Posted in humor, Real Life, Shopping, stuff

Wiping

After the ice storm Saturday I was very aggressive about cleaning off my car. Very aggressive. Sunday, after all the stores had closed, Tom and Michael found a piece of the plastic part of the wiper blade frozen to the hood of my car. The holiday meant I couldn’t replace it and would have to bag out on my only plans for Christmas Day. Boo.

Yesterday I finally was able to get it replaced by the girl working at Auto Zone after I announced to her “I would like whatever is your very best wiper blade” like some kind of blade-needing royalty. (She put it on my car so fast wrote her into my will.)

It was so nice to leave the house! Buy floor cleaner! Have a guy explain how I can install my own replacement floor on top of my current one, which seems like more work than just using floor cleaner!

There are a few things in life that are worth paying any price to have, and both are for wiping: soft 2-ply toilet paper, and wiper blades that can handle New England winter road muck. Splurge and wipe well.

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Posted in Brain Dump, Real Life

Real Christmas

The thing I, and many others, forget year after year is how rarely Christmas lives up to our expectations or memories. As adults we subconsciously expect Christmas to somehow be as wondrous as it was when we were young children, but that’s pretty unreasonable.

As adults, many work tirelessly to try to hit some picture perfect Christmas experience we think we’re supposed to give our families. Until we scale back our expectations, plans changing, illnesses, or other forces kicking in and controlling the holiday can be devastating.

If the Hallmark channel made realistic Christmas movies, they would mostly be people spending December 25th eating brownies over the sink, avoiding specific family members, or napping. Our best holiday moments may actually happen with friends and family in the weeks leading up to the 25th. THOSE are the holiday moments to treasure. December 25th is just the day you can finally relax because you made it through the season for another year and the pressure is off.

Take pleasure in being off work, watching anything you want, and eating things you might normally avoid. Leave the Christmas lights up until YOU don’t need or want them any more. My tree may come down, but I have candles and twinkle lights in my living room that I’ll light for a few more weeks, because *I* want that.

If you are having a bad or mediocre Christmas: you aren’t alone. And if you had a great one, that’s worth treasuring. Maybe use this as a reminder that any year could be the one where you wonder where things went wrong. If you do some advance planning to account for the expected or unexpected, you can spend December 25th spoiling yourself. And that can make all the difference to surviving the season.

Hugs to one and all. I raise my glass of eggnog to each of you. Excuse me while I finish this brownie.

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Posted in Real Life, Shopping, stuff

Cup Wars

You know how you can go years without buying a new travel mug, and then then universe decides to introduce space age travel mug technology, so you find yourself buying not one but two new $25 mugs? Me too.

I didn’t set out to buy two. I could hardly justify one. We were at The Paper Store, the local Hallmark-affiliated chain of gift stores, in July because I wanted to look at their scarves. And there was a sign in the window saying it was launch day for the 2017 Hallmark ornaments but we’re going to focus on the scarves, okay?

The Christmas music playing in the store as I looked for a beach-y scarf almost drove me out, but damned if I don’t love the stuff in that store. Really, their buyer is basically my soulmate. So as I spent 15 minutes attempting to make it from the scarf section to the register, a display of travel mugs catches my eye. Keeps drinks cold for 9 hours! Keeps coffee hot for 3! What is this spaceman technology?? The Corkcicle is expensive for a travel mug and I don’t know if I need a new one. But my old one simply doesn’t give me the staying power these promise. Plus, I have a negative amount of self-control.

Later, a woman in an optometry office sold me on the lid of the Yeti travel mug, which is held by a magnet so easy to remove and clean. Done. Sign me up. I hate cleaning the slider part of travel mug lids.

So which one is better?

Interestingly, the Corkcicle kept coffee hotter longer, but the Yeti has a better lid (specifically the one with the magnetic close that you have to purchase separately.) The Yeti had better lid options – I’m not seeing replacement lids for sale for Corkcicle, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t available.

In the end, I kept the Corkcicle (and bought more) and gave the Yeti to my son. It’s still good, it just came in 2nd.

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Posted in coolness, parenting, Real Life

Adventures in Bunnysitting

A week and a half ago, baby bunnies became part of the family when Mama Bunny lost her mind and created a nest next to the house within the fenced in backyard my dog uses as his personal Rest Area.

Maple Barn Photography: Bunnies &emdash;

We discovered the nest after Phantom discovered the nest, which was a Very Bad Thing. But three babies remained and we kept a close watch on the nest, wondering when they would be big enough to leave the nest so we wouldn’t have to supervise the dog.

I checked on them on Father’s Day, using a yardstick to move the covering so my smell wouldn’t be near them. I counted three that day. One night Phantom chased the mom across the yard, and I nearly had a heart attack. 

Yesterday, Michael and I were returning home from an errand and saw an adult rabbit had been killed by a car on a fairly busy street very close to ours. My heart sunk, because I just knew it was the mother. I had no proof, but I assumed that was the end of my not being involved.

A friend provinces a link to a website for dealing with sick and injured animals in Mass, and I called one of the numbers. I was referred to a 2nd person who gave us advise for determining if the mom had been to the nest to nurse at the regular dawn and dusk times. We put the string on top and prayed it would be disturbed by her when we checked it, but unfortunately, it was pretty clear she had missed the two feedings. 

I called back the woman [licensed by the state to] take in abandoned baby animals and arranged to drop off our bunnies. It was wonderful to see them out of the nest, and know this woman would release them in few weeks when they can survive on their own. She said we can come back to visit, so I plan to, with cash to cover their Timothy hay and formula bill. 

We also got to pet a baby possum and see the 8 woodchucks and 3 squirrels she’s currently fostering. God bless this lady and her animal-loving heart! 

I have a few videos for the past 1.5 weeks, including the handoff, at my photography website, Maple Barn Photo.

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Posted in Brain Dump, humor, lists, Real Life, stuff

We’ve Got Pebbles!

I was in the car for 14 of 36 hours this past weekend (took a jaunt to Philly and back for my son to do an audition). I talk a lot in the car, because I like to entertain myself that way, and it keeps the driver alert while driving everyone else in the car crazy.

We should have recorded the conversations – I’d have 75% of a podcast ready to publish. I didn’t start taking notes until Sunday, so missed stuff from Saturday.

Here, in no particular order, are things we discussed on the ride back. Feel free to work them into your own conversations.

– Why did the person who called “not it” for driving through NY get stuck driving through NY both ways? That would be me, for the record. I declare the lower level of the George Washington Bridge a big disappointment because it felt more like a tunnel than a bridge.

– Why are New Jersey drivers worse than any other group on the road? I have never seen so many crazy speeding lane-changers. Like violent swipes from one to another inches away from other cars.

– If you owned a bus company, would you only hire drivers willing to wear catheters so they could do the Boston to NYC route without stopping?

– Is a Lamborghini a practical car? (That was Michael’s claim. I don’t know how he defines practical but he couldn’t answer my “what do you do if you are grocery shopping” question. He said they get good gas mileage. Google doesn’t confirm the claim unless you think 12mpg city is “good.” Also, if you forget how to spell Lamborghini use “Lamb or ghini” as a hint. I don’t know if ghini is a thing.

– Made Tom Google the surgery-free weight loss balloon we saw advertised on a billboard. It’s a big balloon filled with saline. I can’t figure out how to insert a big saline filled balloon without surgery. Tom says the fill it in you. “How do they tie it?” Secretly, I now want to try this method of weight loss, but instead of a saline balloon maybe one with smuggled diamonds. Also, can I just swallow balloons from the toy store to save money?

– The My Brother My Brother and Me podcast makes a joke about Gallagher 1 and 2 and references G1 being a dick. Tom hadn’t heard this (!) so we Googled “Why is Gallagher a dick?” but then we have to exclude the Oasis brothers (also dicks) and Dick Gallagher, a piano player who is probably a dick “because his mom liked the name” to get just the stories about angry racist Watermelon Gallagher.

– Made Tom Google and read me the wiki for the Scarsdale Diet doctor murder. Also made him Google Molly Pitcher to verify our guesses about why they named a rest area after her. I had the correct era, but Michael actually knew a surprising amount about her.

– We talked about a story Michael had from the audition. He’d told people in line around him that you can suck on gummy bears to soothe your throat. The people behind him told him they’d Googled it because they thought he might be trying to sabotage the line. We tried to decide what he would have gained by knocking them out with bad advice when they weren’t directly auditioning against each other. Michael: “Go ahead, Google ‘sucking on a gummy bear’.”

Me: “I don’t have safe search on.”

– Tom and Michael declare the Grover Cleveland rest area on the NJ turnpike honors a Muppet. We ponder if there are human/muppet porn movies but do not search for any because there must be some. It takes at least 20 more miles before I realize they meant Grover the blue Monster and not a humanoid Muppet named Grover Cleveland. Wasn’t there a boy Muppet similarly named?

– What is Peter Pan doing in the picture on the back of Peter Pan busses? Michael proposes Flamenco dancing and I think a magic trick with a quick “look over there!” redirect. Would you know it was a picture of Peter Pan if it wasn’t on a Peter Pan bus? “It’s young Robin Hood!” We didn’t look up the history, but it isn’t clear why Peter Pan = bus transportation. I also wonder what they had to pay JM Barrie for the rights, and if it was worth it (as opposed to just making up a new, non-intellectual property name.)

– how much do we hate the car’s GPS? Her alternate route suggestions to avoid traffic generally add time. She also says “Traffic jam ahead” when there is either no traffic jam ahead, or when we are already in the middle of it. WE KNOW.  I named the GPS lady Suzy because the car is a Subaru. A frequent response to her announcements is “Shut the hell up, Suzy!” The biggest flaw is that she seems to treat many highway exits as anti-turns we must be warned to avoid, especially when there is an exit-only lane. I understand you don’t want people in a turn-only lane if they aren’t turning, but that feels like a thing the driver will handle: if you tell me to drive 30 miles to my next exit, I will spend thirty miles NOT taking every exit that comes along.

– How difficult would it be for a kitten to play ragtime on an upright piano? The song “Kitten on the Keys” feels misleading in this respect. I don’t think a kitten has the body mass to depress the keys that quickly. Tom realizes it’s a player piano or nickelodeon, not a piano. So it’s a REALLY misleading song title.

– Discussed the relative merits of Peter Tork as a singer.

– If you trip and fall and rip your arm open on a cruise ship mini golf course, how much of it is it your fault for not being able to lift your leg over the sides of the hole?

– Changed the rules for Spotify Search Roulette. Use Gong Show guidelines of 30 seconds per song, then anyone can say “skip.” Each rider gets two vetoes – you can each use one “skip veto” per song. If there is a second Skip request after you veto the first one, you have to skip! Related: while the songs are awful, the search term “auntie” results in the most interesting song titles and band names I’ve ever seen while playing this game.


14 hours driving to and from Philly plus an hour each way to see a concert Saturday night means we are all car seat-shaped and spent too much time in rest area bathrooms. But it was a good trip and I’d do it again tomorrow if I had to. (Unfortunately/fortunately, we won’t have to, at least not this time.)

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