Wednesday, August 19, 2009

... and the storm rolled in

DH said "The Weather Channel is showing storms headed this way" and less than five minutes later the wind kicked up and the windows rattled and wow - the storm blew in.
The lights flickered once, twice, three times - and the fourth time was the final time. Out. No power.
After the novelty wore off, after we sat on the porch until the mosquitos threatened to carry DH and DS2 away, boredom threatened. Battery powered laptop to the rescue! DH and the kiddos watched some Babylon 5 episodes, all cozy on the coach with the laptop on the coffee table.
Heaven forbid they should talk or play cards or do something without noise and motion.
Luckily the battery lasted; the power was out for about two hours.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My daughter called to remind me...

... that my driver's license was expired.

Duh. It's been a frequent discussion topic. It expired May 31. We have not one but TWO teens with permits. Every time I tag along as the licensed driver, SOMEONE mentions the expired status of my license.

So... DD called last night. She said, "Hey Mom. I just got pulled over by a cop. He told me to remind you that your driver's license is expired."

She swears she was going 29 in a 25 - on a road notorious for the frequent presence of police officers. I don't even speed on that road; that means I keep it at 30 or less. So I believe her.

The officer approached the car, and said, "This is your mother's car, isn't it?" [yes] "Well, tell your mother her license is expired."

um, thankyouverymuch officer.

Yes, I renewed my license today. It took about 20 minutes to gather the required 6 points of acceptable identification AND a proper proof of address. I grabbed my Mustang registration form, due this month - it was sent by the state government in the last six months. Well, they assumed I was taking care of that too -- so, one line, two transactions! woohoo.

Now I have to remember to get the car inspected in August. Wish me luck. A few years ago, I thought I was getting it inspected two months late. Um, no - it was fourteen months overdue. I like skipping a year - but it does make it harder to remember when inspections are due!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I've got Stealth Technology!

A friend just got a speeding ticket on her way to work; day six of a new job. Hearing this made me stop and think.

I have a sparkling shiny clean record. Really. Laugh if you wish, but this habitual speeder has a pristine record.

I have an invisibility shield!Really.How else do you explain driving a Mustang or a flame red SUV w/o getting stopped??

I have not been pulled over in more than TEN YEARS.(that's a l-o-n-g time, says the woman whose two youngest JUST got their permits....)
I didn't get a ticket either of the last two times I was stopped. Most recently [ha! 1998] I got a ticket for 'failing to promptly show registration on request' - after HE rushed away.

Duh, that was the ploy so if I had a clean record, he didn't have to write me up for speeding. Not that I cared too much - out of state, no reciprocal agreement and all that jazz. But the fine was lower - low enough I didn't have to report it at work...
{That photo up there? That's the view through my Mustang's dirty windshield.}

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bargains and Me - SO not together

Bargain #1:

I want maroon and white M&Ms for the upcoming graduation party. I found 50% off bags at Party City. So I recalled the M&Ms online price ($6/bag), the bulk store price ($6), checked the regular price ($6/bag) and grabbed four bags of maroon, two gray and two black. {What? You didn't know that black and gray make white when mixed? Me neither; there wasn't any white.}

Only ages later did I really think. And recall that yep, the per-SEVEN OUNCE bag price is $6. BUT the local bulk candy store located right on the corner in the center of its adoreable town sells loose single-color M&MS for $6 PER POUND. Oh so stupid.

Six dollars for seven ounces isn't the same as six dollars per pound, is it?

Please do not tell my children. I tell them constantly that the units are important. Sure enough.

Bargain #2:

I read about a LSS [local scrapbooking store] in a news article, so I decided to visit today. I wandered and gathered stuff - stuff I surely do not need. But -- I rattled off my name, and got 10% off my purchases today.

Not much of a bargain. I know.

But -- I will get 30% off my future purchases. Yep, 10% today and 30% in the future. Really.

Now that IS a bargain.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chain emails AKA "Friendly Spam"

First -- I really get annoyed when people include me on the silly email version of the old fashioned chain letter. "If you don't do this in the specified time period to exactly this many people, you will suffer dire consequences! REALLY!"

Second -- I get quite irate when the sender includes all the addresses in the to or cc field -- hello?? I don't really want my address spread hither and yon. Ever heard of bcc?

Third -- just how difficult is it to remove the umpteen previous message headers and all the VALID email addresses? ok, ok, more people are removing all that crud; I can't recall any recent 'friendly spams' [my term - junk mail from those you know] with more than four 'generations'.

But -- once in awhile, I learn interesting bits of info. Such as an email address of an unpleasant person. Just how many people have the audacity to hope? oh, sorry, got sidetracked there... the audacity to use "dear" in their address?

gag. gack. excuse me; I need to find a bucket.
and yes, I sometimes enjoy sharing my disgust or pain with friends. aren't you lucky?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rain on my tents

If you camp during a torrential downpour, you'll get wet.
The rain is that fast and furious.
And it will be during the night; never during the day.

If you drag all the wet sleeping bags and clothes and stuff to the nearest laundromat with dryers - yea, that would be any laundromat, huh? -- remember to
1) check the pockets and the inside of sleeping bags for laffee taffee.
2) check ALL the dryers before leaving the laundromat.

If you forget #1, some things are going to be sticky-icky.
If you forget #2, grousing at the kids that the sweatshirts must be SOMEWHERE won't change the fact that you umm, sorta forgot a load at the laundromat. So while they are somewhere, it's nowhere nearby.

When you realize #2, your 2 yr old DD will cry and forever have abandoment issues because you slam yourself into the car and race to the laundromat, reaching the door with one minute to closing. With an all teen-aged crew, you know that door was almost locked.

just sayin'. Five wet tents, two semi-dry ones, and 20+ 9 - 12 yr old girls. Oh, and one freaked out 2 yr old. Twenty years ago.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A tale of unhelpful help...

So, I needed to get my yogurt and wanted another cup of tea. But I had to play queen first. I left my mug w/ tea bag on the break room [makes it sound so grant… it’s just an office] table. When I came back, my mug was gone. Ok, I know I can be forgetful, but I knew I’d put my mug on that table.
I walked down to my office, hoping to find my mug. My lights were out, so that meant nobody had been there in awhile [motion sensors]. Yup, there was my mug, sitting on my table. I know the walk between my office and the break room isn’t long. It’s just aggravating to know that someone felt they had to return my mug, instead of leaving it where it was.

And that’s my tale of unhelpful help.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

RTA: reason to argue

Well, RTA really means 'ready-to-assemble', but it might as well mean 'reason to argue'. How many pieces of RTA furniture have you and your SO assembled? And how many times have you argued over some part of the instructions - or argued about even reading the instructions? Those numbers are the same, aren't they? I thought so.

We've had a 50" plasma TV since Circuit City announced their stores were closing. (THAT was a fiasco! DH spent oh, six-hundred dollars more at CC than he would have spent at Best Buy for the SAME TV.) The box - unopened - has been hanging out in the DR ever since.

We finally settled on a TV stand. BTW - try not to get a TV bigger than 48". The price jump for TV stands is huge once the TV exceeds 48"; just sayin'.

The TV stand arrived. RTA, by Sauder. We have a long pallet with three or four packages w/ long wood pieces, all wrapped up with that plastic stuff that reminds me of Glad Wrap. Just needs a bow to complete the ‘present’ illusion. NOW the fun will begin.

I'll provide a yell-by-yell report once we're done arguing. Well, putting the beast together.
Adding to the frustration will be: moving all the VHS tapes and DVDs, running the tangle of wires from point to point, and my DH's perfectionist habits. The ultimate argument may occur when he realizes the current entertainment center is headed for the basement.

I don't think I'll tell him that ultimately, the two will swap. Nope, that tidbit of info can wait.
How much ready to assemble {RTA} do you have? We’ve got four desks, bookcases, loft bed, small armoire, filing cabinet, dresser, credenza, two TV entertainment centers [plus the new one], a table for my craft studio that still needs to be assembled, and a standalone closet. I’m probably missing something. Yup, the tall hall bench with baskets in cubbies at top, and bench is storage.
This is what we'll be assembling this weekend:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tale of the Traveling Dining Room Set

Our current china cabinet

We discussed the lineage of 'the junior dinette set' at Easter dinner. (Each piece is smaller than the typical dining room set.)
  • A young married couple bought the set - table w/ butterfly leaf, six chairs, buffet and china cabinet.

  • Their son, years later, married my mom's sister.

  • My aunt's in-laws [the orig buyers] bought a new dining set for their 25th anniversary.

  • When my aunt & uncle declined the old set, it was offered to my parents.

  • It was our kitchen table until I was in HS, when we moved into a house with a DR. At that point, it became the DR set.

  • While I was in college, my mom bought a gorgeous old full-size DR set from an old man whose wife had just died. The family was thrilled that another family was going to enjoy it. The junior set went in the basement.

  • When I graduated from college, my mom and I painted the entire set gloss black. The six chairs were down to two. I picked up four bamboo chairs from a Goodwill-type place.

  • It became our DR set after DH & I got married.

  • Years later, when my dlilsis was graduating from college, we bought a DR set. The old set moved to my parents', temporarily.

  • Dlilsis painted the set cream and rag-washed the china cabinet with brown. She got rid of the two remaining chairs. The four bamboo ones are in our basement.

  • When she bought her condo AKA tiny place, the china cabinet moved into our basement.

  • DD is agitating for the table and buffet since she's graduating in May.

  • Dlilsis says DD has to wait until she and BIL buy a house. I'm guessing we're talking two years at the most.
My parents think the young couple bought the travelling set soon after they married in 1938, so it's around 70 years old.
DD says that NOBODY she knows in her age group has travelling furniture. She finds that incredibly sad. I do too. Yes, we have more furniture that's been passed around.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Look in the mirror....

Someone said, "It took 8 years and some to create this mess..."

That phrase "and some" is critical. Though Bush took the ball and ran as far and as fast as he could with it, his Democratic and Republican predecessors did a decent job of clearing the way, knocking down roadblocks and laying the foundation.

It took several presidents. Over time. Elected by many people.
What will it take for the collective body known as the people of the United States of America to look in the mirror and acknowledge that the face staring back played some role?
That anyone who was 18 yrs old or older on November 2, 2008 bears part of the responsibility?
This mess wasn't created by "them". It was created by "us". IMO it's going to take the vast majority of us to overcome the obstacles and get this country healthy again. It's going to take assistance and coordination from at least the Group of 20, if not more countries.

Pointing fingers, sticking our heads in the sand, and rejecting solutions out of fear that someone will scam the system do not serve any beneficial purpose.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Brokendown rental car - a tale from long ago

A friend had problems recently with her rental car, which reminded me of this tale from over a decade ago...
For my FIL's memorial service, we rented a car. One morning, the car wouldn't start when we were in the hotel parking lot.
Destination: Church.
Contents of car: three squirmy children and two exasperated adults - and that was before the car rebelled.
  • DH got the car started, and after some back and forth about
    calling the rental place,
  • needing to use the phone in the room,
  • and - the last straw -
  • DH proclaiming that he could drive the car but that would damage something -
we finally headed for the Church. On the way, I used the oh-so-cumbersome mobile phone installed in the car. (Once upon a time, it was considered a small car phone...)

I told rental dude the story, and got the line about bringing it to the airport location for exchange.

Umm, no. We're headed to a funeral. How about sending someone with a new car for us?
..... I'm sure you can do that for us.
..... Here's the address. Car must arrive during this 30 min window.
.....I'm sure you can figure out how to arrange that.
.....No, I can't give you a phone number. We're going to be inside a Church [mentally: ya know, the one for which I just gave you the address???].

We were a bit late. The %$^&^ priest was walking out of the sacristy to start the Mass -- while the widow and the deceased two children and their spouses and offspring were still standing at the back of the Church. (He was a jerk in many ways.)

When we exited the Church, the car was still sitting there. sigh. Just then, a tow truck with a car on its flatbed pulled up. Timing perfect, the guy handed us the keys to the replacement, we handed him the dud's keys, we moved two car seats and all other kid-stuff to the new car....
The rest of the family and friends were shocked.
And that's my rental car breakdown story.

Monday, March 16, 2009

they thank me for having FUN

The swim team end of season banquet has come and gone.

In preparation, I asked everyone to upload their photos to snapfish. I gathered the photos and created a photo book for the coach. I had a BLAST! I also created a slideshow from the photos, with some extras not included in the book. I had FUN!

When we showed up, I noticed a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. Very nice. During the banquet, the slideshow played throughout dinner. The presentations drew to a close. That bouquet was still sitting pretty.

I received the flowers in appreciation for the work I did with the photos!

Wow. I had FUN. And I got flowers. Do you think I'll volunteer to do it again? You bet!

Pay no attention to that lady ....

doing prop work without being obvious
you're like Reagan - just get it done, don't care about getting the credit
sit at the keyboard, read and edit
calculate the cost in hours
consider what else has to be done
just doing my job...
all in a day's work,
for weeks on end
as the deadline slides and slides to the right

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tastes better IN the mug...

It's one of those days. The predicted snow is still arriving. My office is an icebox - the heat was off all weekend. So, a hot spot of tea sounds just charming.
  • Mug? check
  • Tea bag? check
  • Hot water? check
  • Sugar packets? check
Back in my office, I wait a few minutes, stir the tea, remove the bag. I get distracted, so it's a few minutes before I sip.
Blech. Tea tastes not-so-yummy. It's just one of those days.
About thirty minutes later, I look at my desk - really look at it, not the roving unseeing gaze thing. Yup. My sugar packets are sitting on my desk, plump and untorn.

Tea really does taste better with the sugar IN the mug.
I hope this lesson helps!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mother Nature Misbehaving... AGAIN

Home, sweet home
on a bright sunshiny summer day.
Much UNlike today.

They already cancelled school. At 9:00 pm the night before. This storm better dump at least 12" of snow on us or I am going to be really pissed.
Like I can do anything about the amount of snow. Or being pissed changes anything.

Yeah, I guess this falls under the heading "out of my control". Sigh. I do remember the days when snowstorms were always fun and thrilling and exciting. I should; it's only been recently that I don't appreciate them.
But when the student who is failing to do his homework is overly enthusiastic about a day off, well... I can be excused for being aggravated at Mother Nature. I think so, anyway.

Something like this is in store for us.
When we wake up for work.

"Am I crazy?" or Perimenopause

I am quite annoyed - though it's pointless.


My mother was menopausal when she was ~44 yrs old.

Perimenopause can last for ten years, with gradual increase in symptoms or increase/decrease randomly occurring.

*I* fell apart, collapsed, broke down, take your pick and walked off the planet for six months. I was ~45 yrs old. My period was still as regular as ever.

NOW I look back and realize that I was experiencing perimenopause symptoms! Shoot, I even read a book on the topic back then. Never did I connect the dots - even though I wondered.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia while off the planet. I tried many anti-depressants; they're known to help fibro pain. A combination finally worked.

Come April, 12 months without a period, I will be menopausal. My symptoms are tolerable and rare these days. My migraines have even stopped - they're supposed to do so, but they're supposed to stop during pregnancy too and mine got worse.

I am JUST beginning to understand the stories I've read about menopausal women becoming bolder, empowered, and often quite creative and adventurous at this time. Until a few weeks ago, I thought the claims were true for the minority. But I'm starting to feel long-dormant thoughts waking and stretching after a long hibernation.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

OUCH! Relearning a lesson, the expensive way

I live with three males; one DH and two teenaged sons. Of course they've been trying to sell me on a HUGE plasma TV for - oh, since they came on the market. I knew I'd give in some day.

Some day arrived. Circuit City announced Chapter 7; low prices! So, I convinced DH to go buy an HDTV - without me. I don't care about the details of a TV! We've been married 25 years. Previously, my DH never bought high-cost items without me, except some jewelry.

The males went to hunt TV. I found a HUGE box in my dining room when I got home. Good; purchase complete. No more whining about an HDTV.

They bought a 50" HDTV. The TV was only 10% off. I found it in Best Buy's ad that same night. $600 less. Yes, SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS less. I calmly - really calmly - mentioned my finding to DH. (D certainly didn't mean "dear"...)

Receipt stated "All Sales Final".

My DH will never again buy high-cost items without me, except some jewelry. He's really good at buying jewelry without me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Family Leave - YEAH! ugh

Governor Corzine leaving hospital after auto accident

Recently NJ passed a paid family leave law.
YEAH! I am really glad, since many people can't afford unpaid leave.
UGH! I am really annoyed, since we're taxed to cover the cost. But our company was paying us without the law or paycheck deduction. Then again, we've paid into state short term disability .... Paid family leave is similar - just the person is taking off to care for someone possibly on short term disability.

My final assessment is that this is a good thing. I'll live without the tax cost and I'll know that others will be able to take paid time from work to care for family.

There are always positive and negative results, aren't there?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Big Brother is HERE.

So, I’m completing the always-obnoxious security clearance form for my periodic reinvestigation.
I submitted it, finally, January 5. I thought I’d submitted it December 30. No, that was the day I fax’d the signature pages allowing any and all to release any and all information about me. I forgot that I had to hit the ‘submit’ button after I fax’d the pages.

It bounced. January 6. At least I know Security doesn’t have a backlog.

Reject Reason 1:
I worked for the federal government 30 yrs ago, but if I EVER worked for the gov’t, I have to provide details – including name and phone number of my supervisors. R-i-g-h-t; sure; got it right here. I typed ‘unknown’ for both stints.
Did I notice the ‘additional comments’ field? Sure
Did I think I had to comment? No
Well, I did; I have to explain why I don’t know a phone number from 30 yrs ago. BTW – I haven’t known these numbers since I filled out the FIRST form in 1981. (That would be 27 years ago.)

Reject Reason 2:
I didn’t have sufficient detail for my medical records – the more accurate title would be “mental health records”.
The wording in the email was different than the form; the email was auto-generated. So I answered the question as worded in the email. And I included that precise wording in the comments field. The wording change had changed my answer from ‘yes’ to ‘no’, since it asked if any treatment was court-ordered.
I was very glad, since my original response had missing pieces. I need dates, name, and address. I called my PCP and got the practice name for the doctor who wrote Rx. I only had first therapist's address. I had second therapist's name; but he’s moved. Wonderful, dummy – and yes, I knew I’d need the info in the future, which is NOW.

I just got a phone call; the email info was incorrect, and I did have to provide treatment information. The voice rejected my form. Reading the email, I saw the reason says ‘per our phone call’. I realized the messages are not auto-generated! CRAP.

I came across first therapist’s business card, and I can estimate when I started seeing him, and I know when I stopped. YEAH!
I still have no clue about the RX doctor. But, hey, CVS has online rx history records. Maybe they’ll go back far enough for me to figure out the dates – and maybe I’ll even find the doctor’s name!

NOW I’m getting to the Big Brother part.
I started to create an account. The two-step verification process requires you to enter an Rx number and the store number. Drugs – home; me – work. But maybe I can sweet-talk a pharmacist into giving me the info. I called, got a human in less than a minute, and simply asked for the Rx number of the last thing I had filled. Boom, got it and the store number with no questions asked.
YIKES! Some verification that I am me, and only I could do this verification.
On to Step 2.
OMG! Big Brother in all his glory!
Question 1: Which of the following vehicle models is currently registered at your address?
Question 2: Which of the following people also lives at your address?
Question 3: Which of these cities have you or do you live in?
Each had five responses.

Freak out thought 1: Exactly where does CVS get such data so quickly?
Freak out thought 2: Really, where?? For question 3, the valid answer was a city I left over twenty years ago!

Wow. Now I have to search my Rx history. Wish me luck.
Oh – and if a federal marshall or other somber looking person with a cool large shield knocks on your door, or calls, and asks if you’d answer a few questions about me – PLEASE say yes. I don’t want to have to explain why and beg people to respond. My neighbors haven’t changed, so they should remember my pleading last time.

NOTE: photo from
Saturday Evening Post Article (c) 1964

Monday, January 5, 2009

Feeling like a criminal ...

Have you encountered the nasty PITA requirements for buying "OTC" drugs containing pseudoephedrine? If not, you are lucky! Obviously YOU don't live in a family with chronic drippy sinuses or allergies. Lucky you.
But I do.

First, the drugs are available only by prescription. Then they make them available over the counter - Benedryl, Allegra, Claritin, you name it. Suddenly these are so safe, we don't need a doctor's note to obtain them. This stinks, since OTC prices are higher than my co-pay was. This is nice; no more doctor's visits just for a piece of paper with illegible Latin scrawls on it.

Then the brainiacs realize the drugkings are making meth using the pseudostuff from the now OTC drugs. That is so not good; we are still in a war against drugs, ya know.

So what does the gov't do? Establishes the honkin' big book, which makes you feel like a criminal every time you need to buy formerly prescription drugs which are now OTC. I sure don't recall ever giving a pharmacist or cashier my Driver's License number and more info to get my Rx drugs.... maybe all the drugs have fried my brain??

Oh, and do not decide you want to pick up some anti-sniff drugs along with some prescriptions at a pharmacy like CVS. You can't get the OTC - ha! - drugs from the pharmacist; you must go to the FRONT of the store for those.
Hello? Tell me this again.
  • To get good anti-drip drugs, you have to ask the cashier in front - the one with the long lines of grumpy, sneezy, wheezy people.
  • She hauls out the biggest black binder I've ever seen.
  • She takes your DL, writes a novella, then s-l-o-w-l-y turns the beast around.
  • You add another novella.
  • Only then will she get the drugs and sell them to you.
  • You must remember to get your DL back, for next time.
Oh - don't ask for two packages. So not happening. Be forewarned - if you go to several stores over too few hours, someone is gonna come knocking on your door. You better have those sniffling kids, your DH and the dogs ready as Exhibit A.

So far, we've avoided the knock on the door.
And DH buys our drugs; I refuse to deal with the mess.