Monthly Archives: September 2011

Why No I Have Never….

We all have that list.

You know, the one that starts with “I can honestly say I have not….”

And ends with something like “…..ridden a bareback bronc.”

While my list is very boring – I’ve never ridden a bareback bronc – it is, nonetheless, my list.

To the “I’ve never tasted octopus..” – until one night and yes,  it is as disgusting as it sounds.

I can now add, “I’ve never seen rain fall from a cloudless sky.”

Yesterday afternoon hubby stepped outside and then proceeded to call my name frantically.

“Come here, QUICK!”

Thinking the house was on fire and shoes might be a good idea I grabbed my flip flops and ran.

“Look.”

“What?”

He pointed to the barbecue pit where big fat drops of rain were landing with a resounding “PLINK!” sound.

He looked up at the sky.

“Where is it coming from?”

Before looking I seriously contemplated his sanity.

Then I looked up.

The sky was bright blue and the nearest clouds were the puffy white cotton ball type.

Where indeed.

I looked towards the yard and the raindrops were becoming more numerous.

“Never seen that before. Have you?”

Hubby smiled, “Nope, but we can’t say that anymore now can we?”

This.Is.Awesome

If you don’t laugh to tears, there’s something wrong with you.

Also, I think I have a mini-crush on this guy.

And, now for something completely different.

I bring you the Huffmans and their first webcam video.

He’s 86 and she’s 79 and I wanna be just like them when I grow up.

And….

If you haven’t peed yourself laughing by now, well clearly I am doing something wrong.

So…here comes the big guns:

Someone has obviously been filming me in my kitchen (not really, but..well..coulda, woulda, shoulda).

So, Here’s the Deal

I have no clue what to write about.

Apparently, I’ve busted a few things – like my sarcasm button and my give-a-damn lever.

Sigh…some days/weeks/months are like this, ya know?

So, anyway, I just clicked “Add New” and decided to start writing.

See what happens, right?

Wanna come along for the ride? 

Strap yourselves in and keep your hands and legs inside the vehicle at all times. The crazy train takes many a twist, turn and dive.

It’s Friday here…and probably where you are, unless you are in Nepal and then I’ve given up trying to figure out what day it is there.

I’ve got a friend in Afghanistan right now. Don’t know where, or more importantly how, he is at the moment.  I also can’t imagine how tough it must be on his wife and kids. 

Finally got a break in the heat.  It’s only going to get up in the 80’s here today.  Now if it would only rain…..

I saw a very peculiar ad on Facebook yesterday. It was for “Holy Clothing”…something about being tired of boring choir robes and how they make snazzy ones.  Unfortunately, I clicked to the Home page and the ad disappeared.  I’m rather intrigued, though, and may go back and try to find it.  Might make a funny blog entry.

My cat is weird.

He keeps eating the plastic leaves on my fake plants and then puking on the carpet.

Why is he eating plastic leaves when there are plenty of real leaves he can eat and puke up on the carpet later?

Must be a matter of taste.

I don’t have a five-foot metal chicken, like Beyonce, but I did see one at a flea market.  He wasn’t named Beyonce, either.  He didn’t have a name at all.  He looked rather sad and lonely.  Probably because no one thought to give him a name.

I’m pretty anti-social.  I just realized how anti-social when I found out a huge quarterly meeting, originally scheduled for another site, has been moved to my location.

My first thought?

Damn…people…lots of them, and then I have to smile and be nice and be all like…”So good to see you!” and “Welcome to Texas!”

Blech.

They’re not bad people.  Not at all. Some, in fact, are quite personable.

It’s me..or maybe it’s them.

I’m gonna go with…them, definitely them.

Mental leapfrog.

I haz a bad case of it.

Miss Lonely Hearts

For several years, I’ve been a member of a group that writes short stories based on given prompts.  Over the last couple of years I’ve written quite a few.

Herein lies one…mostly because I’m too lazy to come up with anything original to post today.

Miss Lonely Hearts

 

The phone rang, and Lucinda turned away from watching the snow fall softly outside her apartment window to answer it.

 

She wondered who might be calling her.  It was, after all, Christmas day and she couldn’t think of  a single person in the world who might call to wish her glad tidings of the season.  Lucinda had no family left, and her “friends” were more of the acquaintance type.

 

The closest Lucinda Pierce got to ‘glad tidings’ any more was the forced-cheerfulness of the store clerks who said “Happy Holidays” to her every time she encountered one of them.

 

As her hand hovered over the receiver she allowed herself the briefest moment to think that it might just be ‘him’…just maybe, after all this time, it could be ‘him’ calling.

 

It wasn’t as if it was totally out of the realm of possibility.  After all, she hadn’t moved and she hadn’t changed her phone number since he left her standing in the center of this very living room, crying, one sunny summer day.  He needed his “space”, he had said.  She was simply “too intense” for him.

 

She had never understood how being in love with someone could make them so miserable. 

 

How long ago had that been, she wondered. 

 

Five years? No, longer than that…10 years? Longer still.

 

Lucinda sighed.

 

Twelve years.  It had been twelve years.

 

The phone rang, again, and snapped from her reverie Lucinda snatched up the receiver.

 

“Hello?” she asked, more than answered, breathlessly.

 

“Hello, my name is George Mahoney, and I’m calling on behalf of the Children’s Hospital.”  George had recited this particular script so often he was barely aware of the words coming out of his mouth, and totally unaffected by the voice on the other end of the phone.  The one which would, no doubt, ask him just why he was calling them on Christmas day and interrupting their turkey, presents, and general greed-fest.

 

“Why are you calling me on Christmas…………” George heard the familiar protest begin, but this time he heard a hint of something else…genuine surprise and curiosity.

 

What the heck, he thought, I’ll tell her….at least part of the reason.

 

“Ma’am I’ll tell you why,” he began, “because most people are home on Christmas day, and we usually catch them in a giving mood.”

 

“Yes, but why are YOU working on Christmas day? Don’t you have a family?”

 

Hmmm…George wasn’t prepared for this, nor for his gut reaction.  Normally, he could be loquacious when the occasion called for it, but not when this subject came up. 

 

“Ma’am, I am working to raise funds for the new trauma unit being built at Children’s and was wondering if you might be able to help with a small donation.”

 

“You didn’t answer my question, Mr. Mahoney.”

 

“I don’t see how that is relevant.”

 

“Let’s just say I’m curious, and I’ve nothing better to do right now than spend a few minutes getting to know a man who would give up his Christmas to work as a telemarketer.”

 

“Ma’am I’m not a telemarketer. I’m not selling…I’m asking for donations”

 

“You mean I don’t get any cute little address labels in return for my donation?” Lucinda laughed.

 

George liked the sound of her laugh and chuckled himself.  This lady was most interesting.  However, he had a job to do so he quickly recovered, put his mind back in neutral, and carried on.

 

“Sorry to have bothered you, ma’am….”

 

“Wait, don’t hang up!” Lucinda said, not oblivious to the fact that she sounded a tad desperate.

 

Okay, more than a tad.

 

“Excuse me?” George was not used to having someone actually ask him not to hang up. 

 

“Please sir, whatever-your-name-is sorry, I forgot…”

 

“George, it’s George.”

 

“Please, George, don’t hang up just yet.  It’s Christmas, and I’m all alone, and I’m guessing you are too or you wouldn’t be calling people asking for donations.”

 

There was silence on the other end of the phone, and Lucinda wondered if she hadn’t crossed over the line from just sounding a little desperate to sounding stalker-desperate.

 

“What’s your name?” George finally broke the silence.

 

“Lucinda.”

 

“Well, Lucinda, you’re right.  I am alone, just like you.  The reasons are many and varied, probably just like your reasons.”

 

“You ain’t kiddin’” Lucinda replied.

 

George chuckled, perhaps the little voice inside him telling him to take a chance was right this time.  Drawing himself up a little in the uncomfortable chair, he decided to take that leap of faith.

 

“So, how about you agree to make a small donation to Children’s, and in return I’ll buy you a cup of coffee?”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yep, you name the time and place and I’ll be there.  After all, I am very dedicated to this cause.”

 

It was Lucinda’s turn to chuckle.

 

Why not? she thought, even as her rational brain was screaming that this guy might be some kind of psycho.

 

She heard herself telling George she’d gladly donate $100 to the organization if he’d meet her tomorrow at Perk-O-Latte.  It was a safe place, always full of people.

 

“So, we’re set then?” She asked.

 

“Right, for your $100 you get one large mocha-latte from me.”

 

“See you at noon, tomorrow.” Lucinda said as she hung up the phone.

 

She turned to face her lonely-looking little Christmas tree, and realized she hadn’t even turned the twinkly lights on.

 

After plugging in the lights, she turned on the radio just in time to hear her favorite Christmas song, “Silent Night”, playing.

 

Walking to the window, she watched the snow fall as the day faded into night.

 

She wondered what tomorrow would bring, but decided to leave that to fate.

 

It was enough, for now, to let her heart dwell on the promise a new day brings.

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittttttt’ssssssssss!!

The Most Fascinating Thing

I took two of my grandkids to Mickey D’s Sunday afternoon.  We, and by “we” I don’t mean hubby and I…because you know FOOTBALL…I mean “I” had agreed to babysit them for a while so their Mommy could attend a meeting.

Knowing they’re six and four and there’s nothing better than a huge indoor playground I decided to take them to our local Mickey D’s for some ice cream, french fries, soda and playtime with other little hellions like them.

They had platforms:

Those two little monkeys are my grandkids.
 
And gigantic tube slides:
 

Gi-normous structure - with twisty slides. Awesome.

And these connecting tubes that swayed or bounced:

Long crawl-through tubes connecting both sides of the huge slide-crawly structure. Kid heaven.

 
 
And the tubes connected both sides of the structure:
 

Super fast slides on this side, according to my granddaughter.

 
 
But every bit of this fun was outclassed by this:
 

What's under there? Don't ask.

 
Before there was a yellow cone, there was an impressive pile of french-fry laced vomit.  And, every kid in the room had to investigate.  One boy simply couldn’t stay away from it and one little girl stepped in it barefoot and proceeded to smear the stuff all over that blue platform to the left.  I giggled uncontrollably, but one mom was on the verge of fainting and ran frantically to the manager screaming for a vat of disinfectant, a haz-mat suit for everyone in the room, a biohazard team from FEMA and I’m pretty sure the declaration of a disaster area for the entire restaurant.  It was awesome. 
 

Tech Support, Ken and Barbie Style

It had become necessary to drag ourselves into the 21st century, computer-wise, and get wi-fi connectivity installed.

 We had, up to that point, done very well with an old DSL modem but nooooo we have to go wi-fi like the other cool kids.

 I called our service provider, and within a matter of minutes I had a 5-port router/modem on its way to my house.

 It arrived the next day, and imagine my joy when I opened the box to find the modem and a four-step process for setting it up.

 Four steps? Really? Why I’d be cruising the ‘Net from every room in my house in no time at all.

 Riiiiiiiight.

 I didn’t have any issues hooking up the hardware, but when I opened the browser (as instructed) to install the modem I kept hitting the same brick wall.

“No PPP login”, the screen said, accusingly.

I went through all the troubleshooting steps to no avail. I did it again and again, still nothing.

I dreaded it, but I knew what I had to do next.

 I had to call the 800-number and talk to…..(que “Twilight Zone” theme)….….tech support.

 The wait time for my call was 8 minutes.  During this time I kept hearing ways to prevent viruses, keep my kids safe online, and how most technical issues could be resolved by going to the carrier’s website and clicking on their link for a live chat tech support session – which after the elebenty-hundredth time I’d heard it sent me into fits of giggles, because if you are unable to connect to the Internet, how are you supposed to initiate this miraculous cure-all chat option?

 I guess what happened next was a combination of the endless hold/wait loop of messages, and my naturally skewed view of the world.

 Herewith I give you my conversation with tech support:

 Tech: Hello, dis is Ken.  Tank you ver cawling (company name) tech suppawt. May I halve you name, pweeze?

 Me: Hi Ken, I’m Barbie.

 Tech: Hello, Bawbie, how may I hap hew?

 And that is the last clear communication we had. From this point on “Ken” sounded like he was in the bottom of a well, fighting tigers, water pouring down over him, while a string quartet played in the background.  

 Tech: Okay, you half burch-smelt wiff doss upchaw?

 Me: I have a WHAT?

 Tech: You half burch-smelt wiff doss upchaw.

 Me: Umm…okay.

 Tech: Good.   (Great, I have something and apparently it’s good…too bad I have no idea what it is)

 Tech: Now, type in famiss-brocks dis…

 Me: Do WHAT?

 Tech: Speaker-foam?

 Me: Speakers?

 Tech: You halve speaker-foam?

 Me: Speaker phone? Yes, but you are not on speaker phone.

 Tech: Take off speaker-foam, pweeze.

 Me: You are NOT on a speaker phone.

 Tech: Okay, type in famiss-brocks dis…

 Me: I’m having a VERY hard time understanding………

 Tech: That’s bee-crawz you half speaker-foam!! Take off speaker-foam!

 Me: YOU ARE NOT ON A SPEAKER PHONE!!

 This went on for twenty-minutes, but through fits and starts I got the instructions I needed to set up the new service, even though “Ken” kept insisting he was on “speaker-foam” until I finally asked if he could hear me alright and when he said “Yes” then I told him that the problem was on his end.  Of course, by then I was having a difficult time hearing anything he said between fits of giggles.

 We tried and tried to get the service set up, but never could get it to work.

 Finally, after about thirty minutes “Ken” decided he’d had enough.

 Tech: It appeawas you half bilge-dip provost kook.

 Me: Is that a bad thing? (By now, I’d given up trying to understand individual words and was listening for key words like “not working” “no service” “do you want eggroll with that?”)

 Tech: Well, you swould twy back tomowwow.

 Me:  Because?

 Tech: You sewvice, is bilge-dip.

 Me: Wow…um…okay, thanks Ken.  Good-bye.

 Tech: Thank hew foh choosing (company name).

 I hung up the phone and laughed till I cried.  My husband popped his head into the office and said, “Any luck?”

 “Well, either we have to try again tomorrow or there’s going to be a rather large delivery of Chinese food to the house in about 20 minutes.  Could be either one, honey.”

 He laughed, I laughed, and oh yeah…four days later and I still didn’t have wi-fi despite repeated calls to tech support.

Eventually, they sent someone to the house and he figured out the problem in about thirty seconds.  It had to do with the modem configuration and was something that could only be resolved by a tech on site. 

At least, when he left I understood what had gone wrong and we were up and running with the wi-fi.

Yeah, and the bilge-dip never did show up again.  Thank goodness, right?

Where Were You?

09/11/01

I was heading to work when I turned on my radio and heard the second plane had crashed into the WTC.

At first I thought it was a sick practical joke played by the DJs on the station.  They were known for their crazy antics.

Then, with growing horror, I realized it was happening.

Here.

In America.

On our soil.

My generation’s Pearl Harbor was happening in New York, and I was in shock.

I couldn’t help but think back to a December morning in 1941 and the similar attack by the Japanese.

I now knew where those passionate feelings my grandparents and their peers expressed had come from.

I felt them, too.

I still do.

Godspeed our brave military men and women.

God Bless the USA.

God Bless all of you.

In Which I Am Terrorized By A German

My appointment, with a massage therapist, was for 12:30 and since I’d never been to the place I decided to leave early. It was really easy to find and I arrived a few minutes early. 

 The massage therapist, let’s call her “Kiki”, came out of her room and introduced herself.  She was quite delightful and had just a hint of a German accent.  

 She handed me a clipboard and asked me to fill out the information requested.  Once that was done I could come into her room and get started.

 I glanced at the clipboard as the door shut behind her.

Whiskey.Tango.Foxtrot? 

 I was looking at the same type of questionnaire one receives when going to a doctor.   There was the front/back human with a “Where do you hurt?” and then the myriad of personal medical questions.  I ignored most of them and made it clear I have fibromyalgia. 

 (A quick trip to fibro-land…if you don’t know what fibromyalgia is, I’m not the one to educate you.  However, I can tell you that while a hand stroke across sore muscles is soothing and feels terrific, poking with fingers/knuckles/hot stones across those same muscles is excruciatingly painful)

 I entered the room and she told me to sit down while she reviewed my information.  I looked around the room and thought if I didn’t know better I’d think she was a doctor and I the patient. 

 Except for the really soothing music, dim lights, steam and the awesome-looking massage table that took up most of the available space in the room.

 Kiki:  So, tell me about your back problems.

 Me:  Well, I have four ruptured discs in my lower back and three in my neck.

 Kiki: (eyes widening) Wow! How’d that happen?

 Me: Five car accidents and one horse accident. (I then proceed to tell her about the car accidents and the horse…you know, the Reader’s Digest version)

 Now, things start to get weird.

 Kiki:  You know, my father always told me to be careful when driving.  To not trust the other drivers and to leave myself an out.

 Me: Yeah, me too.  Thing is, NONE of these accidents were my fault and, in fact, I never even saw the other car in three of them.  (chuckling) Nope, I just seem to have a bull’s eye painted on me.

 Kiki: (raises eyebrow) Well, you shouldn’t follow too closely…blah, blah…

 At this point I’m getting pissed.  I’m not here for Kiki’s views on driving or anything else.  I’m here for a massage!

 Me: Yes…um…am I to change into one of those? (pointing to some robes hanging on the wall in an attempt to steer her back on course)

 Kiki: No, those are if you have to tinkle during the massage.

 Me: (tinkle? really?)How long does it last?

 Kiki: An hour.

 Me: Oh, I should be fine then.

 Kiki: Go ahead and take off your clothes, I’ll step out, and then lie face down on the table.  Just call me when you are ready.

 I got undressed and lay down on the table.  I called her name and she re-entered the room.

 For the next 15 minutes I had the most wonderful massage experience I’ve had in a long time.  She was a little thing, but her hands were strong.  

 I guess she’s used to clients who chatter, so finally she broke the silence.

 Kiki:  How many children do you have?

 Me: Four and six grandchildren.

 Kiki:  I have four as well.

 Me: That’s nice.

 I fell silent hoping she’d take the hint…sigh, no such luck.

 Kiki:  Yes, I have four boys and two girls.

 Huh? That’s six….

 Kiki:  And, I’m a doctor.  That’s why I take an in-depth medical study. Of course I only work two days a week, the rest of the time I do this.  My specialty is high-risk pregnancies and I do preemie massage.

 Whiskey.Tango.Foxtrot?

A doctor?  Highly skeptical I mumble something about how interesting that is.

 Kiki:  Yes, I come from Europe and let me ask you something.  What do you have for breakfast?

 Me: Wha..?

 Kiki: Typically, what do you eat for breakfast?

 I tell her, but mid-way through she stops me…

 Kiki: No, no…you must not eat anything microwaveable because you know ‘they’ just paid millions of dollars in a suit because rats exposed and people exposed to high levels of the preservatives they have to spray on the foods before they put the plastic over it..it caused cancer in all these people.

 I’ve slipped into the seventh circle of hell and am being held hostage by a crazed masseuse, bent on educating me as to every conspiracy theory the Internet has to offer.

Me: Wow…

 Kiki:  It’s true, my one son he’s working for the government of Spain and he has to get a letter from the FBI that says he’s okay…you know, because it’s the government.

 I’m still on spray-on toxins and don’t respond.  Please, God, just let her finish the massage…which, by the way was beginning to hurt as she poked me with her fingers.

 Me: You know that is painful.

 Kiki: I know.

 Me:  The fibro…

 Kiki: I know

 She presses harder.

 Kiki: You are all inflammation and your back is knotted up.

 Me: (whimpering) I know.

 Finally, she stops poking and goes back to rubbing the muscles in my back and legs.

 Kiki:  So, my husband and I we met in Germany. I went to elementary school in Australia and middle school in Ireland.  In high school, where I met my husband, I was in England.

 I’ve given up trying to keep track at this point and really, isn’t my hour up yet?

 Kiki: For most people a massage is a luxury, but for people like you – with fibro – it’s a necessity.

 Me: Yes, that’s true.

 Kiki: So, if you decide to come every month I will only charge you $50.  Because it is not a luxury.

 Me: Thank you.

 Kiki: You know, you need this, so for $45 that’s nearly half price.

 Math is obviously not her strong suit.  First she has four or six kids and now $45 is the new $50.

 Me: Thanks.

 Kiki: What is stress?

 Me: What?

 Kiki: What do you think stress is?

 Umm…having a massage by a crazed German?

 Me: I..well..

 Kiki:  I’ll tell you, it’s a poison that squirts from your brain.  Yes, it comes from the perpetuity gland.

 Perpetuity? Oh…she must mean pituitary…yes, she must have skipped ‘gland’ class in med school.

 Me: Um…

 Kiki: Yes and you can feel it.  Now the stuff I’m using on you now will get rid of the dead skin on your body so the nerves can retreat and the fibro can, you know, get better.

 Me: Mmmph…

 I was, by this time, seriously in danger of a full-blown fit of giggles and so I just buried my face in the towel and tried to shut her out.

 Kiki:  There! All done, and you know with the exfoliation most people pay $150 for that but it was my gift to you.

 Me: Thank you.

 Kiki: You get dressed and I will get you some herbal tea.

 Me: Okay.

 She leaves and I dress.  She comes back with the tea and it smells wonderfully of blackberries.

 Kiki:  What size pants do you wear, because you are not at all huge.  I have some clients who are over 600 lbs., but you have a lot of muscle.  I want you to write down everything you eat and what time and how much so next time you come we can discuss it. 

 Me: Uh…(seriously, I’m overweight but not by that much)

 Kiki:  Well, have a blessed day.

 As I left there I felt both extremely sore and relaxed.  I took the blackberry tea she gave me and after a sip, and mulling over the conversation we’d had,  promptly dumped  it down the nearest drain.

 When I got home I collapsed on the sofa, unable to move, and wondered if I’d ever get up again.

 An hour later I tried, and shrieking in pain, failed.  The cat jumped five feet in the air and ran to the next room where he watched me warily.

 I finally managed to roll off the couch and onto my hands and knees.  

 The cat, still shaken by the shrieking human from before, stood at the doorway and watched in wide-eyed alarm as I attempted to make it to my feet.

I finally succeeded, but since breathing was an exercise in extreme pain, I didn’t make it far before I decided the sofa was my best friend for the rest of the day.

By evening I could move a little better, and the next day although breathing was painful, I felt pretty good.

 One thing I know, for certain, is that I’m never going back there again. I don’t care if the new $50 is $45 and I’m in danger of being poisoned by my perpetuity gland every time I get stressed.

 The cat agrees.

That Ain’t Chocolate

It was chaotic at my house on Labor Day.  That’s because there were 16 of us, including kids, and everyone was talking at the same time and the kids were taking full advantage of the fact that we were all distracted.

I’m still picking Cheetos out of the carpet and furniture, and I didn’t see the cat till Tuesday morning.  I still don’t know where one of the remotes is and my tape dispenser is missing its tape.   If I hadn’t kissed every one of those grandbabies goodbye I’d be looking for one taped to a wall somewhere.

My oldest son has a little boy (he’s two) and he is just…well, he’s perfect and precious…and he was sick with strep – yay..now we can all enjoy the fruits of his bacteria-laden smooches.  He’s on antibiotics that give him…well, let’s call them what a former colleague did – the hershey squirts.

I’ll give you a moment to cleanse the visual from your brain.  Bleach anyone?

Better now?

So, after a particularly impressive episode the boy’s shorts needed washing…and why don’t parents these days pack extra clothing for their kids, especially the little ones?? Boggles the mind.

Instead of actually washing the shorts, my son decides to rinse them and dry them.   This is the same child who used to dust his room with canned air…he’s nothing if not inventive.

He puts the shorts in the dryer, along with a clean load of clothes that had already been dried…mind you, these shorts were  still dirty and *aromatic*.

My youngest son walks up to the table where I was chatting about important matters, such as what color feathers I wanted in my hair, with my daughter and daughter-in-law.

Youngest Son:  Mom, you can yell at (older brother) if you want but he just put those stinky shorts in the dryer with your clean clothes.

Me:  He didn’t!!

Youngest Son:  Oh, yeah, he did. I know he thinks it’s okay because he sprayed  oxycontin on them first.

Me: *blink* Wha…?

Daughter:  You have oxycontin?  Where?

D-I-L:  If you’ve got some, you better share!

YS:  *looking terribly confused* What are you talking about?

Me: *unable to respond, laughing too hard*

Daughter:  Oxycontin is a pain killer, brother, I think you mean Oxi-Clean

YS: *totally embarrassed, does not answer and walks off in a huff*

Me: *still laughing hard and now wondering if I may pass out*

And, yeah I did have to re-wash all those clothes.

Sigh….you’d never know these “kids” are all in their 30’s.