UPGRADE, OR ELSE!

For the past few weeks now, I have noticed strange advertisements inserted into the blogs I post on my website.  At first I was embarrassed.  How in the world did that get in there?  Did I accidentally paste something onto my word document and forget to delete it?  I went back and checked.  No, there wasn’t anything in the original, which I copied and pasted onto my blog site at Word Press.

I kind of got busy and forgot about it until it happened the following week.  Now I was irritated.  What’s up with unauthorized advertisements appearing on my personal website?  It makes my postings look ultra-tacky!  So I emailed my web person asking how to get rid of these unwanted ads.  After not getting a response, I emailed again.  In essence, I was told that I am on a free plan.  To get rid of the ads, I need to be on a higher level plan.

What?  So if I don’t sign up for the deluxe package which I have no use for, my site will be hijacked with annoying ads?  I’m not sure why these ads only recently began appearing, since my web page has been active for over a year.  Maybe it’s a subtle hint to start paying or things may get worse.  Is this a form of blackmail?  Extortion? I might even consider coughing up whatever I need to get rid of these unwelcome intrusions which detract from my scintillating blog postings, but I can barely navigate the basic website I have now.  Remember I am technology challenged.  I can only handle a couple of the many supposedly amazing functions my basic website can provide. And frankly, I don’t want to be confused with anything more.  So why in the blazes would I want to upgrade to something even more complicated?  I can only take so much stress.  Technology for me must be simple.  Simple technology—is that an oxymoron? Even simple technology freaks me out.  I really need an IT person to take care of all this for me, but since my writing earns exactly nothing, I can’t afford one.  And nobody seems to be crawling out of the woodwork to do this for me.

So … it appears for now I am stuck with ads in my blogs—which means you, my devoted and valued reader are stuck with ads.  This gives you one of two choices.  Either ignore them or volunteer to be my IT person!

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SEEMS LIKE JUST YESTERDAY

I had a depressing Thursday morning.  My husband and I went to the Social Security office to sign up for Medicare.  Yes, Medicare!  There is no way I can possibly be this old.  It’s only been fairly recently that I have come to terms with the fact that I am an adult now—although there are still times I feel like a child who is playing house, totally ill-prepared to deal with real life.  How dare Medicare sneak up on me?

I know I sound like all old people who reminisce that it seems like only yesterday that such and such occurred.  But in my case, it truly does feel like only yesterday.  I sit in the bleachers at Darion’s football games and think about the fact it wasn’t that long ago I was out there on the field in my sequined majorette outfit twirling (and dropping) my baton at halftime.  It might not be so painful if the band didn’t play the same pep music like “Smoke on the Water” that was played when I was a teenager.

I work with new young veterinarians who weren’t even born yet when I started practicing.  Talk about depressing!  I could not only be their mother, I could be their grandmother!  Yet it seems likes it wasn’t that long ago I walked across the huge Ohio State stadium at my graduation ceremony and received my diploma stating I was finally a real veterinarian.  Some days I still don’t feel like a real veterinarian. I wonder if the imposter syndrome will wear off sometime before I retire.

Now that I’m finally at the age where I feel mature enough to raise children, I realize that even if like Sarah in the Bible, I conceived a child at the age of ninety, I would be sent to a retirement home before the kids were out of preschool. Even the fact that I have grandchildren doesn’t bring out the warm grandma fuzzies in me. Besides, they’re technically my husband’s grandchildren, so it doesn’t really count.

This is quite upsetting to someone who never expected to see forty.  Not that I had a wish to die young, mind you, I just never thought the time would move forward to that point. Now I realize that not only did time pass, it went barreling down the road at warp speed.  I guess I kind of saw myself as Peter Pan—never having to grow up.  And then I look at my wrinkles and flabby body and my joints ache and I fall asleep in the middle of the afternoon, and I tell myself this is all so inherently unfair.  I’m not old enough to be this old!  Inside is a twenty year old wondering what the heck happened.  I still have quite a bucket list to check off.

Wasn’t it just yesterday my husband and I were dating?  How did it happen that all of a sudden I wake up next to an old man?  I remember we couldn’t wait to start our married life together and it seemed like an eternity until the wedding, then yesterday we celebrated our 28th anniversary.  Twenty-eight!  We celebrated our anniversary at the Think Pink cancer event at church.  Then he came home and worked on his sermon while I watched a Hallmark movie by myself. How romantic!

I know there are advantages to getting old, such as free drinks at Chik-fil-A.  But Medicare?  Come on!  I am suddenly faced with the reality there aren’t that many milestones left for me.  Retirement, social security—as long as it holds out—then what?  My last milestone—my tombstone! However, my plan to live forever is working so far, so why worry?  The best years are yet to come!

HAPPY 28TH ANNIVERSARY TO THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, DOUG.  I PRAY GOD BLESSES US WITH AT LEAST 28 MORE. WE’LL BE LOVERS UNTIL WE’RE OLD AND SENILE.  THEN WE’LL BE NEW LOVERS!

 

 

 

LAWSUIT, MY EYE

This morning, I stood, as usual, trying to put on my eye makeup with my cat, Jerry, head butting me.  It occurred to me (not for the first time) that if he head butted me just so, I could stab myself in the eye with my mascara brush, possibly blinding myself.  This fleeting thought rang a bell in the cobwebbed archives of useless information in my brain.

Years ago, I got hooked into watching a TV show due to a teaser, “Woman blinded by mascara.”  Well, it turned out the woman had poked herself in the eye with her mascara brush and got an infection. This was after leaving the opened mascara in a hot car, causing bacteria in the tube to multiply exponentially. The infection led to her losing her sight in the affected eye. She sued the company which manufactured the mascara because there was no warning label on it stating, “Hey, if you’re clumsy enough to jab yourself in the eye with your mascara brush, after leaving your opened mascara in a hot car, you might develop an infection in your eye. And, by the way, applying mascara while driving could lead to serious injury or death.” Of course she won millions of dollars in the settlement.  So I kind of wondered if there shouldn’t also be a warning saying, “Allowing your cat to head butt you while applying this product could lead to eye injury or even blindness.”  Maybe I could get a huge settlement if that scenario played out, seeing as how I wasn’t properly warned.  Imagine the sheer volume of warnings that would be required to be dispensed with each purchase of a ½ oz tube of mascara.

But this just makes me want to shake my head.  Where is common sense anymore?  Just like the woman who won millions in a lawsuit against a fast food chain because she spilled hot coffee on herself when she was driving with the cup between her legs.  Duh!  Do we really need a warning that hot beverages may burn you if you put them in places where they shouldn’t be?  Apparently, yes, because people cannot be held responsible for their own stupidity.

According to the Dumbest Lawsuits In Recent History – Ranker https://www.ranker.com/list/the-13-dumbest-lawsuits-in-recent-history/williammtx, here are a few more recent crazy lawsuits:

A woman sued Google Maps because she used her BlackBerry as her guide to walk from one street to another in Park City, Utah.  Part of the directions she got involved a half-mile walk down Utah State Route 224, with no pedestrian pathway or sidewalks.   However, she continued following directions and started walking right down a major highway with a lot of high-speeding cars. When she got hit by one, she sued Google for leading her there. She demanded $100,000, claiming the directions were unreasonable and unsafe, despite the fact the road was obviously unfit for pedestrians and that upon the map, Google clearly marks Route 224 as a major thoroughfare.  Source. The Inside Scientology collection: The Most Ridiculous Things 

In 1991, a man sued Anheuser-Busch, maker of beers like Budweiser and Bud Light, because their advertisements featuring guys scoring with beautiful women do not illustrate the reality that consuming beer will not make you “lucky.” The lawsuit claims the advertisements caused this guy emotional and physical distress along with financial losses of 10,000 dollars.  Kind of makes you wonder what he spent $10,000 on.

A man tried to commit suicide by jumping in front of subway train as it pulled into an East Manhattan station. He didn’t die, but the outcome wasn’t pretty. A few months later, the family found a lawyer to sue the New York City Transit Authority for 650,000 dollars on the premise that the driver of the train did not slow down the car in time and thus was to blame for injuring the man, even though he willingly put himself in harm’s way. Astonishingly, they won. Strangely, several years later, the man tried to kill himself again using the same method.  Fortunately, New York didn’t have anything to worry about as there was no severe “personal damage” this time.

A mother and her teenaged daughter sued an amusement park because they were frightened by costumed monsters—on Halloween. The daughter, not wanting to be scared, allegedly asked the park’s costumed monsters not to bother her. When they persisted, she fell over in a fright and reportedly sustained injures – the details of which were not released to the public. The pair  sought $150,000 in damages, according to KTLA 5.

In a similar lawsuit, a woman sued Universal Studios because their Halloween Horror Nights were “too scary.”

It was really difficult trying to choose which of the many ridiculous lawsuits to pick for this blog.  Personally, I share the opinion of something I recently read on Facebook—remove all the warning labels and let the idiots take themselves out of the gene pool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I FEEL A BLOG COMING ON

“I feel a blog coming on,” I said to my husband.

He groaned.  “What bone-headed thing did I do now?”

“What makes you think it has anything to do with you?” I asked.

“It always has something to do with me.”

“Not always.  Just last week I wrote about Darion.”

“Well, I have to say he provides plenty of fodder for the blog,” he admitted.

“And the week before that I wrote about the loud-mouth at the football game.”

“But still, you write a lot about me,” he said.

“Aren’t you being just the least bit paranoid?”

“No.  You’re not going to write that I’m paranoid, are you?”

“Believe it or not, everything is not about you,” I told him.  “Doesn’t that seem a little egotistical?”

“No.  You’re not going to write about my ego, are you?”

I shook my head.  “I don’t understand why you are getting so worked up.  You’d think I was going to bring up the Reuben sandwich incident again.”

“You’re never going to let me live that down, are you?”

“Probably not.  That story is just too great to let die.  But no, I’m not going to write about the Reuben sandwich incident again.  I’ve already done that.  Besides, I think everyone who knows us has heard the story.”

“What about the way I misplace everything and spend hours looking for stuff?”

“No, but that is a thought.  I still haven’t found my second set of car keys you swore you didn’t have.”

He groaned.  “I know what it is.  You’re going to write about the fact that I can remember every place I have ever stopped for gas in the last forty years.”

“I wasn’t going to, but now that you mention it … ”

His eyes grew wide. “Are you going to write about the time I left you sitting alone at my twentieth high school reunion while I talked with old friends?  How many times do I have to say I’m sorry?”

A spate of angry emotions from the past bubbled to the surface. “Just because I forgave you doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten.  I almost died of thirst because I didn’t have any money with me to buy a drink.  And I got stuck the whole evening talking to the obnoxious husband of the girl you had a crush on in high school,”  I reminded him, just in case he had forgotten any of my grievances of that night.

“Yes, I know.  Are you ever going to let that episode drop?  After all it was twenty-five years ago!”

I considered for a moment.  “Probably not.  I’m still upset about it. There’s a good possibility I’ll remind you of it on your death bed—or mine, whichever comes first.”  I shot him a smug smile.  “But let me give some advice.  If I go first, and you happen to remarry and take your next wife to your high school class reunion, don’t leave her sitting by herself at a table with people she doesn’t know while you make the rounds.”

“Believe me, I will never make that mistake again.”  He took a deep breath.  “So, may I ask what your next blog is going to be about?”

I blinked.  “Hhmm. You side-tracked me with your ungrounded suspicions and I forgot.  Guess I’ll have to write something about you after all.”

He nodded with grim acceptance. “I’m glad I provide material for you.”

TRUMP THIS!

I got a letter from Donald Trump today.  It had my name on the envelope and everything!  Wow, I didn’t even realize he knew who I was!  My excitement was short-lived, however, when I eagerly opened the letter to find the salutation of “Dear Patriotic American.”  Although I like to think I’m a patriotic American, I was hoping for something a little more personal, like, “Hey, Ellen, I’m not using my private yacht for the next few weeks, if you’d like to borrow it.”

But such was not the case.  It was mostly a recap of today’s political climate, of which I’m already aware.  His signature was unreadable.  It looked like a series of squiggles.  If I were his teacher, I would give him a D- in penmanship and send him for remedial handwriting.  Nevertheless, I was ready to let the poor handwriting go, as I realize he has more important things on his mind. Then he delivered the clincher and the real purpose behind his correspondence by asking me to sign a support statement and send it back.

Well, I suppose that’s a reasonable request, but it turns out he didn’t just want my signature, readable or not.  No, he wants my money, too.  There was a box to check off the amount I wanted to contribute with a reminder below that my gift was not tax deductible.  I was somewhat surprised.  Donald Trump needs my money? Did they run out of toilet paper at the White House?  Is Air Force One in danger of being re-possessed?  Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I thought he was the billionaire.  If anything, shouldn’t he be sending me money?  I’ve got a teen-aged boy to feed, for crying out loud!

I guess I won’t send in the signed support statement because I feel guilty and stingy not sending in money with it.  But then I got a brilliant idea.  Maybe I could get free money from the government. Isn’t “free” everything being promised by Donald’s opposing political party?  Perhaps they could tax a few more of those miserly rich people they’re always talking about and send me the extra money.  If that doesn’t work, I know the tax-exempt foundation of a former president and his presidential candidate wife has a few billion extra dollars lying around.  Couldn’t they equitably distribute some of their wealth my way? Or maybe the government could kill two birds with one stone and pass a bill to tax the foundation!

All in all, the letter was quite a disappointment.  Here I thought Donald and I were going to become pals.  It turns out he’s just like all the other politicians who send me personal mail—he only wants me for my money (and my vote.)  Perhaps he should start a “Go Fund Me” account. But next time, Donald, would you please not get me all worked up with anticipation by putting my name on the envelope, and just address it to “Patriotic American?”  Don’t make me have to tweet this!

 

 

 

ROUND AND ROUND WE GO

I took my life into my hands today.  No, I did not go skydiving again—although I would really like to.  I didn’t even attempt roller skating in my driveway again.  Nor did I ride with a teen-aged driver.  What I did was enter the roundabout at Walmart.

According to Wikipedia, a roundabout (also called a traffic circle, road circlerotaryrotunda or island) is a type of circular intersection or junction in which road traffic is permitted to flow in one direction around a central island, and priority is typically given to traffic already in the junction.  Supposedly—my insert— modern roundabouts observe various design rules to increase safety. Compared to stop signs, traffic signals, and earlier forms of roundabouts, modern roundabouts reduce the likelihood and severity of collisions greatly by reducing traffic speeds and minimizing T-bone and head-on collisions.

Hah!  Wikipedia doesn’t know anything about driving in the Panhandle!  For that matter, neither do most of the other drivers on the road, myself excepted, of course.  I can tell you from personal experience that roundabouts are completely baffling to most drivers.  For example, one of the unwritten rules of roundabouts (are there written rules somewhere that nobody knows about) is traffic already in the circle has the right of way. This seems to be confusing for a lot of people, especially those making a left hand turn from John Sims Parkway into the Walmart parking lot.  Perhaps they feel the green left turn arrow also gives them automatic right of access to the traffic circle fifty feet away. I have been in the circle many times when cars come flying into the entrance to the parking lot and straight into the roundabout regardless of who else is already in the roundabout.  Yes, I know if I end up plowing into one of those vehicles because I am, after all, right, it will still generate a hassle I don’t need.  So I always hedge a little to see if the oncoming cars are actually going to yield to the traffic in the circle like they are supposed to.  This is bound to cause criticism from the drivers in the circle behind me.  I can just hear them saying, “That stupid woman doesn’t know how to drive in a roundabout!  Look at her stopping when she has the right of way!”

To make matters worse, the entire Niceville Walmart parking lot must have been designed by a demented sadomasochist.  You drive to the end of the aisle thinking you can get out, and find yourself caught in a never ending maze of “can’t get there from here”.  You can see the exit road on the other side of the curb and grassy expanse, you just can’t access it without going 3 miles (okay, maybe I exaggerate a little) to the extreme end of the parking lot and locating the one hidden connector road which will get you there.  On your way to ferreting out the one exit, you have to dodge clueless people who are walking down the center of the parking aisles with their noses stuck in their cell phones and other cars who are practicing for the Indy 500. (Or perhaps they just think you’re out to take a parking spot they saw on the other side of the next aisle but have no idea how to get to.)

The frustration is enough to make me want to drive over the curb and the grassy expanse in order to bypass the labyrinth of horror.  Unfortunately, though, I still have to go through the roundabout on the way out.

 

 

 

There are cookie crumbs in my socks

The other day I was re-organizing my sock drawer.  (Yes, I was that bored. Plus I couldn’t find any paired socks.)  “Oh, look what I found!” I exclaimed to my husband.

“What?”

“A box of chocolate chip cookies I hid.  I completely forgot about them.  I wonder if they’re still any good.”

He shrugged.  “Only one way to find out.”  He opened the box and helped himself to a cookie.  “Kind of stale.”

“Drat!  I hate it when I hide food and forget about it,” I muttered.

“Me, too,” he agreed.

You may wonder why we have food hidden in odd places in our house.  It’s simple.  We have a thirteen year old son who does not exercise restraint when it comes to junk food.  If I buy a box of cookies at the store on Monday, it will be completely depleted by Tuesday, without my husband or I having had the first one.  A package of family-sized chips will, likewise, be polished off in one sitting.  A bottle of juice will be consumed in a few hours, although he always leaves a teaspoon full in the bottom so we can’t say he drank it all. He is also quite clever in that he leaves the empty packages on the shelf so we won’t realize the items are gone.  This makes it even more aggravating when we go to have a snack and discover an empty package full of crumbs.  Things we buy to pack in his school lunches are gone within a day or two, leaving us with nothing to send except peanut butter sandwiches, which always come home uneaten.

The only alternative was to start hiding food which we actually wanted to last until the next trip to the grocery store.  We have bottles of juice and individual bottles of Gatorade in our bedroom closet hidden underneath my pants, which hang on a lower rack.  A large box of Goldfish is in there, too.  Cookies, chips, candy, and crackers end up in our night table drawers, desk drawers, sweater closet, and filing cabinet.  Unfortunately, Darion, the bottomless pit, has become quite the sleuth in sniffing out where snack items are hidden.  There are no hiding places left which he hasn’t discovered.  We have resorted to banning him from our bedroom, which works only as long as we are in the room monitoring it.   However, it is really difficult to hide frozen foods like ice-cream and Hot Pockets.

One shining light in this aggravating situation is that Darion is extremely picky, so if we find something  we like which he doesn’t, it can actually be stored on a pantry shelf with no fear of it disappearing.  Oatmeal raison cookies—not a problem.  Pretzels and nuts will remain undisturbed.  Cereal is in no danger.  Even Moon Pies are safe.

You may be itching to point out the obvious answer to our dilemma—which would be to stop buying any junk food, period.  While I agree this solution would work in theory, I’m not prepared to go to that extreme.  😊