Pets Crowding My Bed

Sometimes I get so tired of my pets crowding my bed; literally tired as well. Waking up ‘dog tired’ in the morning is not the way I want to start my day.  I sleep in a queen-sized bed with a husband, two dogs and a cat.  I adore my pets and actually enjoy having them close by my side at night.  HOWEVER, many nights there is actually way too much activity going on when one is supposed to be catching some z’s.

For instance, last night, because I was hemmed in on both sides by the dogs,  I fled my bed and camped out on the couch instead.  Good try Jeanette!  No more than 30 seconds later Auggie the Doxie and Toby the Pomeranian trailed after me and plopped themselves on top of me.  I try to sneak out while they appear to be sound asleep, but they seem to sense my absence.  I wish the old man would flee the bed and take his snoring and the dogs with him once in a while!  This is assuming the dogs would follow after him like they do me.  He refuses to do so because he says he is too tall to sleep on the couch in the living room or on the futon in the loft.  Phooey, this is the price I pay for being short!

The crowding is NOT the only problem.  Nothing gets past the fine-tuned hearing of these dogs; if they sense me trying to sneak out of bed away from them, they are not about to let the noisy neighbors get by without ear-splitting warning barks!  Then, Toby-doggie has a routine of sock hunting every evening too.  After I get into bed and drop my socks on the floor, Toby hunts them down and brings them back up onto the bed.  But first he has to whine his head off before he climbs back up the doggie stairs provided for that purpose.  We have no clue why he does that; it’s a fairly new annoying habit.

Sneaker the cat is not exempt from the disturbing nighttime activities.  He has no qualms about walking on top of all parts of our bodies.  When he’s tired of that, he roams around on top of the night stands knocking things over.  Even when he’s not in the bedroom he still makes a nuisance of himself in the living room.  We can  hear him batting things around on the floor; everything he can get his grubby paws on!

What is one to do?  I’m pretty sure it’s too late to train them to sleep in their own beds on the floor.  They want to stay up high, where they can OWN us, and they do!

Long and Loud TV Commercials

Long and Loud TV commercials are not luring me to buy the products.   I know advertising is the way of the world now-a-days, but please, can we give the consumer a break? Thank God for DVR’s, and I suppose because of them, advertisers have to work even harder to get their ads out and make them effective enough to promote buying. We do at least have the option to record programming.

If this is beginning to sound like a rant, that’s probably because it is. How annoying are commercials in general? The interruption factor alone is enough to frustrate the be-jesus out of you. It’s like constantly having someone interrupt a conversation you’re having with someone else. How rude is that? At least you can tell the interrupting person to shut the hell up. What are you going to do with the TV? Shoot a bullet through the screen comes to mind, but then that, and just shutting it off, would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Of course as already mentioned we have the option of recording. But certain things you just want to watch live; sporting events and news programming comes to mind as a couple of examples.

It’s just as rude to rant like a maniac without offering a solution/suggestion. Yes. I have a couple. One of course is to just make the commercials shorter. This would force advertisers to come up with clever advertising with shorter blurbs; it would probably even be more effective. Another option is to just have one intermission in the middle of the programming, for an actual 10 minutes vs. an exaggerated 10. Or, have 5 minutes of commercial at the beginning and end of the program. Not sure how that would work considering there is already commercials in between programs, but they could make them longer, and people can just take a bathroom break or raid the kitchen break during that time. Who knows, if the ads were actually clever or funny, maybe people would actually want to watch them, especially if they were spaced out per my suggestions.

That brings to mind another irritation with commercials. Why the heck are they so loud? It’s like shouting at your kids to get them to listen to you. Guess what? Just like with your kids, it has the opposite effect. They just turn you off!  It turn, you turn down the volume and ignore the commercial. So much for good advertising. I don’t know who’s responsible, the advertisers or the TV stations when it comes to pumping up the volume, but I’d sure like to know who to complain to.

Maybe I should be worrying about how to get gas prices down, or global warming or something equally altruistic. Thing is, I wouldn’t have anymore control over those even more important issues, than I do over TV commercials. Instead, I rant. Maybe ranting is just as annoying as long and loud TV commercials and not so hot on the listeners. But it’s great therapy for the one ranting. We’re told not to hold in the anger. I take that kind of advice seriously. Seriously!

Public Bathroom Antics

I did some research on the subject of public bathroom antics, and nowhere on the web have I come across this rather silly topic. Let me be the first to address an issue that that often times grates on my very last nerve. Actually, I really didn’t spend an inordinate amount of time researching the topic, and quite frankly, I’ll be surprised if I am the only person in the world irritated by this tasteless habit.

However, I did come across one really interesting and funny article on the topic, but which made no mention of my public restroom pet peeve. It was hilarious; but for some reason, the author did not include this particularly annoying bathroom antic. I am referring to the tacky habit of covering the crevice between the stall door and the next stall by hanging a strip of toilet paper over it.

This is something that has been driving me crazy for the longest time. At least once a week I see this at my place of business. Whenever I see that nasty strip of T.P. in the stall I’m using, I immediately yank it down!

Ladies, I know this might offend some of you, but I just don’t get it. What is the deal with that strip of toilet paper ya’ll place over the gap between the door and the stall structure in the ladies’ room? I know WHY you do it; I just don’t understand why you think that anyone can actually see you through that little gap, unless they were purposely poking their noses into your business. Now I know that is the last place I’d want to poke my nose into someone else’s business! Do I really care what’s going on in there?

Do you really think there is a whole segment of peepers out there looking to see what goes on within the confines of toilet stalls? I’ll venture a guess, not many. In all my years of using public restrooms, I have never had someone peep into the stall I was using. I daresay I could live out the rest of my life without experiencing a peeping Tom episode in a public bathroom.

First of all, I’m not interested in hanging around a public bathroom any longer than necessary. Who else would take the time to peek into the stalls to see what may or may not be going on inside? Really, who does that? Okay, maybe there is one or two perverts out there, but do you really think YOU will be the one to make contact with them? Of course, my life is charmed, so I’m told, which is why I roll my eyes at the very thought of such an incident.

I work in the building operations department at the Red Cross, and have regular contact with the maintenance people. I’m seriously thinking about asking them to revamp the stalls so that there is NO gap. Why are they made that way in the first place? If the gap was eliminated, chances are a lot less T.P. would be strewn all over the place.

You’d think I’d have other things to think about, right? Well, I do. But there is not a damn thing I can do about the downfall of the rest of world. Maybe that’s why I focus on idiotic things like stupid pieces of toilet paper strung in bathroom stalls. Maybe this article will actually go viral and millions of women all over the world will read it and discontinue this exasperating practice.

Ladies, I beg you………please stop!

Thanksgiving – Next Saga

If a good laugh comes with the craziness, then all is not in vain. At least this year Auggie Doggie kept his dog-gone paws off the dining room table! He even had a partner in crime this year, a new edition to the family. That would be Toby, our little eight and half month old Pomeranian/Min-Pin pup. In case you need to catch up, do take a peek at saga one: Thanksgiving Day Come and Gone Toby is quite the little character in his own right and could no doubt stir up some trouble if he chose to; however, he decided to follow the lead of his big brother who did nothing more serious than a little begging for turkey. But then again, nobody brought chocolate cream pie this year either. So could be he had no incentive to act up. Apparently he has no interest in the old stand-by pumpkin and apple pie. Hey, no sweat off our noses Auggie Doggie; more for us! Toby by the way has a saga of his own. In case you want to learn how he became one of the clan, take a look-see here:   TobyNo

So you ask; how did I manage to keep it together this year and actually manage to have time to talk to the family? Well first, as I mentioned earlier, I decided I needed a bit of an attitude adjustment. It dawned on me that there isn’t anything I could do about the family and their attitudes; I could only change mine. I just chilled out, period. Once I came to this glorious realization, seems the universe decided to cooperate, as did everyone else around me, including the bird. I slapped the stuffing into that puppy (no not Toby), and got it into the oven like a pro, no fuss, no muss.

I also found out you can reuse that piece of plastic, which binds the bird’s legs together, and stuff its legs back into it to keep the stuffing from falling out. That in itself made my day! Makes me wonder how I managed to get nearly 64 years old without realizing I could cook the bird with that plastic piece attached. Sometimes it pays to read the directions.  I guess it’s also true that you learn something new every day.

See what I mean about the universe cooperating? Once I gave in/up, things just started falling into place. Next, once the bird was in the oven, I began preparing the veggies and candied yams right after I closed the oven door on the bird. Instead of waiting until later when the turkey was close to being done, I saved myself the hassle of scurrying around the kitchen, bumping butts with the daughters, trying to get it all on the table while the turkey was still hot. Then, all that needed to be done was to heat the rest of the meal. Bam, snap, nothing to it!

Did you know that a metal whisk can change your life? Yep, threw away the whisk that was falling apart and got a nice new metal one with no rubbery stuff to fall off into the gravy. So there were no snide remarks from daughter number one about my gravy making skills. I also did not hear one word about Rachel Rae’s fabulous recipe. We all just settled for gravy without rubber particles floating around in it.

Okay, I didn’t make a COMPLETE attitude change. I did slip up once which made for at least one funny incident in the kitchen…ice cubes in the mashed potatoes. I told daughter number two that she had to mash the potatoes. Then I proceeded to stand over her and tell her how to do it. I couldn’t help myself; she wanted to put in the milk before the butter! Who does that? The butter has to melt before you poor in the cold milk, right?

Remembering my resolve, I took my glass of champagne and wandered into the living room to talk to my granddaughters. Suddenly I hear the words “ice cubes and “mashed potatoes” linked together coming from the mouth of daughter number one. What? Were they going to put ice cubes in the mashed potatoes?  I made a dash for the kitchen as both daughters began to roar with laughter. They must get their sense of humor from their mother; how could I be angry.

So then, Thanksgiving at our House – The Next Saga may be the last in the series of Thanksgiving fiasco stories. If I maintain the new attitude change and add a few more organizational changes, maybe there will be nothing of interest to write about? Oh say it’s not so…I do so love laughing and reflecting on the day over my pie and tea on the Friday morning after. Mind you, it is only funny the NEXT day.

My Crazy Vacation

Every year I go to Arizona to visit my brother and my best friend. It’s always one of those don’t do much, sit on your butt, play games and drink type vacations. It’s the type of vacation where you really just rest. How much trouble can you get into? I’ll tell you how much; the pain is an excellent reminder.

Most years I just travel by train from California to Arizona, just so I can stay in the relax mode. But this year I decided to drive, all by myself. My husband did not accompany me, which alone should have made it relaxing and stress-free. Sorry Buddy, you know exactly what a pain you can be, especially if I’m driving. As it turns out, the trip itself went well. I made good time and didn’t run into any traffic. However, once in Arizona, this is the sequence of events:

Drive up on dead end road into someone’s private driveway – I managed to get all the way to Prescott Arizona, about 439 miles without a hitch. On the last leg, as I turned onto my brother’s street, I turned right instead of left. The street dead-ended into a private driveway. That will throw you askew every time; one must know their left from right in order to arrive at their destination. In itself, it shouldn’t have been much of a problem. I just needed to back down out of the driveway and go in the other direction, you know, my other left. The driveway was on a hill and there was rocky gravel lining the driveway. As I backed down I didn’t go straight enough and ended up stuck on the rocks. Try as I might, I couldn’t get out. I called my brother; no one was home. What up brother? Didn’t I tell you my exact arrival time? I called Triple A and the guy put a 2×4 under my tire and drove on out. Nice. Too bad I don’t carry wood boards in my car for such an occasion. Note to self; put 2×4 in trunk of car.

After heading back in the right direction, and about 40 seconds later, I let myself into my brother’s house and waited for him and my sister-in-law to return from wherever they were. They arrived in minutes and got a good laugh out of my mishap. It’s all good. If someone can laugh at my shenanigans, all is not for naught. The rest of my visit with my brother went without further incident. After a few days visit, I headed on out to Camp Verde, 50 miles south of Flagstaff AZ, to visit my friend. Fortunately this little jaunt went without incident as well. Once there, it was a whole other story.

Jerome, AZ, a lovely place to visit, but watch out for those cracked sidewalks – If you have never been to Jerome, it’s a must see on an Arizona vacation. It’s an old western town built high on the mountains at about 5,000 feet. The scenery is as spectacular as what you might see at the Grand Canyon. It has lots of specialty shops and great places to eat. My favorite shop is the Raku Gallery which is loaded with gorgeous stuff that I really can’t afford to buy, but I always check it out just in case they’re having a sale. This is where the Jerome fiasco took place. The Raku has a glass blowing studio, and I was able to pick up a $20 coffee mug which I planned on as a gift for my daughter. As I was leaving the store, I tripped over some uneven sidewalk. I landed flat on my hands and my head followed landing on top of the bag with the cup in it. An attendant from the store rushed out to rescue me. I told her I was fine and that I was more worried about my cup, which I did NOT break! I did bruise the palms of both of my hands. My relief that the cup was saved was short lived. When I got home, my husband tossed it on top of our tiled dining room table and busted it. It was just never meant to be.

Building a cairn; not quite as much fun as I thought it might be – It looked like a really cool thing to do. I watched a video of an up and coming musical band from the south, brothers and a cousin, who built a cairn in a creek nearby their home. I thought to myself and said, “Self, you ought to build one of those things in the creek where Ginger lives”. I figured it would give us something new to do besides sitting on her patio drinking and playing word games.

Down to the creek we go. Ginger has the camera for video shots, and I search for just the right rocks. Like an idiot, I decided to build the cairn on top of a very large rock in the flowing part of the stream, instead of on the flat sandy surface of the creek. That was my first mistake. The second was building it pyramid style where anything could go wrong; and did! I built it up about 18 inches high before it toppled down the first time. Since only about half of it fell, I decided I would rebuild. This time I got to a place I could almost call finished, and down it came again. This time however I got caught in the downfall. At this point we decided to head home so I could ice my very bruised and swollen ankle and sip on cocktails for comfort.

Curling iron debacle – Yes, you guessed it. A few short hours after the rock pounding, I grabbed a hold of a very hot curling iron on the wrong end! All I can say is that hell must be a very horrible place, if such a place exists. I burned 2 fingers and the palm of my hand and it hurt for a solid 5 or 6 hours, as burns do. As luck would have it, it was the night before I was to drive home the following morning. There I was, up and down all night retrieving cold ice packs from the refrigerator.

Despite my sleepless night, I did manage to get home without any additional disastrous happenings. I took the usual mosquito bites home with me, along with my bruised and battered body. One more pelt to my already beaten up body surely would have traumatized me into a shock ridden state. I was spared.

Ginger says maybe we should see the Grand Canyon next year. In light of my clumsiness, I’m wondering how good an idea that might be; dangerous high rocks and all. I’d like to live another year to visit my friend and drink and play word games on her patio, where it’s nice and safe. Well, all except for those West Nile carrying mosquitoes.

Update:  The above occurred a few years ago.  This year, no issues and after several trips to the same places, I can honestly say I am no longer geographically challenged.  I do believe next year I can do it all over again without the help of maps or GPS!  Also, we were all particularly lazy this year; we only ate and drank, which cut down the mishaps to zero.  I have new plans for cairn building – stay tuned!

Losing it All – My Mind AND Belongings

I think my mind has slipped down into the mysterious crack of lost items. It seems I am losing my mind AND my belongings to this insufferable crack. You know the crack I’m talking about; missing socks that never come out of the dryer after they have gone in. Okay, so that one isn’t so mysterious. There must be some logical explanation for that since it happens to everyone. I just get so tired of spending half my waking hours looking for things! I’m finding out that it’s not so much that these items are actually lost. I just can’t remember what in hell I did with them.

Prime example: I went to the doggie beach this past weekend and upon returning home I couldn’t find my MP3 player, so figured it was buried deep in the sand somewhere on Huntington Beach. Not so. After searching for days, I opened my eyeglass case to find the player tucked away nice and safe-like! Cheese Louise! What good is keeping things in a safe place when you can’t remember where the safe place is?

I’m thinking one solution would be to stop walking around the house like a zombie with things in my hand. They wind up getting dropped in the most unlikely of places. Take the case of the missing Kleenex box, lost around the same time as the MP3 player. Even my husband got into the act on this one. I asked him if he had seen it, and he said no and that he thought it was weird too because he remembered me asking him which box we should keep in the living room. (Boxes have different designs on them, so I wanted to use the one that fit my color scheme.) Turns out it was hidden behind the toilet tank. Not so unlikely a place for a box of Kleenex, but still, not where I usually put them. Fortunately, this mystery was solved in about 10 minutes, so I still have most of the hair on my head.

Do I have to accept the fact that I’m just getting old and I have developed CRS like everyone else my age? I don’t care what anyone says; I’m pretty sure I coined this acronym, but I can’t remember. Besides, I’ve been suffering from CRS since my early 20s. So I can pretty much say with certainty that it is not old age! Maybe I should just cop to the old age thing, because the alternatives are not very attractive. Something must be seriously wrong with my brain!

Here’s the kicker. It used to be that I could depend on my husband to be my keeper. I guess I unconsciously picked a man 12 hears my junior just for this purpose, but guess what? He’s catching up to me in a big damn hurry! How he’s getting deaf, along with me, and he can’t remember a damn thing anymore either. A lot of good he is! Now we will just have two idiots running around the house looking for things. Can you just picture it? Hubby bellowing ‘what’ all the time, cause he doesn’t have hearing aids yet; both of us bumbling along looking for our eye glasses and various other old age necessities. Thank you God; you’re funny too!

Oh well, I guess we could hire a personal assistant and pretend he/she does really important things for us. We don’t have to tell anyone that his/her job is really finding our eyeglasses which sometimes can be found perched atop our balding heads!

 

Brodie & His Friends

My parents really don’t get me, not one bit. They don’t understand what a day in the life of Brodie is really like. It’s like we speak a different language. I suppose it’s not an unusual fifteen year-old adolescent complaint. Take this morning for an example. Well, actually any morning for that matter.  They all start off the same. I’m not the morning type. If sleeping were a competitive sport, I would be a challenge to be reckoned with.

I can hear my Mom now yelling at me from the kitchen. Brodie, get out from under those covers. Don’t make me come in there! I have to get up every morning and help my Dad take out the trash. Since I have to be outside anyway, I take this opportunity to scout around and make sure the home front is secure. I don’t know why I am so anal about this; I must have been a security guard in my last life. I always make sure our car is still in the driveway and that the stereo remains intact. Although not sure I’d miss it that much since my parents always get the choice of music, which is not anything I can remotely relate to. I do love that car though and my parents almost always let me have the best seat. It’s the one up I have on Krystal and Tommy. They, on the other hand get to lie around in bed while I’m out taking care of business.  Seems all they ever care about is who can get to the breakfast table first!

Tommy and Krystal are my seventeen year-old twin brother and sister. They seem to think because they arrived on the scene first that they are especially privileged. It would appear so too, since I’m the one who has trash and security duties!  Krystal is all right some of the time and mostly ignores me. However, I get the feeling Tommy is always waiting to throw a punch at me or put his foot out to trip me when I walk by. I’m convinced that Mr. and Miss High & Mighty just tolerate me for Mom and Dad’s sake, and wish I were never born! Well, born I was, and it’s not my fault my parents gave me such a geeky name to begin with. Broderick? Who the heck pins a name like that on a kid these days? Brodie is okay I guess, though it does sound like a dog’s name. No wonder the twins treat me like one! But it is a darn sight better than Broderick.

After breakfast, I like to hang out with my Dad when he isn’t working, maybe play a little ball. Dad doesn’t throw so well so I spend a lot of time chasing his lousy pitches. Of course my catcher’s mitt isn’t the greatest either. Today was no different, and I quickly bored of the game. If nothing else, we got a little exercise. It’s barely ten in the morning, and I’m already looking forward to my nap. Dad is probably the only one who can compete with me in the sleeping department. This is a stroke of good luck for me, and he allows me to get away with a lot of napping too. Mom hates all the daytime sleeping and discourages it every chance she gets. But, I have a few slick hiding places so I can sleep in peace most of the time.

After sneaking in my mid-morning nap, I begin to feel really antsy. Time to get out of the house; napping just energizes me.  Maybe my friend Joxer is up and about. He seems to be just lazing around this summer too. Joxer and I are a bit different but we are best buds! He’s a little older than me, and opposite in build. He’s tall and sturdy looking, while I’m quite a bit shorter. Some say that we look like Mutt and Jeff palling around together. We do have our funny names in common; seems Joxer is a nickname taken from some old time super hero his Dad likes. Joxer and his Dad live alone together. Though his Dad is in a wheelchair, he gets around pretty well all on his own. Even so, Joxer likes to keep an eye on him. I bet his Dad likes the idea of a super hero watching his back.

I banged on Joxer’s door and his Dad let him out for a while. We wandered the neighborhood seeing what kind of trouble we could stir up. Then we went across the street from Joxer’s and hooked up with another friend we call Slinky because he’s so darn skinny. Joxer and I are always trying to engage him in our activities; like eating for one, hoping to fatten him up so as not to make us look bad. Our parents all seem to be on this kick of watching our weight! Actually, Slinky wasn’t so slinky not so long ago! But that was before his parents put him on a diet. Now, he thinks he’s all that since he has trimmed down. But, we still dig him; the old Slinky is still in there somewhere!

We didn’t really have a game plan and was just roaming the neighborhood checking out the driveways for any cool new cars. Soon enough trouble found us. Along comes the knucklehead threesome which we like to call them. The three brothers are not so much trouble really. We just think they are stuck up. They always seem to be parading around with their mother showing off their athletic ability. Said skills make us look like the do-nothings that we are most of the time. We should probably be kinder. They don’t have a Dad, and maybe their Mom just wants to keep them tough by involving them in sports. They are kind of arrogant though, and Slinky doesn’t care for them much, so he slunk on home when they showed up at our favorite nearby park. He’s not the most social guy in the world and was glad to have an excuse to leave away. We always tease him about having a social anxiety disorder but hes so anti-social he doesn’t seem to care!

I was feeling another nap coming on, so I finally dismissed myself as well and went on my way home. I crept into the house hoping not to run into Mom who always wants to talk to me and see what I’ve been doing, or check out my hair to see if I need a haircut. I let her fuss with me for a few minutes, and then high-tailed it to my den for another nap before supper.

I woke up from my nap just in time for supper. Mom’s cooking is okay but what I really look forward to is dessert. We don’t always have one every night because of the health kick Mom is always preaching. And, if it were up to my Dad, we’d eat nothing BUT dessert! Oh Yeah! It’s on tonight, a special treat, vanilla ice cream, my favorite!

Well, that’s how my day went, and now that I think about it, maybe I shouldn’t be complaining so much; yap, yap, yap. I mean heck, I have the life of a well cared for dog! I have a dog’s life for crying out loud. Oh, that’s right, I am one!

My real name is Auggie and I’m the best cutest weenie dog on the block! My brother and sister are really cats from the same litter. And my parents really do take VERY good care of me. And, oh yeah, my parents are human. What a menagerie!

Nix the Boot Camp Parenting

Some might say the biggest mistake they made was the decision to become parents in the first place! Thank God for unplanned pregnancies, or most of us wouldn’t be here to try our hands at the parenting game at all. Planned or not, we are never prepared for the task. Read all the books you want. Listen to your parents and various family members spout their techniques, but from the moment that little monkey-child is placed in your arms, all bets are off! I personally just winged it all the way, and frankly, I don’t think it’s a bad way to go.

One of the biggest mistakes I think many parents make is not choosing their battles. They want to do it all right. While a lofty goal, it’s hardly doable. Of course we all have our own styles too, and what works for some doesn’t for others, not to mention the unique personality of each child in the same family. I have two daughters two years apart, and they couldn’t be more different than night and day. Here’s a mistake in the making right away. Back in the day, would be parents were told to space their kids two years apart. What was those experts thinking?? Here you have a wild two year-old running around like a crazed maniac, and then you have a needy whiny infant on your hip! Many a day found me wanting to toss both kids at their father the minute he walked in the front door from work! This makes for a bad spacing choice in my experience. You might want to rethink that old-fashioned idea. I think four years apart makes better sense.

Here’s a great example of battle choosing. I have a girlfriend who had her kids quite a few years after my family was already complete, so she was completely clueless. We were sitting at the kitchen table playing cards, while the kids were in the bedroom playing. She got up for a potty break and while at that end of the house, she looked in on the kids. She comes back to the table and says, “Jeanette, your little one is throwing all her clothes out of the dresser drawers”. I told her I don’t care. She repeats, “No, I mean she is throwing ALL of her clothes out of the drawers”. I repeated, “I don’t care”! She didn’t get it, but I’d bet money on the fact that she got it real quick once her kids were born and growing up! It was worth picking up the mess later, rather than interrupting our card game to discipline my daughter straight away. Now had she come back to the table and said she was cutting her other sister’s hair, (not an arbitrary example), I would have hiked back there lickety-split!

I think the biggest lesson I learned while raising my two munchkins was how to speak to them while disciplining them. I learned this purely by accident. I had come home from a long Christmas shopping trip and was dead on my feet. I came into the living room to find my two darlings watching TV and eating potato chips. At least I thought they were eating them, but hard to tell since there was chips from one end of the living room to the other! I was too tired to begin screaming at them, which is my normal method of discipline. Instead, I very quietly and slowly told them to pick up their mess and then go to their rooms. The screaming they expected; the calm rational mother they did not. They immediately did what they were told and went to their rooms. I went in a few minutes later to find them both crying! Guess I scared the hell out of them and they figured I meant business this time! This was quite the eye-opener to be sure.

So, pick your battles and don’t scream like a banshee! This is what I learned. Certainly I did little by the books, but my daughters turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself. And I do!

Fantasy Sports is a Game Changer

I’m not much of a sports fan but must admit Fantasy Sports has some appeal. Not that I participate, and not from want of trying from my husband to get me involved.  As the above picture notes, this is how you will frequently find my husband; stalking the TV and screaming at it.

 

For those of you who don’t know, Fantasy Sports involves the guys/gals picking teams of their own, based on the actual real sports players. They give their team some unique crazy name and then compete against each other. Then, they all rush to the draft to see if they can snag up the best players to be on their team. How each individual player performs determines their team’s standings in the league. Points are scored up for each individual play, and by season end, whoever has the most points wins. Some leagues play for money and others just for fun.

 

I started off by saying that Fantasy sports has some appeal, and I will get to that later. Here’s the downside. All the sports widows and widowers are left hanging even more! Because now, not only do the men (and some women) spend hours in front of the tube watching the games, they now also spend even more hours in front of the computer. Either they are talking smack about the other team’s players, or they are messing around making changes to their teams. I get a kick out of how seriously the whole thing is taken too; at least by my husband.

 

Heaven forbid should I call uniforms outfits! Sometimes I will comment on how I like one team’s outfit better than another, and it really annoys him. Of course I know better now, but his annoyance makes for my amusement, so I’ll still call them outfits just to get a rise out of him. He also doesn’t like it when I make fun of the referees when they make all those crazy hand signals and announce the penalties so seriously. Many times I will burst out laughing during a game when I happen to hear one of these penalty calls. Neither is he amused by my outbursts of laughter.

 

Now let’s talk about the positive part. It used to be that while watching the game, my husband would yell and scream expletives at the TV. Poor doggies if they happen to be napping on the bed alongside of him. No doubt he startles the life out of them! Instead, he is much quieter and doesn’t yell nearly so much. The dogs and I are both appreciative.

 

Fantasy Sports has changed the way the game is viewed at least to a certain extent. Instead of rooting for your team to win, more concern is shown for individual performance. In some cases this means, who cares who wins, so long as your Fantasy team is winning. Instead of just viewing the sport, now there is also viewer competition involved, which changes the whole nature of the game. This is another example of how the internet has so drastically changed our lives.

 

I suppose I must take the good with the bad. Besides, I don’t particularly consider myself a sports widow. The time my husband spends on sports is less time he spends yakking in my ear on endless political issues. I can then plop myself in front of my own boob tube and stream Netflix without his interference. That reminds me. I should come up with a new term for boob tube. It’s not like there are any actual tubes involved anymore. To change the subject even further, I am sick to death of LOL too. I’m working on that one.

 

 

Customer Service is Dying Out

In a day and age of super technology and ever expanding giant corporations, you’d think that providing good customer service would improve. Wrong! Bigger is not always better. In fact, in this author’s humble opinion, quite the opposite. The list of examples is endless.

 

Here is a selection of just one week’s most fr
ustrating, exasperating, stomach constricting, Excedrin headache number 4,444,444-type events.

 

Let’s start with my all time favorite utility company to hate; the Phone Company. I needed to make a call to my cable company (probably my second most favorite utility company to hate, who will be berated shortly). Since I was at work and had no access to the correct phone directory, I called information, the all-knowing keeper of phone numbers. Not! I asked for the number of the Cable Company in the city in which I lived, and the operator insisted that the only number was for a city about 70 miles away from my residence. I used my local directory to look up the number regularly. What was his problem? I begged to differ with him and proceeded to tell him that there were numbers not only for my city, but two surrounding cities as well. In fact, I practically know the number of the Cable Company by heart, since I spend a significant amount of time making complaints to them. I gave up arguing with the operator and called the number he gave me in order to obtain the number I needed for my local cable company. Jeez!! I would really have been annoyed if I had to pay for the long distance call instead of my kindly employer.

 

Next we have the almighty cable provider, whose service without; most of us would have no television at all. I, personally, cannot get any television reception without a cable hookup. What’s up with that anyway? Since when do you need cable connection to receive local TV stations? That concept rings of monopoly, big time! Nothing makes me crazier than coming home from work to plop down on the couch to watch my favorite soap, only to find my VCR has recorded nothing but gray fuzzy static stuff! I consider myself a fairly intelligent woman, yet I reserve the right to engage in at least one stupid activity. For me that is the soap I have been watching for the past 30 years.

 

In light of that insight into my personality, you can imagine the mood I am in when I have to make yet another call to the Cable Company. Of course they can’t tell me how long it will be before they are through working on the lines, nor whether or not the money for the new stations they are working on providing will come out of my pocket. And, if I want credit, I have to call every day I am without service in order to get credit on my bill. The kicker is, you cannot even threaten to cancel your service and go elsewhere because there is no elsewhere to go. Cable companies provide service for particular areas and if you happen to live in the area of the crappiest cable provider, such is your fate. Oh joy, and for all this fantastic service I pay $51.24 a month!

 

Now, here is the most annoying incident. Well, the most annoying incident that week anyway. I am sure I will have many more occasions where my phone seems to hang off my ear, endlessly making complaint calls to utility companies, credit card companies, and various other service providers.

 

I speak now of the brown truck brigade, UPS. The only good thing about UPS is the good-looking drivers. They are in the same league with construction workers and firemen. You rarely encounter an ugly one. However, along with the rest of the companies I noted, service is not exactly their forte either! I seldom receive UPS packages. You would think the on the few occasions when I have, they could get the delivery right. This is not the case. It all began on a Wednesday and after five phone calls, the package they attempted to deliver the previous Friday still had not been delivered. I won’t even bother to bore you with the details of the complaint phone conversations. Suffice it to say; at least ten idiots were most likely involved with this fiasco!

 

As you can tell, these incidents happened back in the VCR days. The technology has improved even more, but the customer service has not. Now if you make a phone call to complain about something, you can’t even complain to a live person. And, if by some miracle you do get a live operator, you have a 60-40 percent chance that you won’t be able to understand a word they say! Don’t get me wrong, I love the new technology, so much so that as an early adopter, I pay a high price for all the gadgets because I can’t wait to get them.

 

So readers, if you expected solutions, humph! Get a clue. This was just a bitch session. I will attempt to solve world problems next week. Hah! If only someone would let me, I’d be all over it!