Sunday, April 23, 2006
  You Think You Know Someone

A few nights ago I went out with some of the girls from the Borough. It was a baby Shower for the Deli Manager who finds herself unexpectedly expecting at 40. I was glad to be included since one of the few reasons that I was actually sorry to leave the Borough was that I was as going to miss this person and her upcoming event.

We gathered at a local diner , did the surprise thing and ate too much. On the tables were these big jars of some kind of spice with the name of the restaurant on the label. One of the women, who is actually a company supervisor, told us that when she visits a particular store , that she always goes to eat a nearby restaurant. This restaurant has a similar spice on the table. Big jars. Which she would put in her big purse. Now, she tells us they started to sell it. Most likely because it was walking You the door. I was, to put it mildly, flabbergasted.

This was a group of people whole make their living in the retail world. Who, not 30 minutes earlier, had regaled my with a tale about 5 of them chasing a man out of the store because they though had stolen 2 lawn chairs, only to find out he had paid for them. We had a good laugh over it.

If only that were all. In the spirit of unity, or perhaps to kiss up to her supervisor, the manager of the department this spice thief oversees, related a story about some "friends". These "friends go out to eat and ask the servers for extras. Extra cheese, extra croutons, extra salad dressing, whatever they can get. They don't consume it then, they take it home and use it to bolster meals during the week.

Then Lucy pipes up about a "friend " who goes to all you can eat buffets and takes along a bag so she can sneak stuff home. Then she asks "All you can eat means all you can eat there. Right?"

Hopefully I got out in time.

Thursday, April 20, 2006
  Your Time Is Up

Yesterday I posted a comment at Confessions Of A Grade School Role Model. In response to what Krista had written, I said that I felt Cindy Sheehan's fifteen minutes of fame were up. I had barely hit the enter key when Sarcasdad called my attention to the television. Kelly Ripa was talking to a youngster who had spent the previous evening suspended above New York City in a tram car.It was the second show if the day to feature the young man. Sarcasdad said that this boy was getting more than his fifteen minutes of fame out of the situation. How coincidental that we used the same terminology at basically the same time. IT started me thinking. Who else has had their fifteen minutes and doesn't know that it's over. Let's start a list shall we?

1 Cindy Sheehan
2. The Tram Car Kid.
3. Dan Brown -It was a work of fiction for goodness sakes !
4. Paris Hilton- today on a talk show she was pegged as bring famous for being famous.

Let's see how many more we can name. Today is Thursday, so maybe we can shoot for Thirteen of them That means that the two of you who stop by regularly have to come up with a couple each !

Wednesday, April 19, 2006
  Oh Say Can You Hear?

Sappy as it may be, there is nothing like the singing of the National Anthem before a baseball game to stir feelings of patriotism and pride. Last night at Citizens Bank Park was no exception. After a tribute to Jackie Robinson and a salute to players from the Negro League in Philadelphia, the Intruders took the field to lead us in song. The field announcer asked everyone to remove their hats in preparation. At one time it wouldn't have been necessary to ask. Gentleman would have removed their hats automatically. Last night all the gentlemen and gentlewomen and gentlekids removed their caps. As I stood facing the electronic scoreboard flag digitally waving in the early evening breeze, in my sight line was a gentleman. He had removed his hat. What he had not removed was his cell phone from his ear. He kept up a running conversation all the way from" Oh Say Can You See" to The Home of The Brave.
Pity. He missed some lovely three part harmony by the Intruders, not to mention missing the point.

Sunday, April 16, 2006
  Don't Go Changing

I'm not a big fan of change. That's change in the sense of things being different, not in the sense of quarters, dimes and nickels. I am a fan of them. Pennies too. But changes in life, not so much. I know that change is inevitable. And I admit that change can be a good thing. It's not even change per se that causes me anguish, as much as it is the idea of things changing.

There has been a fair amount of change in my life lately. Kids moving back to the house, kids moving back out of the house, unexpected change of work venue, yada, yada.yada. But I've adjusted. Now another change is looming on the horizon and I''m not sure how to cope. We are changing our ISP provider.

To me the internet is a lot like the car. I know how to turn it on, I know how to make it go, and I know how to make it do the basic, necessary maneuvers. But I don't know why it works. Mostly, that learning gap is a matter of time. If I had all the time in the world I would learn all the whys, even if I found the information tedious. But I don't. I'm too busy coping with change.

Our original foray into the e-world was when Sarcasmo went away to college and we wanted email to keep in touch with her. We signed up with AOL because it was very popular, and extremely user friendly. Sort of the internet for dummies. Of course as time went on , access to information we had previously functioned without became an integral part of our lives. Come home, check the mail, check the answering machine, check the internet. And because we need our spam delivered at the speed of light, dial-up gave way to DSL.

We have been aware for a while now, that competition among providers has led to more attractive pricing.If I understand it correctly, Verizon actually provides our DSL service, for which we pay extra to AOL, so they can in turn pay Verizon. We can cut out the middle man and save a nice chunk of change every month. There's that word again. Change. As is our M.O. we talked about it for quite a while without ever doing anything about it. I threw up several roadblocks. I'd have to change email addresses. What about the kids accounts? I'd have to change information for online banking and bills. But I can't ignore the economic benefit of the switch. Sure there will be a little inconvenience but. people do it all the time. How hard can it really be?

A co-worker told me that when she called her ISP provider(Comcast) and told them she was switching to Verizon because they offered a better deal, her provider met Verizon's price for a year. We contacted AOL by email. They responded three days later with a suggestion that we could go back to dial-up if we wanted a lower monthly fee. Clearly our business is important to them.

I left all the details up to Sarcasdad. He called Verizon and told them we wanted to sign up and then awaited the promised modem and software in the mail. A week or so later, no modem at our doorstep but we do get an email telling us that the AOL DSL must be disconnected first. You think they might have mentioned that sooner. Sarcasdad calls AOL. In the course of an afternoon he was disconnected, given bad information, given attitude and told it could take a month to discontinue our DSL.Three days later we get an email from AOL saying send back the modem, which we believe we own by our original agreement.

I am starting to wonder what we have gotten ourselves into. Once again, I am turning to you , dear friends, for any insights you may have to offer. What I really want to know is:

"Am I going to be sorry?"

And if so, how sorry? Also, can anyone tell me if there is an expedient was to transfer my address book and my bookmarks from AOL to Yahoo ? What are the chances AOL will actually turn off my DSL and stop debiting my credit card?

Please let me know if you've been there, done that and lived to tell the tale. And please hurry, before I find myself "in between" modems.

Thursday, April 13, 2006
  It's Time to Take A Virtual Vacation

When I was still back at the Borough I had a conversation with a coworker. Friend 1 and I were lamenting our lack of vacation plans this year. She and I were both having difficulty coordinating spouses jobs with our own to come up with a good time to get away.

"I think we should just go ourselves" said Friend 1. "You know where". Indeed I did as we had both vacationed at the same resort in Aruba several times, although not together.

We were joined by Friend 2, who had actually had a planned vacation only to see the plans systematically unravel at the last minute. F2's husband said he didn't care and he went golfing. F2 doesn't golf and felt cheated out of her holiday.

F2: "Where you going?"
F1: "Aruba. Wanna come?"
F2: "How about a cruise?"
Me: "I like cruises"
F1: I"I thought we were going to Aruba"
Me: "I'll go anywhere"
F2: "Maybe we should keep it closer to home. We could drive down to Myrtle Beach"
F1 "Are you driving?"
F2 "I'll drive"

Along came Friend 3. She actually has vacation plans, but sensing that we were not serious she joined in.

F3 "Why are you driving? We'll get a limo. And we'll stop for breakfast"
All: "Yeah. A limo"

So if you are also on a virtual roadtrip down virtual interstate 95. and you see a limo going through a drive through around breakfast time, that'll be us. Virtually on vacation.
Oh, and since it's virtual, Ill be super-sizing that breakfast order.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006
  Circle of Life

When we first moved here, 28 years ago, this block was teeming with small children. There were plenty of playmates for our two oldest, and, for our youngest who was born soon after we settled in. Moms were home during the day and the kids had the run of each others house and yards. Most summer nights there was a rousing game of kick-the -can or stickball in the driveway and you could hear the youngsters having fun until parents started calling them in for the night.

Of course all these kids grew up and moved on. It got a lot quieter around here. No Big Wheels going down the sidewalk. No running feet or roller skates. Besides the kids getting older, times have changed. Parents can't let their children roam quite as freely as we were able to. And unfortunately I fear that video games and computers have replaced a hard played game of freeze tag for today's youth.

Parents have moved on as well. As couples became empty nesters, some of them traded in the 4 bedroom homes for cosier digs. And the new families that moved in, well, they have small children. Last evening I heard them again. The kids playing outside. This morning I returned home from the gym in the early morning light. As I turned up my street I saw on the asphalt a hopscotch grid drawn with multi-colored chalks.

It's good to know that kids still play hopscotch.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006
  Oink Oink

I can make my grandson laugh by snorting like a pig. (Don't look so surprised internet. I have many talents you have yet to discover.) This pork related story is not that funny. Here is the group who squeals.

Monday, April 03, 2006
  Side Effects of Being a Grandparent

When our girls were little we had the usual display of artwork and school papers posted on the refrigerator door. As time marched on our little students joined the rank of tweens and teens that would tell you when asked that they did 'nothing" in school all day and so our refrigerator went back to being just a food storage appliance. This morning as I went for the cream cheese it occurred to me that life has come full circle. We are currently exhibiting 2 of the Cutie Patootie's early works. A study in fingerpaint in red, and one in green. They are magnetically affixed to the fridge with the back end of a horse, the back end of a sheep, the back of a duck and the front of a cow.

I still have some of the pictures and papers the girls came home with, along with arts and crafts projects from girl scouts, and trophies from dance classes. They are stored away with Cabbage Patch dolls, a copy of the "Thriller " album with Michael Jackson's picture on it, and some My Little Ponies. These are things that I saved because they remind me of their childhood. I have no idea if they would actually want them anymore.

There are still clothes in closets that belong to one or the other of our children, even though they have all been living on their own for years. I can't tell you how many times I have started to go through them, with the intentions of clearing them out, only to put them all back because maybe they might still want some of them. Let's be honest here. They probably don't.

When the Cutie Patootie and his parents came to stay for a while we put the crib in what was still, to us, Sarcasmo Jr.'s room. Little by little more and more of the CP's things found their way into the space, and sometimes we found ourselves referring to it as his room, even though the decor and the knick knacks are very much his aunt's.

Assuming I actually find any time to do any seasonal spring cleaning this year, I think I might be able to clean out those closets. Having artwork on the fridge, and toys all around the house brings back lots of memories. So does watching the CP learn something new every day. It's another perk of being a grandparent I guess.

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