Monday, January 29, 2007

Tax Time

Today I sat down and started getting things together to send off to the accountant for taxes. It's something I just dread. I'm not a detail person, and hate the tediousness of paper work, so I do a great job of procrastinating. I doesn't take too long to do, just a matter of sitting down to do it.

It isn't New Year's Eve that brings the review of the past year for me, it's tax time. I have to write down each and every check on a ledger and so in one afternoon I have re-lived one year.

I was reminded that I spent way too much time at the dentist last year, and other than that, stayed pretty healthy. I gave a moment of thanks for that. I also discovered that I should probably make out better shopping lists as it appears from my check writing, I would go to the store twice within two days to purchase things.

I must have killed quite a few plants last year too, as I noticed that I made several trips to the greenhouse. Maybe it was to get more mulch. I should make a note to get twice as much mulch as I think I need, because it apparently is never enough the first time around.

About half way through right all of this stuff down, I realized how boring my life has been. I could just ditto every month instead of write it down. Other than a few different things, it was all the same month after month.

I wonder if my accountant says the same thing when she sees it.

Supper Time

I was fixing supper this evening and looked out the kitchen window to see a friend having supper too.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Girl Scout Cookie Time!

I had to stop and pick up a few things today at the market, and as I entered the vestibule of one of the stores, I saw a table set up by the girl scouts selling their cookies. It was a card table, packed with all of the varieties of cookies, with a couple of girl scouts in uniform complete with their merit badge sashes. Taped to the front of the table was a neatly worded cardboard sign with their troop number and name. I walked past them as I decided that since each box of cookies only contain two servings (only one if they are the thin mints), I didn't need them this year.

As I left the store, I noticed that a different troop was setting up their table. The big guns had arrived! Instead of a tidy card table, they had a long banquet table. The lady was fluffing a huge green girl scout banner to use as a table cloth. Hanging on their cart loaded with cases of cookies were hangers of huge material cookies, that someone had made, each looking like a flavor of cookie they were offering, with a banner going across each with the name of the cookie variety.

I couldn't help but notice the lady from the other troop packing up her things to leave, her head down, boxing up the unsold cookies from her table, not wanting to look over to the other troop ladies with their big production.

I am curious to know which troop sold more cookies. Girl scout cookies are girl scout cookies. Everyone in this part of the world knows what they are, and that they are good, and that the troops count on the sales to fund their activities for the year. Did it really matter the one troop had a bunch of industrious fantastic gimmicks to hang on and around their table? Are the little scouts going to have issues of one up manship and discourage them from trying another year? Will the small table troop come back next week with a bigger table and even bigger signs?

I guess next week I'll have to go see.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

New and Improved

I received my bank statement today in the mail, and upon opening it, discovered my new and improved statement. There was a two page letter telling me how fabulous this new system is, and how wonderful the new format of my easy to read bank statement was going to make my life. What was once an easy to read one page statement is now on three pages, front and back with categories and sub categories.

This was one of the last places to new and improve their statements. In the last few months, every statement from every company I receive mail from has changed their statement, or billing style. At one time I could easily glance at any paper and see what the bottom line said. I now have to filter through page after page of figures written, and then, rewritten three different ways in four different sections.

I now know why we pay all of those service charges and handling fees for all of these places. It's to pay some dolt to sit there and think up how complicated they can make one piece of paper be.

I guess that since I got an extra few pages telling me how wonderful it is, I am supposed to believe it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


My brother gave me a call late this afternoon, saying he was going up to my other brother's house for dinner, did I want to come. I said sure, pick me up. We got about five miles down the road, and his truck just quits running. It was dead in mid stream. Okay, dead on the road. We coasted to the side of the road, and both of us pulled out our cell phones; Whom I was going to call, I don't know, but it was some sort of instinct to pull out the phone. Good thing I did, because Mister "my phone service is better than yours" phone didn't have a signal.

We tried calling his mechanic, which turns out to be my mechanic, one of the last numbers I dialed on the phone, as I am taking my car in tomorrow for service. He had already taken the phone off the hook, he does that around quitting time, so no last minute calls can tie him up. "T" gets out the AAA card he had in his wallet, and called them. It would be about an hour for them to come, so there we sat.

It was starting to get dark, so he decided it might be a good idea to turn on the hazard lights, but he wasn't sure where they were, as he had never had to use them before. I pointed them out to him, and on they went. After a while of talking about the weather, and a few other things, I stepped outside for some air. I get back in the truck, and here is the conversation:

T: Ninety-five.
Me: Ninety-five what.
T: Ninety-five clicks of the hazard lights per minute.
Me: You counted the clicks of the lights?
T: Ninety-five.
Me: Well okay.


Me: Gee it's getting cold.
T: Yep

After about a half hour:

T: Ninety-five times 35, what's that.
Me: You want to know how many times the blinkers have blinked in the last 35 minutes?
T: What's ninety-five times 35.

So we spent a few minutes doing the math in our head. When was that tow truck coming anyway?

The truck finally arrived, and I sure wish I had a camera to take a picture of the tow truck driver's butt crack. Honestly, he had to have been freezing, or feel a huge draft or something. I don't believe I have ever seen that much of one on any person, except for maybe the guy that was fixing the boat prop a few years ago...wait, that's another story. Anyway, I did try to get one with my camera on the cell phone, but it was getting too dark for it to come out, and I had a moment...just a moment of a conscious and put the phone back in my pocket.

We got the truck back to his house, and we ate some jumbalya and ice cream and when "B" got home, I was delivered back to my house.

What an interesting evening, wasn't it?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Circus

This morning I saw a commercial for the Shrine Circus that is coming to town soon. I had a flashback to one of the most embarrassing times I think I ever had. Okay, I have had many, but this one involved the most people.

I worked at a supermarket that was very involved in the community, and when the circus came to town, they would have a big production at the store on a Saturday before the circus came. They had clowns, balloons, discount tickets, a very festive day for everyone.

I was in charge of the front end, all of the cashiers, baggers, and customer service. I was in a booth, and would answer the phones, cash checks, and oversee all of the goings on in the front of the store.

It was super busy this particular Saturday, and the checkout lanes were packed with people. The clowns were making things out of balloons and giving them to the children. One clown had come over to my booth to the side door and had one of those balloon animals. I was talking to him about how he made them and he was in the process of showing me how to do one, when the telephone rang. I answered the phone, and paged a department over the public address system, but was so enthralled with how to make this balloon thing, that I had walked back to the clown, with the phone in my hand, not remembering that the public address button was still pushed. As he twisted the balloon, and was explaining, I finally understood how he got the balloon to look the way it did I said: "Oh, you mean like this?" Since the public address was on, and the phone was down by my side, what everyone heard was an ever so soft, kind of sexy sounding "oh, you mean like this?" The ENTIRE store heard it!

The front end of the store came to a screeching halt. Baggers stopped bagging, checkers stopped checking, customers stopped writing checks, and clowns stopped clowning, and all eyes looked up to ME. You could hear a pin drop. And then roars of laughter.

The phone rings, and it's the manager from his office in the back of the store, trying to control his laughter enough to ask me what in the heck was going on. I tried as hard as I could to explain, but he was laughing so hard, I don't think it really mattered.

I think it took me the better part of the rest of the day for color to come back to my face, and to be sure, from that point on, always checked the phone to make sure the public address button wasn't still on.

Monday, January 15, 2007


If the sun doesn't come out soon, I don't know what I'm going to do. I am one of those folks that needs the sunlight. At this point, I'll even settle for below zero weather as long as the sun is out. I have found that as I get older, I need it even more. I now understand why people become snowbirds, flocking to the South in the Winter.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Omen

Today started out pretty much like any other day, except for when I got up this morning there was a puddle of water on the floor. I thought the dog had an accident, and then thought that she just tipped the water dish over, except the water was kind of warm. It took some time to figure out that sometime during the night, the coffee maker had turned it's self on, and since I hadn't actually made coffee, the basket wasn't where it should have been, and since I had poured out the last of a gallon of water in the coffee maker yesterday, it had almost a full reservoir, when it came on, it produced quite a flood.

I was in a good mood this morning, so I was undaunted and took it all in stride, and cleaned everything up and went about the daily business. The sun was out, and I was in an energetic mood, and was feeling efficient.

I decided to go in to the office early, set up for my appointment, then go to the bank, and while I was there, pull into the next drive, and mail some bills. I pulled out of the drive up, tossing the bank envelope I had just received with some cash, and my driver's license over on to the seat where I had the envelopes I wanted to mail. I pulled into the next drive, grabbed the pile of envelopes, sprang out of the car, opened the mail box, put the envelopes in, closed the door, and immediately had a feeling of dread.

Right away I look over on the seat, and nothing was there. No envelopes to mail and no bank envelope either. You guessed it. MS Efficient just put her money and driver's license in the mail box. I said a few choice words, then wrote down all of the information that was on the mail box hoping I could find someone to talk to about getting that envelope out of there.

I called the toll free number they had listed, and, by the way, now is a great time to complain about companies and organizations that list there number as words. I spent forever looking at the phone trying to dial the darn number. Let's see. A where is A...S where is S....okay now I have to find K. For crying out loud people! Just put a number down!

Sorry, back to the story. I get the number dialed, and reached some national number for the Post Office, and then got a voice menu. If I needed zip code assistance press * ...if I needed rate information press **. Of course, no where on the menu did the lady say "If you accidentally put something in the mailbox that you didn't want to mail and you want it back press ***."

I finally got a real person to talk to, and he basically said that I needed to camp out at the mail box and wait until they came to empty it, and get it back that way. That is what I decided to do, except my client I was seeing was going to run very close to the pick up time for that particular mail box.

Here was my next mistake. I told my client what I had done. She spent the whole hour looking at the clock and worrying that I wouldn't make it there on time. It wouldn't be so bad, but I do massage for a living and she was more focused on that mail box than anything else. I finally had to turn the clock around so she couldn't see it, bless her heart. After the session was over, she sprang off the table, threw her clothes on and yelled "I'm going to go to that mail box and sit there in case they come before you can get to it," and bounded out the door, leaving half her things in the office.

By the time I got to the mail box, there she was, sitting in her car, waiting. Again, bless her heart. She wouldn't leave, wanting to see this episode through, so we chatted in her car until the mail carrier came to open the box. Come to find out, this thing happens all of the time, and he just took it all in stride, as we filtered through the mail until I found the envelope. We all waved, the mail carrier driving off in his truck, my client driving off in her car, and me driving off in mine.

I'm thinking my client was actually kind of excited that something different was happening in an otherwise ordinary day, and I am thinking that when I find that the coffee maker pulls one of those possessed moments, I should be wary of the rest of the day.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Old Faithful

Just when you think life is starting to cruise right along, and all of the crisis' are behind you, things take a turn.

I had to go down the basement to do a few things, and noticed where the pressure tank to the pump was, there was a huge puddle of water, and a steady stream of water trickling down from where the pressure switch was. I called a friend of mine, who's husband is a plumber to ask if he would give me a call this evening to tell me if I needed a plumber, or a well person out to take a look. I had no water pressure, according to the gauge, and very little water coming from the faucet upstairs.

She said she would call her husband, and it wasn't 5 minutes later, he called and asked if I was going to be home, and that he was coming over. Not fifteen minutes later, here he is, knocking on my door. How about that for quick service! He was in a town not far from here.

We go down to where the problem was, he peers down, says it's probably just the pressure switch, but he didn't have one on his truck, and said I could find one at a hardware store. So as he is telling me what to get, I asked how to take the old one off, and he said to just unscrew the pressure gauge, and at that moment he touched it, and that gauge shot up into the air and we had Old Faithful geyser going right off in the basement! Water spraying uncontrolled, all over the ceiling, and everything else, including the circuit breaker. Where, of course the shut off was to the well. Not a little water, mind you, we are talking something like turning on your water valve full blast amounts of water. He, at that point shouts that this usually happens when the owner isn't home.

He grabbed a bucket, which happened to be near by and stuck it over the shooting fountain, and I grabbed another bucket to catch what was no pouring on to the floor, and stopped it enough for him to reach over and throw the main power switch off at the breaker. WHEW! Talk about a little excitement today on the farm!

It turns out, he did have a used pressure switch on his truck and after a few minutes, the new one was on, and we were back in business. That indeed was the problem. The old one had corroded enough that it was just sitting there and it would have been a matter of a few days, and it would have shot off all on it's own.

The cost?

Pressure switch: Nothing
Cost to put it on: Nothing
Cost of coming out: Dinner for he and his wife at a later date and one cigar box.
Having good friends you can count on: Priceless
One afternoon of excitement: Priceless

Sunday, January 07, 2007


I looked outside tonight and I saw snow coming down. It has been a rare sight this winter. I kind of miss it, and am glad to see it for a change.

The Birthday Party

Today was my brother's 60th Birthday, and all of us got together to help him celebrate the day. We had lots of good food, of course, and just spent the day playing games and talking and catching up on things. He and his family were not here for Christmas, so this seemed more like a Christmas gathering than a birthday party.

My Aunt and cousins were over too. Every Sunday after church, they take turns going over to each other's homes, and spend the day playing scrabble, or other games, so they took right up with the game playing right after they ate. I joined them for a round of Rumicubes, and I am hear to tell you that you had better know what you are doing before you set down with these women! They are good!

I wanted to get my brother a little something, but he is such a hard person to find the right thing for, and we were all told just to come over, and not bring anything. I remembered that I had been keeping an old letter sweater of his from high school. I had always liked it, and wore it on occasion, but for many years now, it has been folded up in a drawer. I pulled it out, folded it up and put it in a gift bag. Maybe he would like to have it now after all of these years.

I wasn't sure if he wanted anything like that from the past. He isn't one to keep a lot of memorabilia type things around, but since the high school has been closed since the 60's, and this was kind of a landmark birthday, he might be ready for a bit of nostalgia. He was just thrilled! I had forgotten that his children had never seen it, and they got a charge out of this geeky purple sweater with a big "C" on it that said "band." They got a visual of what he may have been like way back when.

I couldn't help but think all of the time that has passed since then has been in the blink of an eye. So much has happened in his life since then. I imagine he feels the same as he did back then in many ways. I know I don't feel much different from when I was in high school. Maybe a little wiser, and of course, things don't work as well with the body, but for the most part things don't change.

I see older people so much differently than I used to. I see them now as youthful people with older bodies. I realize now that it is our thoughts that really make us old, not the real age of a person.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Gas Station

This evening was one of those times where it seemed I would never arrive home. After work I had some errands to run, and it just kept getting later and later, and I was no closer to home than when I first set out on my drive. By the time I got on the interstate, it was well in to darkness and I was greeted by the biggest, brightest full moon I have seen in a long time. It was right in front of me, mezmerizing me to the point a few times I found myself slamming on the brakes from not paying attention to the road. Maybe it's just because we have had one of the dreariest, gloomiest winters in a long time, and tonight there wasn't a cloud in the sky and you could actually see the moon for a change.

Once I got on the highway, I didn't want to have to get out and in the car another time, so I thought I could make it home, and part way back in to town with the amount of gas I had left in the tank. The closer I got to home, the faster the gauge went down to that big excitement mark. That's what I call the red hash marks when you are getting close to having to get out and walk with the gas can. So I stopped for a little bit of gas at the small town gas station near where I live. They are usually higher in price, but tonight they were right with all of the other stations in the city. It has one pump, and it's the old fastioned kind where the nozzle is on the side, and you have to pull a lever to start the pump.

Besides the pump, there were a couple of other things a person doesn't see every day at the gas station. The first, was a sign taped to the pump that said: "Before turning pump on, wave to the attendant inside for the go ahead," and secondly, another sign taped to the front of the pump that said: "Only local checks accepted for gas." They still take a check for gas!

Sometimes, I just love small town, USA.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Funeral

I had an opportunity this morning to listen to some of the funeral service for Gerald Ford on my drive home from work. It was a beautiful service with moving hymns. I got all teary eyed and bawled most of the way home. I tend to get all caught up in those things, and it could have been anyone, not a president even, that would get me all emotional. I can feel and see the grief in the families hearts.

Another thing that I experience, and am sure some of you do too, is that when attending or watching a funeral, I am at some funeral in the past. It seems I am burying a loved one all over again.

Maybe one of the purposes of this ritual, and other important rituals, like weddings, are to remind us of our own loved ones, and our own experiences with them, and none of us are that different from one another. We all experience the grief, and joy of these major events no matter who we are. I think it's one of the things that bring us all together.

I think that today, we all were burying a loved one of our own, at some point, I know I did.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Some Before and After Pictures

Back To the Ordinary

I spent the day taking down the Christmas tree and all of the other decorations around the house. I always hate taking all of that down, as the house looks so cold and barren with all of it gone. It amazes me every time how much a little greenery and just a few other things here and there can warm up a house and make it feel so different. I can understand those that say they never take their tree down.

Maybe I'll have to think up new ways to have a tree and lights. Hmmm... a Valentine's tree? No, that day is a bit depressing to me, but maybe a St. Patricks day tree? Easter tree?