School Daze

The coronavirus forcing social isolation does not bother me too much because I’m an introvert—although I’m also, at this point in time, considered essential, so I’m still going to work as usual. I’m just taking histories and delivering advice in the parking lot. I just have to resist the urge to ask every client if they want fries with their pet’s rabies vaccine.  Or a supersized blood workup.

What does bother me is the fact that my fourteen year old son has now been home from school for three weeks and is driving me up the wall!  On top of that, the school is now geared up to do teaching from Zoom (yet one more internet thingie that I don’t understand.) Thank goodness my husband is tech-savvy.  It has only taken him several hours to figure out and get everything set up for remote learning.  If it were left up to me, I’m afraid Darion would just have to repeat eighth grade. But no matter how you figure it, this basically means homeschooling, a word that causes me to break out in nervous hives.

If I had wanted my kid home with me all day, I wouldn’t have paid big bucks to send him to private school where the teachers get paid to deal with him.  It’s bad enough making sure his homework is done every night, with all the drama, wailing and gnashing of teeth that that involves, but now we have to make sure he is “in class” remotely and not simultaneously playing his X-box.  Plus, did I mention, my work schedule has not changed?  And my husband’s work has more than doubled as he figures out how to take care of the church’s needs from afar.  Sooo . . . here we are.  Granted, this is a teacher’s dream come true—being able to teach a class without having to be in the same room with the students. No more having to separate the two class clowns who disrupt the lesson.  No more having to tell the kids to quiet down and get to work.  No more supervising and hovering over them to make sure they are actually working.  No, this is now the parents’ job!  I realize the schools are doing the best they can with a totally unfamiliar scenario, but really, I’m fine with just sending my kid to school and letting him take his chances with the virus.  He’s young and healthy.  (Okay, just kidding.  Sort of.)

Now we can’t sleep in on our day off.  We have to be up to get Darion on the computer in time for his eight o’clock class.  We can’t do our own work on the computer because Darion is “in class.”  We will probably have to “sit in” on his classes to make sure he understands how to do everything properly (as well as to make sure he hasn’t snuck something else in front of the computer to occupy his time during online class.)

I suppose there is a plus side, in that we don’t have to beg, threaten, cajole, and force him out the door every morning, praying he actually has everything he needs for the day and we don’t get a call from the school asking us to bring something he forgot.  Plus we don’t have to fight the morning traffic, hoping to hit all green lights so as to get him to school on time. And we won’t have the last minute search for the belt and shoes he can’t find.  Now when he leaves his homework on the coffee table, he can just run into the other room and fetch it.  Not to mention the fact we won’t be judged by the school staff because, as usual, he rolled out of bed two minutes before he absolutely had to leave the house and failed to brush his teeth, put on deodorant, or comb his hair. In our defense, we really do try!

Now if we can just get him out of bed and in front of the computer in time for class, this thing might actually work.  But I’m not counting on it.  Does anyone know if Swiss boarding schools are closed?

How to Cope With Quaran-Teenagers

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Home Sweet Home

My older son came home from his temporary job of painting houses the other day, completely stunned by “homeowners’ associations.”  It seems the owner of the house where they were working got fined $100 a day because of some mold on his house, until the mold was taken care of.  Since my son’s crew couldn’t get out there right away, the gentleman ended up owing $500.

This got me thinking about how, yet again, I am glad we don’t have to answer to anyone but the property tax collector for what goes on with our home. On our fence alone, we have enough mold to furnish the entire country with penicillin for a year.  In our defense, the fence was not supposed to be this way.  We actually had someone lined up last fall to pressure wash it.  But our pressure washer wasn’t working properly and he took it home to fix it and other circumstances intervened, and in the end, our pressure washer ended up sitting in someone’s garage somewhere in Crestview. It’s a long story. One day, when we get around to it, we will go fetch it because the mold is starting to really irritate me. And when things get bad enough that they irritate me, I finally get around to doing something about them, such as pressure washing the fence myself. On my time table. The point is, if we were part of a homeowner’s association, we would be bankrupt by now for our moldy fence.

It’s not that I don’t sympathize up to a point with the whole premise behind homeowner’s associations.  I mean who wants their nice neighborhood defaced by the guy with all the rusted out cars in his front yard? But still, can’t they give people a break?  My stepdaughter and her husband were fined $25 a day for a burned out light in front of their house.  A light! What if, say, life gets in the way and the homeowner has an emergency or has to work late or is out of the country or is fighting for his life in ICU and can’t get around to fixing the stupid light?  There are more important things to worry about than a burned out light or a little mold on a house.

There are certainly times when I wish our house looked nicer, but I don’t want someone telling me I have to make it look nicer.  After all, I figure if we paid good money for our home, we should have the privilege to do with it (or not do with it) whatever we want (assuming it’s legal.) If I wanted someone to nag me about the appearance of the house, I would have stayed living with my parents—although, come to think of it, they were worse than I am.

I do admit to the occasional “house envy,” when I see showcase, beautifully landscaped homes.  It’s even worse when I step foot into those homes to see an immaculate living space, with designer perfection, white carpets, and no clutter.  If my house looked anything like this, I would have to ban my husband and kids from living here.  Plus the pets. But alas, I have a weakness for my family and pets, so my pie-in-the-sky dream of having the house which is featured in Southern Living only extends until I walk in my front door and reality slaps me in the face.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a place where everyone has to stop at the gate and be admitted by a guard.  It might stop all those drivers who use our yard as a turn-around when they realize they’re lost, leaving muddy ruts in the little bit of green we have. It might also stop the ones who think, for some reason, our yard is a good place to discard empty beer cans, cigarette buts, fast food wrappers, and dirty diapers. Granted, our yard is not exactly pristine, but it doesn’t resemble the city dump–at least not yet.

But the only reason I might consider moving to a gated community and joining a homeowner’s association is because of what a client told me when I asked if she had seen any fleas on her dog.

“We don’t have fleas,” she huffed with indignation.  “We live in a gated community!”

So, there you have it.  Even fleas can’t get past the guard—or if they do, you can bet the pet owner will be fined out the wazoo by the homeowner’s association until the fleas are gone.  It’s an effective form of flea control I had never considered.

~Pin for Later~

 

Wanted: A Good Wife

“We need a wife,” I grumbled to my husband, as I hoisted a heavy laundry basket full of clean clothes onto the bed.

Surprisingly, he actually understood what I meant. This comes from being married for so long.  I’m not sure he realized at the time he married me that I was not a domestic goddess.  Goddess, yes, domestic, no. Not only did he not quite comprehend what he was getting into with a partnership with me, he came from a home in which his mother was a great cook, homemaker, seamstress, decorator, hostess, and every other superlative domestic duty one can name.  In other words, a poor role model for women such as myself.

But to his credit, he rarely complains, even when he wears wrinkled clothes or eats nuked leftovers three nights in a row.  Still, I figure if the wrinkled clothes bother him too much, he can not iron them just as well as I don’t iron them.  And if the thought of eating leftovers yet another night is too unpalatable, he can whip up some Hamburger Helper just as easily as I can (and frequently does).  Or he can always say those five magic words, “Let’s go out for dinner.”

So what if I’m not the perfect homemaker?  I have plenty of other good qualities, such as . . . well, I’m really good at Wheel of Fortune.  And I can draw blood from a parakeet.  I can also recite all the books of the Bible in order.  One never knows when those skills are going to come in handy.

In many places of the world, people have live-in maids to do all the undesirable domestic chores, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, and even taking care of the children.  When we lived in Indonesia and had our first live-in helper, I thought I had died and gone to Heaven—for about two days.  She was a lousy cook, but we didn’t mind all that much as long as we didn’t have to do it. She spoke no English, so at first we had some communication barriers, such as the time she interrupted me frantically saying, “May O Neese!”  I thought I was missing something of earth-shattering importance until she indicated I should follow her to the refrigerator, where I discovered we were out of mayonnaise. But all in all, we were happy with her until her family forced her to marry an abusive man and we got caught in the middle of their domestic problems, before her husband demanded she quit her job.

The second helper was a woman in her fifties with four grown sons (great, I’m thinking, she’s probably got some real world experience and is not going to be looking for a man)!  Uh, no.  This one not only didn’t have a lick of common sense, but she stunk to high heaven (despite my furnishing her with necessary toiletries), had a penchant for interrupting us right in the climax of a favorite TV show, and thought she spoke English.  I begged her to stick to Indonesian. She once let our five-year old son take a lit candle to bed when she was supposed to be watching him. When we called to check on him, he answered the phone (several hours after he should have been asleep) and told us he was playing with a lit candle under his blankets. After demanding to speak to her, she came to the phone several minutes later and justified her actions by telling us our son wanted to play with the candle. Apparently, in their culture, the helper doesn’t tell the child of their employer, “no,” regardless of the danger. She also stole my broccoli, but that’s another story.

Anyway, as nice as it sounds to have someone to do all those disagreeable chores, things aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. I guess I’ll just keep slogging through the way I have for the past few decades.  So far nobody has died from my less than perfect housekeeping.  Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go gripe and fold laundry.

 

Beware of Side Effects

Is it just me or are there other people out there who cringe when watching the female band director in the Jardiance commercial?  For anyone who has ever participated in a marching band, the first obvious mistake is that she is out of step.  Beat one (the downbeat) always starts with the left foot, dear fake band director, not the right.  Another obvious mistake is she is conducting backwards—in other words, hands go down and out on beat one, not up and in.  Seriously, if they were going to use this scenario, couldn’t the Jardiance people have hired a real band director who knows how to both march and conduct music? Besides, I have yet to see the band director leading the band onto the field. This is generally done by the drum major. If the band director conducts the music at all, he/she does so from the sidelines (and not dressed up like an aging toy soldier).

Well, as it turns out, here are other people like me who can’t stand this commercial for the same reasons. (It’s amazing what information one can find on Goggle.)  Other people particularly hate the scene where she almost collides with the football team. She actually catches the football. For anyone who has ever watched a football game, I’m sure you have noticed the football team and marching band never occupy the field at the same time, even during practice, for understandable reasons—one being that the petite piccolo player doesn’t want to be trampled by the entire defensive line.  The other is that it’s hard to throw a pass with a sousaphone in your way.  What if the football ended up in the bell of the sousaphone?  How would the ref throw a flag on that play? It might be difficult to ascertain the outcome of interception by tuba.  Now personally, having spent several years in high school and college marching bands, I’m of the opinion the football team needs to get off our  field, rather than tear it up with those nasty cleats.  But others tend to disagree, and for those I will admit it is difficult to run plays while dodging both the other team and the brass section of the band.

I also don’t understand what taking Jardiance has to do with conducting a marching band.  Jardiance is a medication for controlling diabetes. It is not an insulin, like say, that weird “floating” Toujeo insulin pen, with everything and everybody else appearing as white paper cut-outs. I really don’t “get” that one, and frankly, it’s rather creepy.  But it’s better than the other Toujeo commercial where the guy be-bops everywhere.  He be-bops in his office, at the gym, in the kitchen while he cooks, while mowing the yard, and even while walking his basset hound, who, by the way, does not be-bop.

It seems in all the insulin commercials, everyone is perky and engaging in fun family/friend time. Makes me want to become a diabetic so I can be happy, too. Maybe my kids would actually want to do things with me. Maybe I can mow my yard in circles while be-bopping to a  non-existing beat instead of grunting and sweating.  Maybe I can cook yummy meals while friends and family help out in the kitchen and everyone is laughing. (Yeah, right, and maybe the Easter Bunny will deliver sugar-free chocolate.)

You notice, however, there is always the litany of side effects rattled off at the end of the commercials, which, of course, would never happen to you because all the people in the commercials are cheerfully engaged in healthy, fun-filled activities. There is no one shown in full anaphylactic shock due to insulin allergy, with panicked family and friends trying to punch 911 into their phones, while other people slap their face and shake them. (Of course you are warned not to take the medication if you are allergic to it, but how do you know until you take it?)  No one is shown passing out from low blood sugar while people around them try to shove ice cream down their throat. No one is shown in the ER with injection site reactions the size of volleyballs.  But beware, there is one side effect which is not mentioned on any of these commercials—taking these products, especially Jardiance, can cause over-aged drum major wannabes to march out onto a football field on the wrong foot, using weird, jerky arm movements, and conduct music backwards.

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Another Woman

I want to know why Melania Trump is sending letters to my husband.  Granted, he’s better looking, younger, and an all-around nicer guy than her hubby, but still, he lacks the fame and fortune of Donald. So what’s up with this?  Is she suddenly tired of being in the spotlight?  Has she heard rumors of other women in Donald’s life?  Is she sick of having to clean all the rooms at the White House and having to entertain an endless parade of boring, bloviating dignitaries? Would she just like to throw on her sweats and binge watch soaps once in a while?  Would she just like to be able to run out to Walmart for a few minutes without the Secret Service and the Paparazzi? Maybe she really does believe the coronavirus outbreak is Donald’s fault, as suggested by some of his political opponents.  I suppose I could almost feel sorry for her, until I consider the fact she is after my husband.

Yes, I know it’s illegal to open another person’s mail, but the green-eyed, jealous, suspicious monster in me ripped it open, anyway.  So arrest me.  You won’t believe this, but she sent him a check.  A check! For forty-five dollars.  Now what is he supposed to do with that?  It’s not enough for an airline ticket for a sordid weekend tryst in Washington D.C.  It’s not even enough to buy dinner in a swanky restaurant, Golden Arches aside.  Unless he is really hungry.  So, I broke down and read the letter.  Yes, I read my husband’s mail from another woman, as any normal suspicious wife would do. A beautiful, younger woman, by the way.  She starts off by praising her husband.  Huh?  If he’s so great, why is she writing to my husband?  Oh, I get it now.  Right there in bold type it says, “That is why I am asking you to join me today in setting the stage for Donald’s re-election as America’s 45th President by matching my enclosed $45 check.”  On closer inspection, the check isn’t even made out to my husband.  It’s made out to the Republican National Committee.  Then she asks my husband to send a contribution of $90 or even $135.  I don’t know how math is taught in Slovenia, where’s she’s from, but no matter how you figure, $90 or $135 is not a matching amount to $45.  But she’s still not finished.  She ups the ante to $250, $500, $1000, $5000, or more.  Now I realize that $5000, or more, is mere peanuts to her, but to us basket of deplorables (oh, wait, wrong first lady), it’s a significant chunk of change.

She goes on to justify why they need our money and ends with, “I look forward to telling Donald that you are standing with us . . .”  and in her P.S., “Mr. Fannon (Hah! She doesn’t get to call him ‘Sweetie,’ like I do), I know it will mean so much to Donald to know that friends like you . . .”  So, let me get this straight.  If my husband sends her money, she is personally going to tell Donald?  Is Donald going to jump up and down in excitement over the $45 my husband sends?  And since Donald is his “friend,” should we be expecting a Christmas card come December? Does that mean we have to send them one?  This is all too confusing.  The real kicker is that we have to provide our own stamp to return Melania’s check with our own matching one.

Well, I do have to admit I’m relieved to find that Melania only wants my husband for his money. But is she really prepared to live on a pastor’s salary?

 

We would like your opinion

I just can’t help myself.  Whenever someone sends me an email survey, I have to click on it. I cannot resist sharing my opinion with someone who actually asks for it!  But when I am lured with the words, “paid survey,” I drop everything else I was intending to do until I go for the gold.  Unfortunately, these surveys are generally not quite the easy money they would appear to be.

For a few months I actually was registered to take paid surveys through a site whose name I forgot.  Every few days, the site would send me new opportunities to take surveys and list what the survey paid.  If I really hit the jackpot, I could make $1.00.  Most of the time I only made ten or twenty cents.  But it gradually added up and when the amount in my account totaled over $10.00, I could request a check.  I think in the end, after several months, I earned a grand total of around $100.00 for several hours of taking surveys. The problem was that in many of the surveys, particularly the higher paying ones of $1.00, I would be twenty minutes in and half-way through the survey when suddenly, the cyber powers that be decided I wasn’t qualified to take the survey, or they didn’t like my answers, or perhaps the computer just hated me for no reason (as all computers do) and I received a message saying they were sorry but I didn’t fit something or other they were looking for, but thanks for trying.  This was especially annoying after I had slogged away answering stupid questions for twenty minutes in which I could have been playing solitaire, only to be booted out.

So, what did I just do tonight?  I received another email saying:

Hi ELLEN,

We obtained your information from The Florida DBPR as a licensed Veterinarian with license number XXXX through a public records request.

This is a NEW important survey for veterinarians!

If you qualify and complete the survey, you will get a $10 Amazon gift card. Plus you might learn something new!


Okay, this is not the first time I’ve gotten these surveys.  In fact, I’ve probably gotten more than two dozen of them over the past year or so.  And only once did I finish the survey.  I never did figure out how to get the promised Amazon gift card, so it was all for naught.  But there it was again tonight.  And what did I do?  You guessed it.  I immediately clicked on the button that said, “Click here to start survey.”

This is what came up:

Thank you so much for trying to complete this survey.  We really appreciate your time to give it a shot!

This survey has some limits on the number of people who are allowed to complete the survey in each state, demographic group, and some other classifications.

It looks like the group you would fit into has reached its maximum.  I’m sorry we couldn’t communicate this in advance but we sincerely appreciate the time you spent on the survey.

Rats!  How could my group already be filled?  I just got the blasted email for Pete’s sake! Couldn’t the public records also address my demographic group before inviting me to participate and getting my hopes up for a paid survey?  Is there only one slot allotted to old, white female veterinarians and the one person who got there ahead of me obviously didn’t have to stop and help her son with math homework?  It’s not fair.  I swear this is absolutely the last time I will be tempted to click on this survey! Probably.  Maybe. Okay, who am I kidding? I’m still a sucker.

At least it’s not as time-consuming as the political survey that came in the mail.  This was a full two pages, front and back questionnaire which I meticulously and honestly spent thirty minutes answering, before getting to the end where it said, “Send money.”  I have now gone from getting paid to take surveys to having to pay to take surveys!  Even I’m not that gullible. If they want my opinions, they can have them for nothing!  Let’s take a survey and see who’s with me!