Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Here We Go Satellite Radio

When I bought my new car it came with free satellite radio for three months. Fine, I'll use it but there is no way I was going to buy it. I was not going to fall into that trap. It was nice to have though. I don't drive all that far to work but, quickly became used to it. There were so many channels. With a push of a button or command to the "lady" in the Navigation system, I could listen to any kind of music to suit my fancy. The reception is so good, I could drive from coast to coast and never change the station.

There are channels dedicated to any specific genre of music. It is possible to listen to The Big Band Hits of the 40's, or punch in the 50's and the First Decade of Rock 'n Roll or fast forward through the Awesome 80's to current Pop tunes. There are even what I like to think of as "sub" categories; Adult Hits of the Past, Easy Listening and, Classic Hits actually have the same "sound" to me. If I'm feeling rather funky I might switch to the Blues or Contemporary Jazz; if I'm looking for inspiration the Catholic Channel might fill the bill.

I can listen to the news or talk shows on free radio; I'm a subscriber! I pay to listen to music, and I darn well plan on getting my money's worth. I can tell you the latest on Brittany or Justin. But if you ask me about Obama's health care plans or what relief efforts are being sent to the victims of the latest natural disaster or what that disaster even is, I'm lost. I am useless at the water cooler. When everyone is wasting time at work talking about current events, I just fill my cup and go back to my desk. I guess it has kept me pretty isolated.

Driving with a teenager usually will find the Top 20 blasting from the speakers. I don't mind Hip-Hop but when she sneaks the Uncut/Uncensored Hip-Hop (because she doesn't have satellite in her car) I have to draw the line. I give her the look of shock, only to be told "that's the real world, Mom!"

Being in the car is a great place to talk to a teenager. I think it has something to do with the fact you don't have to look each other in the eye and the conversation is not as intimidating so I take this opportunity to have a discussion about raunchy language. Again, I'm told how this is real life and everyone talks that way. Fine, let's listen to what this fella (I'm corrected; that would be "gangsta" or the least "dude") has to say. Every time the F-word is sung, and I use the term "sung" loosely, very loosely, I shoot an eyebrow-raised glance, only to see a slight smile on her forward-staring face, as I try my best not to smile back. I go on to explain that the constant barrage of cuss words will only lead the listener to use them just as casually, too. That brought on a knee-slapping belly laugh.

She was no longer laughing when we arrived at the coffee shop and I ordered a f!@#in' latte without any g-d whipped cream. I thanked the be-otch as we drove away to the sounds of Traditional Country Radio.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Labor Days

During these difficult economic times I decided it would be a good move to update my resume in the event I would need to find another job. I hadn’t realized the countless number of jobs I have had; but there always seemed a good reason to move on.

My very first job was in was in a soda factory but my pop made me quit.

Then there was the string assembly line; my stomach was always in a knot.

I tried the Kite store but couldn’t get up in the morning and being an elevator operator was bringing me down.

Selling shoes wasn’t the answer, I put my heart and sole in to that, although I did leave very well-heeled.

At the office supply place I didn’t see the point to selling pencils and I was constantly tripping over stationary objects.

With so much to do at the yacht company I couldn’t seem to keep afloat.

My job at the bakery was a piece of cake even though there were too many crumby customers.

I volunteered at the local animal shelter but found the people there too catty.

I took a job at the dry cleaners; the wrinkle there was that the work was too pressing.

I even considered being a farm hand but that would be a tough row to hoe.

The mirror factory made me take a good look at myself. It wasn’t until I was at the cosmetics firm that I decided to make up my mind.

I will be self –employed! Now I work at nothing all day.

The Reason there is SA: Shoppers Anonymous

There was a football game my daughter and her friend wanted to go and since it was pretty far they asked me to drive; first we had to get some food.

We stopped in the Pick 'n Save for a sandwich and a drink. That sounds simple enough and for most people it might be, but for someone who rarely shops, it's a challenge. We made our way to the deli and choose a sub sandwich. It was huge! There was enough to feed all of us and the homeless guy we befriended on the way in.

I didn't need a cart; all we came in for was a sandwich and drinks. But those cookies with the frosting on were too much to pass by. Each of us needed something to drink and after picking out the chips (how can you have a sandwich without chips?) I picked out a second drink (how can you have chips with bottled water?).

Since I wouldn't be able to brush after eating, I knew gum would be the next best thing. The problem was I didn't go for that "just brushed feeling" and passed over the Dentyne and picked up watermelon Bubble Tape and some Big League Chew. These smaller items were making it hard to hold the sandwich. I excused my way through the check-out aisle (can you see where I'm going with this?) and got a cart.

Once I put my stuff in the cart I couldn't get back in the check-out so I had to make my way through the store. The fresh produce was calling me and I picked out raspberries, a watermelon and some kiwi (haven't had those in ages). Working my way through dairy I had a craving for peach yogurt and chocolate milk. Turning a corner I found some brown shoe polish and I always wanted a Swiffer. The dog collars were so clean that I couldn't resist; the bright red one would look great on my black and white dog.

By this time my daughter and her friend are getting impatient because now we will be late for the game. I headed for the check-out, unloaded the cart, threw a People magazine and TV Guide onto the pile. The Three Musketeers, a Milky Way, magnifying glass with flashlight and a road map ("mom, you have a GPS!") had to be it; the checker had the total, my bill came to $62.83.

I thought I should probably get gas but there was no way I was going near the mini mart this evening.

Every Kitchen Has One or Two or More

My coffee is hot as I sit down to make out my things-to-do list and realize I need a pen . The mug with the pens didn't have the one I prefer to write with so I went to the junk drawer to get one. Every kitchen has, or should have, a junk drawer; we have four. I should probably qualify that: we have four that we use for junk; I'm not sure if that was the description of the drawers in the kitchen when we were buying this place; probably some fancy name like utility drawers or extra- space- in- the-kitchen drawers, but in this house it's definitely junk drawers.

When I opened the first drawer I found fourteen new pencils that I knew would never be sharpened. They had various advertising and slogans from events and places visited; these were souvenirs never to be used for writing. There were six highlighters ; who highlights anymore? Five markers and some cutesy notepads. I pricked my finger on something appropriately named "thumbtack" . The rest of the package was stuck in the back of the drawer. These weren't even thumbtacks but upholstery nails! Where did those come from? I found a dog brush, paper clips, and tape; athletic, duct and scotch. There were six different kinds of scissors for cutting nails, (people and animal), hair (again, people and animal), fabric (pinking shears) and get this, even paper! And if you know a kindergartner, I have a pair with rounded tips.

The counter top is really getting cluttered with all these piles of things. I've been tossing stuff into the garbage can and realize I have to bring it closer or I will have a lot of sweeping to do afterward. I have found gum wrappers, broken rubber bands and several stick pens that had chewed tops (got to keep the orthodontist in his BMW), nail files that have passed their usefulness and glue sticks that don't have any glue left. I was beginning to think this drawer had a name after all: Garbage Drawer. There was hope though and I renamed it the "Stationery-Craft Drawer".

Naming the next drawer was easy. The three screwdrivers, a hammer, pliers and electrical tape made this the "Tool Drawer". I found a thirteen piece Allen wrench set. It made me think: why not twelve or fourteen pieces? Couldn't "they" come up with another size of Allen screws? Actually, this doesn't really matter since this set had three missing wrenches so I have a ten-piece Allen wrench set. I found the coolest pointer thing. It was like an extendable car antenna but in its own case, the paperclips stuck to it suggest it also has a magnetic tip. I wonder where that came from, who's it was and what's it for. The neat little piles on the counter have become a mess. It's on to drawer three.

This one could be a combination of the Stationery-Craft Drawer and the Tool Drawer; the extension cords, nails, paper clips, broken crayons and pens were the dead giveaway. I decided this was unacceptable and moved the stuff to their respective drawers, garbage can and two of the extension cords were going to the work shop. In the back of this drawer were four plastic, scribbled-on pencil boxes from each child when they no longer needed them for school. Let me explain why I still have them. The boxes may look messy but they are still good enough to hold things and hold things they do. Can you say "pack rat"? The first was filled with, you guessed it, pens and pencils. I'm sure some of the ink is still good but don't have the time to test each one. I did throw out the chewed pencils and stubs. The next box had batteries and birthday candles, the third had scissors and more pens. The last- but- not- least box had games pieces, an egg timer, Christmas light replacement bulbs, a pair of left-handed scissors (we are all right handed) and more pens. I closed the last box...... and the drawer.

The fourth drawer was hard to open. Something was caught. After struggling a few moments I freed the drawer with all my strength and nearly fell on the floor. A crumpled folder with past school assignments was the culprit. I should mention that these assignments were from my now eleventh grade daughter's first quarter of eighth grade! You see I found early on it was important to keep the work for at least a semester; nine times out of ten the paper I threw out was the one we needed for some reference or another. It looks like in the second semester of eighth grade it was no longer all that important to save assignments. I did find a drawing from fourth grade that should have been tossed years ago but since I've had it this long I didn't have the heart to throw it out now; it's on the keep pile. The schedule for the last band concert did find a place in the garbage can along with a broken Pez dispenser. What was an ice pick doing in here? Who even has or uses an ice pick nowadays without an intruder lurking in the bushes outside?

I'm scratching my head as to why there were three pairs of shoelaces in there. Who buys shoes laces anyway? By the time the laces wear out the shoes are probably ready to be replaced. Clean laces on old shoes scream: GOODWILL!!! I found a ziploc bag with pumpkins on it that was too cute to throw away so I filled it with a bunch of wine corks. Yes, wine corks. I once saw a cool serving tray in craft shop that I think I can duplicate. It may take a while since I'm the only one drinking the wine around here and in the meantime a wine cork can come in handy for making a Hobo beard at Halloween. You just never know; a neighbor might call looking for help with their kid's Halloween costume this year.... or maybe next. I'm still in drawer four where I found those things that go around hot coffee cups. Trying to be on the "green" side of life I want to reuse them the next time I go to the coffee shop, the problem as I see it is that I have about eight of them in a rubber band sitting in a drawer. At this rate I could have about a dozen more by the end of the month and it looks like I may flunk out of "green" school. I will put them in the car.

I've been at this drawer clean up for nearly two hours! The counter is full of stuff so I pull in the daughter to go through her things and make some decisions; keep it (in your own drawer, in your room) or I toss it. She sees the old band concert schedule in the garbage can and I hear an "awww". Something in that long ago performance brought back a fond memory. Now, if she would just stay out of the garbage garbage and go through the stuff on the counter! I have been told that the geometry report has to be kept and "the Pez dispenser is cute". (stay out of the garbage can!!!) Why she won't take her Chapstick and hair bands to her room is beyond me. She is proving to be of no help whatsoever. I send her on her way and shove everything from the counter back into drawer four!

As I look around the kitchen I count eight more drawers that need going through but the energy is gone. I know it has to be done but I don't want to throw out the ratty dish towels right now or get the crumbs out of the silverware drawer today. These drawers will have to wait for another time.

I'm bushed and my back hurts; I've got to sit down. Back at the table, feet up on a chair, with cold coffee, I'm ready to get started on my list......... but I need a pen!