Friday, September 30, 2005
  Won't You Be My Neighbor?

When we moved into this house the neighborhood was full of young children. On my side of our block alone there were 12 children including my three girls that formed a nice little play group. Of course times were simpler and the kids were free to roam from house to house and yard to yard without fear of abduction. Because the children were friends, the parents were also, even socializing together in non-child related activities.
Many summer afternoons were spent in my yard with my neighbor and friend Linda, mother of two boys. We would sit with out feet in the Mr. Turtle Pool while our youngest offspring played in and around it. Linda liked to say it took the both of us to guard the pool because she couldn't swim and therefor couldn't get out of the shallow end. We both worked part time but considered ourselves SAHMs. As we sipped iced tea we would talk about all the things we planned to do when the kids were older and we had a little more free time.
Ten years go by and suddenly the kids are older. Their lives have evolved off the block. They go to different schools for different reasons and move in separate social circles. I run into Linda in the mornings when we are both jumping in our cars to head off to our full time jobs. Every once in a while we stop to wonder what happened to all of that free time we thought we would have.
Ten more years go by and all the kids have moved on to adult lives of their own. Linda and her husband moved away . Her house has changed hands three times and I haven't known any of the people who have lived there. The same is true for many houses on my block.
Yesterday the Cutie Patootie woke from his nap and I decided we would both benefit from some of the refreshing weather of a fall afternoon. We set out with the stroller for just a quick jaunt around the block. As I cut through the driveway at the top of the street. a young man came out of his minivan and headed into his garage. He smiled at the CP, greeted me, and the said. "DId you just move in?" "A mere 27 years ago" I told him. "You?" He said they had been there about 7 years. We wished each other a nice day and he got back in his car.
Anybody know where I can get a Mr. Turtle Pool for next summer?


Friday, September 23, 2005
  State of The Art

The other day I got a chuckle from another blogger's post about trying to help a less than tech savy senior with a computer problem. It reminded me of my Mom, and her remote control. For some reason Mom decided that having a remote for her cable enhanced television, and a remote for her radio/casette player was silly. So off she went to Radio Shack where some soulless salesperson sold the woman the MOTHER OF ALL UNIVERSAL REMOTES. This thing had buttons galore, flashing indicator lights and an instruction manual the size of the yellow pages. Really more than she needed for two pieces of equipment in an 8 foot by 8 foot living room. But it made her happy. Being the woman she was. Mom bought the new remote home and promptly called Sarcasdad to come over and program it. He did that and gave her a quick lesson on how to turn everything on and change channels on the tv. And it was good. For a couple of days. Until she pushed some wrong buttons and Sarcasdad had to reprogram it. A situation that occurred so often , Sarcasdad could tell her over the phone which buttons to push to get herself back to tv watching mode.
One day I get a phone call at work:

I can't turn the tv on. I pushed ALL the buttons and it won't work.

Probably the batteries. I'll stop by after work and have a look.

After work! What am I supposed to do all day? Sit here and stare at a blank screen.

Just turn it on at the tv.

How do I do that?

With the on and off button on the tv.

There are no buttons on my tv.

Mom, all tv's have buttons. They might be hidden under a panel, but they're there.

There are no buttons on my tv.

Mom. Just walk over to the tv and........

You're Father bought this tv before he died. It has no on and off button. It is state of the art!

I know when I'm beat.

I could not even convince her to go and look at the tv. The more I tried the more aggravated I got. I gave up. She spent the day without the tube. But as the phone was not remotely controlled, I got several more calls that day. To make sure I didn't forget to stop by after work.
By the end of the day I was uber- aggravated. After work, I drove to her house, parked the car , stomped right on in her house without a word of greeting, went right to the tv and, turned it on.

How did you do that? she asked.

I can laugh about it now.


Monday, September 19, 2005
  Sports Talk

This being the Monday after the Sunday that the home team beat the other guys 42 to 3, I was counting on some pretty serious Sports Talk at the gym this morning. What do I get? First of all, the gym is inordinately quiet, even for 5:30 am. Monday is the busiest day at most gyms because we are all paying for the sins of the weekend. I do stumble across Officer "D". and his nephew who work out together regularly. Officer D. is one of Philly's Finest as are many of the early morning workout regulars.His nephew is a teacher.All of this is gleaned from conversations overheard. Anyway, as I pass them on their neighboring treadmills I strain to hear some review of yesterdays game. What do get? Relationship chatter. The nephew is talking about someone being responsible in keeping a relationship going with Claire.. (Lucky Claire, I wonder if she knows) THe rest of the gym is oddly quiet. Halfway through my workout I hear the "group" approaching,, The group consists of three people. The guy whom I quoted in my last Sports Talk post, and two other guys who seem to find him fascinating, Why? I have no idea. I bet there is a group like them at any given time in any gym. There is a lot of weight clanging, a lot of jumping around from place to place but in the end, not much actual working out. Unless you count the mouth muscle. That gets a workout. They don't bother anyone else, but they are loud. So Mr. Macho, the group leader speaks up. I'm ready for some serious Sports Talk. What do I get? He watched a documentary on the Discovery Channel. (you must be joking) . A documentary on female weight lifter. (Score !). What did he glean from the enlightening show?
1>Some of these women had decent faces, so why did they want to do this to thenselves?
2. There is no way these women could be so built. THey must be on steroids.
3. They all go to the competitions together. Therefore, they are all lesbians.( He realy said Lesbos)
Not what I was expecting, but still Sports Talk


  Avast Ye Hearties!!!

Today is National Talk Like A Pirate Day. I wanted to let you all know before the sun set behind the yardarm so you didn't miss any opportunity to shiver your timbers. More on the celebration here and here
(found on Sarcasmos Corner).


Thursday, September 15, 2005
  The Latest Exercise Craze

I am always on the look out for ways to improve my exercise regime. Variety is important to keep up interest and get results. I would like to share with you my new favorite exercise program; THE CUTIE PATOOTIE WORKOUT. This program is designed to be used on it's own or in conjunction with your regular routine. Here are some of the highlights

Laps: the cornerstone of the CPWO. Laps are aerobic and help build endurance. Led by the CP, the excerciser completes a series of circuits around the house. The basic lap is from the living room to the kitchen and back. There are many variations on the basic lap. Some including going out the back yard to the deck. The advanced participant may even be led around the entire house and back through the front door. The duration of each session is totally at the discretion of the CP who will vary the number of laps, as well as the route and duration in order to keep you on your toes.

Stair-climbing: Sometimes done in conjunction with laps, stair-climbing also provides an aerobic workout as well as helping to build leg strength. The simplest form is to follow the CP as he crawls up the staircase. THe move is made harder by the exerciser supporting the weight of a 20 lb. infant as the CP walks up the stairs while holding you hands.

The Lift and Toss: The exerciser goes from a squat to a standing position while lifting the CP from the floor, and into the air over his or her head. The advanced participant may finish the move by tossing the CP up into the air and catching him. Helps tone thighs, back and shoulders.

The Sprint: Usually a surprise thrown in by the CP, when hes suddenly darts toward something he shouldn't touch, causing the exerciser to spring up from a sitting position and try to get there first.

The Sleeping Baby Release The most difficult move of the work out, it involves moving a sleeping CP from your lap, carrying him up the stairs, and getting him into the crib with a minimum of jarring and jostling. Works just about every muscle in your body.

The Heart Tug: No exertion is required on the part of the exerciser. The CP merely smiles at you and you heart does the rest.


Monday, September 12, 2005
  Sports Talk

The gym, at 5:30 am, is generally a pretty quiet place. Pretty much the same people every day. About 99.9% male and most into their solitary workouts. On the Monday morning following Sunday Night Football, the chatter definitely increases. I don't take part.The depth of my sports knowledge is at the shallow end of the pool. I am quite highly entertained by the conversations I hear round me. What I find most amazing is how men who usually grunt at each other in greeting suddenly become so eloquently descriptive. Last season I remember thinking I should make a list of some of the more delightful phrases that were uttered, but I didn't follow through. This year I am just going to post them as they happen. So here is today's Sports Talk.
The topic of discussion was a game that involved Bill Parcells, Vinnie Testeverde and some quarterback named Herb (I think). Anyway, the same guy whom I have heard refer to his girlfriend on more than one occasion as "my old lady" said this about somebody: "He's not going to drink the water and make it happen". I am not sure what that means but I thought it quite poetic. Especially considering the source.
I figure I'll share these sports bon mots as I hear them. There may be more tomorrow. I think the home team is playing Monday Night Football in Atlanta.


Sunday, September 11, 2005
  How Many Blondes Providers Does it Take to Administer A Drug Test ?

If you want a job retrieving shopping carts in the from the asphalt parking lot in 100 degree heat, and cleaning bathrooms , you will have to take a drug test. When the company I work for instituted this drug test policy I thought it was going to be a deal breaker for prospective employees in Backwards Borough. After all, the reason most of the locals get a job is to have a legitimate source of income to explain the tricked out set of wheels they are driving. I needn't have been concerned. I have been assured time and time again by prospective employees that passing a drug test is no problem. They are already doing it randomly for their parole officers.

Jay, one of our meat cutters retired and to supplement his pension chose to be rehired as a part time worker. As per company policy he was sent for a drug test. (Yes he passed). The way it works is the applicant goes to the lab and within 48 hours we receive an email of the results. In this case I waited an extra 24 hours and still hadn't gotten the email. So I called the lab. They were able to verify that Jay had indeed been there but they only collect the samples and have nothing to do with the results. Not exactly my definition of a "lab", but okay. So they give me another phone number to call. The woman who answers spews out about 20 names in rapid succession, kind of like a law firm. I tell my story again. Turns out that they are responsible for record keeping and data collecting, but they don't get the results. She suggested that I contact the Dr. who's name appears at the bottom of our emailed results. She gave me his number. He is in New England. We are in Pennsylvania. I called, and told my tale for the third time. The woman who answered said that while the Dr. does review and sign off on the results, that office is not responsible for emailing out the results. She gave me yet another number to call. The fourth time through the whole sorry story was the charm and the results were faxed, allowing Jay to be hired.

I am just wondering how I can put my hand out and get a piece of this action?


Tuesday, September 06, 2005
  An Open and Shut Case

You might have noticed that the Cutie Patootie countdown hit zero five days ago. The CP and his mom, Sarcassis , arrived last Thursday night after a 14 hour, 6200 mile journey from Japan. At eight months of age I think the CP has more frequent flier miles than I do.

Over the last five days I have been reminded of certain truths about little ones. You can give them toys that amaze you with their flashing lights, moving parts and educational value, but they would rather play with the door. Why ? Apparently because it opens and closes. And opens and closes. As many times as you want. Truly amazing. The kitchen is like "Let's Make A Deal"What is behind door #1? Door #2? If we shut the door and open it again will all the pots and pan still be there? Let's see. Yes they are ! Hooray! At the computer desk he opens the door where the tower is hidden, touches the tower most carefully, as if he knows it is an important thing, and then shuts the door.

I am also of the opinion that fairies must whisper in his ear at night. Every morning he seems to awaken with some knowledge he didn't have the day before. On Sunday that zwieback cookie was a complete mystery. On Monday it was a snack. That big step at the front door? Insurmountable on Saturday, piece of cake on Sunday.

And one more thing .When Grandpop comes home, all bets are off. He will toddle right over me , and I think his mother, to get picked up way in the air by big strong arms. Then they go off to do manly thinks together.


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