Is That REALLY What You Do When You Retire?

>> Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Every so often I run across people who have made (or continue to make) decisions about their lives and their purchases that leave me baffled.  I mean, really, I sit in my home, thinking about them, with my chin hanging down, trying to understand, "Why?"

Maybe some of you can enlighten me about some of these things.

I have a neighbor that moved "down south" a few years ago.  I'm not even sure I remember exactly when they moved in, but it has been probably 5 years or more.  They came from some place vaguely defined as "up north".  Their old home was far enough "up north" that all but the newest houses didn't necessarily have air conditioning.  Of course, there was snow, and a lot of it, if the tales are true, but I don't think this family had any driveway to shovel or anything like that. 

Anyway, about 5 or so years ago, they decided to move.  There was no job transfer, no family emergency, or any other "must move" factors in their decision.  They just decided the time had come to leave their old town behind and break ground in a new place.  So far, so good.  I understand the wanderlust.  I have it too, sometimes, but I usually get over it when I consider how annoying packing, selling the house, buying a new house, and unpacking will be. 

Are you with me so far?  Now here is the clincher.

They moved "down south" where we consider 80 degrees too cool to go to the pool and we don't break out the winter coats until January.  The catch is ... these people hate the heat.  They really do.  They find 82 degrees oppressive, and they won't go outside if the temperature is above 85.  Helloooooo, this is the south.  I mean, it isn't Florida, Texas, or other famously hot places, but people around here don't think summer has arrived until the thermometer reads 90. 

Why, then, did they pick this town to move to?  They had a whole cool (temperature-wise) half of the country to pick from.  Why here?  They knew they hated heat.  They tell me so all the time. 

I just don't get it.

Even better, when asked, why they moved "south?" they generally reply, "That is what you do when you retire." (Really?  The goal of retirement is to move to someplace you hate so you can complain about it all the time?  I had no idea.  I think I'll not retire.)

Then again, I've met more inexplicable people.  We know this family that is a little ... bit ... obsessed with the concept of the paper plate.  Now, I need to confess that I am not a fan of the paper plate.  I really don't see the point unless you are outside or away from household luxuries like automatic dishwashers.  So, already, I am biased.  I don't know why you would buy the "good quality" paper plates, especially because they aren't cheap, and modern dishwashers solve a lot of headaches.

Nonetheless, this family uses paper plates as a regular staple.  Why?  Allegedly so they don't have to wash dishes.  (Yes, they have an automatic dishwasher.)  The irony?  They DO wash the paper plates off so they can be used again.  (Yes, you just read that.)

I just don't get it. 

Then, just to be sure, I asked them why else they switched from real plates to paper.  Guess what they said?  "That's what you do when you retire."

Really?  That's it.  I am never retiring.


Yep. He Said That

>> Monday, August 30, 2010

There are certain benefits from having a talkative child.

I seldom have to wonder where he is or what he is doing because he narrates his entire life to me from the next room, or the swings, or the sandbox ... you get the picture.

I can (generally) ask him what is wrong and get some sort of answer.  Of course, as "Mom," it is my job to figure out what the heck the answer means.  We talk in circles a lot.  ME:  "You have to."  HIM:  "I can't."  ME:  "Why not?"  HIM:  "Because I can't."

Now, of course, there are downsides to having an exceptionally talkative child.  For example, we, as a family, no longer have any secrets.  I'm sure you can think of a million examples of how this can go terribly wrong.  Let me share just one -- albeit one I have experienced several times in the last week.

Picture me, Toddler, and sometimes DH, walking into ... say ... a pizza joint to pick up takeout.  Then, picture someone else, a nice, grandmotherly sort, sitting there waiting for her own pizza order.  DH and I go up to pay, while Toddler crawls up on the bench next to the nice lady.  I hear her talking to him about what a big boy he is, crawling up there all by himself.  Then, as I am inspecting our pizza, I hear Toddler say, "I get to watch Bunnytown and climb Grandma's tree because ... because ..."

Oh no.  Don't say it!  Don't say it!  I turn around and start to walk over, but I'm too late.


Oh, dear.  He did it again.  Then, as if that weren't enough, he continues, "And I even got to stand up and say, 'Bye, bye, poopies!" 

By then, I arrived to say, quietly, "That's great, Toddler.  Shh.  We don't need to tell everyone."  I know the conversation is only going to get worse from there.

Thankfully, as with all the other grandmotherly types, this nice lady smiled kindly and said, "It's quite all right.  I perfectly understand."  And, she seemed to, smiling indulgently at me and my little chatterbox.

Someday, though, I think I will likely meet someone who does not understand.  No doubt such a person will be cold, heartless, and mean-spirited, but I know such a person is out there, waiting for us and my darling, talkative, adorably frustrating little charmer.

Still, it could be worse.  He could not be talking at all.  Right?



This Can't Be a Good Sign

>> Monday, August 23, 2010

My precious one-cup coffee maker has started to turn itself off.  The problem is, the model has no auto-shutoff feature.

This can't be a good sign.  Of course, this coffeemaker is the same one that taught me the meaning of "descale" last summer and threatened to blow up.  I guess I should be glad it has lasted this long, but now is not a good time to be without it.  Really.  I'll have to enter a contest or something to get it replaced because Christmas is still a long way away.

My son does not share my belly button issues.  While I'm pleased for him, I fear this can't be a good sign for me.  The other day, Toddler "made" me a toy ice cream cone to eat with him. I pretended to eat it, palmed it, and flipped it onto the counter.  He saw my empty hand and grew very puzzled.

"Where did the ice cream go?" he asked me.

"I ate it," I answered.  "It's in my belly."

Toddler got a very confused look on his face.  He knew this ice cream wasn't for real and wasn't really for eating, so where did I hide it?  Carefully he lifted the hem of my shirt and looked for the ice cream.  Then he patted my waistband of my shorts, looking for it there.  Then, for lack of any other ideas, he stuck his finger in my belly button to see if I put the ice cream in there.

That was the end of that game.

I fear Toddler will soon be following in his father's footsteps and tormenting me with trying to perform wet willies, zerberts, and other grossness near my fragile belly button.  I fear this greatly.  I must come up with a plan to stop it.

The weather around here is all messed up.  It was 100 degrees in June, while I was enjoying Pharoah's weather in Egypt, and today it's 77 degrees.  Sadly, it's also extremely humid, so it's too hot to play outside for long, and too cold to go to the pool. 

This can't be a good sign.

Toddler's solution to today's weather issues -- "Let's go shopping at the mall."  Again, this can't be a good sign.


Technical Schmecknical

>> Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Today, It's All Good If You Can Laugh is suffering from significant technical difficulties.  Unfortunately, that means I, and this decrepit and limping computer, are suffering as well.  Today's Wordless Wednesday post will not be appearing as a result of these difficulties.  I'd describe it to you, but ... hey, it's a picture, and I'm sure you would rather see it than wade through my 1001 words to describe it.

In the meantime, I thought some of you might be intrigued to know that this blog has had over 9000 hits since its inception over a year ago.  Of course, a large chunk of these would be me trying to edit it from various computers across the country, but I honestly think the overwhelming majority of the hits on my hit counter come from ... my mother. 

Okay, okay, the cute little dots on the map below say that more people than my mother and I are logging in fairly routinely.  I mean, I haven't even been to some of the places where the dots are.  Thank you all for this.  I hope I can continue to bring some happy chuckles to your day.

Just think.  If I had one penny for each time someone surfed onto my page, no matter how briefly and accidentally, I would have about $90.  Woah.  Mom, I think you need to fork over some pennies.  Hah!  Right.

Moving back to reality -- Because today's previously scheduled blog post has been postponed, and because I will be spending the rest of today and possibly longer trying to get my computer to stop coughing and keep rolling, I thought I'd keep things very simple and provide you with a fun list.  Don't worry -- today's list is not one I made up.  It's one my readers made up.  Today, I present you with a brief list of some of the search terms you, my readers, have used to find my blog according to Google:

1.  National Blame Someone Else Day. (This one comes up a lot.)

2.  Bill Cosby "if you can laugh at.  (Not sure I get this one, especially the open but no end quotes.)

3.  If you can laugh together you can work together.  (I'm not sure how my blog came up with this search phrase either.)

4.  Sofitng.  (It was this search term that made me realize that I have misspelled that term in my post about home repair.  In no other way could my blog have ranked so high with this term.  Dang spell check.  You let me down.)

Well, those are the search terms that people used this past week.  Previous weeks have been actually funny, but I can't access those right now because I seem to have forgotten the right user name and password.  I'm sure I actually have them carefully filed in my online email account, but if I were to open that right now we would never get this blog posted.  I'm even having problems previewing this silly post to make sure I have engaged in no additional creative spelling or fat-fingered typing.  At this point, I am feeling quite lucky that Blogger is letting me write anything at all.  Already I've lost half this post and had to retype it (although I admit that had more to do with the creative programming of Google-based software than my computer).  Some of you are groaning in sympathy.  I can hear you.  I hope you all appreciate the lengths I go to keep you entertained.

Ah, nuts.  It's sunny, and Toddler wants to go to the pool.  Hopefully the gremlins will have vacated the hard drive by the time I return.


Mother of the Year

>> Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We have been out of town for a few days, so writing a blog post has proven challenging. 

To begin with, Toddler, DH and I have all been sharing one bed.  True, it was king-sized, but not even king-sized is big enough for three people when one of them has a tendency to sleep sideways.  I think he's getting a little tall for us to willingly arrange this sleeping situatin again.  I need to really take a look at our fall vacation plans and make sure Toddler gets his own bed. 

We arrived on Friday late afternoon after a fairly uneventful drive through three states, just in time to go out to dinner.  (Fried pickles -- yum!) By the time we got back to the hotel, Toddler had just about had it.  He was too tired to even remember to tell us that he had to go potty.  In fact, he was so tired that Darling Husband just laid him on the bed -- the only bed; the one we all shared -- to change him into PJs.

What followed looked something like this, something I have not seen since Toddler was a newborn:

What I heard, from the hallway, was DH saying, "Toddler, why didn't you tell me you had to go potty?"  Next, with much chagrin and red-face, I called the front desk and asked for a whole new set of sheets.

Of course, with this family, one dramatic peeing display could not possibly be the end of our potty adventures.  Shortly after that someone (I cannot recall who) decided Toddler needed to try the potty one more time.  Given that we, Toddler included, are now all seasoned veterans at all forms of potential potty mishaps, we did not bother to bring our own potty seat.  Toddler is a big boy and can handle a big potty, provided we overlook a little bit of crack peeing and arcing.  However, a super-tired boy sitting on a super-big potty -- the really long ones you find in standard hotels and many restaurants -- can easily fall in butt-first if he lifts up one hand for any reason.

Yes, my tired child fidgeted on the potty and fell in.


Butt first, with feet pointing upwards.

Screaming bloody murder while we fished him out.

But even this brilliant display of parenthood did not win me the Mother of the Year Award.  No, I got that one for leaving the hotel room and laughing hysterically in the hallway as soon as we fished him out of the toilet.


Wordless Wednesday -- Puzzles

>> Wednesday, August 4, 2010

For today's Wordless Wednesday post, I wanted to show you guys the puzzle I described in my last post.  See?  After all that poor puzzle has been through, only five pieces are missing.  (The last two are on the edge that seems to be cut off on the right.  Try as I might, Blogger won't shift the picture far enough.)


My goal has been completed.  I can throw it away now.  (But I still don't undertand why they call it "Kittens and Puppies."  That still eludes me.)


Why Do I Do the Things I Do?

>> Monday, August 2, 2010

Some days I do things that I realize make no sense, and I can't seem to explain why I even bother.   Today is one of those days. 

For the past day (ish), I have een working on putting together a 500 piece picture puzzle called "Kittens and Puppies."  Let me digress for a moment to mention a few things.  First, there are no puppies anywhere in the picture.  Second, I have always wondered about the phrase "picture puzzle."  If I'm putting it together (as opposed to solving it, or working it out), isn't it a given that the puzzle is a "picture" as opposed to ... say ... a word puzzle?  Just wondering.

Okay, moving on.  I'm putting together this puzzle, but I have a problem, and I know I have a problem.  I will never finish the puzzle, and I many never even come close, and yet, I persist in trying. 

You see, we were supposed to part with this puzzle last May at our annual garage sale.  In fact, the puzzle was sitting on the table, up for sale for several hours waiting for a buyer.  At that time, we knew all the pieces were there, because I painstakingly counted them all before including the box in the sale pile.   Unfortunately, the rain that day kept coming and going, and as the morning drew to a close, several very strong gusts of wind began wreaking havoc.  We amused ourselves repeatedly by chasing down odds and ends that blew into the grass or began floating off down the street. We even lost a matching set of painted hurricane glasses.  (Hey, at least we lost the set and not one each from two sets.)  One of the biggest gusts blew lots of books off one of the tables, and somehow managed to pick up this entire puzzle box and send it 10 feet into the yard.

True, I painstakingly counted all the pieces before the sale, but I never bothered to tape the box shut.


Now 500 or so pieces were scattered in a radius of several feet.  We were doomed.  Nonetheless, Sister, Darling Husband, Niece and I diligently hunted for the pieces, counting as we went, and returning them to the box.  I have a vague recollection that we thought we found about 485 of the 500 pieces, but we weren't sure.  Of course, the smart thing to do at that moment would have been to take the box to the nearest trash can and be done with it.  For some weird, garage-sale-hazed moment, none of us thought that was the right answer. 

Sister wanted to get out the lawn mower and see if we could suck up more pieces.  I, instead, had this allegedy brilliant idea of taking the puzzle home and re-assembling it to find out how many pieces we had lost in the grass "just for fun."

That was May.  The silly puzzle sat in my bedroom since May.  Sometime last week, I picked it up, planning on moving it to a different "to do" pile, when I managed to dump it again, this time behind a stack of boxes.  No matter how I searched, I knew there was no way I was going to know if I got all the pieces this time, especially considering that I had no idea how many pieces I even had to work with.

Still, I didn't throw it away.

Now, I am sitting in my family room, typing this blog, staring at this partially assembled puzzle on the table next to me.  I am persisting in trying to put the blasted thing together against all odds, against all reason, and certainly with a few doubts about my sanity.

Obviously, I don't have all the pieces.  I'm not even close.  Yet, the weirdest part is that I can't figure out if I have too many edge pieces, or not enough.  The top of my puzzle is longer than the bottom,  I am missing no more than 2 edge pieces the way I have the thing currently assembled, and yet I have three leftover pieces that seem to fit nowhere.  Even better, all the assembled pieces seem to fit together seamlessly.

I am assembling a puzzle that doesn't have all the pieces, and I can't seem to stop myself.  I am sure there is a metaphor in there somewhere.


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