Sunday, February 14, 2010

Missing Sox

Laundry day and another half-dozen socks go missing. Generally not sports socks, but the dress socks or children's socks take off for parts unknown. I have drawers full of single sox waiting for mates and am running out of drawer space for other things like underwear, jeans or sweaters - my junk drawer has more single socks than junk. Once I purchased some of those sock-mate thingys where you clip pairs of socks together before you wash them - they magically changed places with each other during the wash and though two socks were connected, they no longer matched.

Even though I buy my husband the same style and color of dress socks so that when one goes missing, I can pair the missing one up with another who has lost its mate; they become chameleons and change during the wash so they still don't match any other sock. This leaves me wondering if it is some sort of plot by sock manufacturers to get us to purchase more socks and they aren't really matching in the first place. Do we really compare the socks when we open a new package to see if they actually match or are merely close? I never thought about it, but I am going to start; more than likely the sock stores will not let me in after I prove to them that the socks in a package do not match, heck some are not even close - look, one is black and the other is blackish.

I often thought that my wash machine was sucking them out and down the drain during the spin cycles, but after some twenty-five years with the same washer, you would think the hose would plug up eventually and it would no longer drain. I decided to run my hand along the top of the bucket thing that holds the clothes, maybe there would be the tip of an escaping sock that I could save. You really don't want to do that, I got a handful of what looks like mud and I am not sure I want to put my clothes in that wash machine any more.

I filled the machine with soap and disinfectant and ran it through a cycle, but that didn't help. There are still layers of mud along the top and outside wall of the wash bucket. I am left to wonder if there are sock-eating monsters living in the mud, but I am afraid of taking the wash machine apart to look, I could lose a hand and I need my hands to type.

My husband is not a plumber, but that may be the only option at this point - what wife wouldn't want their husband's groping hands eaten by the sock monster? On the other hand, after twenty-five years, maybe a new wash machine is in the cards. Now I know what the Maytag man does all day, he takes the old wash machines apart and sells sock puppets on EBay.

Packaging that drives people crazy

Just about everything you buy is double or triple wrapped with safety foil, have un-squeezable plastic caps and hard plastic impenetrable covers. Some of them, I could not open when I was younger; but now opening anything without help is impossible. Of course you know packaging is a plot of manufacturers to have less returns. If you damage the product trying to get it out of the package, they will not take it back because it did not come damaged - you damaged it. All warranties are void and you cannot get your money back.

I purchased a robot dog for my granddaughter one year. Not only was it taped and tied in the package with little ties, it had big plastic screws (that would not unscrew) that you had to remove first before you could move the dog. This took my neighbor's 17-year-old three hours to figure out the code of which plastic handle to move first so that the other screws would undo. I am thankful for her patience and knowledge as I would have used a hammer and told my granddaughter that the dog died in shipping. But of course I would have to go back to the store and spend another $85 to get a replacement, so I am happy there was help available.

The packaging I hate the most is the squeezable caps on detergents and other poisonous house-cleaning items. My arthritic hands cannot squeeze a tomato, so my new bottle of Clorox toilet bowl cleaner (with bleach) looked like it was going to remain unopened for at least a decade. After reading the directions several times and trying to squeeze and open, I decided it was not going to happen. I grabbed a table knife and tried to pry the lid off holding the plastic bottle steady with my knee - stretch, stretch, pry, and pry - phoosh. The lid came off and the contents managed to squirt all over the toilet, the wall, the floor, the toilet carpet, my clothes, and even the ceiling.

Quick, towels to wipe up the messy gel; not quick enough, I have bleached streaks on the toilet, the wall, the floor, the toilet carpet, my clothes, and even the ceiling. The bottle was nearly empty and not one drop got inside the toilet. I poured the remaining gel into the toilet and still had to scrub to get the hard-water stains out. Great, here is a product that bleaches everything in sight except for what it is suppose to bleach.

I painted the ceiling, bought a new toilet carpet, got new wall paper and wall tile, new linoleum, burned my clothes and even replaced the toilet. The next time I have rust build-up, I will buy a new toilet, it is way cheaper than a bottle of Clorox toilet-bowl cleaner in the long run.

Humor: Funerals

I was raised Catholic and of Croatian descent, this alone means you go to every funeral of every Croatian in town. By the time I was 27, I left the church, opting for a more fundamentalist approach to my beliefs. I still was required to attend relative's funerals or be blackballed from the family. The Catholic funerals have many traditions; for example, waving the incense and later at the burial, the individual incense blessing. Not believing this will help the deceased, I never informed my children about any of the funeral traditions, so they were pretty clueless.

My aunt had always taken photos of the relatives in their open caskets so that she had a memory of them on their last day. Mind you, the cameras at that time were not digital and the color was bad; add this to the bad coloring of the deceased and you got pictures that looked like various versions of "Grandpa" on the Munsters. She was pleased though and made copies for everyone in the family, I would bring them home and my children would make comments on what a creepy family they were born into.

Finally, my aunt met her maker and we, as a family, went to her funeral. This was the first Catholic funeral my children had to attend. Most of the older women were donned in their "mourning" attire - black long dresses, black shawls, and black scarves. They were moaning and crying which made my three younger children look constantly over their shoulders wondering if this was some kind of witch cult and wondered if they were going have a spell cast on them. The Mass was very long and children, being children could not sit still. I am still known in that congregation as a very bad mother who couldn't keep her children respectful and still.

So, once the Mass was over, we jumped into the cars for the procession to the cemetery. I am glad we had our own car and did not ride in the limo as my two older boys and I were joking about the various funeral "criers" that were present. Once at the cemetery, the family gathered around the casket and the priest said a few words (of which I have no idea), then he passed around something that looked like a microphone that was dipped in the incense bowl. Each person shook it over the casket as a blessing to the dead person. My 8-year-old looked at me as it was being passed to him and I said, "No, your hand will fall off if you touch it." He withdrew his hand in horror and it was passed, instead to the next person. Of course my older boys and a couple of nephews had a very hard time keeping a straight face, also the comment brought many glares from the mourning relatives.

My mother, who I am sure I was responsible for sending to an early grave, scolded me and said, "I suppose you will do the same at my funeral." I told her that I probably would, but she would be dead and wouldn't care. With that, she started to laugh and we all enjoyed the rest of the day at the potluck. Of course, no one would talk to me but my mother and my children - hey, the food was great and I was too busy eating to visit anyway.

A few years later my mother died and to our surprise, she did not want a Catholic funeral or Mass. She opted for a simple ceremony at the funeral home and graveside with no incense throwing. Some of the grandchildren stood up with wonderful eulogies and mom's friends from church commented that they have never before been to a funeral like that and it was, surprisingly, beautiful. Way to go Mom!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Humor: Christmas Decorating

I grew up with a mother that liked the spruce trees because of their almost equally separated branches. After the bulbs and lights were on, she would string at least ten boxes of aluminum icicles on the branches so it looked like it was raining silver. By the time I got married, it was such a tradition to me that my trees were exactly the same. After ten years into this, I looked at the tree one year and decided it looked like an imitation aluminum tree and it was pretty ugly. For a couple of years I had to put a couple of boxes of tinsel on the tree because the kids said it looked naked, but after that we went cold turkey – no more tinsel to clog the vacuum cleaner – yippee.

We did the manger scene and had some animated figures placed at various locations inside the house, since the outdoor decorations would blow away because of the wind where we live. We tried one year and they all blew away, never to be found again (I am thinking neighbors found them and had a garage sale), but that is only an opinion.

One year I decided to put a cross on top of our shop with red lights flowing from it(blood) and 15 or 20 strings of white motion lights extending from either side (grace). Of course no one was home to help me and while I was 15 feet in the air on the ladder, it slipped and down I went. I landed on my feet, but I am sure that is where I lost my 2” in height as my spine crunched together.

I got back up on the ladder and finished the display; it was beautiful for two days until a gust of wind blew it all apart, then it was just a blob of red lights, with non-working (motion) white lights hanging down from the peak in a long, fat stream. It looked like a rocket ship with a red nose and again, the neighbors were amazed at my lack of decorating ability and wondered what theme I was trying to convey – Rocket Rudolph perhaps.

Finally, I decided the outdoor decorations were not worth it; and since I am short already, I could not afford to lose another two inches in height; so I opted for a short, imitation, rotating fiber optic tree (in the house). Take it out of the box, straighten the branches, plug in and the decorating is done. (Play the hallelujah chorus here).

Over the years we have acquired boxes and boxes of decorations and as each child married I was able to send them off with a box or two as a starter package. We had five kids and you would think my decoration supply would be depleted, not so. We have boxes and boxes still stored in every nook and cranny of the house. Lights, ornaments, mini ornaments, wreaths, imitation greenery and don’t forget the Christmas village that is so big, it would take a whole room to set up.

Last year is the first day-after-Christmas sale I did not attend, if I bought anything at all, we would not have anywhere to store it, we also have enough wrapping paper and ribbon to last at least for three years after I die. My kids already have their own ample supply of decorations and don’t want to inherit any more, so I am thinking that hubby will make a killing on eBay for at least a year or two after my demise. (Play in its entirety, the Handel’s Messiah here).

Humor: Advertisements

I like to watch commercials as some of them are pretty funny, but some are so bad that I cannot understand how they are allowed to be viewed. A particular pet-peeve of mine is the Reebok ad that makes the claim that if you wear their shoe, your butt will develop into a perfect, tiny little thing that will make men drool and women hate you. An update of that ad is saying it will also do wonders for your bust line – these are some talented shoes.

Of course, being 85 pounds overweight, I want those shoes, never mind that my butt could not be fixed with a hack-saw let alone a pair of tennis shoes. Being overweight, my bust line does not need help (except for the gravity problem that causes sagging), so I wonder if the shoes can be adjusted to "butt only" shoes. I haven't noticed any disclaimers like "this is a model, stupid, and won't work on you;" so I am saving my money and it looks like 2010 will be my year. I have not had a perfect butt since 1943 when I came into this world, so I am very excited about the new me at 67 years old.

When reality sets in and there is nothing left for me but the drug ads; I think, "is that really all I have left to my life?" There are more ads for drugs to clear my veins, to help me breathe, keep my bones from crumbling, and stop my painful joints; the side effects are worse than the cure, some of which include blindness and death (yet another government plot to get rid of the aged on Social Security).

There are the ads with people trying to outrun a hospital bed that follows them everywhere, only to find themselves at the scooter store because they can no longer outrun that nasty bed. Oh, then don't forget the ads for term life so that you can be buried without burdening your family; and just in case you don't die today, you can join a retirement community that has fun stuff to do. Joining a retirement community depends whether you have any cash left after paying for all your pills and whether any of your body parts are still able to move. If your parts still work, do not take the exercise classes; I tried to touch my toes and my angry, saggy breasts almost strangled me.

Of course TV being all about beauty, it has thousands of makeup and hair ads which I avoid like the plague. There is nothing they can do for my hair which is now in the state of “thin gray frizz;” the soft skin creams and the makeup – well, what’s the point? I have no eyelashes (I really have no idea where they went) and if I tried to soften my skin, no one could tell because of the overlapping wrinkles, pouches and bags. I tried to cover it up with makeup and you don’t even want to hear about that – I still have nightmares! Perfume ads are still viable for us old folks, it covers the "old, almost dead" smell that no amount of soap will get rid of.

I absolutely hate car ads, mostly because they are all geared to youth, speeding, and partying; none of which I am able to do because I can't stay awake long enough. At least I don't need the sleep-aids and should the Lyrica butterfly come in my room, the can of Raid will come out. There was a time when I would have purchased a Bow-flex or a Nautilus Tread-climber, but thank goodness I could not afford either because now I can simply purchase a pair of Reebok's and have the body of a model - in my dreams at least.

Humor: The Problems Associated With Growing Old

I am almost twice as old now as my mother was when I thought she was really old, of course I was only 15 at the time, and at that age everyone over 25 is near death. I am well on my way to passing that age for the third time (less than a decade to go), and up until the last couple of years I still believed I was young (something about a poem of the mind being deceived would be inserted here if I could remember even one line of it).

Anyway, hubby and I worked hard all our lives, and now our bodies ache and creak and just plain don't work most of the time. I have always had a slight balance problem and have never been able to walk a straight line. Now when I walk, it looks like I am doing the Serpentine in the movie "the In-Laws". My husband bought several riding lawnmowers in case one wore out, we would always have a spare; one of them is now my mode of transportation around the yard. Granted, it is a bit louder than the scooters from the "Scooter Store," but it serves its purpose for me. Although the initial investment was much cheaper than a scooter, if I live much longer the cost of the gas will do me in.

I often wonder what my neighbor across the field thinks when I try to walk across the lawn or when I get on the mower to go back to the shop. We have a very big yard and the shop is over a city block away so there is no way I could walk that far of my own volition. Or what he thinks when hubby and I each get on a lawnmower and drive around the yard without actually mowing the lawn. I am pretty sure he thinks we are snockered most of the time. I have only talked to him once a few years ago, and I think it was because he had to investigate us a little closer than with binoculars; maybe he thought if he actually talked to us, his fears would be unfounded. He has not been back, so I am assuming he is sitting in his window observing us from a safe distance.

I was seriously thinking that we should qualify for some type of disability and asked hubby what he thought. He explained that we would not do well in any kind of SSI interview; mainly because we could not answer questions with a straight face and they would think we were drunk or senile. We do spend a lot of time laughing at ourselves and the many things we cannot do, so silliness has become a way of life; the SSI people would probably take the farm and put us in a home thinking we were both totally insane.

We are continually amazed that other people do things in the evening (like going to dinner or the movies), I mean how can they stay awake past 5 p.m.? Sometimes I have to go grocery shopping or to the bank; grocery shopping is fine because there are 24-stores; but most banks open at 10 and a few at 9 - the day is almost over before they even open - it is a strange world we are living in, when there is nothing open until so late in the day.

For the time being we will continue to shuffle along (much like Tim Conway doing his old man walk), and continue to amaze the neighbor by our lack of normal behavior. We are usually up at 4 waiting to greet the sun (even though it seems to take its time showing up) and pass out long before it sets. Our TV remains mostly unused and our food consumption has gone to nearly a quarter of what it once was. Our vitamin shelf has noticed an increase in bottles; however, and our minds remain young - at least that's what we believe.

Humor: Grade School

When I was in the first and second grades, I had Mrs. Bowsher for a teacher both years. She was always very frustrated with me, and thinking that she was doing the right thing, she would make fun of me in class when I did something wrong. I had a hard time learning to write and because ADHD kids want everything to be perfect, I would write over and over on each line during penmanship making a real mess out of my paper. On the blackboard, she showed the whole class how I wrote thinking it would straighten me up. I was humiliated, so I purposely made messes out of my papers to "get even" with her.

Since no one ever heard of ADHD, I was considered a brat, and because I lost my dad to cancer in the spring of my first-grade year, I was traumatized and angry. This resulted in bad behavior and caused the teacher much grief. I remember losing my milk money one day, and she made fun of me because I was upset and crying. She is probably rotting in "bad teacher" hell.

In the fourth grade, our class went to the hatchery and, for a quarter, I could bring home my very own baby chick. Quite a few of the kids brought one or two of them home; I fell in love with a little black and yellow chick and brought him home. My mother said no because rats will come if we have chickens, and the next day I had to bring it back to school. Never mind that there were two houses on the block with chickens and we already had rats in the neighborhood from the nearby dump, so I didn't see why I couldn't have a chicken of my own. My teacher was angry with me because I had told her I had my mom's permission - which was a lie. One of the other kids took the chicken home. After that, signed permission slips were required for anything we brought home from our field trips.

We used to have playgrounds at elementary school - real playgrounds. Now they have all this safety stuff, and the kids don't know any better so they still think they are having fun. Do you remember the old wood swings? We could stand up and swing, and it was so much more fun than sitting. The swings were tall; the chains were at least 10 - 12 feet long. We stood on the seat and pumped and pumped, trying to get the swing to go straight out, sometimes we succeeded too. Moreover, the ground was blacktop or concrete... none of this soft gravel or sand for us. We cracked our heads open, scraped our knees, broke our arms, and became tough! There was a twelve-foot high slide that was not enclosed, not only would we climb up the ladder and slide with no safety concerns whatsoever, we would swing off the side and shinny down the posts. Great fun!

We had a merry-go-round with a "pumper" on each half of the circle; the rest of the circle was a bench that we sat on, with a metal railing above our knees that we could hold onto. This was up off the blacktop about two or three feet, so if we fell, we would definitely get hurt. At recess we used to race for the "pumper" seats, so we could try our hand in going fast enough to either get the others sick, or make them fall off. Sometimes when we were not in the pumper seats, we would let go of the railing positioning our legs under it, and lean all the way back with our arms out above our head. The trick was to try to stay there without sliding out onto our heads - not always successful, and there were many bruises, cuts and scrapes as a result.

The teeter-totters were very large and we would get several kids on each side competing to see which side could bump the ground hard enough to make the other side fall off onto the blacktop. The teachers were in their little private room having coffee; they could care less what we did during recess. We did keep the school nurse busy, and in those days, parents did not sue the schools every time their little angels got hurt. No one died either, just in case you were wondering; but we don't know why.

Humor: My Husband's Hobbies

My husband has several hobbies, most of which include drinking beer. Is drinking beer an actual hobby or just an accompaniment, of that I am not sure, although it seems to be a major player at the very least. Now that he is older, he is not able to drink more than three or four a day, so he drinks slower to make the flavor last longer. He is somewhat obsessed about his beer and will buy twenty cases at a time, storing them in his hidey-hole out in the shop. When his stash is down to ten cases, he will order another twenty so that he never runs out. I am almost certain that the beer is keeping his body flushed of poisons and it is the only thing that is keeping him alive and healthy. So if this is a hobby, it is a good one.

He not only loves working on old cars, growing tomatoes, collecting frog figurines, antiques, and various vintage lighters, he collects memorabilia too. You might ask what his favorite hobby is; nope, not drinking beer, it is collecting beer signs and memorabilia. Who would have guessed? I really try to have a normal house, but every place you look when you walk in are frogs, beer glasses, beer signs, beer trays, various old stuff that doesn't yet qualify as antiques, and a few empty beer cans. We have beer posters, and lighted beer signs in the living room, kitchen, bedroom, family room and even in the bathroom. We have a complete set of plastic wildlife signs with plastic animal figurines saying "It's the water" on one bedroom wall, which is only outdone on the opposite wall with various beer trays and wooden wall plaques hanging from it. I have bumped my head on several low-hanging signs in the family room thus yelling unflattering remarks toward hubby and his hobbies.

He wonders why I spend all my time on my computer, but it is the only place I can sit down and not stare at beer signs or the spider webs hanging from them. I am thankful though, because should he die first (which of course he won't, because he has no stress) I will have one heck of a garage sale for old beer memorabilia and use the money to redecorate. On the other hand, my best hope should I die first is to NOT having a casket in the shape of a beer keg.

Among his collections are antique car fenders, a tractor (with another one for parts), several old cars that are now rusted beyond recognition, an old tear-drop trailer that his folks used to own, three of their cars that he inherited when they died which he refuses to sell, several other cars that he wanted to fix up eventually and never did. He brought home his third riding lawnmower so just in case one breaks down we will have a couple of spares handy. Oh, and a 1950 Ford dump truck that runs, but has no brakes or a working dump truck box. It is now the home to many pesky hornets and wasps; that (he says) have to live too, so this truck will rot in place and never be moved.

When I first met him 41 years ago he collected stamps and old coins; wow, a guy with a hobby, how special he is!

Humor: Overpopulated Grave Yards

Have you ever noticed ads for cemeteries? They advertise beautiful views, and a peaceful atmosphere. I really wonder why the beautiful view matters, after we are dead, we are not going to be sitting there looking at the scenery. Nevertheless, we seek out the perfect cemetery and the perfect plot location for our loved ones. Better views are, of course like any other real estate, higher priced.

Then the funeral homes have caskets with engravings, and are made of various materials including bronze and padded with colored satin that will enhance your loved one's features. These are in the price range of most new cars because our loved ones deserve the best. I am not being disrespectful when I say "What?" My mother, bless her heart was poor and would be extremely angry if she knew we paid $10,000 for her casket. Her brother insisted that our mother deserved the best. She did, but she is gone and doesn't really care at this point, so she would have been happy with a cardboard box if the choice was hers.

In my opinion, this is why the graveyards are over-crowded; there are too many fancy caskets that have to be buried in big cement liners (to protect the casket - who really cares, no one is going to be looking at it again). A note here, cremation would be the best solution to saving space, but many religions oppose it; so back to the casket solution.

On the island where I come from, they buried people vertically. This saves much space and you can get almost as many people into a family plot this way as you can if they were cremated.

You would no longer need fancy caskets, just some kind of a four foot by 3 foot box since the person would eventually crumble and be at the bottom 8 to 15 inches of the box anyway. If you are concerned with "looks" at the funeral, you could rent a fancy casket and then have the morticians dump the body in the box afterwards. I know, deaths are very traumatic and "dumping the body in a box" sounds disrespectful to the dead, but their feelings are not being hurt - they don't care and they would not want you to go in debt so they could be buried in bronze with satin sheets and padding.

I suppose this is a futile dream because the funeral homes and cemetery owners would lobby the politicians to block any space saving ideas. The politicians would side with the lobbyists and everyone would continue making a fortune from our dead. Eventually, we will run out of cemetery land because of this, but as long as there is money to be made, we need not rush into anything rash.

Humor: Rocks & Stars

In my husband's early years he developed a great interest in geology due to the fact that there was a rock collector's store across from his junior high school. He would spend his lunch money on rocks for his collection and on the weekends he would drag his dad out to one of the several known places in the county where fossils could be found. As he grew, his interests changed to girls and cars, but he still kept his rock collection. He joined the navy and after his tour, he met me, we married and he moved his rock collection from his parent's home to ours. Oh goodie!

"You have a lot of rocks," I said.

He said, "Look, this is a fossil of a centipede and one of a fern leaf. I also have a lump of petrified dinosaur poop, look, here it is."

"I am so proud dear." I would say. "Where am I suppose to put all this, we have no shelves and only one end table so far?"

He decided that he would keep them in his cardboard boxes in the bedroom until we could afford a display case. Life got busy and his rocks stayed in the cardboard boxes until one day after we had three children (not all at once), I decided to buy him a display case for Father's Day. Of course this display case would not fit in the house because it was as big as a coffin (only deeper and heavier); it sat on little wooden pedestal legs. I put it in the shop, wrapped it in newspaper and told him to leave it alone. He was curious and thought I had bought him a motorcycle. He had two whole days of happiness thinking about riding his new motorcycle under the stars with his balding head blowing in the wind.

When Father's Day finally rolled around, the kids and I excitedly watched as he peeled the newspaper off his new glass, rock-collector case.

"What the heck is this?" he said trying not to sound too disappointed. After we told him it was a display case for his rock collection, he faked happiness, but for awhile was pretty miffed that we did not buy him a motorcycle. He still has the display case in the shop displaying his collection; although he never did any more with the collection, his chosen occupation deals with rocks - he drives a gravel truck.

We had two more kids, and in the meantime, he saved enough money for a motorcycle. He drove it the eight miles to work one day and scared himself to death. He discovered he was no longer a young man who wanted to ride under the stars, but someone who was barely strong enough to keep his motorcycle from being sucked under a passing truck. He came home and sold it; then he went out to the shop and polished his rocks.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Computer Humor

The same man that taught my son to fly taught me how to use a computer. When my son was twelve, I brought him to the radio-control plane field and a very nice man taught him everything he needed to know about building and flying planes. My son went on to take real flying lessons and soloed at fourteen; then he ran out of money for flying and began working on cars and trucks. He still flys, but not as often as growing up and having having a family has taken priority.

In the meantime, the man and his wife became friends of the family and he convinced me that I needed a computer. I ventured out and bought an old 286 (the yellow and black-view monitor) for $60. I mean all I really needed it for was to keep track of business inventory. He installed a few programs for me while shaking his head at what a dumb-A* I was for buying that old of a computer. I think during the next several weeks, he spent more time at our house than his own; finally he gave me a "Dos for Idiots" book and told me to read it. I still refer to it at times even though XP will not let me go there.

As time progressed, I learned many things; however, this nice man took pity on me and built a computer from extra parts he could no longer use (COLOR), it was only a 486, but at least I could play solitary. I still had DOS, but I also had Windows 3.1; the man says, "You need Windows 95." I fought it, but of course he installed it and I had to learn, then came Windows 98 - "Oh come on, I am happy now, please no more upgrades!" Well, he was the tech after all, and I should follow his wishes since he keeps my baby running. During these times I had many computer crashes, rebuilds, and I am sure I drove the man absolutely insane. Eventually, the man passed on and so did my computer. I asked around and found a place to put it all in working order again. They said (and this is true, I am not making this up; as Dave Barry would say), "We are not allowed to work on Windows 98; you will have to get Windows XP." Of course they lied to get me to purchase a new system; I fought it, but they assured me all my programs would still work - I knew better than that, but I really didn't have a choice.

Every time I have to take my computer to the shop I am like the expectant father in the waiting room (back when they actually did that). I pace the floor and plead for them to at least move it from the floor to the work bench. What will I do? How will I talk to anyone? My life is over, I need my computer tooodaaaayyyy. They push me out the door and promise me in two-day's time, they will be done. In two days, I am in their doorway at 6 a.m., although they don't open until 9. The guys are sneaking in the back door and hoping that the desk clerk will be late so I won't be able to come in. Finally, at 10:30, the tech carries my baby to the register and I am sure charges me double. We both smile happily, him with cash, and me with my baby. I know they fixed it right because they do not want me back.

Now I have XP and even though I hate it, I will keep it as I am too old to learn another system. I learned how to install hardware and have my own network; generally on the phone with tech support, I am helping them find the problem rather than the other way around (it is usually a problem with the Internet provider and not my computer), my friend would be so proud. Yes, I have turned into a real computer nerd (in my eyes only); everything else around the house is falling apart, but my computer works its tail off - so I am very thankful to the man that taught my son to fly.

Humor: Cell Phones

I have a land-line complete with wires that go in my wall and to the local telephone pole. It rings and I answer it (or not - since the invention of caller ID). I get in the car and listen to the radio or tapes because I do not have a CD player. I don't have to worry about the phone ringing while I am driving to ask me if I want to partake in a survey of some sort and can listen to my tapes and even sing-along if I so choose.

In the meantime there are other folks driving by happily chatting, forgetting to put their turn signal on or touching their brakes because the light turned red. There are wrecks all over the place, but the injured are still on their phones making arrangements for this or that after they get out of the hospital. My husband has a cell phone for work - a Nextel beeper thingy because no one in trucks use the CB's anymore; it was an easy transition for him because a beeper phone is similar to a CB - he doesn't use it to make phone calls because he can't figure out (or see) which buttons to push to actually use it as a phone.

We finally made the BIG adjustment and got Cable TV and the Internet. The company came up with an offer we could not refuse, three-for-one price forever. We can have a cable phone which makes long-distance free and we could keep our same phone number. We went for it and more often then not, our phone doesn't work because the Internet is out. No Internet no phone - something they neglected to tell us. I march to the neighbors, who also still have a land-line and call tech support. Being that I am at the neighbor's it is hard for tech support to fix my computer because I am not in-house to push whatever buttons they tell me to. They need a cell phone number, well; I don't have a cell phone. The tech guy is shocked, even street people have cell phone, what is wrong with you lady? We cannot send a tech guy out without him calling your cell-phone number to let you know he is coming. I will be home, just send him out... can't do it. I go buy a throw-a-way cell phone, activate it and call them back. Unfortunately, I spend twenty minutes on hold and have barely enough time to give them my new cell phone number before all my minutes are gone.

Tech support is happy because now the tech guy can call me although it will go to voice mail, but since they assume I got the message, they are allowed to drive in my driveway and fix my computer and phone.

I was just informed that they do not make tape players - or tapes for that matter and I am going have to transition to an MP3 player - I don't even know what that is. So now that I am tape-player-less I drive along happily talking or singing to myself; no one knows the difference, they think I am on my cell-phone. I can talk to myself, tell jokes, and laugh out loud in the aisle of the grocery store and no one gives me a second look. Cell phones are a wonderful invention, you can be a totally insane person and people just think you are on your phone.

Weight-Loss Infomercials, Don't Be Fooled

The only infomercials I used to watch were the ones done on "Who's Line is it Anyway" by Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles. I have yet to decide which one of them are the funniest comedians, but of course that is not what this article is about.

Before infomercials there was the Carol Wright and/or Dr. Leonard's Catalog promising this or that result from some new health invention. I bought my first weight-loss thingy from one of those catalogs; it was like a pair of high-waist Bermuda shorts - only you blew them up with a handy pump. These shorts went from your knees to clear up just under your breasts. The idea was to run in place for twenty (yes 20) minutes. In order to run in place for 20 minutes in the first place you have to be fairly thin and fit or you would have a stroke, so this was not an item for the already over-weight and out of shape. While I was running in place, the plastic squeaked and squawked in a horrible manner and my toddlers ran screaming from the room because some monster was taking over mom's buttocks.

They ran for dad, who of course mocked me for weeks after that so I was too ashamed to put them on again and they ended up in a box in the closet. The kids eventually warmed up to me again so all was well in our little home. Finally, after Thirty-two (yes 32) years, I cleaned out my closet. I found my handy bubble-pants! How exciting for me! I have gained nearly 85 pounds since I wore them, but I struggled and managed to get them on. After they were on, I discovered I could not bend over and could not find the handy pump. I marched myself out to the shop to use the air compressor forgetting to cover-up.

The neighbors heard the squeaking as I walked and thought I was killing a cat; they came running only to go into shock at what they saw. Of course the neighbors always knew I was a little on the abnormal side, but this sight was more than their eyes could take. I ignored them, turned on the compressor and blew my pants up. I now have a reputation in the neighborhood of being a Michelin Man wannabee. One of the neighbors called the police, they came and informed me that I was disturbing the peace and gave me a ticket. I never did lose any inches like the ad said I would and that is why I never watch an infomercial on TV. You never know how much the product is going to cost you in the end. Maybe I could interest Colin and Ryan in a pair of blow-up pants.

Why Men Should Listen to Their Wives

I don't know about other marriages, but in our 39 years my husband generally listened to me; never followed my advice, but he did listen. In the last few years I have pretty much given up talking to him at all, because what is the point? He informs me of yet another great plan, I say that is probably the stupidest thing I have ever heard, then he proceeds to follow through and prove me right.

He likes old cars, and he has purchased a few to work on after he retires. This was a nice idea, except that he was 27 at the time and now the cars are rusty piles of metal. He has a large shed to store some of them, these are still workable, but most have deteriorated beyond recognition. Four years ago he heard of an old car dealer that was an antique car collector. The man died and his wife had about 85 (yes 85) various GM fenders for sale. These were fresh from the factory in the 50's and 60's. I can buy them for $50 each and sell them for at least $200 each because they don't make them any more. Of course they don't make them any more, there are no cars to put them on, I thought to myself. "Do what you want, honey," I said, knowing that no matter what I said he was going to spend the money and bring home his treasure.

Of course this is not the end of it, we had to lay them all out, and I (yes me) had to take pictures of each one, place them on the computer complete with descriptions so we could put them on Craig's List. "This is a really good investment, dear, thank you for your help," he beamed. I might want to remind everyone that everything he has invested in has not panned out, so I smiled and said, "You are welcome, you brilliant man." These fenders have been on Craig's list for 3 1/2 years now and spent a little time on EBay, too. He has sold one fender for $200 (yep, one whole fender). We have received several emails from various places in the world wanting to send us cashier's checks for way over the asking price and the shipper would handle the shipping. One guy said, "I am so excited about your item, I have been looking for one of these for many years, I am going to surprise my daughter on her wedding.” That will be a surprise alright; ahh, someone with a smaller brain than my husband's, well live and learn.

I am so tired of being constantly bombarded with these emails and explaining to my husband that, "No, these are not real people who love your fenders; no one loves your fenders, no one wants your fenders, only you want your fenders; and now you have 84 of them to go out and hug every day." He finally decided that it was not a good idea, and can't understand why I did not tell him no before he spent the money.

We have never played at the stock market because neither of us are bright enough to understand it. He decided one day to invest $1,000 on Canadian oil sands. "If that makes you happy dear," I replied. He did, and of course the $1,000 is gone; but not to be deterred, he decided to invest in Boeing when the stock was down. Finally I put my food down; I mean this is a matter of national security. "No, you are not even going to buy one share, everything you invest in goes out of business or sits around collecting dust. The Boeing workers need their jobs and if you invest, the company will go broke and they will all be destitute!" A couple of years later, Boeing's business improved, and the stock went way up; he makes a sad face and said, "I could have made a killing!" "No dear, but you should be proud, it is because of your lack of investing that the business is blossoming; I am sure the company is thanking its lucky stars that you stayed away from them."

Humor: Coffee

Coffee and I have a long history. By the time I was Six (yes 6), I was having coffee and toast for breakfast. Of course the coffee had cream and sugar and was not black. You probably think I had really bad parents, but this was back in the day when no one knew what was or wasn't good for you. Not to mention, there was no cooking involved, which pleased my mother greatly. By the time I was a teen, I started eating regular food for breakfast, but still had my coffee. After I was married and pregnant - coffee was out, it made me sick, but once the morning sickness was gone, I was back on my coffee and by this time, there was no more cream and sugar, just rich black coffee.

As time went on, hubby started making the coffee and he liked his bitter. Really, when coffee is bitter there is nothing you can do to make it taste good. The smell was enticing, but it tasted like last week's road-kill. I started drinking tea, but there was not enough caffeine to keep me going, what was I to do? Chocolate you say? Yes, that would do - perhaps 4 or 5 chocolate bars a day would work (maybe 10 or 11). There was not a thought in my head as to what that much candy would do to my waistline until it was too late. I was hopelessly hooked and coffee was no longer the answer to my caffeine addiction.

Eventually, some brilliant mind invented Starbuck's and everyone else had to get in on the "big money" ride so espresso stands popped up on every corner. Mind you, I was already nearly 50 years old before espresso stands became popular. Of course I tried it and I liked it, so several times a week I splurged - usually some flavored mocha - the more caffeine the better. One little stand I frequented started serving white coffee and advertised "more bang for your buck!" Oooh, I have got to try that; I did, and I found out that I could have four to six shots and it still was creamy and tasted like cocoa; no bitter coffee taste will pass these lips again. A plus to that was with that much daily caffeine intake, I no longer needed my daily half dozen or so chocolate bars. Maybe I will lose weight too; no it is really too late for that as my metabolism moved to another country.

After awhile hubby decided it was too much of a luxury, not to mention totally unaffordable. So money is more important to him than I am now, well we will see about that! I purchased my own espresso machine, the syrups, chocolate and the white coffee. I made my own, every morning, 4 shots, yummy! I ran out of the coffee one weekend and I was a total zombie, regular coffee did not work, candy did not work, going to an espresso stand did not work. I finally just went back to bed and gave up. Monday morning I was off to score some of my white stuff. My supplier was out, I went door to door pleading. Most of them never heard of white coffee and could not help me. Finally, a grocery outlet had a little one-pound bag that no one wanted - that will only make 24 shots, but that will give me three days to find more and a three-day waiting period for them to grind it. I found a new place that had organic beans (I didn't really care where the beans came from at that point), so I was thrilled with this new company.

My wonderful coffee people would grind me about five pounds every two to three weeks. Then came the day when they said, "The white coffee beans are harder and moister than the other coffee beans and they wear out the burrs sooner than we would like; so we can no longer grind white coffee for you." Auughh, I cannot even function without my coffee, I begged them, but to no avail. They were sympathetic and said they would still roast the beans for me, but I would have to get my own grinder. They also told me that EBay had some reasonable, small burr-grinders and they were cheaper to buy than the replacement burrs.

I bought five machines to start with and I am happily grinding my coffee beans and brewing my four-shot mocha every morning. I can make them for friends and family and everyone seems very happy with the treats. Hubby is happy because I no longer try to rip his eyes out when he says good morning, but mostly because he thinks he is saving money - I have five more grinders on order.

Humor: Plus-Sized Clothes

Plus size is that "other spot" in the Women's clothing section. Back in the day when I was a slim and trim size 10, I would happen to walk through that section and have pity on the women who would have to wear these "tents." I thought I would never let myself go like them and would starve myself to death if I ever got to be a 14. Then I started having kids - I managed keep my trim figure until having my 5th child at age 39. I am not sure who to blame for that, but I often glare at my husband with extreme distaste. It seems that after age 39 your metabolism retires to a sedentary state and no matter how hard you try to diet, the metabolism will not get off its duff and do its job. So here I am, losing 3 pounds and gaining 5 every time I try to diet.

A two-pound addition twice a year adds up to 54 more pounds during my last 27 years. Then there are the holiday pounds which are impossible to lose, I am now a tub of lard at 200 pounds and on top of that my 5'4" height has shrunk to 5'2". Alas, I have become an over-sized beach ball with nothing to wear but tents. I am one of the ones that the young, cute, tiny girls pity; even though I know that nature will get them in the end, I will not be comforted.

The thing I hate most about shopping for clothes is that somewhere in China little people make these tents without taking our build into consideration. Of course the only thing they have to compare with is maybe one of their larger men, as no one over there weighs over 125 pounds. When I find a blouse it may not be very attractive, but it does go around my belly so that is a plus; I can get pretty excited and some times have been known to by two or three of the same blouse. I do like long sleeves, but the seamstresses automatically assume that because plus sizes are so big, our arms have grown to the size of an orangutan. I have to hem all the sleeves because they hang down way over my fingertips.

Oh, yes, then there are the pants. Has anyone tried to find an 18 petite? How can a size 18 be petite? More than likely it is because our legs shrunk with all that extra weight on them. No, we did not get taller because we gained weight. I buy the pants, which have an elastic waist, take them home and hem them. They look nice except that one leg is usually a bit longer than the other; a seamstress, I am not! Since they have an elastic waist, the waistline tends to slip down to my lower hips (if I still have them) as I walk. Soon my pant legs are well under my feet and if I had a floppy hat, I would be mistaken for Disney's Dopey - only fatter.

Life is totally unfair for us plus sizes; especially when we finally find a nice outfit that makes us feel good and possibly even a little slimmer. A night out with the girls is in order (these are my plus-sized friends). I know, let's take a group picture! There I am "miss imaginary slim" and her (ohh nooo) slimmer-looking friends. My husband knows better than to look at me, talk to me, or even be in the same room with me when I get home.

What to Look for in a Toilet Seat

EEWW comes to mind, but I have been buying toilet seats for 40 years or so and have noticed a distinct lack of quality in comparison to the earlier seats. Mind you, for the first twenty years or so, there was not much of a choice - just wood, plastic, and what color. Being young, it didn't matter how comfortable it was, just if it was pretty and matched the bathroom. Later on I would look at the mail catalogs and they would have party toilet seats that made noise or furry seats (how disgusting would that be to clean?) I decided I would be further ahead not to waste money on those, although the older kids would enjoy the noisy ones, I could see the younger ones wanting to make the furry ones their "blanky" and would want to drag it everywhere with them.

For awhile I opted for the matching lid and seat covers - that was kind of classy until the boys took some weird form of joy peeing on everything that resembled a carpet. The little ones were always flushing some toy so they could watch it circle before the last bubble and the gigantic overflow on to the carpet. I think that the boys egged the little ones on just so they could see which toy flooded the bathroom the most. Of course there was the grand finale when Dad came home and had to pull the toilet up to unplug, or replace it with a new one as it was permanently plugged. They learned many new words from dad during that time. Back to linoleum and wood seats, you just cannot have nice things when you have children.

We are getting older now and the padded seats are pretty nice. They cost a few dollars more, but definitely worth it. The lids had nice pictures embroidered in the top so you could really accent the commode and buy soap dishes and carpets to match. The kids grew up so we can have nice things again. Well, no, they moved back and still don't clean up after themselves. What is this dark mess in the seam of the padded toilet seat? I have been replacing padded toilet seats every three months or so because plastic stains and doesn't clean up as nice as they say it does on TV.

One day I needed to replace the seat again, "Oh look, one is "the March of the Penguins" theme and it is marked down to $4. Could it be no one wants it? Never mind that my bathroom is green and the toilet seat is blue - I think contrast is good. We had that seat for six whole months. It just sat there in its glaring blue color irritating me because it didn't match anything. I went to the store (this time K-Mart which has been bought out by Sears - or vise versa), It was a plain-Jane white one, but not nearly as irritating as penguins marching along the blue ice.

The padding was a bit thinner, but it will do because it cost $12 so it must be halfway decent in quality. Well, the plastic tore after a few days and I had to get yet another one. This time I am going to try Wal-Mart (just because I happened to be there buying dog food). I bought one for $14.95 and since it is higher than K-mart was, it should be a better quality. A few days later, hubby mentioned that the seat was broken. I went in and tightened the screws, "No, it seems fine." He informed me that the wood part of the seat was not really wood and it was broken in half. I informed him that it still had padding and I was not going to replace it until the wood came through and started to pinch him. Of course I use the kid's bathroom - it has a better seat.

The Lottery (Satire)

Well, I did not win the lottery again, so what else is new? However, according to almost every spam email I receive, I am a very big winner; I just have to send them access to my bank account. Maybe I should, after all, there is nothing in there for them to take and maybe “the curse of my lack of money” will leave me and attach itself to them. Not really a good idea as I would probably lose my identity too; of course there is really nothing to lose there either as I don’t have an identity to speak of.

I am much like a comic-strip character, happy in my own little world except for a black cloud bearing down on my head following me everywhere I go. The occasional lightning strike alerts me to the terror of my poverty, but being stubborn I pull the sack over my head, ignore it, and purchase another lottery ticket.
The odds of winning are in the millions, but someone has to win, and you can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket. These are the famous last words of people in gambler’s anonymous (I think, as I have never gone to a meeting because I don’t have a gambling problem) – what bridge do you want to sell me?

I have to mention here that I actually did win several small amounts (just enough to build my confidence and play more often). I usually play the same numbers because if I change, the old number will win. I have proof of that, one day I did not play the Match Four and my numbers won - $10,000. So I dare not miss a day – ever!

Say for example that I win big money; of course I plan to get out of debt, but before that can happen, I have to actually get to the lottery office to pick up the winnings. My car won’t make it that far and I would have to find a “trusted” friend to get me there, but who to trust? Also my little black cloud full of lightning is very faithful and I am sure upon winning, I would be struck dead before I could pick up any of the money.

I am not sure why some people win the lottery and others don’t or even why some are born rich and others born poor. The really big lottery is the lottery of life; it is either a blessing or a curse to the ones born and it follows like a black cloud or a pot of gold throughout each and every life as a test to see what we do with what we have. I hope I am being graded on a very wide curve.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What songs would you want played at your funeral

Of course I have not only planned this, I have made a DVD with pictures of my life, appropriate music, and pan & zoomed the thing for the best effect. I uploaded the video to my Facebook page and the ones that have already watched it are excused from my funeral. I titled it family memories so they really wouldn't know what they were watching until the end where a picture of me appears and the appropriate birth and death dates are posted. Actually the death date isn't there, just 02/17/1943 - ??/??/????; of course I thought this was a hilarious surprise ending, my friends who watched did not; they deleted me as a friend. I would think they would want at least one weird friend to make them feel a bit more on the sane side; but alas, that is not the case.

I suppose there should be a nice song before the funeral and another one at the end, but I am having a hard time deciding, since I used up most of the good songs on my seventeen minute video. Yes, you have to sit and endure for seventeen whole minutes, or no food for you at the wake. I put pictures of my parents, grandparents, husband, kids, grandkids (I am even in a couple), and included the family dog. This should be extremely heart-wrenching for my children and they had better cry; because they will be able to see that I gave them the best years of my life only to be reduced to a little under a pint of ashes in a pretty jar at the end.

I also made a DVD for my husband's funeral along the same line, and I cried when I watched it, so maybe others will appreciate the effort. His DVD has my choice of music too; the reason for this is he has no preference because he never listens to music EVER, and to the best of my knowledge hates all but Christmas carols. I don't think "Joy to the World" or the "Hallelujah Chorus" would be a fitting funeral song, so I had to pick what I thought would be appropriate and I really don't care what he thinks about it, he'll be dead and his opinion won't really matter.

I probably do not have much more time to think about this and had better get busy as time is running out; however, I am thinking as they are placing my ashes in the hole a rousing rendition of "Pomp & Circumstance" would be an exciting finish. After all, I will have "graduated" from one life to the next; yes, that would be very fitting.

Humor: Being pulled over by a Police Officer

Back in the 60's I was a cocktail waitress and a little on the naive side. Our town was small and so I was acquainted with several police officers that walked the down-town beat. One of them was very nice and he also raised ducks like I did, so we would trade ducks back and forth (just so you know my relationships were all platonic - weird, but platonic). Some of these officers eventually got promoted from foot to actual patrol cars. I was always in a hurry when I drove and got a few tickets from the officers I did not know, but usually the ones I knew would give me a pass unless they happened to be using radar. They would apologize profusely for having to give me a ticket since it was already recorded on the machine.

As a cocktail waitress I often had to close the bar and would be driving home between 2:30 and 3 am. I had an old 1948 Buick, it ran well, but there were many little things wrong with it. As I drove home one night, I heard a "whoosh" but it was dark so I didn't really see anything. I drove on and shortly an oncoming car did a u-turn and began following me, the lights went on and then the sirens. I am thinking, I am not speeding (at the moment), so I just kept driving - another two miles. I did not want to go home because the lights and sirens would wake up my parents, so I went a couple blocks away into an alley and finally stopped.

A very frustrated police officer came up to my window and asked, "Was I blind, did I not see the lights?" I replied calmly, "I did, but I thought I would try to outrun you." Mind you the speed limit was 35, which I carefully was doing once he got behind me. There was not much chance of outrunning the police in that car even if I wanted to, but it sounded plausible to me - hey, I was tired. He tried to hold back a chuckle and then glanced at the front of my car noticing that there was no hood. He asked where the hood was, and I assured him that it was there when I left work, but he was right, it was gone. Then I remembered the "whoosh" that I had heard earlier. I explained that I had heard a "whoosh" back before he began following me and it must have blown off. You and I know that 35 mph is not fast enough for the wind to lift up an old (very heavy) Buick hood and I had to be doing at least 70 at the time of lift off, of course he knew that too, but he was a kind, and sympathetic man.

The officer, who I did not know at the time, looked at my license and saw that I only lived two blocks away, he sighed and told me to go home. He told me that he could tell I was speeding when he turned and followed me, but that I had slowed before he got behind me so he did not have time to gauge the speed. No, I would not get a ticket, but tomorrow, I should fix my headlight (the initial reason he spotted me) and then go look along the road for my hood. Maybe you can have one of your friends attach the hood to the hinges so that it won't fly off next time you are speeding. Of course it was the talk of the station and my police officer friends would often chuckle and ask how I expected to outrun the police in my Buick, at 35 mph.

I know I am a Procrastinator, when....

Wow, I really didn't know I procrastinated until I read the articles on this subject. When I was young I was a go-getter, worked hard, and had a family, we stocked up for the winter (including canning anything I could find). Somewhere along the line I got tired of it all and started neglecting things. What is the point of cleaning when everyone just messes it up within 10 minutes and no one noticed that it was clean in the first place? There was no reward or appreciation for what I did, so I had a pity party; I still cleaned, but not as thoroughly. I quit canning food once the children were grown because there was no one left to eat it all.

Then the kids moved out and I am left sitting across the table from a strange looking man (he thinks he is sitting across from a strange looking woman). He retired, so if he can - I can. All this time I thought I was just stubborn and possibly a little lazy because I felt unappreciated. Well, now that I am thinking about it, I procrastinate about everything; housecleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, even going to the bathroom. Whatever has to be done will still have to be done later if I don't do it now, and if I do it now, it will still have to be done later; it is a never-ending, pointless exercise.

My husband will let me know he needs razors and I should pick some up the next time I go to the store. He isn't doing anything, just sitting across the table; he could go to the store as easily as I can. Two weeks later, he mentions it again so I figure he is not going to the store and I write the item on my list. Two weeks later there is a new man in the house - he has a beard and wants razors. "Mister, I don't know who you are, but you can get your own razors," I shout. Eventually, I am out of food and am forced to go to the store; I find the list and go shopping. When I finally get around to buying the razors, I find that the price has increased another thirty percent and wonder why I just didn't give in and buy them the first day my husband wanted them.

I bring the razors home, he shaves and I tell him about the weird man with the beard that has been in the house for two weeks. It doesn't occur to him that he didn't go anywhere, but being the protector he is, he gets the shotgun off the wall and plans on waiting for the bearded gent to sneak back in the house. In a few weeks he is going to be shooting out all the mirrors, the police will come, maybe the white-coats; even procrastinators have a plan.

Humor: Death

I am sure that death is not funny to the family that just lost a loved one, but unless they are of the direst of humans, they want nice stories told by friends at the funeral and some can be really funny. It makes us think back to the pleasant times of his or her life. Our family is a bit over-the-top when it comes to humor; no, those are not the right words - probably freakish would better describe us. Of course we don't mean to disrespect the dead, but we just see everything from a different point of view.

We learned early on that we should not go to the viewings. This started when Aunt Bessie wanted to check out the palm of Cousin Joe to see if she could pin-point his death from his hand markings. True, he was already dead, but she was learning to read palms and wanted to know what to look for in live people's hands so she could make accurate predictions. Back in that day, the funeral director had placed the hands nicely crossed on the deceased chests, so she just had to turn it over and peek. Since Cousin Joe was no longer in Rigor, the funeral director had stapled his hands to his shirt so they wouldn't stray during the viewing, imagine Aunt Bessie's surprise when she pulled the hand up, turned it over and ripped his shirt.

She was not to be deterred and checked his palm only to find no marks indicating a death date, so now she had to fix the shirt somehow because soon others would be coming to the viewing. The hands would not stay in place; they would slide off taking the stapled shirt piece with them exposing his chest. She thought for awhile and took a couple of her hat pins and her shoe. She placed the hands properly and then pounded the hat-pins through the hands into the chest to hold them in place (I forgot to mention we are also an innovative family).

The hands stayed in place and she went on her way. The rest of the family thought that the two pearled pin-heads in the middle of his hands were some sort of decoration and a few even complimented the funeral director on his choice of decor since Cousin Joe's birthstone was a pearl. My mother was a little girl at the time and told us this story many times during our growing up years - always before a funeral, and always laughing her head off at the antics of old Aunt Bessie. Hence none of us kids can go to a viewing without laughing at the body lying there because we always see poor Cousin Joe with his hands pinned to his chest and a frustrated Aunt Bessie with a shoe in her hand.

We were happy to see cremation becoming more popular, but it really doesn't matter; we still envision Cousin Joe and Aunt Bessie at every funeral we attend, we laugh until we cry - every time, and still wonder about the funeral director and what he thought of the appearance of the pearled hat pins in Cousin Joe's hands.

Humor: Writing

I love to write even when I have nothing to say, I just start typing and when something coherent comes up on the page, I am happy. People who have read my stuff have commented that they thought I was insane. This has to be a plus; for example, Stephen King, there is no doubt he is insane and look at the money he rakes in.

I really have my doubts that I could write a whole book on my husband's underwear that would then be turned into a movie, but how will I know if I don't try. There are a vast number of subjects around my house that I could put in writing and I have experimented with some with success and others not so much. I like to share so I usually post an article or two on my Facebook page and now most of my friends don't talk to me anymore, but I think they are just jealous. My husband tells me that if I keep writing either the white-coats or the DEA will storm our driveway and take me away. I assure you, I am not on drugs, and I am quite normal; well, perhaps a bit eccentric, but I am almost 67 years old, I am entitled to be a bit eccentric.

My youngest son wants me to put my stories in a book and publish them, but Dave Barry already did that and he is much funnier than I am; although, not always. I am content to write on the various Internet sites, it gives me much needed practice with no pressure for deadlines, making my writing relaxing and enjoyable - besides, I have made $15.44 so far; my cup runneth over!

I have tried a little political humor, but I am just too opinionated and end up slamming whoever I disagree with - it turns out not funny and would put my family in danger with the powers that be, I am better off staying away from that arena. I should just stick with puppies or underwear, or dead people and when I am irritated, my husband.

When I run out of things to write, I go to my articles with plans to edit them, but end up laughing and saying, "That is pretty darn funny!" And then go off to look for another title to write under. I am probably not the only insane person writing on the Internet, others just hide it better than I do. Writers are a unique group, and we play Scrabble pretty good too!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Humor: Depression

My husband does not believe in depression, he thinks it means being sad - so get over it. I have proof that it does not mean just being sad, but is; in fact, a real disease. You need to know that most of the relatives on my mother's side, me and my children are ADHD, so from the start, we think differently than normal people. Here is where one person's normal may be another person's insanity; nevertheless, I am going to tread boldly into what I think I might know.

My mother had SAD which is a form of depression that has to do with the lack of sunlight; being too cheap to buy the imitation sun light; she was SAD all her life - except in the summer when we would get the occasional day that was not gloomy and rainy. My dad died early on, so he missed all this and the only thing I knew about him is that he was very happy; yes, he drank, but he did not need the alcohol to make him happy - he just was.

My brother was an alcoholic and my sister is a paranoid schizophrenic. Out of my five children there were two that were drug users and alcoholics, one died of an overdose, and one could go at any moment (we no longer hear from her). Her daughter was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, several other diagnosis and lives in a group home 300 miles away. Two more of my children are ADHD, obsessive compulsive, and one of them is germ-phobic. The fifth child suffers from mild clinical depression, although a happy child in younger days, he is the one who got the disease. The doctor said it is a disease and he would know because he had training in that field.

With that pedigree, you would think I would be depressed too; my whole family seems to be falling apart and there is no quick fix; there isn't even a lengthy fix. If depression was a state of mind rather than a disease, I would be greatly depressed at my life's disasters; but since it is a disease, I can sail through life un-depressed and, for the most part, happy.

My husband is the only normal person in my family and the effects of our situations have made him grumpy, but not depressed. Probably because I have convinced him that we are no more dysfunctional than any other family (he is gullible too). Most normal people would be at least concerned; but being ADHD, I can look at life with a paper sack over my head and ignore the bad stuff. I have also developed quite a sense of humor, at least I think I have a sense of humor; being ADHD, I may never really know for sure. I would think that the college of psychoanalysis would like to do several case studies on our family, but no offers have come forth, maybe we are normal after all.

Humor: The Wind

We have some pretty strong gusts of wind where we live and we also have a couple of hundred tiny seedlings that we hand planted and are now well over 100 feet tall around our house and yard. Who would have thought that such cute little sticks with roots attached would have grown so big. We have come through pretty much unscathed for the last 30 some years, but a couple of years ago one large branch broke off and landed on the wires going between the pole and the house. It only stretched the wire and once the branch was chopped up, the lines popped back up undamaged. I told hubby, he should really take that tree down - "Naw, it will be fine," he says. Men will never learn to listen to their wives, two years later it cost him cold hard cash - maybe he will listen next time; probably not.

The other day, the whole top of the SAME tree broke off, landed on the line (cutting a few wires - enough to spark) and destroyed our meter box. In the middle of the night a disgruntled power guy (after having already worked 36 hours in the pouring rain and gale-like winds) stopped by and told us he could do nothing until we hired an electrician, had it inspected, and then they would come out and re-connect everything. He pulled out the wires from the pole so that our house would not burn down and left - thank you for that sir. Apparently, the wires fell on our TV cable wire; pulling the connector completely off and so we were without our TV, Internet and phone (we have the super deal package). I know, without power we would not have TV or the Internet anyway, but we would have still had a phone. Immediately, I turned into some crazy woman and began calling (on the cell phone) anyone who could fix the situation. If the cable line was connected, I would at least have a phone because I have a spare old phone that does not require electricity to run.

I have to admit the electricians and the inspector were "Johnny on the spot" and we had everything ready to go by mid-afternoon. In the meantime, there was another big wind causing many outages and so the power company could not come back and neither could the cable company. It was looking like we would be out of everything for a couple more days. Even though the phone was a priority for the cable company, they just could not get here until maybe after the weekend. Being the erratic person I am, my insides were churning and my hair was standing on end as I paced and thought of climbing the pole myself. That really was not an option for an almost 67-year-old woman with COPD and my kids and husband refused to do it.

The power company finally did spare a truck and of course I am a total wreck by now, so I beg the man if I could ride up the pole in his bucket, push the cable wire into the socket and duct-tape it together. Of course he said no because it was not allowed, but he was very leery of me after that request and kept his eye out as I wandered from wire to wire with my roll of duct tape in my hand. He was thankful for my youngest son who was out cutting the tree up as he kept taking my hand and leading me away from the wires.

He was about halfway through his work, when a stray cable guy came in the driveway, I nearly bowed down to worship at his feet, but restrained myself - mind you I had not slept in over 24 hours by then and was a few notches short of common sense. He put the end on the cable wire and after the power man repaired and hooked everything to do with power back up, the cable guy connected the cable and we were good to go.

I ran right in to my computer to check my mail - 6 emails, and 240 spams, I am back my sweet computer I say as I click "select all" and delete my spam mail, life will go on again - at least until the next wind storm.