Friday, December 20, 2013

What's So Funny?

Sometimes I worry that I’m losing my sense of humor.  Like the other night when I was hastily throwing together something for dinner before Vince arrived home. 

The water was getting ready to boil on the stove awaiting the noodles and the beef and gravy were simmering away on Low.  Concurrently, I was washing the glass blender cup thingie from our morning fruit smoothie.  Once I realized the water had indeed started boiling on the stove, I left the blender cup thingie in the sink with the water running in order to rinse out the soap.  I figured I’d throw the noodles in the pot and would then turn around and shut the tap off.


Instead, I threw the noodles into the boiling water and then had to stir the gravy so it wouldn’t burn.  “Low” on our stove apparently means “Boil Vigorously.” 

So by the time I turned around to shut the water off in the sink, the blender cup thingie had filled to capacity and was overflowing – all over the sink. And the counters. And the floor. 


But rather than roll my eyes and laugh at my boneheaded move, I got all growly.  I swear, it was like I’d left the water running all weekend instead of a mere moment.  There was so much water everywhere, I was debating whether or not to get the mop and bucket.  But I figured if I took the time to do that, the noodles would be overcooked, the gravy would indeed be burned and I’d probably smack myself in the face with the mop handle as I wrestled it out of the closet.

So, instead, I unhappily crawled around on the floor mopping up the water with a towel as more water dripped from the countertop above and onto my head.

And, naturally, it was at that precise moment that Vince arrived home and walked into the kitchen.


Fortunately, he was feeling silly and was (eventually) able to get me to (grudgingly) smile.

And with four hands to handle the work, neither the noodles were overcooked nor was the gravy burned.

So as crises go, this was minor.  But there was a time not so long ago when I would not have lost my cool over something so trivial. I mean, it’s not like I spilled a whole bottle of red wine all over the white carpet or sliced off a vital appendage or anything.

Part of it may be that I’m just getting old and cranky.  But part of it may be that I haven’t been getting enough sleep lately.  Instead of “settling down for a long winter’s nap” the night before, I was up at 2 a.m. haunting the hallways like The Ghost of Christmas Past. 

When I awoke the next morning to get ready for my day, I did rather resemble Ebenezer Scrooge, so I guess it all ties together.

Ebenezer Scrooge, by the way, probably didn’t need as much under-eye cover-up as I did.

But at least I recognize that I need to regain my sense of humor. And fortunately I haven’t yet morphed into the curmudgeon-y lady who shakes her fist at neighborhood kids who dare to walk across her lawn. But then, this is probably because there aren’t any little kids living in our neighborhood.  Besides, I’m not the one who is all that concerned about the lawn. No, that would be Vince’s domain, and if he wants to shake his fists at little kids, who am I to stop him? 

Actually, I would love to see that – and it would probably make me laugh.  So maybe I should go out and find some little kids and drag them to our house?

Yeah, on second thought, that’s probably not a good idea.  Prison would be a surefire way to lose whatever sense of humor I have left.

So I will have to work on this regaining-my-sense-of-humor thing. Like I should probably only look at the funny stuff people post on Facebook instead of the controversial stuff that gets everyone all riled up.  And I can only hope that my friends turn into instant comedians and tell me jokes and funny stories. 

And if none of that works?  Well, I could always take a nap.

But just in case, I should probably buy some more under-eye cover-up. Comparing myself to Ebenezer Scrooge makes me cranky.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Is Sending Christmas Cards Becoming a Thing of the Past?

When I was younger, I thought it would be fun to work at the Hallmark Company. I imagined a fabulous career writing greeting cards, especially once Shoebox (a tiny little division of Hallmark) was born because it was the home of the funny cards. 

But then I realized my verbose style of writing wouldn’t work for greeting cards. They would’ve lost profits because my cards would’ve been booklets. And there would’ve been a mass shortage of red ink as copy editors took their red pens to my verbiage. 

So, for the sake of an entire industry, I opted not to pursue that career. Besides, I didn’t really want to move to Hallmark’s corporate headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. At the time, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would voluntarily move to Kansas City, Missouri. What am I saying?  I still can’t imagine moving to Kansas City, Missouri.

(My apologies if you’re from Kansas City, Missouri, or you live there now. I’m sure it’s a lovely place.)

Now, however, I’d be more concerned with the color pink than red, anyway. As in the dreaded pink slip.  I don’t know statistics, but it would be hard to imagine that the greeting card industry hasn’t suffered as a result of the whole social media thing.  Why send a card when you can wish someone Happy Birthday on Facebook? Why send a Christmas card if you can tweet a greeting to all your followers?

I could, of course, make up some statistics to support my claims.  But seeing as how I barely passed Statistics in college, I wouldn’t even know how to make up something believable and/or realistic. 

So let’s just assume that the greeting card industry has suffered. Just like the USPS has suffered. I mean, if you’re not going to buy a card, you don’t need to buy a stamp either.

My proof?  Well, does a sample population of one (me) count?  No?  Too bad.  It does for my purposes.

I used to frequently get cards and letters from family and friends throughout the year. And I used to frequently send cards and letters throughout the year.  Now?  Not so much. 

I used to look forward to Christmas when it was a pleasure to open my mailbox to collect all those fancy envelopes filled with pretty glitter-covered Christmas trees and Santa Clauses and Nativity scenes.  I loved to read all the newsy news and gaze at the enclosed photos from people I care about. It was the one time of the year when personal mail outnumbered junk mail, sales circulars and bills by about a bajillion to one. 

(See?  Bad at statistics.)

But now?  Not so much.  We have received only a smattering of cards from friends and family. We’ve heard more from people who say they are not sending cards any longer.

So it’s a tradition that I fear is heading toward oblivion.

It’s not that I don’t understand why.  I mean, it’s an expensive undertaking, for one thing.  Buying cards in bulk and purchasing multiple books of stamps ain’t cheap.  And it’s time consuming.  Especially for someone like me because I have to write a long letter to add to our cards.

And I have to print out pretty labels because my handwriting is becoming more and more chicken-scratchy as the years pass. (Legible handwriting. Something else that is heading toward oblivion?) 

So I recently bought labels made for laser printers.  Unfortunately, we own an inkjet printer. You’d think it wouldn’t matter all that much, but believe me, it does.  Printing labels for laser printers on an inkjet printer just makes for a smeary mess.  That’d be a sure way to piss off mail carriers all over the country.

So I had to run out and buy the correct labels and start over again.  That was not only expensive, but time consuming as well. The new labels were in a different format, so couldn’t just hit “print.” I had to copy and paste into a whole new document.  Thus, all the pretty little holly and ornament pictures I had added to each label went right out the window.  We were, by that point, going for utilitarian. 

And let’s not even discuss the fact that an hour after I returned home from the office supply store with the new labels, I ran out of ink for my printer and had to go back to the office supply store.

You can imagine how full of Christmas cheer I was by then.

Fortunately, I’d already written the letter to enclose in our cards so it didn’t turn all surly and Grinchish. (Yuh huh, that is too a real word.) 

When I finally printed out all the labels, Vince and I had to sign all the cards and attempt to write a personal note in each card. Sadly, by the time we got to the last few, we were just signing our names and sending silent apologies to those folks.

But we finished them – and they are all in the mail. So we feel a real sense of accomplishment. And, frankly, a sense of relief.

So now we wait for all those “Return to Sender” envelopes where we had the wrong address on the label or the recipient moved and we forgot to change the label. Then we’ll have to find out the correct address and resend the card, which will then arrive closer to Valentine’s Day than Christmas.

Huh. Maybe it’s a tradition that should head toward oblivion.  But still...  If it does, I fear I will feel a sense of loss every December when I head to the mailbox and it will contain only junk mail, sales circulars and bills. 

I’m gonna miss all those glitter-covered Christmas trees.

So Merry Christmas, everyone!  And if you haven’t received our card yet…it’s in the mail.