Words….Witticisms…Whimsy…Whatever!

Archive for July, 2012

Clip this!

 

Soooooooooo some of you may have heard me whine over the last four years that my ex-husband kept all the good chip clips when we got divorced. I fully recognize that this is a completely silly thing to be bent out of shape over.  But if you’ve ever been through your own, you know that divorce brings out the stupid. And ps, he could have let me have a few of them! Every time I dig out one of my shitty plastic clips, I get a little pissed off.

Guess what? I bought my own today. Woot!

 

 

I’m not sure what took me so long – probably just never wandered through the right spot in Meijer before. But I finally decided to buy a cheese grater, since I am  surprised every time I go looking for one and realize I don’t have one of those, either.  You should totally be allowed to register when you get divorced and lose half your crap. I wish I had thought this up four years ago, but for anyone getting divorced now or in the future, please try it – I will back you up! 🙂

 
Now….I have to go find something in the kitchen to open, so I can clip it back shut again. 🙂

 

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Thank you for calling the Facebook Help Desk

The scene: My car. Driving. Almost to my dad’s house.

Ring Ring! (Actually the Charlie Brown music – that’s my ringtone.) (Yes, I know it’s really called Linus & Lucy. I just wasn’t sure if you knew that.)

Look at phone, see who it is. It’s my friend Dimples (seriously, his dimples are ridiculous), who never, ever calls me, so this should be interesting.

W: “Hello?”

Dimples: “Hey, hi, how are you?”

W: “I’m fine. How are you? What’s up?”

Dimples: “Yeah, so, I need some help. Like a favor. If that’s ok. Are you sitting down?”

(mild alarm, especially because he’s not one to ask me for help with anything, especially anything that should require sitting to hear about, but also amusement and curiosity.)

W: “I’m driving. So I’m in a seated position. Do I need to pull over?”

Dimples: “No, no, this isn’t nearly as big a deal as I’m making it out to be. It’s just, I feel like you’re my friend who knows the most about Facebook. Is that a fair assumption?”

W: (possibly laughing) “Yes, that’s a fair statement.”

Dimples: “I did something, I don’t know what. I don’t what happened. But somehow I screwed something up and everything is squares. Like I can’t read anything, it’s all boxes. Like computer code.”

W: (likely laughing a little) “Ok, and it’s only doing this in Facebook, not in anything else?”  (thinking perhaps a reboot is in order)

Dimples: “No, just in Facebook. And I don’t know how to fix it, or what I did. I think I was resting my hand on my mouse and I maybe right clicked and something popped up and kind of all in one I accidentally did something and I don’t know what. And it’s all squares. Like I can see a name, but then everything is just squares.”

W: (almost to Dad’s house) “Ok, it sounds like you changed the language, to something with a different character set. I’m not sure I can tell you how to do it over the phone…let me see if I can use Dad’s computer, otherwise I’ll have to cal you back in a little bit.”

(enter Dad’s house, find him at computer. Dimples, still on phone.)

W: (to Dad) “Hi! Are you in Facebook? Can I look at it for a minute?”

Dad: (moving back from computer, looking at me curiously) “Sure.”

(poke around page, find the language settings)

W: “Ok, on the home page, at the top, next to the word ‘home’…”

Dimples: “I can’t see the word home. All I can see is my name and a bunch of squares.” (mild tone of panic)

W: “Ok. Next to the squares do you see a little triangle like a drop-down menu?”

Dimples: “I just see squares. I see the triangle, but it’s next to a bunch of squares.”

W: (laughing) “Ok, click on the triangle and then pick Account Settings”.

Dimples: “I only see squares. Oh wait. I see (page for his band), then Advertise, then squares.”

W: “Ok, click the thing right below Advertise. Then Language will be the last thing in the list. Click edit off to the right.”

Dimples: “I only see squares.”

(By this point, pretty much every time he says “squares”, I’m laughing. Dad is laughing too, even though he has no idea who I’m talking to or what exactly we’re talking about.)

W: “There should be six things listed. Language is last.”

Dimples: “I can see my name. And my email address. And then squares.”

W: “Ok, keep going. Language is the last one.”

Dimples: “Ok. It’s the last one. Is English an option?”

W: “Yes, it should say English (US). OOH! You know what you should do is pick English (Pirate). That’s hilarious.”

(Dad is cracking up)

Dimples: “Let’s just start with regular English and see if it can work.”

W: “Ok, click save changes.”

Dimples: “Is that in the blue box? HEY! That’s it! You fixed it! I think I changed it to computer language or something. Hey, yeah, so what’s new? How are you?”

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This is the beautiful thing about being the unofficial Facebook help desk instead of a doctor or lawyer or something – no consultant-client privilege.  😀

I love the internet.

I totally didn’t get it at first, back in the day. Like, not at all. Ok, so you could look stuff up. Big whoop. I remember the very first time I got onilne. That awful screeching sound of the modem – ah, kids, remember dial-up? AOL telling me I’ve got mail. And the WORLD WIDE WEB. Oooooooh. What should I search for? How about…..Muppets! Yep, my very first internet search ever was “Muppets”. (This is probably a huge surprise for exactly none of you, if you are friends with me on Facebook. I probably average at least one Muppet-related post/week.)

Ok, so it’s 1994, I’m checking out this new internet thing, I look up “Muppets” and I find some random pictures of Kermit et al. Um. Not seeing the point of this. Why do I need to be able to find Muppet pictures at the drop of hat? (Duh, to post them on Facebook, which hadn’t been invented yet.) I was not getting it at all.

Slowly, over time, I caught on – like the rest of the world. Big time. I remember getting DSL and being able to quickly and easily look up movie times. Which again, wasn’t research to cure brain cancer, or, you know, something important, but at least I was starting to find practical applications.

Now I have FIOS and WIFI and a smartphone and an iPad and I am plugged the fuck in. Unplugging causes severe anxiety. And I’m still not using the internet to bring about world peace, but it has completely changed the landscape of my professional world, so it’s gone well beyond just fun and games and Muppets into the practical and everyday. Plus, you can look up song lyrics and movie quotes in the blink of an eye. Totally rad.

The other day, though I found myself in a momentary panic and the accessibility of reliable information in that same blink of the eye was just what I needed. It wasn’t an end of the world kind of panic, but I discovered that I had missed a birth control pill (FUCK), and I needed to know what to do. I have been on the pill for most of the last 20 years, and I can count on one finger the number of times this has happened before this week. I can be absent-minded and forgetful. I can forget to pick up dry cleaning for weeks. I forget where I’ve set my phone down in my own house on a daily basis. Hell, I can’t even get into a daily routine to take vitamins, even when taking other daily pills, like, say, the one we’re discussing. But I never, never miss my pill. Perhaps because I realize just how important is. And because I’ve been taking it for so long, and I’m so good about taking it, I routinely throw away the information that comes with it when I pick up the prescription. So even though I was pretty sure I knew what to do about the missed pill, I didn’t actually have official documentation.

God bless the internet.

“Sprintec missed pill”  <enter>

(Yes, now you know which pill I’m on, don’t you feel closer to me?)

Poof!

Page after page of specific info, from the manufacturer, doctors, everyday users. All giving me the information I needed, in the blink of an eye.

Thank you, Internet, I needed that. 🙂

Take the pill as soon as you notice, by the way. Even if it means taking two at a time. If you only miss one, you should be ok. Please don’t ever, ever, ever make any decisions based on what I just said – it is totally not my fault if you get knocked up, ok? Google it for yourself, go to some official website to seek your family planning advice. The internet is there for you, too.

This should again come as no surprise, but I just found approximately eight million Muppet pictures I want to include in this post. I was so stupid in 1994; how could I not see the value in this?

I’m done now.  Peace out.

Postscript? Update? One more thought, after the fact…..kind of cracking me up to have used the internet to bring birth control pills and the Muppets together into one semi-cohesive blog post. Hee hee.

DVRrrgh

I need to stop recording movies on my DVR. I have a bad habit of filling it up with films I heard were good, maybe remember a review of from Entertainment Weekly, wanted to see but missed in the theater, used to own on DVD but lost in the Great War (AKA my divorce, which was actually pretty amicable, but it’s funnier to call it that) and I want to watch again, etc. My DVR is never less than 50% full and usually hovers closer to 70%. This causes me anxiety, because I also have a regular crop of TV shows set to record, and it’s not unusual for it (the DVR) to caution me that it’s going to max out.

Here’s the thing. I’m really good at recording movies. And terrible about watching them. Every few months I go through and delete some things that have been sitting the longest and clearly are never going to be watched. We just passed the one-year anniversary of the oldest recording parked there, “Man on Wire”, a jaw-dropping, fascinating Oscar-winning documentary – so says the DVR menu. I really want to see it. Apparently not enough to push play. Maybe I should watch it right now. It’s only 100 minutes long. I could totally stay awake for that. It’s one of seven movies hanging out. This morning there were nine. I was contemplating a nap this afternoon, and decided to watch a movie from my backlog instead. I picked “The Tourist”.

I had low expectations, even though it stars my boyfriend, Johnny Depp; I knew it wasn’t supposed to be particularly worthwhile. Also, I’m not really much of an Angelina Jolie fan. Sadly, my expectations were not low enough. It didn’t feel suspenseful. It didn’t feel like a fun caper. It just felt like a waste of time. The logical question is why did I record it in the first place, right? Um, did I mention Johnny Depp?

Unfortunately, I feel an irrational sense of failure if I don’t see a movie through to the end. It’s not as though I never turn away from one, but I feel like after I’ve invested a certain amount of time, I might as well find out what happens. The notable exception to this is “Napoleon Dynamite”. I tried. I really did. I wanted to know what the big deal was. But after 20 minutes or so, I decided life is too short, and I turned it off. Sadly, I did not have the same epiphany during “The Hangover”. I kept thinking it would have to get funny, since everyone in the entire world other than Sunshine and my dad think it’s the most hilarious thing since sliced bread. Wait. Sliced bread isn’t actually funny. I might’ve gotten that wrong. Regardless, watching “The Hangover” made me want to poke out my own eyes.

My low-key afternoon transitioned into a lazy evening. Ruby Dogwonkafonka and I were camped out on the couch, ready to watch another movie. This time we chose “Tiny Furniture”, a low-budget indie film about a recent college grad who returns home while she tries to figure out what to do with her life. I went to IMDB to get a little synopsis for y’all, and even IMDB can’t tell me if it was a comedy or a drama. Not that that’s a bad thing, most of my favorite movies are a mix of both. This, however, is not one of my new favorites. Mostly, I kept thinking about how much I wanted to punch each and every character. At some point something has to happen or someone has to be likable for me to, you know, enjoy it. Damn my obsessive need to watch till the end. Many people on Rotten Tomatoes seem to have enjoyed it, but I am not joining their ranks.

So I also have “Religulous” and “Capitalism: A Love Story” in the queue. Anybody want to talk me into or out of watching either of those?

PS, I wrote this last night but didn’t post it till now, so please pretend my todays and tonights and tenses and stuff make sense, k? Yeah, thanks. 🙂

Powerless

Northeast Indiana was pummeled by a huge storm Friday afternoon.  We’ve been having a drought (as have you, probably) and I love thunderstorms, so when the sky started darkening I was rooting for a doozy of a storm. Pounding rain, booming thunder, the works.

Note to self, don’t wish for big storms.

Our storm was such a doozy, it even has a name, one I’ve never heard of before, and I watch Storm Stories. It’s called a Derecho. 500 trees were toppled by the wind gusts, creating havoc and taking power lines down with them.

I was very fortunate. Only one small branch fell off my already dead tree. All around my neighborhood, trees and tree bits littered yards and streets. Even now, almost a week later, a downed tree tangled with wires is blocking the entrance to my street, not to mention someone’s house. Tree shrapnel is everywhere.

This tree is blocking the entrance to my street, with a tangle of wires.

When the storm started up, I was at my desk in my office, and the lights started flickering. Uh oh. Flickering, followed by off. Klondike was in town, but not at the house, so Ruby and his two dogs and I sat in the dark and watched the storm through the front door. I wasn’t concerned about the power being out; it’s happened a couple of times before, and is usually back on in a matter of hours. I had no idea about the magnitude of the Derecho. (Cue ominous music.)

I was one of 119,000 people in the region who lost power.  Um, that’s a lot. It suddenly became painfully obvious that the electricity wouldn’t be back on anytime soon. Crap. Oh, and did I mention it’s been in the upper 90s for the last eon? Initial estimates were that power would be restored BY WEDNESDAY. And there was no way of knowing whose power would be restored first. We all felt so….powerless.

I like to think I’m a somewhat capable person, who has my shit mildly together. One of the quickest ways to prove me wrong is to take away my electricity.

Two people. Three dogs. Very difficult to invite that kind of entourage into someone’s home.

My dad lives in a magical house that never loses power (please don’t let me jinx him) even in the wake of a Derecho or the crippling ice storm of 2008, even when neighbors all around him have no power. It’s kind of amazing. And it’s my haven in times of need. Fortunately, he has a spare fridge, too. We spent a good chunk of time there over the weekend, running home to check on the dogs and to sweat. Oops, I mean sleep.

I took cold showers, followed immediately by breaking into a sweat from the simple act of getting dressed.

I went to get ice to put in the dogs’ water bowls, forgetting that my freezer was empty.

Every. Single. Time that I walked into the bathroom I flipped the light switch. Stunningly, it never worked. After about the third time, I started doing a little song & dance that looked a wee bit like me stomping my feet and shaking my fists, and sounded kind of like me screaming, “The goddamn light switch doesn’t DO anythinggggg!!!!!!!!!”

Neighbors across the alley and next door got generators. The noise was astonishing. It sounded like there was a running lawn mower in my house.

By Sunday evening I was hot and crabby and hot and whiny and hot and tired of not being able to live comfortably in my own home. I was at the end of my rope, and entering the work week as someone who works from home presented a whole new kind of mess. Klondike and his dogs went home, and I set up camp at Hotel Dad.

Through some wonderful fortune, a text from a neighbor late Monday afternoon informed me that my porch lights were ON! I was giddy with electricity. And felt so, so sorry for those who didn’t win the power-up lottery. Even as I write this (Wednesday night), I still have friends in the dark, with no a/c, and it was 100 degrees today. I can’t imagine how frustrated (and hot) they must feel.

It’s amazing, the things we take for granted, and how uncomfortable it is when our daily routines are turned upside down and modern conveniences are suddenly unplugged. But equally amazing were the kindness and generosity of those who were in a position to help. As I mention on a regular basis, I am a Facebook junkie. And while running down my iPhone battery keeping tabs on Facebookland, I saw invitation after invitation from people who had power: beds, freezer space, laundry. It was truly moving, and felt very genuine.

And now that it’s over (for me), I can appreciate the silver linings:

  • My refrigerator is GLEAMING. Before loading it back up, I scrubbed the hell out of it.
  • My basement freezer was defrosted for the first time in two+ years. And I finally threw away those leftover buns from the cookout in 2010.
  • I bonded with my friend and neighbor, Claire, who I really only knew through Facebook. She and her husband Ben kept me in the loop about the power situation after I fled to Hotel Dad. They were the ones who let me know when I could return home to a powered-up homestead. (Thanks, pals!)

That’s it, no more silver linings. Be real, those four days sucked. 😉

Of course, I recognize how easy my everyday life usually is, especially now that I can have perspective in the comfort of my air conditioned home. (I’m obsessed with a/c, aren’t I?) I’m so thankful that I had options, and for my family, friends and neighbors who checked in on me and made sure I wasn’t in need. While I prefer not to have to choose, I will take that kind of love and friendship over power any day. At the end of the day, even if the day was hot and I was crabby, I’m very, very lucky.

Klondike by a tree in my dad’s ‘hood.

The base of that same tree.

Miss Ruby, reveling in the cooler temps at Hotel Dad

 

Oh sweet Jesus….a completely unexpected, bizarro thunderstorm popped up at the end of the day today and wreaked more havoc. More trees down, people without power again. I now have “loaner mayo” in my fridge from a friend who had JUST finished restocking from the first power outage, and she’s without again. I feel for you people, truly. Holler if you need something.

It wasn’t a test, but we passed.

I started seeing someone a few months back. Astute readers might have picked up on it after this.  (He’s kind of awesome.) We’re gonna call him Klondike, ok? So Klondike & I went on vacation recently, and it was the longest time we’d ever spent together. He lives in Indy (and I do not) so we see each other roughly every other weekend, which actually works out nicely for this independent chica.  Anyway, we went on vacation. Aruba, nine days, just the two of us. That is a long-ass time for me to spend with ANYONE. I wasn’t anxious about it, but definitely was curious to see how it would be. And it was really, really good. He didn’t get on my nerves at all, which is kind of amazing. Although I wonder if anybody would get on my nerves if I had plenty of sleep every night and spent all day on the beach being decadent. I wonder if I could get a grant to fund a social experiment…oops, I digress.

We passed the non-test. We still dig each other. Even after he got exposed to my less-than-cheery travel self on the way home, when a seven-hour layover in Miami got extended by an additional five-hour delay. It wasn’t pretty, but he hung in there.

In fact, I think the likeiness part is what made the vacation so great. It certainly wasn’t the 5-star (HA!) all-inclusive resort telling us upon arrival that they were overbooked and were moving us to a Westin. (We politely declined.) It wasn’t the weirdly uncomfortable beach chairs that were too short even for not-remotely-tall me that made everything fab. It wasn’t the mediocre food at the resort. It wasn’t the high levels of noise in the pool/bar area that oozed into our room morning and night. It must have been the company.  🙂

I made some bloggy notes so you would know I was thinking about you. Consider this post the equivalent of the “wish you were here!” postcard I didn’t send. But look! I can make one now!


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Floating

Floating in the ocean is the most peaceful thing in the world. The water here is ridiculously buoyant. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. It’s impossible not to float. Even Klondike, who says he never floats, floats here.

For me it is effortless. I lie back in the water and my legs and feet rise and my entire being is supported by the ocean. Cradled. The water is calm unless something motorized zooms by, so I can drift without fear of a face full of saltwater. And I do. I see the sun and blue sky above me. I can hear muffled sounds, but mostly it’s those passing boats and jet skis, gentle humming that quickly dissipates. Usually when floating in a body of water it requires a tiny bit of work – some hand waving, or consciously lifting my legs to the surface, without which they’ll dangle below me. Not here. Everything rises to the surface. It’s like I’m lying down. Relaxed. Sometimes Klondike stands nearby and gently holds one of my feet, just as a reference point for me. It’s perfect.  🙂


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88 steps down and 88 steps up.

We took a killer jeep tour of the island, and one of the stops was at a natural pool. It was quite a trek down some rocky steps (88 of them), and then we had to navigate through a narrow, wet, slippery, rocky little path to get to the pool, and then to get into the pool you had to maneuver across some wet, slippery rocks and sort of slide into the water. This is not my skill set. I am a klutz. I walk into things. I trip over my own feet. So it was tempting to take some pictures and observe from afar.  But I did it. I conquered my clumsiness, my klutziness, my insecurities, and I clambered (ha!) – ok – crawled – over the slippery rocks down to the edge of the pool and slid (deliberately) in. Kapow!

Klondike and I had been in the pool for a minute, maybe two, when he exclaimed, “That fish bit me!”

Uh huh.

A few minutes later, “Again! That goddamn fish bit me again!”

I might have been a tiny bit unsympathetic. I saw no fish. No tooth marks. No blood. No missing toe pieces. He got much more sympathy a few minutes later when he sliced his fingertip on a piece of coral.

Blood. Everywhere.

Ick. And I, who had brought every first aid ointment and pill in my medicine cabinet on the trip, had left everything, including bandaids, at the hotel. Oops.

Fortunately, he survived.

After paddling around in the pool for a bit I realized, oh crap, I had to get back OUT. Which involved scooting into a little “seat” in the rocks and pushing myself up out of the water. Which meant planting my hands squarely on “furry”, slimy, algae-covered rocks. Ew. Like, really, ew. But I did it. Shazam! And then I clambered (crawled) back over to the land side, to solid ground and no more slippery rocks.


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Lizards

I am obsessed with the lizards. We saw one the first day, a gigantic iguana, just hanging out, like it’s totally normal for iguanas to sit in the grass by the street. But we didn’t see any others that day, so it seemed like maybe it was an unusual thing.

The next day we saw one hanging out on some steps outside our hotel. I took a picture.

The next day, we saw bunches. Hanging out by the pool in the late morning. Then I discovered that was a daily thing. Breakfast, poolside, with lizards.

It doesn’t matter that we see them every day. I can’t stop being surprised by them. I have taken eight thousand pictures of them. And some video. I stop and stare. They bake in the sun on the rocks. They eat lettuce. They walk their funny lizard walk.

And then I wonder….when people from Aruba visit the US, do they obsess like this over squirrels?

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The end

The desk in the room is littered with shells and coral and souvenirs and books and earrings and snacks and water bottles and sand. There is sand pretty much everywhere in spite of our best efforts.

It’s time to go home. We are still having fun and haven’t tired of each other’s company, but we’re speaking freely about the ridiculously uncomfortable bed (rather than trying to pretend everything is PERFECT!!!!) and I miss my dog and my shampoo and being on Facebook for more than 90 seconds a day and Klondike said he’s feeling rested and ready to get back to work.

We have one more day, to sleep in and soak up sun and play in the ocean and get covered with sand. Tomorrow night we pack and schedule our early morning shuttle to the airport, and then Thursday bright and early we head back to reality. And we’re ready.  🙂

It wasn’t a test, but we passed.