Thursday, April 26, 2007
  Love It or Hate It

While we are on the subject of appliances, I need to get some input about vacuum cleaners. I am very hard on mine. I don't know what it is I do to them, but they don't last long. My current one, a Hoover Bagless Upright is basically just flattening the carpet. It's time for a new one.

I can't bring myself to buy a Dyson. Everyone I know who has one sings the praises of their floor cleaner. But Consumer Reports and Good Housekeeping says the Dyson doesn't perform better enough to warrant the price. The Hoover Windtunnel seems to rate well. So does the Eureka Boss and the Hoover Savy. I have also seen the Kenmore models at the top of a list or two.

The more research I do, the more confused I get. One thing for sure; people have love/hate relationships with their vacuums, in that they either love them or hate them. Problem is that for everyone who loves a particular model there seems to be someone who hates the same one. Except for that pesky Dyson.

I know I want a bagless. I have seen that some are now beltless and that sounds intriguing. Of course I want POWER ( a little Tim Allen snort here) , a longer power cord and attachments that don't fall off while I am vacuuming. Some of the Hoover Windtunnel models have them enclosed, and they have an attached hand vac. I have to admit that I am leaning that way. Although I look at my current Hoover, maybe 5 years old, and it is really beat up, so I am concerned about it's reliability. If I could be sure that the Dyson would still be humming along ten years from now I would buy on. But my track record sucks. Unfortunately m vacuum cleaner does not.

So what I am saying here is HELP!!!!. What kind of vacuum do you have? Love it ,or hate it?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007
  Appliance Karma

We have been having this conversation off and on for a while at the Sarcas house.

Have you noticed the tv?
I know. The picture is a little fuzzy.
Maybe it's the satellite.
No its the tv.
Are you sure?
Its old.
No it's not.
Yes it is. Maybe we'll get a flatscreen.
We would have to move it over there.
Then we would have to move everything around.
How much tv do we really watch anyway?
Yeah. Still a flatscreen might be nice.

So you now what happened. Right---the refrigerator broke.
We went from "the ice cream seems a little soft " to "the butter is mush" in about 24 hours. And it puddled all over the floor. That can happen when you get old. So tomorrow it is out with the 1985 almond color freezer on top model, and in with the side by side stainless steel icemaker on the door model. Just in time, because the old fridge really needed cleaning. We bought the range when we bought the fridge. I'm thinking I shouldn't clean that either.Just in case.

Saturday, April 21, 2007
  Yo Ho Ho !

Last Sunday was the pirate themed party/ silent auction. Ever since I have been trying to figure out how to blog about it. I don't know why , but the writer in me is definitely blocked. And, to boot, I read this post written by Star's boyfriend. He says it all. And beautifully. So you read that , and I'll just fill in some details.

First of all, the Sarcas-girls, and "the kids" hit the ballroom running about an hour before the first guest arrived, transforming empty space into a pirate haven. Here are some of the pirates, posing with a backdrop and faux ship created for us by friends. DSC_0053.JPG How awesome is that? The lovely lady in blue was one of the artisans. The ship was christened "Sarcasmo's Adventure" The gentleman in full pirate regalia served as our Master of Ceremonies , and kept the party moving. I was told that he didn't have to rent or buy any part of that costume. A true pirate at heart!

The festivities were opened by Sarcas-sis who gave a speech to welcome the guests. Her words were translated to pirate speak by the salty tongued Vis Major.

The food was yummy, the music was good and the people were generous. The auction part of the evening went very well, We raised over $5500 for the scholarship. The pirate guests really got into the spirit of the event. As the time to close the bidding drew near the I think everyone was around the tables trying to secure their winning bids. A beautiful framed piece of art, based on a prize winning interactive fiction game developed by Star and her friend Peccable, and dinner for two at Philadelphia's only 5-star restaurant were the items that attracted the most and biggest bids.

The only disappointment was that the CP couldn't be there because he came down with strep throat. Even the heartiest pirate is no match for that. Too bad because he would have had a ball playing with the other kids, and whacking at the pirate pinata. And he has the best "ahoy matey" of any pirate I know.

On the plus side we got to meet a friend of Sarcasmo Jr., whom we have been hearing about for ages but had never had the pleasure of his acquaintance. What a good sport he was. First we dressed him up as a pirate, and then dropped him into the thick of things. The day after the party, in an attempt to show him scenic Philadelphia, we drug him out in an unseasonable April nor'easter where we were soaked to the skin from the driving rain, and pelted with hail. We did manage to get a good breakfast though.

So that's how it went. Well, I think. It took a lot of work by a dedicated group, who shall hereby be known as the SARCASMONAUTS. I can't tell you how many times they pulled rabbits out of hats to make things appear. We would have a meeting and someone would say"we should do this" and I would be thinking "well yeah, we should, but how do you do that" and they would get it done. To produce the auction booklets for instance, Poppy and Feanor did the blurbs , emailed them to Sarcasmo Jr who made up the template , and then she emailed it to Sarcas-sis who did the graphics and printing. Did I mention they live n three different states !

I am sure there is more I mean to tell you. I am sure I will. I want to say a personal "thank you" to blogfriends Leanne, Jennifer, & Jazzy who donated items for the auction. I leave you with a few more photos.

DSC_0021.JPGThe ship builders

DSC_0014.JPGSarcas-sis & her hubby ,the Dred Pirate Roberts

DSC_0050.JPGSarcas-dad, me, Sarcasmo Jr. & friend.

DSC_0109.JPGQuite a crew! Star would have been front and center.

*Many thanks to Babs who took all these photos.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Star and I had been on a quest to see and do as much as possible locally. It gave us a way to spend time together and we were doing those things we always meant to do, So I know she would have called me well ahead of time to take Saturday off from work so we could go to Scrapple Fest. If you are not familiar with scrapple, you are obviously not from around these parts where it shares supermarket shelf space with breakfast sausage and bacon. Scapple, you either love it or you don't. I do but these days I don't eat it very often as it definitely doesn't fall into the health food category. Scrapple is simply ground pork, cornmeal mush, and spices formed into a loaf that you slice and fry so the outside is crispy. My grandfather, a big man who came from hearty upstate Pennsylvania coal mining stock, ate scrapple every day. He used to say it was made from "the part of the pig that didn't get over the fence". I think what he meant was it was a way for farmers to use every part of the pig. Whatever the butcher can't sell, turns into scrapple. Sadly I heard about Scrapple Fest too late to take the day off and go. That means I won't get to see works of art made of scrapple ,which ,is a disappointment. Perhaps even more of a letdown is not having my picture taken with the scrapple mascot. What do you think that looks like?

I do know that Star and I would have made it to some part of the first annual The Philadelphia Book Festival. Two days of author appearances, book signings, musical performances and children's activities. And a parade. All free , on what is promised to be a warm and sunny weekend. Actually a warm and sunny weekend around here will be an event in itself, considering the chilly weather we have been having.

What's on your agenda this weekend ? Does it involve either books or scrapple?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
  And Now, a Word

The following came in an email from a friend. Enjoy!

Here is the Washington Post's Mensa Invitational, which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. The 2006 winners are:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying (or building) a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize that it was your money to start with.
4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
8. Sarch asm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
12. Karmageddon: It's when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes and it's a serious bummer.
13. Decafalon: (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day cons uming only things that are good for you.
14. Glibido: All talk and no action.
15. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
16. Arachnoleptic Fit ( n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
18. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. And the winners are:
1 Coffee, (n.) the person upon whom one coughs.
2 Flabbergasted, (adj.) appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.
3 Abdicate, (v.) to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4 Esplanade, (v.) to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5 Willy-Nilly, (adj.) impotent.
6 Negligent, (adj.) absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.
7 Lymph, (v.) to walk with a lisp.
8 Gargoyle, (n.) olive-flavored mouthwash.
9 Flatulence, (n.) emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash, (n.) a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle, (n.) a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude, (n.) the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon, (n.) a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster, (n.) a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism, (n.) the belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent, (n.) an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Saturday, April 14, 2007
  Battle of the Sexes

The other night I was telling Sarcas-dad about something cute the CP had done. "He is such a boy." was Sarcas-dad"s take on the matter. Sarcas-dad grew up in a house full of males, one of 5 brothers. I grew up as an only child , and as you know, together we raised three beautiful daughters. So ths experience of a little boy in the famly is a new one to me, and I am thourouhly enjoying it. There is no doubt in my mind that boys and girls are different in more than just anatomy, and Sarcas-dad's remark spurred a memory that pointed that out for me. One that has nothing to do with the CP.

It was about 15 years ago, and it was the weekend of Sarcasmo Jr.'s dance recital. That meant an all day rehersal on Saturday, and the dance extravaganza on Sunday. I am pretty sure it was the year Sarcas-sis was to perform her solo dance marking ten years at the dance school. Sarcas-sis was home from college, with the boy she was seeing in tow.

Jr. & I got home from rehersal and Sarcas-sis and Boyfriend were in the living room with the music blaring, Sarcasmo Jr. settled down on the floor in front of them to put the finishing touches on her costume. Sarcas-sis got up and left the room leaving Boyfriend on the sofa. He stretched out with his arms under his head, watching Sarcas-sis carefully arranging each and every spangle and fringe. And then for some reason he leaned over and poked her in the arm. Just once. Sarcasmo Jr. didn't even flinch. He waited a minute and then poked her again. This time she slapped his hand away, without looking at him. He poked, she slapped. Over and over and faster and faster, until they were engaged in a hand slapping frenzied battle. Totally annoyed Sarcasmo Jr. got up, took her costume and flounced off to another room. Boyfriend merely laid back down on the sofa sporting a very satisfied smile. Apparently he had achieved his objective, without a word being spoken. As I watched the interaction I thought that this is what it would have been like if the girls had a brother.

Sarcas-sis returned to the sofa, passing her sister on the way. "What's with her?" she asked Boyfriend, who just shrugged as if he were totally in the dark on the subject. For him it was in the past, over and done with. For Sarcasmo Jr. who had stomped into the breakfast room and was clearly agitated, it would be an issue for a while longer.

Thursday, April 05, 2007
  One Dollar

I needed wrapping paper so I went to my new found source of shopping fulfilment, the dollar store. I was never a dollar store shopper, as the ones I had been in seemed full of junk worth less than the asking price. But at the suggestion of friends, Sarcas-sis and I went to a nearby outlet and we were amazed at what we could get for our money. We kept asking why we haven't been doing this all along.

So I am at the dollar store and as you can probably guess, "wrapping paper" quickly became. wrapping paper, basket stuffers, a cute little pink plastic dish for deviled eggs and several other items that I couldn't possibly pass up for a buck. When I dropped the wrapping paper, and in an attempt to pick it up, dropped two other things I was carrying, I decided it was time to either get a cart or go to the checkout. A cart would only mean I could get more stuff, so I headed to the register.

As I was still juggling my armload of goodies I was glad to see only one person in line ahead of me. She had quite a few items, which the cashier scanned individually and with great care. "$21.40' the cashier informed the customer. She got no response. "$21.40" she offered up again. "How much?" asked the customer "$21.40" came the reply.

The customer looked a the ten dollar bill in her hand. Obviously this wasn't going to cover it. There was a fair amount of "oh dear-ing" and "oh my-ing" as the customer dug through her wallet, her pockets and her purse to come up with the money.

If I didn't have my hands full I could cheerfully have strangled her. Lady, it is the dollar store. It is $1 times the amount of items you have. How hard is that to figure out? Admittedly, there is tax. Seven percent in the city of Philadelphia. And it can be tricky as some items such as food and disposable paper products may not be taxable. But even if you assume it is all taxed the worst that will happen is you get change back.

When it was finally my turn I counted my items as I put them on the counter. There were ten, all taxable. I took $10.70 out of my wallet. I had plenty of time because the cashier scans, as the signage on the register instructs , "each and every item individually". This was true even when the first roll of wrap scanned and the second one didn't. Apparently you can't rescan the first one even though they are the same. You have to key enter the UPC of the offending roll. Several times until you get it right.

""$10.70" the cashier said when she was finished. I handed her a ten dollar bill, 2 quarters and 2 dimes. Apparently this kind of payment efficiency never happens because she didn't even acknowledge the money in her hand. "$10.70" she reiterated. "That is $$10.70" I said. She looked at me, the money, and me again. She put the ten on the register and then used the fingers on her right hand to separate the coins in her left hand so she could count out the seventy cents before she tendered the payment.

Oh well, at least I didn't have to wait for a price check.

Sunday, April 01, 2007
  Directons to Cloud 9

On Saturdays the end of the work day is just a little sweeter because Sarcas-sis and the Cutie Patootie meet me at the store and we do our weekly shopping together. It works out for everyone. Sarcas-sis gets a chore done while her hubby is at work, and I get time with the two of them. Usually i am ready to go when they arrive. The CP even knows how to "punch me out" at the time clock. This week the person relieving me was running late so I told them to start without me.

I followed as soon as I could. confident I could catch up with a mom and her toddler. As I rounded aisle 7 they were coming back the other way. 'We found you, we found you!" said the CP and we shopped the rest of the store together.

Part of the Saturday ritual involves stopping at the live lobster tank before we go to the checkout, so the Cp can watch the crustaceans cavorting around. They were particularly frisky on this afternoon an the Cp was reluctant to bid them adieu. I picked him up and carried him on my left hip and pulled the shopping cart behind me with my right hand. As we strolled to the front of the store the CP put his cheek next to mine and said "Mom Mom, I'm glad we found you"

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