Friday, March 30, 2012

Verizon's "Helping" Us- Think AGAIN!

Ok, I'm naming names and I'm not afraid.  VERIZON's in big trouble with me and I sure hope after you've read this, you'll spread it around and help me make it HUGE so they will stop their nonsense.

I'll warn you.  There's a lot of whining and a lot of numbers here, but I am certain they are tricking millions of customers and we need to call attention to it.

I'm neurotic about my bills, so I usually pay them the week that I get them, which is usually long before the due date listed on my bill.  When I got my December bill in January, I noticed that my Verizon bill was not due when it normally was, but it was extended until the first week of February.  That seemed like a really long time, so I set it aside and paid it later than I normally paid my Verizon bills up until then, but still in plenty of time for the February due date.

A couple of days after I sent in my payment for December, I received another bill, this time for January, that said it was due at the beginning of March.  This bill was DOUBLE the amount it normally is because they hadn't received my payment and both month's bills were on the invoice.

Panicked that I owed $300+ to Verizon, when I knew I had paid for the past month, I called and they said that they had just received the check and that I was only supposed to pay for the January bill.  I told them that didn't seem right, and I assumed this was a one time deal.

Fast forward to today.  I received a bill from Verizon for $326.04.  I nearly died.  I had JUST mailed in my last payment this week, for a bill that wasn't even due yet!  I called Verizon, furious, and spoke to 3 people and ended up telling the last guy I was going even higher than him.

Here is the situation:

The bill I received in February:

$162.36 DUE DATE April 9th.

The bill I received today:

$326.04 DUE DATE May 7th.

My billing cycle goes from the 25th of one month until the 24th of the next.  They bill on the 24th.  But it's not due until the first week of the month TWO MONTHS later than the month in which the 24th happened.

So, this bill in front of me is for the billing cycle of Feb. 25th through March 24th but it's not due until MAY 7th!!  Doesn't this all seem very odd?
So, before my actual due date for the previous bill had even arrived, I was being billed for the next month and both amounts were shown on the same bill.

Keep in mind, I didn't even have to pay the first bill yet because today  March 30.  The DUE DATE is April 9th!  That's almost 2 weeks away!

When I called Verizon, they told me they did receive my payment for the DUE DATE of April 9th, so I will only have to pay the $163.68 that is due May 7th.

But, excuse me, I have a bill in front of me that says I owe $326.04.  And the DUE DATE hasn't even arrived for the first bill.

Well, they told me, I can just subtract when I sent them and pay the new amount by May 7th.

I knew this did not make any sense, so I explained it to one financial manager and then one billing manager.  The billing manager kept telling me that I should not look at the DUE DATE.  I should just know that every 30 days, I need to pay Verizon or I will receive what look like double bills.  Excuse me again, but something here isn't right.

I receive a bill that has a DUE DATE and I pay that bill 2 weeks before the DUE DATE, but I get a bill for the NEXT billing cycle that says I haven't paid the bill for which the DUE DATE has not arrived?

He told me that is correct.  They are "helping us out" by giving us longer to pay.

I asked how this could help me out when I open a bill and nearly have a heart attack over this outrageous bill that I think I have to pay!  He repeated that if I just pay every 30 days, this will not be a problem.  Once again, I explained that the DUE DATE had not yet arrived but I was being billed like I had missed a DUE DATE!

And once again, he told me how Verizon is helping us out because times are tough.

I explained that since times are tough, I need to keep that money for another 3-4 weeks and earn my OWN interest since the DUE DATE has been extended.  He assured me that Verizon is a billion dollar company and is not trying to make any extra money off of people.

Oh really?  Well, let's say I paid that $326.04 because I actually thought I had missed a payment.  Now, I've paid twice as much as I normally would in a month, and Verizon gets that money.  They see that I actually did pay on time as I thought I had, so now I have a credit in my account for next month, so next month, my bill is free.  Hmmm, who earned the interest on that money for that month?  Certainly not me.

Round and round we went, him telling me that Verizon is helping us out and that I need to listen to what I am complaining about.  Again, he told me not to pay near the due date, but to pay every 30 days.


Is it really my job to worry about every 30 days when I have a paper in front of me that tells me when my payment is due?

I asked him to move my due date back, a little earlier, so this would not happen.  By my choice, can't I make that happen?  No.

This again leads me to think that if they will not make it so my due date is earlier, per my request, Verizon is up to no good.  They are scaring people into thinking they owe money that isn't due yet and then they sit on it.  I think that's kind of like shaking down people for lunch money because they know they make people afraid of them.

I told him I was going to call someone else.  And he said "Before you call the Better Business Bureau, think about what you are complaining about.  Verizon is giving you a break by giving you an extended deadline by which to pay your bill." Interesting. I hadn't planned to call the BBB< i was going to call the Telecommunications number on my bill, but thank you for that suggestion! Angie's list is a good idea too.

And once again, I had to remind him that I should not :
a) have to remember when 30 days are up, if they are going to send me a bill
b) have to pay almost a month earlier than what the DUE DATE says, if that is the date they have created for me
C) give Verizon money to sit on almost a whole month before it's actually due, so they can earn interest when I could be doing that very same thing
And didn't we end up in this financial crisis we have right now because so many banks were "helping" people out by letting them borrow for houses they could never really afford?  Didn't that all end very badly for them?  It sure seems like Verizon is headed that same way.

So, I called the Department of Telecommunications and Cable and complained and they told me that this is a common complaint with Verizon and they hope they straighten it out soon.

Now, if you have Verizon, please go check how your billing is done.  If you pay online, maybe you haven't noticed because it's deducted right away.  Are they sitting on your money for 40 days when you could have been sitting on it yourself?

My big concern is for the elderly population that doesn't realize what is being done, so they keep overpaying because they think they owe money.

Please help me spread this by sharing it with people you know or linking it to your own blog.  I hope this goes viral and Verizon realizes they are doing bad things.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Little Mouth To Mouth- VERY Little

I remember learning about CPR way back in 9th grade health and though we didn't get certified, we did have to know all of the ratios of breaths to compressions and everything necessary to give CPR.  I remember taking tests on it and everything.

Teaching fitness classes, I'm required to get CPR certified and we all know what a pleasure recertification is.  And everyone who teaches it is an "expert" and knows "everything there is to know" and always does it "the right way".  There are also different lengths of time that the certification is valid, depending on who does the recertification.

Initially, it was something crazy, like an 8 hour day of learning everything there is to know and then taking written tests.  Then they said to make sure you always renew BEFORE it expires or you'll have to start all over.  That's all I needed to hear and I always beat feet to make sure I wasn't even one day overdue.

At least the recerts are advertised as 4 hours only.

A few times, I went right to Red Cross to recertify.  They are just no fun at all.  And they have all of the "experts" who really are just blowing smoke.

Like the guy who told us a sordid tale of the woman in the market in Chicago who needed CPR and got it and then immediately died.  All because she had on a bra with an underwire and the person gave her compressions poked it through her lungs but no one knew.  YEAH RIGHT.  This was way before snopes.com but I think I eventually looked it up and it was the most bogus of urban legends.  Moral of the story:  rip off all  manner of bras before giving CPR but you probably couldn't poke an underwire through skin, ribs and lungs anyway.

Or another time I went to Red Cross and the woman's name was something very hippy, like Caramel or Karma or Camera orKudzu--something that began with that sound and wasn't a real name.  Long stringy hair.  60+ if she was a day.  Another "expert".

And this was the worst class EVER.  She made us partner up with people in the room (I had brought no one) and do everything except actually blow into their mouths and do real compressions.

Like being picked last in gym, I was paired up with an old man who might have been as young as 90. He was about my size.  But probably weighed less.  And probably still used Brylcream because there was something nasty in his combed back locks.

There we were, down on the mat, one of us laying on our side, the other using the "special" technique to roll the other one over without damaging anything.  I rolled that man silly.  Poor thing, he COULD NOT roll me over!  Even when I "helped" him a little, he couldn't budge me.  I weighed like 110 lbs.  An ant could have rolled me over, especially with my "help".

Then came the best part.  We had to actually GET DOWN NEAR THE MOUTH WITH OUR EAR and listen for breathing!  I feel ill just telling you my terrible tale.  We had to put one hand on the forehead, lift the chin and pretend to give breaths and then put our ear really close and listen!

Then we all got an actual "face' for the dummies and we had to put our mouths on it and really blow into them.  Really horrid.

So much fun, I'm surprised I didn't go back to Red Cross EVERY time!

Most of the other recerts I have done have been with EMTs that work for one company or another and it's wham, bam, thank you ma'am and we're out of there.  And funnily enough, I usually end up doing these kind at the gym or at school where I actually know people.  So if I had to touch them, it totally would be fine with me!

Imagine the first time I renewed after that Brylcream experience- there I was, on the mat, trying to roll anyone over that was laying there, putting my real ear near their real mouths.

Ok, maybe not but I was pretty traumatized.

But the reason I'm telling you about this is because they've changed the rules.  CPR is NOTHING like it used to be.

It's not your father's CPR.

Today's CPR was designed for the high speed individual like myself.  It's all about time being of the essence.

No more finger sweep in a stranger's foreign cavities.  No one cares if there's an object in there.  They say the compressions would dislodge it anyway.

No more counting ridiculous ratios:  simply compress 30 times, breathe 2 and continue for 2 minutes.  Then reassess! Simple, simple math.

If you don't have any kind of mouth protector, DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT administer breaths at all.  Just pump away.  No breaths necessary and lives can still be saved.  Can you imagine???

No more listening for breaths.  Just look and see if the chest moves at all and then resume CPR if the professionals haven't arrived.

A lot of this is thanks to the AED which makes it so user friendly that a monkey could do it and I do not lie.  Just make sure you stand clear when it administers the shock.  I really talks you through every step of the way and I hear that in airports, they AEDs can be done in several languages.

The AED has brought the survival rate up to 70% when CPR is administered with one nowadays which is amazing.  And I love that I don't have to worry about 5:1, 15:2 or was it 3?  Or any other ridiculous thing.

Not having to do the finger sweep?  Priceless.

No more listening for breaths?  Awesome.

And I highly recommend taking your own friend with you for recerts just in case you have some nutjob who is going to teach you "the right way" and have you making out with your partner.

I cannot go back to Red Cross ever again.

And I still wear underwires in my bras.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Thank God There's The Internet

As I was posting about my carrot dilemma, I started to think either I was some kind of genius or completely insane.  They are so closely related, it's often hard to know the difference.

The whole reason I even noticed the neck of the carrot slightly sticking up in the pot was because I had just bought these the day before.  Something about the "parsley" top caught my eye and I brushed some dirt away and then was like "oh hell, it's not doing well anyway, I might as well pull it up!"


I bought them because while I have never eaten a parsnip, I have great plans to make parsnip chips.  This is all because of this little product here.  Not that I would ever put something like that in my microwave (all the poisons!) but I am going to master the art of making greaseless chips that taste excellent and are made from unusual vegetables this summer.  If it kills me.  Which, putting that thing in the microwave to make parsnip chips would do, according to my very scientific brain that has determined that all plastics will kill you when exposed to heat and therefore are not allowed in the dishwasher or the microwave.

Anyparsleyparsnip, after I pulled up my carrot booty, I realized that this packet of seeds might be telling me that the reason I had no idea that I was growing a carrot instead of parsley must mean they are in the same family.

Either that, or the packet was telling me that I was going to be growing hamburger.  And it would be ridiculous for me to grow hamburger.  I don't eat beef.  DUH.

So, I did some searching on the marvelous invention that has become the ultimate argument solver, the amazing clarifier of all confusions, the excellent justice server- the great and  all powerful INTERNET. 

Indeed, carrots, parsley, celery and more are in the same family called umbellioferae, so named for the flowers they produce.  Never seen flowers on any of these vegetables but eventually they do come, or we couldn't have seeds, right?

Here's a great link with a lot of things that are in this family and I believe it because I found the same information on other sites.

And while I was at it, I also verified my theory that Queen Anne's Lace (which grows widly abundant here- except the one week I needed them for my sister's wedding) is really just wild carrots.  TA-DA.  It is!  But wild and domesticated carrots are not the same thing and can't be substituted for each other.  But at least I wasn't crazy when I made that assumption eons ago!

So glad I'm not a complete moron and that the internet can prove me so.  Maybe I can put future farmer of America on my list of fall back careers after all.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's Because I Don't Want Anyone to STEAL You!

Finding the Funny 

Before I went to France last month, I found myself forgetting a lot of things and I blamed it on worrying about the trip and too much to do.

You know how to go into a room and then have no idea why you're there and you have to retrace your steps and all that?  It was like that, but much worse.

I started to worry that there was possibly something wrong with my brain because it was happening a lot.

I even forgot I had a class one day and just left them swinging in the breeze for like 15 minutes until someone told me a whole class of kids was waiting for me and I thought the person was kidding.

Not once in France did I forget what I was doing, why I was doing it or what I was about to do.  Didn't lose a single kid.  Didn't get halfway through a room and wonder why I was there.  Didn't forget how to speak French.  Didn't forget to get off the metro at the appropriate time.

And just as I predicted, all has been well since I returned, with very little forgetfulness.  So, I reasoned, it was all just preoccupation with the trip and worry about losing kids, illness, acts of God etc.

But there is the one little thing I started doing before France that I just can't seem to shake it.

I keep locking k-ster IN the house in the morning if I leave before him!  We still have one of those "dangerous" deadbolts that you have to use a key to unlock both from the inside and the outside.  When we leave the house, we lock that one, but when we are inside the house, we have other means of locking the door.   It's very complicated.  The door is like 7 times as old as we are, give it a break.

In my rush to get out the door in the morning and not forget my key, I grab the key and all of my stuff, get in the General and head off to work.  Occasionally, I get a call from k-ster that I did it again.  And I have no knowledge that I have just locked the door.  None.  Can't even picture it.

The other morning, not only did I lock him inside, I did it while he was walking by the door!  There I was, getting into the General and he started banging on the kitchen window like  a maniac yelling "you locked me in, unlock the door" while I stood there with my key in my hand going "what is wrong with you?  why don't you just open the door?" not believing a word of it.

Linking up here.

**PS.  After writing this, I read this post and told k-ster at least he can get himself out.    His response?  Just because someone else is a bigger idiot than you doesn't mean it's OK!  Yeah, the boys don't like being held captive now, do they?

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Done Growed Me A Kerrit!

Finding the Funny 
I can't believe I am so dumb.  Forget about my future career as a farmer.  You can cross that right off the list.

I have been coddling this parsley plant all winter, trying to make sure it was happy, not really succeeding.  It was in kind of a small pot, but it looked like it was dying anyway, so I just kind of played with it , keeping it barely alive.

And today, I realized, this is what I was really growing.
Since it was in such a small pot, it didn't have the freedom to grown down, so it grew nice and wide, but it's pretty stumpy.  I've never grown a carrot before!

That's not really me.  Photo from here.

Why Kerrit?  Because those are my favorite riding pants.  And they come with a packet of carrot seeds.  Seriously!  They're so clever.  Cuz you know, horses love carrots so much.   I planted them all but they didn't seem to do anything.  Except for this little guy.

I got a new pair for Christmas and they came with the carrot packet, so I just planted them the other day.  We'll see how they do!  And I'll be more aware of what I'm planting so I know what a parsley plant and a carrot plant both look like!

FOLLOW UP #1:  I planted those Kerrit carrots and lo and behold- they're sprouting!!!  Seriously!  Pictures to follow this weekend.

FOLLOW UP #2:  I solved the mystery.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Time For Another Upcycling?

Do you have one of those shirts that you think is just great but every time you wear it, you just don't love it? And sometimes, your day is bad when you wear it and you're convinced it's all because of the shirt?  This is the shirt that inspired this post.


And I think it's about to go away. I loved it when I got it but it really doesn't flatter me or make me happy when I wear it. It reminds of a shirt that I love that I get a lot of compliments on, but it's louder than that shirt and I think that's the problem. This is too bright and loud. The flowers are maybe too big?

So, it's either on its way to Goodwill, or maybe its fate will end up like this one.  While I do like the way the blue one came out, I'm not sure I really like the way it looks on me.  So, I wonder if I should try that with this one, or just get rid of it.

Either way, I'm done wearing it like this anymore.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wait--- WHAT Did You Just Say?

Joining up with Finding the Funny today!

I'm never surprised at what my students say to me.   Whether it's a statement of brilliance, a string of expletives last heard spoken by George Carlin or the most utterly absurd statement ever, I just carry on and sometimes remember for future laughs.

Cuz, ya know, I teach FRENCH, I pretty much start every class with BONJOUR and end with AU REVOIR.    Especially now that we have bells.  It makes it easier to remember to acutally say something other than Don't forget your homework.  And most everyone on the way in or out says BONJOUR or AU REVOIR.  One of them loves to say Bon Weekend as she leaves,  even when it's Wednesday and then ROFL when I say not yet.

It takes so very little.  Especially in what is currently my favorite class.  11 seventh graders who I've known for over a year.  They are just the best group and ask some of the best questions.

This is the class where I told a girl she needs to get a passport to go on the Quebec Trip and she said "Oh, I'll just get one at CVS for like $10".

And the same class where a girl told me I need to be on Comedy Central because I keep her in stitches all period and where do I get my material? 

But the other day, I think I can safely say, I was shocked.  With at capital S. Wait, all capitals. SHOCKED.

Because the other day, as they were leaving, I said "Au revoir!" and a girl stopped and said "Wait, what?  Isn't au revoir SPANISH?"

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Broccoli in March

Back in November, I bragged about how beautiful my plants still were in the greenhouse.  I had geraniums galore and I had just started broccoli seeds.  Soon after that, we had a freeze and that was the end of the geraniums.  Go look and see how luscious they were back then.

I predicted that my broccoli might be ready around January.  Broccoli is pretty hardy and even without the greenhouse, I've grown my summer broccoli until December or so.  I figured without heat in the greenhouse and just the protection from the wind and actual snow, I'd probably be able to grow broccoli and maybe chard through the winter.

It's a little later than January, but I did manage to grow this through the winter:




We ate the broccoli the other night and the chard is really coming along nicely.  It's great when there are no slugs to munch on the young plants!

Sunlight really makes a difference.  These plants had no trouble with the cold, it was the lack of sunlight that made them slow.  They moved very slowly through the winter.  And, it was an exceptionally mild winter.  I don't know how they would have done if we'd had weeks of below freezing weather, like we often do.

The way I grow broccoli is against what everything says to do.  I take the florets as they come, and seem to get months worth of broccoli instead of cutting just the head that comes and then pulling them out of the ground.  These plants have some new florets growing, but with the 90+ degree heat in the greenhouse on a sunny day, they are heat stressed.  I think I will move them outside and see what happens.

I'm at it again, already starting lots of seeds for this summer and planning to do lots of succession planting so I always have something ready. 

I kind of like beets and I've never grown them, so that's one thing I'd like to try this year.  And maybe celery.  But I've got to get looking and find them soon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

God's Crazy Bitches

Forget about the coupons.

Bridezillas can take a number.

Toddlers in Tiaras should take a powder.

ABC put together a new show that they knew would be right up my alley as far as trashy TV goes.  It combines a little church, a little sass, some southern accents and lots of laughs. 

I usually reserve such drivel for summer reading books, but now I can rot my brain any time I want thanks to ABC and the internet.

Because GCB has arrived on ABC.  GCB?  Good Christian Bitches.  I guess there's a book by that title  but ABC can't call their show something with BITCH in it, right?

I was cracking up through the first show. It's totally a soap opera.  And it has Kristen Chenoweth and David James Elliott, so no show could be better.  Kristen Chenoweth's one liners had me rolling.

K-ster is pretty sure it's God's Crazy Bitches.  And it totally is.  And I love it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Forget Cinnabon, These Will Win Everyone's Hearts!

Ok, I'm not even sure what Cinnabon is, but using my deductive reasoning skills, I think it's another chain that is causing American's to expand their girth too much.  I think they sell sticky buns that are to die for.  I think you can even get things flavored as a Cinnabon bun.  I swear I saw that somewhere.

I thought all cinnamon rolls were supposed to be very cinnamony, very sticky and huge and very bad for you. I don't really like them. Cinnamon is one of the things I can't tolerate anymore.

Instead, I created these marvelous, magical, mouth pleasing circles of goodness from part of a recipe and part of my imagination. The recipe is at the bottom, so keep going if you really want to make them.


I like to have apples in these buns, so I chop up 2 apples, any kind, and throw in some brown sugar (maybe 2 large tablespoons) and a sprinkle of cinnamon and let it sit while I'm getting the rest ready.


Then I get out my marble board for rolling the dough. I love this marble board because I always know it's clean, unlike my counters which I am never sure I can get clean. I only use this board for rolling dough and wash it immediately, so I know that nothing gets put on there that shouldn't be.


See that gap between the cabinet and the refrigerator?  That's where the marble gets to live because I can't find anywhere else to put it.  If I lay it flat somewhere, I know things will get put on top of it and then I'll get lazy and never want to move the things off of it.  Then that would be the end of any dough ever made by me.

It's pretty heavy, so when I drag it out of its home, it scrapes on the floor.  If we ever replace the floor, I will have to do something different because I won't be allowed to scrape new linoleum.  This linoleum from 1978 is impenetrable, so I'm not too worried.


Once you make the dough (recipe below) roll it out.  I like to roll it fairly thin and as big as I can get it.  You're going to roll it into a log, so think ahead.  Then you toss the apples onto the dough, in a haphazard manner, but remember that you're going to roll it up, so don't put too much in any one place.


Begin rolling, pushing any apples that fall out back in, somewhere.


I like to leave the seam side down when I'm done so it will stay together better when I cut it into the separate rolls.


As with the rest of this, there isn't much precision.  I cut it into maybe 1 inch thick pieces and then I count how many I have.  I try to figure out which dish will work the best for the number of pieces I have.  See the open piece?  I just move it around and make it fit.  I wasn't worried that I'd ruined anything.  You really can't ruin this.


My stoneware is kind of big, but I wanted to use it, so I just squished them in like this, and let the rest be empty.  They should all touch each other so that when they bake, they will spread out a little.


Bake them and WATCH OUT!  They will vanish before your very eyes!!

I actually like these even better the next day because the moisture from the apples makes them a little bit gooier.  Kind of like the bottom of an apple piece crust gets gooey as the days go by.

Here's the recipe:

2 c. flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/4 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/4 c. oil
3/4 c. yogurt (these are especially good with lemon, but plain is fine)

Mix dry ingredients and then add oil and yogurt and mix until a dough forms.  If it's not quite wet enough, add a little water until it becomes a kneadable dough.  Roll out as described above and bake at 425 for 15-17 minutes.

Linking here:
http://www.glitterglueandpaint.com/
http://www.skiptomylou.org/
http://yesteachercrafts.com/

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Two Little Nuggets of Joy

Joining up with  Finding the Funny today.

When I bought the new couch last year, I made sure it would work for a temporary bed because many nights, k-ster snores before I can get to sleep and he keeps me up.  So, I take to the couch, fall asleep and then go to bed later.  Thankfully, it's a comfortable couch, so I don't wake up feeling like I slept on the floor.

But I'd like to stay in my bed.  All night.  Every night.

I tried ear plugs a long time ago, but they didn't stay in my ears and I was always afraid I wouldn't hear important things like the alarm, or God forbid, the smoke alarm.


When I was in France, j-ster turned out to be quite a snorer.  Since we were camping out in the living room of e-ster's apartment, there was nowhere else to go.

Enter the earplugs given to us on the Air France flight over.  Many people used these on the plane, but since I was sitting upright on the plane, I just used my noise cancelling headphones.  But, I can't sleep on my back, so the headphones won't work for real sleep, so I got out my little earplugs and hoped they'd work.

SWEET JESUS, where have these been all my life????

They dulled the sound enough that it sounded far away and I was able to lull my way to sleep listening to my own inner sounds (do you know what it sounds like to listen to your own mouth when wearing earplugs????).

K-ster now has some sort of cold thing going on, and I think perhaps you can hear him snoring where you live.  Even you ladies in Australia.  Usually, if I tell him to roll over, he will and the snoring will stop long enough for me to fall asleep, but lately, he's already on the other side and there's nothing to do.

After 2 nights on the couch, one of which even required TWO trips to the couch from all the snoring,  I decided to whip out a new pair of Air France earplugs.

I fell asleep so hard the first night, I slept for 1 hour and woke up feeling so refreshed at midnight, I thought it was the next day.

All hail the mighty earplug! 

Here's a little extra fun for you.  I have a strange obsession with chewing things that are spongy by nature.  Like these little gems. 
Do you know about the circus peanut?  They are nothing but marshmallows, but there is something about the way the chew, I can't stop eating them once I start.  Oh I'm fantasizing about them RIGHT.NOW.  Yummm, chew, chew, chew.....

Earplugs are spongy and sometimes they are the same color as circus peanuts.

When I first wore the earplugs in France, I found that they fell out during the night.  Not wanting to lose them when I woke up to go to the bathroom, I  would carry them with me since it was so dark everywhere, they would probably disappear.

I also learned that when you are wearing earplugs in the dark, your sense of balance is a little altered.

So, the first time I carried them with me to the bathroom, I had to keep telling myself "don't eat the earplugs, don't eat the earplugs".

Because they have that texture.....

And then I couldn't find one for a moment and thought "OH MY GOD, I ATE AN EARPLUG".

But it was on the floor beside my air mattress.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Once A Tomgirl, Always A Tomgirl

If you're a fan of mine, you probably have seen posts where I've shown pictures of my yard and the trucks that we have here.  If not, click here and you can see some in snow (note, the horses are not in my yard but it sure looks like they could be!)

The scene has not changed much in my lifetime.  Different trucks, different colors, but pretty much the same scene.

When you grow up in a yard like mine, with tractors and trucks and plows up the wazoo, you don't mind getting dirty, driving these trucks, tractors and plows (well, I mind the plows a little) and thus, the tomgirl in my title.

For the past few  years, one of my father's many jobs is to fly to Wisconsin or Florida to get fire trucks and apparatus for a local dealership.  He flies out, gets the truck and then drives back.  He loves this.  I will never understand the thrill of driving anything, let alone a fire truck, ambulance or anything else that is truck like. 

A lot of the time, he gets home after the dealership has closed for the night, so he brings whatever he has to our yard.  It's not at all unusual to come home and see things like this.


In fact, this has happened so many times, I suppose if there was a fire and there were trucks here for a real reason, I'd pay no attention and carry on about my business!  Like crying wolf, having fire stuff in the yard is nothing new.

We've had huge ladder trucks here.  Once, he even let us go up in the basket so we could see the beach from the top!  My mother couldn't go any higher than the roof top but I went all the way up.

People are exclaim with amazement when they see these things in the yard or if they hear about it.  I just shrug and think it's really no big deal.

I remember my father actually owning a fire truck at one point and he made a sanding truck out of it.   If he had millions of dollars, he'd probably have a giant shop where he refashioned fire trucks into things on a regular basis.

Over the years, we've had lots of different trucks in varying stages of decay that he was going to make pretty again and he did that with a few.  A few others have been put out to pasture, or as we like to say "behind the fence".

No good ever comes of being put "behind the fence".   Being "out back" is just one step away from  being put "behind the fence".  There's also "somewhere around here" but I digress.

I'm not sure why I was surprised by the following scene, but this one might have totally blown away any piece of metal we've ever had in the yard before.


Let me explain, for you truck virgins out there.  Yes, you are seeing 3 trucks.  Yes, one truck is indeed being pulled by what looks like a much lesser truck.  No, that big truck did not break the trailer, it's just sitting funny.  No, that truck with the orange sander is not part of this, it's just in the background.

So, I pulled in to the yard and did a quadrupole take.  What on God's earth was he up to this time??  And that white truck isn't even his!

Knowing that he would drive anything, anywhere, the local fire school asked if he'd go get a truck for them.  But no, this isn't any truck.  This is an ex military truck that isn't just a truck.  OH NO!  It's a whole machine shop inside!  A whole MACHINE SHOP!  Say this to some guy who knows that means and he'll wet his pants with excitement, right on the spot.

They say you open up the two sides of that truck and there is all sorts of machinery inside.  The sides prop up like awnings so you can do all sorts of repair work with all of that marvelous machinery.  The fire school was very excited to get this piece of equipment and all of the very exciting things that were locked up inside.

I'm not so convinced all of this great machinery was still inside, I mean wouldn't the military like to have that back?  But little boys can dream.

As for the white truck,  someone let him use it to go get the truck (because his has that orange sander on it, above) and it was quite an awful ride.  And pulling that big ass machine behind him couldn't have made it any better.

Sometimes, I think k-ster just sticks around to see what the next exciting thing will be to appear in the yard.  Probably an airplane is the only thing that could top what we've had.  But please don't tell k-ster or my father.  We have no room anywhere for an airplane!!
Finding the Funny

Sunday, March 4, 2012

If Only I Had A Sharpie





Speed BUMP.  It's SPEED BUMP, you idiots, not SPEED HUMP!!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Drumming Up Business Any Way They Can

The day of the Superbowl, this is what the digital sign outside our local police station said.



Finding the Funny