It’s that time again… my Beautiful
Girlfriend is away for the weekend. She and several of her friends
have embarked upon a Women’s Retreat; and of course boys are not
invited. That’s OK… I had chores to do. I took advantage of the
sunshine today and brought in some firewood to warm our bones. We do
have natural gas heat but we like the way wood feels much better.
And it’s pretty in our “fireplace” (it’s a furnace that looks
like a fireplace, with glass doors).
Anyway, there I was, earlier in the
week, scheming about what I was gonna do when my Baby left for the
weekend. There was a time when I was young and much more foolish
when I would seize such an opportunity for drinking too much herbal
stuff and smoking too much beer (or something like that…).
Thankfully, those days are long gone; but I still have a propensity
to spoil myself with goodies that I don’t normally eat too much
One of the first treats that always
seems to pop into my noggin is pizza. I mean, hey, that stuff should
be classified as a controlled substance. It’s right up there with
fried chicken, potato chips, and butter pecan ice cream. I like all
stuff way too much.
Good thing I limit my intake, or I’d soon weigh 793 pounds. I’m no
skinny boy mind you, but I’m not a complete Harold Honk-A-Doodle
either. And yes, Harry Honk-A-Doodle is a name I just made up and
that would be on my shirt if I ate all the goodies in the universe
until my skin exploded.
But once in a while is OK, right? Well I can convince myself of
that. And yes, my Lovely Bride knows full well what I’m up to this
weekend. I toyed with ordering pizza tonight, but I like lots of
sauce. Seems like every time I ask for extra sauce, the opposite
occurs. And here in Michigan pizza is often cut into squares. Don’t
they know you’re supposed to cut it like PIE??!!?? Pizza… pie!!
The more I mulled it over, the more I kept going back to the same
conclusion: if you want something done just right, sometimes you
gotta do it yourself. Got me a Boboli crust, poured almost the whole
jar of Classico pizza sauce out and spread it on the crust. Cooked
up some Italian sausage; laid some chunks in the sauce. Then on went
the cheese, and on top is onions, mushrooms, black olives, green
pepper and uncured pepperoni (no nasty chemicals). I actually read
the directions on the Boboli crust package: preheated the oven to
450 and popped it in for about 10 minutes. The final product was
magnificent!! Oh, and had to wash it down with a Coke from Mexico…
they use glass bottles and real cane sugar.
Am I naughty or what?? But wait, there’s more… I might
accidentally eat some ice cream later. And you guessed it, butter
pecan. Haagen Dazs no less. A little container. I had to do it you
see, it will nicely complement the last piece of carrot cake that’s
left over from my birthday.
My Beautiful Girlfriend will be home Sunday some time; so that
means I’ll need to chill out on the goodies beforehand. Why? Well
no special reason, I just don’t want to greet her while I’m spacing
out from a food coma. Probably would be a little weird… eyes like
little slits, walking badly, nodding off during conversation,
burping, mumbling unintelligibly… yeah I’ll need to avoid that
Good thing she’s only on retreat once a year!!
This week’s video has nothing to do with the story… but it’s a hoot.
So there I was, minding my own
business, enjoying life, the universe, and everything (42 for those
in the know) (nudge nudge, wink wink), and oh yeah by the way I’m
fixin’ to enjoy my 65th trip around the Sun; when suddenly
some radio guy says an astonishing FaceTalking thing: this summer
will ring in the 50th anniversary of Woodstock; and I
can’t believe it because, hey, I was 15 that year and I would really
have gone to that magnificent experience but there was no way in
H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks that was
gonna happen so I listened intently to every piece of music on the
radio that had anything to do with all the concert action and HOLY
MOLY this run-on sentence is OUT OF CONTROL!!
aging stuff is so crazy!! I consider myself very fortunate… my
health is good; and I can pretty much do everything I was able to do
when I was much younger. The only difference is that sometimes it
hurts or sometimes it takes longer. Apparently I don’t look to worn
out. I was setting up a computer for one of my very new coworkers;
and I mentioned that I had a “big birthday” coming up. She
asked, “oh, are you going to hit 50?” My immediate response was,
“we can be FRIENDS!!”
sure if she was sucking up for some future special computer help or
what… OK probably not; but I took it as a nice compliment.
my doctor the other day, and we chatted about my upcoming retirement
next year. She urged me to make a plan, because “some people have
a difficulty with too much time on their hands.” Umm… no problem
for this kid!! I have a few million things I want to do, so
hopefully I’ll actually get to do maybe a tenth of what’s been
floating around in my mind for the past several years. I love to
grow food, and I also enjoy writing. I think I’d like to try my hand
at teaching food how to write. Perhaps we could use beet juice for
ink!! That would involve some “bloodletting” from some
“volunteer” beets. Now that I think of it, I’ve never heard
beets volunteer for anything. And thankfully, I’ve never heard beets
cry when they are bleeding.
often asked, would we be doing any travel? Well we sure hope so.
One of the big things on the agenda, though, is to clean up the mess
in the garage that’s the result of that giant Clutter Bomb exploding
in there. A Clutter Bomb simply has to
be what caused that mess. I mean, I walk around in the garage and I
fall to my knees and scream “where did all this crap come from??”
Then I get up and remember where the hammer is and oh yeah there’s
my drill and HOLY CARP I found that door hinge I buried in the back
of the shelf about 12 years ago!! So OK, the Clutter Bomb exploded
very gradually… over the course of the 37 years we’ve lived here.
are, of course, other parts of our little universe that have suffered
Clutter Bomb explosions. I’ll get to those too… just have to chip
away at it. I really do plan
to stop procrastinating. That will happen either tomorrow or perhaps
a couple weeks after that.
In the meantime, I can hardly wait to see what advances lie ahead for the travel scene…
I cry, I weep, I gnash my teeth. Some
flame-headed goat poop sniffing slime licker (or maybe lickers) stole
There I was, minding my own business,
going to Walmart because the local Meijer removed 8 O’Clock coffee
(in the big bags) from their shelves. I really don’t like to go to
Walmart, because they have a history of treating their employees
rather badly. Not sure if that has changed over the years but the
whole premise is indelibly burned into my brain cells and so I would
rather not support them, thank you very much.
So… as I was saying … there I was
minding my own business, with my Beautiful Girlfriend, buying my
coffee at Walmart, and thinking, “yay!! We scored 4 big bags of 8
O’Clock coffee!! Enough for several weeks!! This is most marvelous
indeed!” We happily put the bags of coffee in the pantry and sang
songs of caffeinated joy. Well OK maybe not. But we were glad to
get our stash.
I used a debit card for the purchase,
which I do quite often. I rarely carry cash, you see. This is due
to a strange phenomenon called spontaneous wallet depletion. In
other words, in the “good old days” before debit cards, my cash
seemed to disappear pretty quickly. Not sure if using the debit card
changed that, but at least now I’m able to keep track of where the
money goes a bit more easily. I get online regularly and check to
make sure all is well.
However, this time I didn’t check for
several days; and my checking account shrank by an extra $317 over
the course of about a week. Very shortly after I used my debit card
at Walmart; someone somewhere somehow hacked something and started
using my debit card info at a Walmart in Elk Grove, Illinois; which
is a bit over 200 miles from here. Little nibbles… $35 here,
$35.36 there… carefully staying under $50 which I guess is a
threshold that starts to raise flags.
I was not very happy.
Dunno what it is about Walmart, but a
similar fraud thing happened to me with my credit card after making a
purchase at Walmart.com ! Very cool indeed, right?? I lost the use
of my card for a little over a week after reporting it stolen. At
least I had the debit card. Now I’ve lost the use of a debit card
for 7 to 10 days, but at least I have a credit card. Fortunately,
our credit union took care of all the fraud and even refilled my
checking account with the amount that was stolen. I’ve since learned
of an app called CardValet; which apparently can stop this. Once the
new debit card arrives, I’ll enter it into the app, and when I’m not
using it, I can use CardValet to turn the card off. I guess it works
with credit cards too.
Guess what? For the time being, I’m
carrying cash again. And no, I’m not paranoid about using electronic
payments; but you can bet I’ll be using the CardValet app regularly.
Oh and by the way, regarding the
cyberthieves: not only are they flame-headed goat poop sniffing
slime lickers, but they also pee themselves in public places but just
sit there with a silly grin. I’m sure they also enjoy eating other
people’s boogers; and I would also not be surprised if they smear dog
snot on their eyebrows.
Such a dinosaur I am; and very happy to be that way. I’m something of an oddball regarding technology. Although my job in computer support takes me on lots of journeys with new devices and gadgets; my love for simplicity keeps me grounded in an “antique” world. My job can get rather stressful at times; so in an effort to take care of myself I’ll often seize the opportunity to take some quiet time. Meditation if you will. I keep it simple, I just step away from all the gadgets and reflect on what I’m grateful for; and then ask The Great Committee In The Sky for guidance.
Then of course
there are other times when I’ll turn to technology for a diversion.
Maybe I’ll play a CD… or a record! That’s right
folks, I actually said I listen to records!!! And some youngsters
actually think records are way cool!! Oh God Oh God… So yes I’m
a dinosaur and I’m not afraid to admit it.
So there, nyaa
nyaa na boo boo!!
I’m one of
those weirdos who thinks paying for satellite or cable TV is a waste
of money. There’s lots of stuff still available for free… for
example, we actually use a TV antenna for most of our viewing
pleasure. I say most, because we do have access to the interwebs and
get TV stuff from our Roku. But no cable or dish. Nope.
I also love a
very archaic device called the radio. My TV antenna looks like a
giant fish skeleton on a pole, and not only does it work well for
television, it also does a great job of grabbing lots of FM stations.
Much of my FM listening revolves either around NPR or music. NPR is
great for staying informed, but when I hear all the reports about war
and suffering and cockamamie government shutdown stuff with climate
change mixed in for good measure, I get a really heavy heart. So
when I’d rather hide on the harsh realities of the world I seek out
some good old rock ‘n roll. Unfortunately most commercial radio
stations seem to have their music selections stuck on AC/DC, Bob
Seeger, and Lynard Skynard. WAY too much repetition. WAY too much
repetition. WAY too much… well you get the idea. That’s when I’ll
look for those oddball “community radio” stations.
On the other
hand, you have AM radio. Say what??? Anyone besides me remember AM
radio? May sound like a silly question, but with all this
“subscription addiction” (satellite radio, cable TV, etc.)
lots and lots of people are amazed to “discover” AM radio.
AM is short for “amplitude modulation,” which is the oldest
method of adding audio to a radio signal so it can be broadcast. The
technology dates back to 1906, which is why many radio hobbyists
refer to it as “ancient modulation.” For more info click here:
AM radio was
pretty much all we had available for music when I was a kid. So for
me, it’s like an old friend; and I’m very thankful that it
doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. We live in an area
where Chicago stations come in all day long, and I still find myself
clinging to ancient stations with only 3 call letters. WGN (720 on
your AM dial) is one of my favorites… those kids seem to have a
great time being on the radio and they make me laugh. And now, West
Michigan has its very own Public Radio Oldies Station!! Say wha???
YES!! Commercial free oldies, 24/7!! And what’s even more awesome
is they stream it to the whole planet here:
Now that it’s
winter outside, I leave for work when it’s dark. And of course,
it’s pretty much getting dark again when I get home. Something
magic happens to the AM radio band after the daylight goes bye bye:
SKIP. Skip is a very old radio term that describes
when radio waves are sent from the earth and into the sky, then
bounce back down again. If you could watch skip happening, it would
look somewhat similar to when a well tossed stone skips across water.
Skip is especially prevalent on the AM band between dusk and dawn.
Sure, the AM radio is plagued by noise and fading, but there are many
high powered stations that provide reliable listening over a very
wide geographical area.
professional opinion, this boils down to just plain fun. So when I’m
driving around in the dark, especially during a long drive, I really
enjoy frolicking about on the AM radio band. For example: I
recently tuned to 540 AM on the way to work and was listening to the
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) out of Regina, Saskatchewan.
A mere 1000 miles away!! Never bothered to check down on that part
of the dial before.
on our way down to Florida to celebrate my Father-In-Law’s 85th
birthday, it was getting late outside and we were really
ready to be done driving. Just a few miles from the Florida border,
we heard on one of the local FM stations that the Chicago Bears were
playing against the Philadelphia Eagles, and that they might actually
have a shot at the playoffs. Well normally we don’t really give a
golly gosh darn about football. But the Bears haven’t been in the
Superbowl for a loooonnnnggg time… so we thought we’d try to catch
the game. Tuned around FM… nothing. Then I tried one of my
presets: 780 on my AM dial, and lo and behold, WBBM was coming in
clear as a bell out of Chicago!! So we got to listen to the game,
live from Soldier Field. Cool, huh??
So my friends, I
invite you to give this very old medium a whirl. You just might
accidentally have some fun! There are lots of listings on the
internet for AM radio stations if you care to check out other areas
of the country and / or the world. If you find one you like, you
might also be able to stream it from the webbernet if the snap
crackle and pop starts to bug you. As far as broadcasters, I found
nice listing here: http://www.northpine.com/broadcast/50kwam.html
I leave you with
a very short list of stations that are pretty easy to pick up between
dusk and dawn, especially if you are here in the Midwest:
WSM Nashville, Tennessee (Check out the Grand Ole Opry on
WLW Cincinnati, Ohio
WGN Chicago, Illinois (Home of the Chicago Cubs! Lots of other
entertaining stuff too.)
“Zoomer Radio” in Toronto, Canada (Wonderful music variety,
excellent sound quality.)
WSB Atlanta, Georgia
WJR Detroit, Michigan
WABC New York City (This was a big rock ‘n roll station when I
was a kid growing up on Long Island, NY. Mostly talk now… ah
WBBM Chicago, Illinois (All news all the time.)(I use this
station for an “alarm clock” when I take a nap at lunch)
WCCO Minneapolis, Minnesota
WHAS Louisville, Kentucky
WCBS New York City (News Radio.)
WLS Chicago, Illinois
CBW Winnipeg, Manitoba (CBC Radio)
KDKA Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (One of the oldest stations on the
I have a small complaint I’d like to
register at this time. It seems that just a couple weeks ago, I was
listening to The Who singing “My Generation” on the AM radio
thing; and now I’m a few years older and I think it’s been 50 years
or so (I Googled it…54 years!!) since that song was first released
and I can’t figure out where all the time went so quickly and how
could this happen to both me and my Beautiful Girlfriend when we were
just 17 years old when we first met and now we are saying things like
“Medicare” and “Social Security” and this causes me to write
run-on sentences because I mean really, how does this happen to
gentle people likeUS??
One day at a time I guess.
So there we were, minding our own business, driving down to Florida
to celebrate Grampa Hilliard’s 85th birthday, and all of a
sudden an “economic summit” erupted. We took the opportunity to
discuss retirement finances; and because we were in a car that was
set to cruise at 70 mph (OK, maybe a smidge more), it was not really
a good idea for either of us to stand up and walk out of the room
when we came to a challenging part of the discussion. That would
just make ouch and bad road rolling. Even after 45 years of wedded
blisters, money discussions can cause very bad juju if not handled
delicately and with mutual respect. Thankfully, there was no weeping
or gnashing of teeth; and we came to the agreement that neither of us
need to sell our bodies on the streets in exchange for cans of tuna
fish and expired loaves of bread.
Hey kids, this is kinda scary stuff!! In a little over a year, I’ll
be retiring from a good paying job. I’ll go from “Highly Trained
Monkey What Knows Computer Stuff” to “Highly Motivated Penny
Pinching Garden Grower Person.” I’m very grateful I’ve acquired
the skills to keep a good job, and I’m also very grateful that I know
how to grow food, because I have a feeling we’re gonna want some. We
like to eat, you see.
When it comes right down to it, though, my Honey Pie and I are
blessed beyond belief. If things keep going the way they are now,
we’ll be able to retire with no debt; and we may even have a little
extra socked away for emergencies and maybe even some fun stuff. And
yes, I’ll be growing food, and selling it to anyone who comes to
visit us. I’ll be practicing my sales pitch… “Ummm hi!!
Thanks for coming over! Long time no see!! Did you know we now have
a ‘visiting tax?’ Yes!! You pay us money and we give you food items
from the garden. Whaddya mean you don’t like eggplant!!??!!”
Well OK maybe not.
As I mentioned before, we are blessed beyond belief. And the good
thing is, getting old doesn’t mean we can’t keep having fun. We were
fortunate enough to attend a Who concert last year, and those old
farts are still rockin’ out.
In our home, dinosaurs still roam. I’m
not afraid to admit it: we still use a landline. We like the
reliability, and the cool fact that it almost never drops a call.
And yes, we have an answering machine too. When I’m not looking for
a job (which is pretty much all the time), our answering machine
greeting is recreation for my inner child.
For example, if you call, you might
hear something like: “I HAVE PICKLES IN MY NOSTRILS FOR YOUUUUU!!”
This one, of course is sung loudly to the tune of “I have pickles
in my nostrils for you.”
Another might be a rather forceful
announcement like: “This machine is for singing!! Please begin
singing after the tone!!”
And I change the greeting regularly.
Anyway, those who know us will leave a
message. Those who don’t, well we don’t care! For many moons, we
used the answering machine to screen our calls. Seems like
telemarketing calls are becoming more and more numerous; and we just
don’t like being bothered. Rather than get annoyed at the poor
person who calls (they are just trying to earn a living), we just got
to a point where we quit answering until the answering machine kicks
in. If we recognize the caller, we quick pick up and say hi.
We finally got some caller ID
compatible phones a couple years ago. However, when I went to
activate this on our landline, the nice phone company person told me
there would be a charge for it. That was completely unacceptable…
I mean sheesh!! We pay enough for unlimited long distance and all
that. Mind you, I do technology stuff for a living; and I knew full
well that caller ID was already present in the landline
techno-universe. So, I passed.
Enter the 2016 elections. Holy MOLY we
got bombarded with calls!! Since I hadn’t thought much about caller
ID for a few years, I thought I’d call the phone company again and
see what was up. Lo and behold, there was no longer a fee for caller
ID!! So fiddle dee dee, we have caller ID!! And this pleases me!!
Those marketer kids are naughty… they
have software that will fake your area code so it looks like the call
is coming from somewhere nearby. And for some reason, the calls
always get dropped before the answering machine turns on!! That’s
just fine with us.
Every once in awhile though, I get to
feeling a bit playful. I’ll answer the call and be completely silly,
which of course drives the caller a bit nuts.
“Hello Sir, I’m calling to warn you that your Microsoft certificate is about to expire.”
my!! What do I do??”
“Well sir, are you near your computer?? And is it turned on?“
yes I am!1” I tell them, but of course I’m not near and it isn’t
“OK Sir, I want you to press the following keys so I may troubleshoot…”
don’t give them the chance to finish and I blurt out, “OH NO!! Do
you see my screen?? WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? I DON’T THINK I LIKE
Oh darn, they hung up.
caller fell victim to my silliness recently…
“Hello sir, I’m doing a customer service survey and I’d like to ask you…”
“No no sir, this is a customer service survey. I’m not trying to sell you any food or other…”
I’m pretty hungry, I’m hoping for some pizza!!”
“Sir!! Is there anyone in your home 18 or older I can speak to??”
yes, my cat!! I’ll go get him for you!!”
Oh darn, another hang up.
like caller ID. Come to find out, there’s a telecommunications
expert who is providing a service to intercept telemarketers before
they even get to your phone!! And they record the call, which can be
I know this time of year brings out the
unique extraterrestrial sandwich making abilities of all the people
I’ve never met. After all, another year is coming to a close, and
that of course means that a new year will soon be shoving itself
under the doorjamb with increasing intensity during the Artificial
Aurora Activation, building great suspense as to what the new year
may hold in store for us while the cat dashes to the refrigerator for
another tall, refreshing glass of Onion Powder Surprise (“…wow!!
This tastes like onion powder!! What a surprise!!) and yet another
run-on yet very silly sentence makes it way to the interwebs for
unsuspecting Chocolate Clickers to read while sipping Bark Noodle
Yes, I think so.
As the Holidays wind down to a dull
roar, this is the time for the often customary promises to be uttered
aloud, but sometimes not uttered at all; and these are heavily
intensified in order to cajole our brains into thinking that we can
actually improve ourselves somehow by creating lofty goals to which
we can aspire and hopefully make something better either inside or
outside of us.
You know, New Year’s Resolutions.
Yes, have some.
OK, I will. Here are some of the
revulsions I may or may not be interested in spraying on my Jinkle
Toast during the coming year. I must warn the reader in advance:
some of these New Year’s Resonations may cause involuntary
snorking and / or ha ha crinkling.
In other words, I hope they give you a smile.
and with Great Fanfare, I Hereby Unnecessarily Capitalize The
Announcement of My New Year’s Resuscitations For 2019:
I hereby promise to try to attempt to take a whack at an effort to
strive for an undertaking; and maybe even 7 of those. Attempts.
My body fat index has reached 947% !!! OH MY!!! Maybe I need to
enjoy fewer Lard Licking Contests!! What do you mean you’re not
supposed to eat the bacon grease?? And… no!!! No more Olive Oil
Milkshakes made with 100% heavy whipping cream?? Good Gravy!!! How
will I survive??? Oh yeah… fruits and vegetables. Oh yes, and lean
proteins. More from plants than animals. Yes. Thank you.
As I sit here typing, I realize that I could combine this finger
flinging activity with something more aerobic like perhaps hang
gliding or bungee cord plunking. I often try with little success to
perform bungee cord concerts, but the notes all seem to come out the
same. Perhaps the hang gliding bungee cord concerts will give me a
new perspective on what it really means to be more like my favorite
super hero, Eggplant Man. Um… never mind. Erase this one.
Besides, I can’t find my flashlight.
It seems that every year, all I really want to improve is my view of
the TV. Please move a little more to the east while we’re
binge-watching Vikings or other any of those other outer space
After much consideration, I’ve decided to finally come to terms with
my new illness: Serial Compulsive Recreational Insect Preparatory
Tasting (S.C.R.I.P.T.) Disorder. Yes, Preparatory Tasting… all I
wanted to do was find out what an insect tastes like before I decide
whether to harvest them for our next social gathering. I’ve learned
the hard way that most bugs simply are not delicious, and many object
to being tasted. For example, stinkbugs secrete a very nasty bad
smell ocka pitoo when being being touched by my tasting tongue. And
bees and wasps… well, forget about it!! I’m seeking treatment; but
each time I visit the S.C.R.I.P.T doctor I have to wait for 12
minutes for her to stop laughing.
My real New
Year’s Revolution is always pretty much the same: try
to do better.
Lord knows I still have much to learn, and I truly hope I can remain
teachable in this fascinating journey of uncertainty we call Life.
the meantime, I’d like to wish you all a Very Happy New Year, and may
all your nostrils be free of obstructions; especially when you’re
sniffing the delicious lasagna I’ll be making on New Year’s Day.
Holiday hanky panky… that’s what I’ll call it. It’s a play on words you see… the phrase could be taken as a search for naughty bits during the Holidays, which for me would mean that I’m hoping to get fribbly with my Beautiful Girlfriend; who is also my wife, but I’m not gonna go down that whistle honkler hoochie coochie surprise because I really would like to enjoy some Ho-Ho-Ho-Hanky-Panky with her but that ain’t none of your beeswax and if go into detail of what that might mean and then post it on the interwebs for all the world to see it would greatly lessen the likelihood of any Marital Monkey Business so just never you mind, you won’t be reading about any of that there stuff in this run-on sentence so thank you very much.
So what I really mean
is: OK it’s like this you see… yes… um… don’t tell my
Beautiful Wife Lady, but I’ve been buying stuff for her for a while
now and she doesn’t know it. Ha ha, I laugh of this in a bigly
manner! Just call me Sneaky Pete, but I probably won’t answer to
that because my name is Ken, but those near and dear to me call me
Kenny, so if you call me Sneaky Pete I might smirk at the sound of it
but I might also stare off in the distance because I probably will be
completely oblivious of the fact that you are referring to me even
after I just told to call me that in the beginning of yet another
kind of fun though. I do some of my shopping online, and stuff often
gets dropped off on our steps near the driveway. We don’t use the
side door, so even though the UPS man comes and leaves surprises, she
rarely notices. That gives me the opportunity to stash things in the
garage. She often goes to sleep before me, so I can sneak off to
smuggle the goodies up to my office and hide them in the closet.
Other smuggling missions involve “accidentally” leaving stuff in
the car after coming home a smidge late from work, or perhaps
concealing small items in my jacket pockets until the coast is clear.
I a rascal or what??
course, some of this covert activity is in the interest of resource
preservation. Say what?? Well you see it’s like this: we both
really like sweet things. We especially love homemade goodies that
our friends give us during the holiday season. However, my Glamorous
Honey Pie’s sweet tooth has a much stronger craving radar than mine
does. If we get something yummy from a friend that we’re supposed to
share, if I don’t hide it, there will be a mysterious depletion that
occurs when I’m not around. When I forget (or choose not) to hide
something, her sweet tooth zeroes in and attacks. Upon noticing the
reduction in quantity I make a scientific observation, and I’ll
announce my findings thusly: “I think mice have been eating the
I’m pretty much done with my hanky panky gift getting and hiding.
And I’m even a tiny bit ahead of schedule!! Here it’s only the
Solstice… usually I’m out chasing last minute surprises on
Christmas Eve. And yes, I’m hoping to chase the Lovely Love Of My
Life Lady around a bit during the Holidays; with the full intention
of engaging in that married-people-hanky-panky I alluded to before.
But that ain’t none of your beeswax so just never you mind!!
all of you, Have a Happy Merry and a Joyful Wonderful. This time of
year always gives me pause to reflect; and there’s one particular
movie that makes me gush with emotion. The 1951 version of “A
Christmas Carol” has always been very powerful for me; especially
the last few scenes. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I spent
much of my early life “with no eyes to see, no ears to hear.”
Some rather stark life lessons have ushered me out of darkness; and
these days I just try to remain teachable. This week’s video is the
scene that makes me gush tears of gratitude and happiness. So
without further ado…
My friend Jeff and I were recently invited to attend a department Holiday Party at the corporate office in Pennsylvania. Weeks before the party we brainstormed and thought we agreed on a relatively sane travel plan. After expressing my aversion to getting out of bed before the birds, we decided to take an afternoon flight from Grand Rapids (Michigan) to Detroit; then Detroit to Allentown, PA which involved a layover of a few hours. No problem, we thought, we’d have time to enjoy some dinner and hop back on the plane. Arrived in Pennsylvania late, but on time (10 PM), then got to the hotel by 10:30.
No big deal.
The “fun” began on the return trip, however. We spent the night after the party; to be rested and fresh for the flight home. Slept in a bit and had breakfast, but shortly afterward we got a notification from Delta that our 12:30 PM flight from Allentown, PA back to Detroit would be delayed. Awesome. No big deal, we hung around in the hotel right up till checkout; then headed toward the airport. Returned the rental car, went through security, already had boarding passes on our phones. This gave us time to have a leisurely lunch.
After eating, we sat near the gate; and got another delay notification. Goody!! Now we are leaving at 2:10 PM. Went to the nice lady at the ticket counter to see what was happening. “Oh looks like a maintenance issue, the plane will be repaired and should be here shortly afterward.” OK… Then here comes yet another delay notification. Nice!!! Back to the ticket lady. “Is the plane still coming?” “Oh yes, sorry but it is still going to come.”
Then here comes an announcement that the plane couldn’t be fixed, so a “rescue” plane was being dispatched to cover the flight. Yay!!!! Meanwhile, time is clicking along, and the delayed flight’s arrival time is fast approaching the departure time of the 5:15 flight. Oh wait, here comes the plane now!! Cool!!! Everybody gets on the plane, and of course all of us are worried about our connecting flights. Jeff and I had visited the nice ticket lady several times to see if we needed to change anything, but she said no. Well that was no longer true of course, but much to our amazement she came into the plane after we sat down. She handed each of us a “seat request” ticket for the late flight out of Detroit so we could get back to Grand Rapids.
OK!! We’re in the plane!! Ready to go!! Wait… what?? The Captain made an announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, I truly apologize but we cannot take off because our coffee pot is not secure.” Huh?? “We really do apologize… a maintenance man has been dispatched and is on the way.” Oh boy. We sit. We sit. For about 30 minutes. One of the passengers asks the flight attendant for an update. The Captain comes out again, “I’m sorry folks, but the maintenance man is stuck in traffic but is doing his best to get here.”
So what… the dude lives in New Jersey? Or is “stuck in traffic” actually code for “I just sat down to dinner, then I’ll need a nap” or something?? The young man in front of me (maybe 6 or 7) speaks up for all of us: “just pull the broken coffee pot out for heavens sakes!!” And yes, I’m pretty much quoting him verbatim. Then he goes back to his portable game thing which is beeping and blooping rather audibly.
My legs are getting a bit stiff after the first hour of waiting, so I started bouncing my knees up and down to keep the circulation going. The lady behind me gently taps my shoulder and says, “sir? Are you alright??” “Yes,” I said, “why do you ask?” “We thought you were having a seizure!!” she replied. Then I mentioned why I was bouncing my legs. “Oh, OK!!” she said with relief. After a couple minutes, she tells me, “tell that kid to turn his Gameboy down!!” Well, the boy’s parents sat right next to him. I replied, “ummm, no, I don’t wanna get in the middle of that, thank you!!” ‘
After almost 2 hours, the maintenance man finally entered the plane and was greeted by enthusiastic applause. He had some trouble getting the coffee pot to stay put; and it looked like he managed to finally win; but not without “red tagging” the coffee pot so nobody would use it.
Off we go to Detroit, and when we land, it’s after 9 PM. The gate in which we entered the airport had monitors of course, and the only reference to a flight to Grand Rapids showed that flight had already taken off. I asked the nice Delta Lady, “are there any more flights to Grand Rapids?” “There are none,” she said. “None??” I pleaded. “None,” she replied. Then I looked at our seat request tickets. Flight says it leaves for Grand Rapids at 10:40. I looked at the other set of monitors on the far wall. Yep, there’s a flight for 10:40 PM, and we can make it.
Little did we know, there was yet one more helping of “fun” in store for us. We go to the gate, ask the nice lady for a seat, and she says, “these are standby tickets. I can’t release the seats until 30 minutes before departure.” I wanted to roll on the floor and foam at the mouth, but instead I said calmly, “does it look like we’ll get on??” “Slim chance, but yes, right now it looks OK.”
Not very reassuring.
Hungry, downtrodden, and frustrated, we had about 40 minutes to kill so we went to Chik-Fil-A (the only place open) for something to eat. The young lady behind the counter looked as tired as we were. “We only have 1 and 6,” she blurted out before we could order. Huh?? Oh… OK, I look at the menu and the choices were, 1) a chicken sandwich or 6) nugget things. We both took Door #1.
Now the pre-boarding begins, so after a few lucky souls got on the plane, we hovered in front of the ticket desk again. “May I help you?” the nice lady asked. “Just hoping for standby seats,” I replied. “Oh yes… I got you.” “We need two,” I interjected. “Yes,” she said, “I got you.” She handed us each a boarding pass and I’m pretty sure she was unaware that I wanted to give her a big giant hug at that moment.
I know that in each phase of our “interesting” journey, the staff all did their best with what was in front of them. However, for some strange reason, I’m not really eager to fly any time soon. On our way out to our cars, Jeff turned to me and said, “which do you think will be more memorable, the party or the flight??”
Here we are again with another Holiday Season already!! Seems like it was just here like a year ago!! And of course, on this silly blog thing, it’s time for me to remind all of you that this is a time of giving; and in this world filled with material madness that seems to place way too much importance on money, toys, and other possessions like candy and even dog toys and treats, I would like to beseech you all to read carefully as I lay down my annual listing of things that I demand from all of you; and I’d like for you to make sure you have enough resources to get me what I want because, after all, if I have to write this silly run-on sentence (or something closely resembling this one) every stinking year to get my point across then hey, as the farmer said to the toaster salesman, “I reckon that’s just the way the crumbs will crumble.”
So without further delay, here is the listing of Holiday Requirements for this year:
A) I’m pretty sure you can all pass around a yogurt container or something and have everyone put an ounce or two of pure 24 Karat gold in it. When it’s full just send it to me either yesterday or the day before. I only want about 490 ounces for starts. This will enable me to buy ice cream pretty much whenever I want; and as we all know that’s very important.
9) OH MY GOD!! Arrrggghhh… could you… could you please scratch the middle of my back?? No… down a little bit… now up…. mmmm yesss!! Thank you!! I was hoping the flea powder would work more quickly but oh well. Thanks again!!
T) I’m often hungry during the wee hours of the night. Therefore, please install the snack conveyor near my bedside as soon as the delivery truck crashes into our firewood pile. Of course, after installation you’ll need to ensure the snacks move along the conveyor and into my waiting mouth place. Make sure you pay close attention to the snack traffic while I’m sleeping, if you don’t mind please. Last time we never did this I had my head stuck in the snackpile for nearly half an hour; and I awoke with many food things sticking to my face. My friends giggled often and called me “Mr. Snacksnarfen” for weeks after that terrible event.
72) One thing I’ve always never wanted is a 10 year service contract with the American Poop Flingers Company (APFC). They do a great job of scooping the kitty litter box every evening. The best part about their service is that huge catapult they use to toss the kitty crap to God Knows Where (GKW). I do remember once though, when I thought I heard the neighbors yelling after a litter box cleaning session. Not sure what they were saying exactly but it was something like, “what the??!!?? Where the HECK is all this cat poop coming from??!!”
9G) I need some volunteers to go to work for me each day so I can stay home and enjoy important things like: drinking fizzy liquids and burping, eating in bed while watching TV (the snack conveyor will be very useful for this), and shuffling around in my pajamas all day. You’ll only have to do this for about 14 more months until I retire. I’ll walk you through all the tasks when you get there. Just please don’t call me very often, that would be rather annoying.
But seriously folks…
What I really want for the Holidays is the same old silly saying we hear every year all over the place: “Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Women And Men.” That’s all I really want. Peace on Earth. And I really want people to love and respect each other. We don’t necessarily have to like each other; but we really do need to treat everyone we meet with love and respect. This even goes for those who seem hopelessly terrible inside and out.
One of my favorite descriptions of humanity is: “God doesn’t make junk.” So I take that to mean that God (whoever they are) has presented all of us with a beautiful universe; and we are all a part of it. Therefore, we all deserve to love and to be loved. But what about those “hopelessly terrible” ones? Well a dear friend of mine used to say that “people who are the most unlovable need lovin’ the most.” Quite a challenge, wouldn’t you say?
So that’s all I really want. Peace and kindness. Oh, and of course we need to get better at taking care of Mother Nature.
May I have those please?
For this week’s video… um… well it gave me a chuckle. Poor Santa…