutting down the street flashing Shocking Purple finger- and toenails doesn’t make me cringe. More power to ‘em, I say. (Sporting numerous tats and piercings and ear gauges, on the other hand…well, I can only stomach so much…)

But when I see a woman of a…”certain age,” let’s say…wearing the same nail polish, I sort of think she’s trying to recapture her youth that has long since fled the premises.

And when an older woman wears a top cut so low that, as my friend Mrs. B says, “you can see New York City”…well, that’s just plain wrong. Especially when things up front there are not quite as, uh, “firm” as they used to be and you see freckled, wrinkly and saggy skin way before you ever get to the cleavage. Must be why I’m wearing turtlenecks more and more often these days.

Not that I’m ready to park myself in a wheelchair at the ol’ the nursing home quite yet.

I mean, I can remember when I was in my late 30s, my mother told me of “The Rule” that once a woman turns 40 she should not wear her hair long anymore. Well, unless, I suppose, they wound their long gray hair up in a bun on top of their head à la Granny Clampett.

But did I listen to my mother and “The Rule”? Not on your life! I think I would look crappy with short hair and the one time in my adult life I had “short-ish” hair, I hated it.

I’d use Jennifer Aniston as an example as someone who is Over 40 and Fabulous with long locks…but she had to go and chop off her hair again recently. My guess, though, is that she’ll grow it out long again soon enough.

Not that I’m really trying to emulate Hollywood, though. I couldn’t possibly keep up. For one thing, my “uniform” of black slacks, black shoes, and a little color pop in whatever top I choose for the day would definitely NOT do. Heck, the women in Hollywood get ragged on if they happen to carry the same purse more than once. That’d drive me nuts!

All I’m sayin’ is that I’d like to be able to go into CVS and find a bottle of plain ol’ mauve nail polish. Is that too much to ask? Or should I realize that no one is looking at my nails anymore anyway and I should just shut up, wind my long gray hair in a bun on top of my head and go park myself in that wheelchair?!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Yam What I Yam! (Subtitle: Happy One Year and One Week Anniversary to Me!)

I missed my one year blogging anniversary, which was a week ago today. Of course, Hallmark hasn’t yet started selling “Happy Blogging Anniversary” cards quite yet – so I guess it’s no big deal. But personally, I think it’s kind of cool that I’ve managed to keep this thing going for over a year now.

Who knew I had that much to say?! And, yeah, okay, so it’s not earth-shattering information I’m imparting here, but hopefully I’ve been able to get you to smile a time or two.

I was talking to someone last night about my blogs and said that they pretty much fall into two categories: 1) caffeine deprivation and 2) Calamity Jane strikes again.

Sheesh! I seem to be a veritable walking accident waiting to happen. Before all these blogs, I had no idea that I was this clumsy or forgetful. Maybe I’m just not ingesting enough caffeine?

Nothing like ratting yourself out to the blogging world that you can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

Oh well. As Popeye says, “I yam what I yam!”

Except…I’m not really like Popeye at all. Vince would totally agree with that statement because he has a hard time getting me to eat my ‘greens.’ Spinach? Yuck. Well, except I could probably go for a good spinach salad with some chopped walnuts and a little bleu cheese, and tossed with a light vinaigrette, perhaps.

Plus, Popeye has a weird eye, freakishly big forearms, smokes a corncob pipe and sports a tattoo. Other than the weird eye, I do not resemble Popeye in the slightest.

If I had to compare myself to a cartoon character I’d be more like…um…uh…

Hmmm…I can’t think of a single cartoon character that I even remotely resemble. I don’t have any supernatural powers to speak of and I’m unable to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Nor do I live in a pineapple under the sea. My eyes are nowhere as scary and big as the Powerpuff Girls and, besides, I’m no longer in kindergarten. So that’s out.

Oh well. I never wanted to compare myself to a cartoon character, anyway.

I think, instead, I’ll just keep on being plain ol’ unique me with my weird thoughts that I write down and turn into blogs. So…when I next run into a wall – or trip over yet another carton in the garage – or spill my coffee for the gazillionth time, I’ll be sure to tell you about it. Hope you’ll keep on reading!

And…thanks. Just knowing someone out there is reading my blogs is enough. No “Happy Blogging Anniversary” cards necessary.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Where Are My Keys?!?!

I had another blog written for today, but I interrupt your regularly scheduled post with this news bulletin: I AM HAVING A CRAPPY DAY!

Actually, it has improved a little thanks to my knight in shining armor husband.

Naturally, I need to tell you about it.

I woke up early this morning because my parents are visiting this weekend and I wanted to pick up a little bit as they will be there before we arrive home from work. They were supposed to visit last weekend, but cancelled due to winter weather.

So I put fresh sheets on the guest room bed, picked up my shoes off the dining room floor and put them away and cleaned kitty litter, toilets and sinks. I folded throws and draped them over couches and put things away. You know…the usual “stuff” you do when company is coming to make it look like you don’t actually live in your home.

Then I brewed my morning coffee and put it in a to-go container and set it on the counter along with my lunch bag, purse and book and then headed toward the stairs with the intention of getting dressed so I could leave for work. Only I heard a loud crash coming from the kitchen, so I had to go back and investigate what disaster I’d be forced to clean up.

My purse, which had apparently been balanced precariously on the counter atop the book and lunch bag, had fallen off the counter and onto the floor where half the contents spilled out and rolled into every far reaching corner in the place.

Sighing, I bent down and retrieved the junk on the floor and tossed it back in my purse. I figured I would organize it again during my semi-annual purse-cleaning day, which isn’t scheduled for another month or so.

So no major biggie.

I went upstairs, got ready for work, then came back downstairs, put on my coat, blew kisses to the kitties and then grabbed purse, lunch bag, coffee cup and book and headed out to my car.

It was then that the search for my car keys began.

They weren’t in my pockets. They weren’t in my purse. They weren’t in the ignition. I even searched my lunch bag thinking it had been a long week and I’m a little sleep-deprived, so who knows what weird thing I could’ve done with the keys. But, no luck.

I searched the floor and, while I didn’t find my keys, I discovered that the floor of my car is REALLY dirty. Not that that helped the situation.

So I headed back inside and looked on the dining room table where the keys usually end up…except that I’d cleared off the table earlier. So they weren’t there. I looked on the floor. I headed back to the kitchen to look again on the floor since my purse had fallen over in that location.

But they’re a big ol’ set of keys and I couldn’t imagine that I’d overlooked them when I picked up the junk from my purse that had fallen out. I hadn’t.

I even walked upstairs and looked through the shoes that I’d put away thinking that possibly the kittens had knocked the keys off the table and they’d landed in a shoe.


After about 15 minutes of ever-more-frantic searching, I had to call my boss to tell him I couldn’t find my keys. There was no possible way I could make it to work on time by this point unless I developed the sudden ability to fly. Apparently I sounded slightly stressed (yeah and I’m slightly downplaying it by using the word “slightly”!). I may have even said a bad word or two, but he’s the king of bad words, so it didn’t faze the man. He just suggested I take a deep breath, look again a little more slowly and carefully and get to work when I was able

After another 10 minutes of searching, tears of frustration might have even been involved. I mean…COME ON! I’d driven the car home the night before so they had to be there somewhere!

I searched couch cushions. I moved all the chairs away from the dining room table and crawled on the floor underneath the table in case they were somehow wedged behind a table leg. I went upstairs and searched both bedrooms even though I never bring my keys upstairs.

Somewhere in there the frantic texts to my husband began. “I can’t find my keys! You don’t have them, do you??!” And after a few more minutes of searching: “I need you to come home and bring my spare key so I can get to work!”

And, just in case he didn’t read those texts immediately after it was safe to look at his phone, I called and left a voicemail. It was not, as you might imagine, one of those light and breezy “Hi honey!” kind of voicemail messages.

While waiting for Vince to call me back, I once again returned to my car to check one more time. The lunch bag holding the plastic container with remnants of yesterday’s salad was still on the passenger seat because we’d gone out immediately after work the night before, so I brought it inside so I could rinse the container and put it in the dishwasher.

And then I started to run the garbage disposal.

And then I found my keys.

Oh yes. They’d somehow gymnastically flipped to the left and landed fully inside the garbage disposal while my purse upended the other way onto the floor.

But now they were stuck inside the garbage disposal. Despite repeated attempts, which resulted in a very sore hand, I couldn’t manage to free up the one key that was stuck. It was Vince’s spare car key but that’s probably not of any significance other than I knew that at least the key to my car was most likely undamaged.

Here’s where my knight in shining armor comes in. Vince called and said, “You can’t find your keys?” And I said, “Oh…I found them…but now they’re stuck inside the garbage disposal.”

His response? “Am I allowed to snicker during this conversation?”

My reply? “Uhhh…not if you value your life!”

Yeah, I hadn’t yet developed a sense of humor about my morning. Probably I’m still workin’ on that.

Anyway, Vince came home, hauled out the ol’ toolbox, picked up an Allen wrench, and within two point three seconds, released the key from inside the disposal and I was able to pull out the ring of keys.

Oh happy day!

So he hugged and kissed me and sent me on my way.

And we lived happily ever after.

Well, except that I’m thinking of having a spare car key surgically implanted in my forehead so this will NEVER happen again!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oh, The Joys of Electronic Tax Filing

I hate my computer. I mean, seriously hate, hate, HATE my computer. Well, okay, so sometimes I love it. I love the ease of sending information to other people. I love being instantly connected to forms, data, information, programs, customers, e-mails, friends, family, Facebook…well, you get the drift.

But when my computer doesn’t cooperate or work properly? Yep, HATE it.

I decided to file my taxes electronically, despite last year’s fiasco when I couldn’t get stuff to work and ended up mailing the form in like all those other folks clinging to outdated 20th century modes of communication.

This year I was determined to get it to work.

So I gathered the booklet and forms and calculator and gamely started filling out the paperwork. Hey, what can I tell you? I am only inching along to 21st century practices. Mostly because I didn’t want any surprises like finding out I owed the IRS money!

Anyway, I filled out the paperwork and, once I assured myself that I was, indeed, due a refund, I accessed the IRS website for the online forms.

My first hurdle was creating a user name and password. This is apparently not as easy as it sounds. The system did not like the password I selected, even though I used the appropriate number of letters, numerals and special characters, as required. In desperation, I made up another password and – voila! – it was accepted. Oh, the heady feeling of success!

But then I hit a snag. And this was the beginning of my newfound hatred of my computer. Apparently, some software was outdated and I needed to update it before I could continue. So I did. It took freakin’ For. Ev. Er. And then I had to log out of all my other software programs so the computer could restart.

Finally (after playing countless rounds of “Angry Birds” on my cell phone), my computer cooperated and I was able to file my taxes online. Once sent, however, I received an automated message telling me that it would take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to learn if the IRS accepted my filing.

Fortunately, my tax return must have been in order because after the 24-hour deadline I did receive a “Congratulations!” message. Yippee!

My next task was to file my Ohio tax return. I figured this would be a much simpler process because I’d already mastered the federal tax website. Ha! Little did I know…

Once again I hauled out my trusty calculator and did the figuring on paper and then accessed the official State of Ohio website. And, once again, I was snottily informed that I didn’t have the latest version of some piece of free software and had to upgrade it.

Which I did.

Several times.

And had to restart my computer.

Several times.

And every time I went back to the screen to access the form, it told me the same thing – that I hadn’t updated my software. Grrrrr.

I don’t know this for certain, but I’d say there is an IT geek sitting in some dark corner of the Ohio Department of Taxation building who is sniggering to himself because he wrote this glitch into the program and he knows he’s creating angst in all sorts of people like me.

So I spent a moment colorfully cursing out this imagined IT geek. It didn’t solve my problem, but it did make me feel a little better.

Then I took a deep breath and decided to try one of the other online options, just to see what sort of torture I could put myself through. Shockingly, I was successful this time and was able to file my taxes electronically.


Now, let’s just hope that I wasn’t so flummoxed and cross-eyed by the time I entered my checking account information, that I didn’t reverse a couple digits and some stranger ends up with my money. I mean, after all this hassle, I totally DESERVE that measly little refund!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Jane’s Early Morning Wake-Up Call

I woke up unexpectedly and wayyyyy too early this morning, so I’m tired. And the caffeine I’ve been pouring down my gullet hasn’t helped one iota.

I’m blaming the felines in the house because they woke me up shortly before 5AM by licking my cheek. Believe me, this was unexpected because the felines in the house have heretofore been banned from our bedroom. So you can imagine how startling this particular wake-up call was. Vince, by the way, never ever wakes me up in the morning by licking my cheek.

Speaking of my dear husband, perhaps I should be blaming him for the early wake-up call since he’s the one who left the bedroom door open, which allowed the little monsters access to the room. Not to mention access to my cheek.

We’ve banned them from the bedroom because we’re trying to keep our comforter, which we received as a wedding gift, from being shredded by their little killer kitty claws. (Say that five times fast.)

So far we’ve managed to keep it shred-and snag-free. And I believe my behavior once the sandpapery little tongue came in contact with my cheek was enough to convince the kittens that they did NOT wish to remain in the bedroom to explore any further. I shot straight up in bed and shrieked “Eeeeek!” because I wasn’t even dreaming about a kitten licking my cheek.

Their response was to do that peculiar-but-funny cat maneuver of launching themselves vertically in the air with claws extended and fur and tail standing straight up. Without touching ground, they then scampered out of the bedroom.

Meanwhile, I fumbled around for my glasses and then trudged downstairs to give them some food in the hopes that they would leave me alone and I could get at least a little cat-nap (ha) on the couch before I had to officially start my day.

What I failed to do was shut the bedroom door after I left the room.

I gave them their morning portion of kitten chow, which always makes me laugh. Why? Because they act as if they’ve never seen food before and they’re squeaking (Jinx) and meowing (Twinks) as if they’re absolutely starving! (I’m feeding them according to our vet’s instructions, so they shouldn’t be “absolutely starving.” But this is beside the point.)

They wolfed down their chow while I pulled a fuzzy throw over myself and attempted to close my eyes. Moments later, they snapped open again because I could hear only a faint jingling of the little bells on their collars. My crack intellect told me that they were getting into mischief beyond my immediate reach.

So I snuck upstairs and discovered them back in the bedroom where they were launching themselves off the bedside table and onto the bed. Sigh.

Somehow I managed to herd them out of the bedroom. Then I slipped back inside, shut the door, turned off the light and jumped back in bed.

Except I couldn’t sleep anymore. I dozed a little bit, perhaps, but I couldn’t get settled back down.

Other than a little incident when applying mascara this morning (the brush should never go directly into one’s eye), I seem to be unscathed by my lack of sleep. But I’m pretty glad that I’m wearing boots today – they seem to be keeping me a little more stable. If I’d worn my slip-on moccasins, I suspect I would be swaying on my feet. And it’s a good thing I’m spending the majority of my time sitting down.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll wake up. Eventually. Meanwhile, I sort of wish I was at home today. Why? Because every time I saw those kittens dozing, I think I’d be tempted to go over and wake them up by blowing in their faces. Or by banging on some pots and pans. Or by slamming a door.

I’d try licking their little cheeks, but they’d probably (a) like it, and (b) think the other kitten was giving her a bath. But mostly (c), I don’t need to deal with a hairball today.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Workin' At The Car Wash...

We made it to March. Yeehaw! Now we have just one more month of winter to get through.

Yeah…I know, I know…spring officially arrives on March 20th. On the other hand, I can easily recall some nasty snowstorms we have endured in late March, so I’m just gonna stick with the one more month of winter theory. That way, if we don’t see another snowflake until next winter I can be happy. And if we do get dumped on again, I can just roll my eyes, shrug my shoulders and say, “Well, it’s still winter and this is still the Midwest – whatryagonna do?!”

Sheesh. The mental hoops I make myself jump through…

Today, however, is a spectacular day. While it may not be t-shirts and flip flop weather, it’s an almost-balmy 42 degrees and with the sun shining down, I didn’t even wear my winter coat this afternoon.

I was almost tempted to wash my car, but you know as soon as I do that we’d get hit with a rogue blizzard or something. So I think I’ll leave the ol’ Mazda dirty and salt-encrusted for a couple more days.

Besides, I can’t match the car wash deal Vince got the other day.

See, we went to Newark and had dinner with his dad who told Vince that he found a cheap, er, inexpensive do-it-yourself car wash and cleaned his car for a mere quarter. Not that we didn’t believe him, but here in Columbus, the do-it-yourself car washes won’t even dribble a little water from the hose until you plug in at least a buck and a quarter in change. And you’d better be prepared to give up several more dollars worth of quarters before you’re finished.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of the do-it-yourself car washes. I used to be when I was fanatical about keeping my new car sparkling clean. But since my vehicle is older (and so am I), I’ve become, well, lazy. And I no longer carry around a bagful of quarters. Instead, I bring my car to the automatic car wash place that costs at least $8 a pop.

But I get to sit inside my car in comfort and watch other people scrub the wheels and windows and then my car is magically transported into the dark interior (“put your vehicle in Neutral”) and then foamy soap sprays out and envelopes me in a big pink cloud and then the red felt monster does its shimmy-shake thing over my car and then I arrive at the air dryer that is so powerful it practically sucks the whole vehicle up into its gaping maw before it spits it out and stops and then two towel boys frenetically start toweling off the excess water droplets.

I then get to drive away happy with a clean car (once I put my vehicle in Drive, of course) and the towel boys get to deal with soggy towels.

Now I don’t indulge in car washes very often and by the time I do take my car in, it’s so crusty that it’s hard to tell what color it’s supposed to be, so I figure it’s well worth the eight bucks.

Vince, on the other hand, doesn’t like to pay that much for a car wash. Neither does his dad. This would truly be an example of “like father, like son.”

So his dad directed us to the cheap, er, inexpensive car wash. Now, it was dark out. And it was definitely not a balmy 42 degrees. And I forgot to wear my winter gloves. So I elected to stay inside the car while father and son bonded over the scrubber brush.

Now, I’d love to report that the car was sparkling clean without a speck of dirt after the twenty-five cent car wash. It wasn’t. I’d also love to report that it only cost twenty-five cents. But it didn’t. They were forced to feed another quarter into the machine. Vince’s dad maintains that it was because Vince’s car was especially dirty.

And then we had to drive across the street to the gas station so they could clean the windows with a squeegee and paper towels. For free. (Otherwise, it would’ve cost a lot more at the car wash.)

I’m not certain that the squeegee and paper towels actually helped the situation because there were a lot of streaks and dirt left when they were finished, but (a) it wasn’t my car, and (b) I didn’t have to help. So it was all good.

And the upshot is that Vince has a semi-clean car and it didn’t break the bank. Even more wondrous is that he didn’t incite Mother Nature into sending a rogue blizzard our way. So I’m pretty grateful about that.

Let’s hope I have the same luck when I next wash my car. Or else you can blame the rogue blizzard on me.

Happy March!