Archives for posts with tag: blog

fucked up parking

I had to run an errand for work yesterday, and as I approached my car, I was met with a situation of sorts. A red van had parked so close to my car, that it was impossible for me to get in my driver’s side door.

The above photo is an accurate portrayal of what I faced. You could not get between the side mirrors, and while I could get my door open, I would need to transform into Kate Moss in order to actually climb in behind the wheel.

I am not Kate Moss. Not even close.

And the funny part is, I tried to still get in, not really caring if I dented the fuck out of the douchebag red van. But there was no way. Not even if I bought a Spanx body suit was I going to wedge myself in. And worse than that, there were witnesses around who I perceived as watching my struggle and inwardly laughing. hmph.

With no other tricks up my sleeve, I climbed into the passenger side and tried to figure out how in the hell I was going to hoist my ample body over the center console and into the passenger seat. I waited until nobody was watching, and managed to get my ass into the seat, but my legs? Different story.

It’s times such as this you realize that with age comes a degeneration in your body…a lack of limberness, if you will. Even with the seats pulled all the way back, I could not manage to get my legs up and over the stereo and the gear shaft, and into the well of the driver’s side seat.

I sat sideways, trying to look inconspicuous to passersby, and pondered how the hell I was going to do this. Do I need to open the sunroof and stick my head through so I could side step into the seat? I thought of the Flintstones with Dino’s head poking out of the roof at the drive in, and thought no.

I also quickly abandoned the idea of putting the car into drive just enough to pass the van so I could open my door, because without my foot being able to hit the brake, this would have turned into a disastrous scenario involving the police and my insurance company.

I climbed, none too gracefully, back out of the passenger side and paced while I figured out what to do. Slash the red van’s tires? Nah. I didn’t have a knife.

I knew that the key was getting my feet in the seat first, and then sliding my body down. And that’s when that wonderful light went off in my head. Ding!

I reclined both the front seats as far back as they would go, thus enabling me to semi lay down high enough in the seat to get my legs over the console and slide into the driver’s seat. Eureka! I had solved my problem with no injury to my body or car, and only a slight dent to my pride.

I’ll tell you what, I’m going to strategically select my parking spot from now on to avoid this happening in the future. But at least I know the solution if it does happen again.

 

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Ernestine-01

When I was in 5th grade, one of my best friends moved to Littleton, Colorado, and I would beg my father to let me make a long distance call to her every now and then. I had to wait until after 10:00 pm, because that’s when the rates were lowered, and I could only talk for 10 minutes.

I thought of this the other day when my daughter spent the night on the phone with her friend Rae who lives in California – they watched A Nightmare Before Christmas together while on the phone. Holy Hell…that would’ve cost a few hundred bucks when I was a kid.

Man how time have changed. And not only from those ancient times when I was growing up. Just a few years back, when we still had only a land line, my daughter would talk to her friend who lived out in the sticks and calls to her started to become costly.

Same thing when I was little. If I wanted to talk to a friend who lived a few towns away, those toll charges would really rack up…and then my dad would give a very stern lecture. But not any more!

With Skype, Face Time and cell phones, long distance charges, and the accompanying headaches, is a long distance memory.

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The family made our annual trek to Kings Dominion for Halloween Haunt this past Saturday. It was not one of my favorite trips.

When we arrived, the parking lot was so full, that they were directing cars to park in the back lot. In all the years I’ve been schlepping out to Kings Dominion I have NEVER seen them using the back lot. Our gold passes allow us to use a preferred parking lot up near the front and even THAT was full. It wasn’t encouraging.

Needless to say, the lines were horrendous – and not just for rides. All the haunted mazes had lines that spread far beyond the attractions. So far, in fact that they needed park employees with giant signs reading “Line for xxxxx starts here.”

The one bonus was that it wasn’t freezing out. So, we waited.

But the wait was never worth the scare. The mazes did little to scare me because there were so few participants inside the mazes. In past years there seemed to be triple the amount of performers hiding in places to scare the bejezzus out of you. This year? It seemed like we were just marching through a highly decorated fun house, and it certainly wasn’t worth the 45 minute wait in line.

I wondered why Kings Dominion seemed to lack the ghoul power to fully staff these haunted mazes, and my guess is this. Usually Halloween Haunt is the big showstopper at the end of the year. But new for 2018 is Winterfest, where they deck out the park in lights and turn the fountain pond into a skating rink. Having to extend man power through December, they cut back on zombie performers for Halloween.

By the end of the night my feet were KILING me, and I was more than happy to finally reach the car. I know one thing for sure, next year we are going to Halloween Haunt way earlier in the season.

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My kids are older now. But I still really dig Halloween.

While my 16 year old still ADORES Halloween, and will still go out trick or treating, she is a little more interested in just attending parties. My 23 year old? She’s happy to stay at home with me and hand out candy.

Every year we have totally decked out our house for Halloween. While we don’t have any animatronics or blow ups, we bedeck our house with lights, flying ghosts, hanging ghouls and an enormous spider web, complete with a giant black widow.

And my reward is usually about 6 trick or treaters.

We live on a busy road, and none of my neighbors for at least 4 houses in either direction, decorate for Halloween. They don’t even keep their house lights on to invite kids.

Many parents will drive their kids around, and let them out of the car to hit a group of promising houses. I am a tiny oasis in a sea of darkness, so most times, my house gets passed by.

So this year,  my daughter suggested we take a different approach. Rather than sit inside waiting for the bell to ring, she suggested we deck out the bottom of our driveway, and sit there on Halloween night with our bowl of candy.

We can play music, set up lights, and welcome families for a quick stop rather than them having to trudge up our driveway and steps. And it will solve another problem of mine.

Hubby isn’t really into the whole holiday decorating thing…not like the kids and I are. This way, we really only have to decorate the entrance to the driveway – I’ll still hang lights on our deck, but the day of Halloween, we will really trick out our driveway entrance and spend a nice night out in the October air.

I’ll let you know how our experiment turns out.

OUCH

Today I fell. Again.

I needed to get some skim milk, and the only joint by my office that sells it is the little market up the street. The aisles are very narrow, and the produce guy was unpacking various fruits and vegetables from cardboard boxes. It was hard for me to get to the milk, because there were so many boxes in the way.

I threaded my way to the milk case, grabbed my quart of skim milk, and began to walk back to the register. It was raining, so I was also carrying my rather large umbrella while trying to negotiate the very dark, very crowded aisle. I remember I was looking at a jar of Mezzetta Italian Mix Giardiniera on the shelf when my foot got snagged a box of scallions.

Before I knew it I was down on my knees, now throbbing in absolute pain, clutching a crushed pint of skim milk, and trying to figure out how the hell I could’ve fallen. It hurt. My back hurt, my knees hurt, and to make matters worse,  it was really hard to get up.

The produce dude heard me fall, and rushed over to help me. Talk about embarrassing. He was super apologetic, and I kept assuring him it was okay. While it was a bit of a hazard to have the aisle so cluttered with boxes, I was clearly not watching my step while I was pondering the jar of Mezzetta Italian Mix Giardiniera.

I paid for my milk, assured the still apologizing produce guy again that it was all cool,  and hobbled back to my office with aching knees, a throbbing head, and a back that was all a-twinge. What I was most astounded at, was that I wasn’t more seriously hurt. I fell in my laundry room about 6 months ago, and landed super hard on my left knee – so hard that I still can’t really put too much weight on it. I thought for sure a slamming my knee into a hard floor would’ve shattered it to pieces.

But I’m still standing. I wonder how bad the bruises will be…

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This is the first year, in I can’t remember how many, that I have not been involved in a football pool. And it’s by choice. I’ve decided to give the NFL the cold shoulder this year.

My old office would run it’s own football pool each year, and most years I ran it. Winner got a $20 bill each week. After that job ended I joined my brother in law’s work pool up in New Jersey. Winner would get somewhere around $200 each week. I rarely won, but it was still sort of fun.

This year? Not so much. I can’t help but feel the NFL is ruled by narrow-minded trump supporters…people who believe taking a knee should be cause for firing or suspension. People who see standing up for racial injustice as a slight on our military or our flag.

And trump himself, who doesn’t even know the words to the national anthem, but will try to whip his maniacal base up into a frenzy over any player who dares to kneel during their precious anthem.

People burning their Nike shoes because they dared to use Colin Kaepernick in an ad.

It’s all so fucked up.

So I’m turning my back on the NFL. I don’t want to put down $36 dollars to take part in a pool for a sport that I have little respect for. I know there are companies and coaches that are backing their players’ right to take a knee, and I applaud them. But the NFL as a whole?

They can bite me this year.

 

moms car

For the past year, my daughter and I have been carpooling to work every day. We work a short distance from each other, and until she could figure out the means to buy her own car, this was our only option.

It worked out well, with the exception of our schedules. I work from 9:00 – 4:30. She has two radio shows; one from Noon – 2:00 and another from 4:00 – 6:00. Our usual daily routine was, she accompanied me to work, and sat reading at a local coffee shop until 11:30 or so, and then she’d take the keys and head to her job. At 3:30, we would meet at my office, and I would drive her to the station for her 4:00 show, and then return to my office for the last 45 minutes of my day.

That 3:30 shuffle sucks. The lot I park in for my job is 2 blocks away from my office, which may sound short, but in heat, rain or snow, that walk turns into a tiresome trek. And then, when I’m done at 4:30, I had the pleasure of waiting 1 1/2 hours for daughter to be off work. Most times I would grocery shop, but other times, when money was low, it was harder and harder to find creative ways to pass that time.

A favorite of mine was to spend a half an hour at our local animal shelter petting cats and kittens. Or sometimes I would just walk around the mall and “window” shop. For the most part that hour and a half would go by fast.

An additional burn? Sometimes our boss would let us out early.. like at 2:30 if there was little work to do. Then I’d be stuck in town for hours and hours when I could’ve been home with me feet up in front of Food Network. It also was not convenient for meals. We would not get home until 6:30 or so, and the thought of starting chicken piccata at that late time was a tiresome thought.

For a year I did this. My husband would pitch in when it worked for his schedule, but his schedule is ever changing, whereas ours was set, so most times it was me.

The commute itself would be great. We would usually spend the time talking. Sometimes we played music, but the commute was typically spent discussing a variety of things; upcoming vacations, plans for work; and it was really nice.

It all ended this week. Our children recently came into a small sum of money through the passing of a relative, and my daughter knew…this was the opportunity to buy her own car. She test drove quite a few, but in the end we decided to buy the same make and model as my car, which she was very used to driving.

I’m so happy for her. What a sense of independence this must give her. I remember when I owned my first car…you felt the world could be yours. You could go anywhere. But I’m also happy for me. While I really miss driving with her, it’s really nice to be able to just come home after work.

I’ll can always pet kittens on Saturdays…

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Something wonderful has happened in my 53rd year. My uterus, which has plagued me my entire adult life, has finally decided to throw in the towel.

I hear lots of women complain about menopause…heat flashes, moodiness, night sweats. But I have have zero complaints. Do you know why? BECAUSE I HAVEN’T HAD A PERIOD SINCE JANUARY. And that is the best thing to happen to me ever.

At the beginning of the year, I was actually looking into a hysterectomy because my uterus was going haywire. It began to bleed in October, and didn’t stop until December. Heavy, non-stop bleeding. I had a consultation with a surgeon, and then, just like that, it stopped. It’s as if it wanted to torture me for one last time before Mother Nature shut her ass down.

I’m not sure if she’s done for sure and for certain, but I’m optimistic. To have not had a period for 6 months has been a blessing the magnitude of which you can’t realize.

I’m free.

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I love TV. I am unapologetic about it. I don’t understand people who “don’t watch TV,” just like I don’t understand vegans. To each their own, but I love it…always have.

Food Network is my go-to channel. It is the first channel I check when I am looking for something to watch, and it is the channel I usually drift of to sleep watching.

A month or so back, my husband and I had to reconfigure our cable package. The sweet deal we had for the past two years had run out, and to keep all the same channels we had would’ve boosted our bill to over $200 bucks per month.

Uh, no thank you.

So we reworked things to give us a lower bill, but in the crosshairs were a lot of channels our family really loved…Nickelodeon, all the sports channels, and *gasp,* Bravo. I watch A LOT of Bravo programs. A new season of Real Housewives of NYC had just started, as well ad a new season of Southern Charm. I was sick about that, but bit the bullet.

We invested in a Roku and got a Hulu subscription. I thought this was the perfect solution – I could still enjoy Bravo and a plethora of other TV shows. I binge watched “The Handmaids Tale”…worth the subscription price alone. Hubby fell back I love with “Hill Street Blues,” and my daughter and I began watching “Top Chef” back from season 1.

However, Bravo? That was a problem. They don’t carry the current season of RHONY, and they don’t carry Southern Charm at all. The high price of cable had cock-blocked me from watching two of my faves after all.

Yesterday I switched on the TV to see what Food Network show I was going to indulge in when I got an error message on the screen. That channel was not available.

WHAT????????

I immediately called our cable provider, who proceeded to tell me that their plans had shifted over night. We had lost Food Network, The Weather Channel, and a few other who-gives-a-fuck stations.

I flew into a panic….This was too much for me to bear. Food Network on Hulu only runs specific shows. Ina and Giada? Gone. Pioneer Woman? Gone. Brunch at Bobby’s? Gone.

I was not going to take this lying down.

So I called back and thankfully got a really nice woman on the phone who helped me pick a package that was in our price range, and restored ALL our channels.

Bravo? Got it. Food Network? Got it. Nickelodeon? Got it. The Weather Channel? Got it. ESPN? Got it. I feel human again.

I spent all last night catching up on season 10 of Real Housewives of NYC last night, and Friday night I will binge Southern Charm and America’s Next Top Model.

We are still going to keep our Rokus and our Hulu subscription, because in my opinion, the more TV the better. Old episodes of The Brady Bunch and I Love Lucy are now at my disposal. And there’s no way I can do without seeing what happens to June and the other handmaids.

Thank goodness they cut Food Network yesterday. That cloud definitely had a silver lining.

This is an encore publishing of my 2012 blog post “My Star Wars Experience” in honor of May 4th.
When I was 12 I saw a commercial for a new movie that was coming out, and it looked really bad.

It was for Star Wars.

If you’ve ever seen the original trailer/commercial for the movie, you might know where I’m coming from. It looked BORING. You can view the trailer here if you’ve never seen it. So with no plan to spend my allowance on that movie I put Star Wars behind me. But it wouldn’t be for long.

When I was a kid, I was pretty good friends with Andrew Shalit, son of NBC’s film critic Gene Shalit. While having a dad with connections must be a grand thing, having a friend with a dad with connections is nothing to sneeze at either.

Andrew invited me and roughly 6 other friends to come into New York City to see a private showing of, what else? Star Wars.
While I was not thrilled about the film we were going to see, I was pretty excited to hang out in the city with my friends. I was not going to miss this just because the movie looked a little dull.

We took a van into mid-town Manhattan and were let off at a large office building. Hmmmm. I was expecting a theater. We took the elevators to an unknown floor/office where we were then ushered into a little tiny theater.

It had a big screen, but only 4 rows of seats, and maybe 6-8 chairs in each row. This alone was worth the trip to see the boring movie. I’d never been in a private screening room. I’m not sure if I even knew they existed.

Before long the lights went down and the movie began. 121 minutes later I emerged from that little theater in love with Luke Skywalker and wanting to be exactly like Princess Leia.

Except for the hair.

We were each given a T-shirt that had the Star Wars logo or the phrase “May the force be with you.” I chose the one with the Star Wars logo. What a great bonus to an already awesome day.

When we were dropped off back in our home town, my friends and I played jedis vs. stormtroopers on the walk home, using sticks for light sabers and rolling/running over people’s lawns and across streets. I don’t think the movie had even hit the theaters yet, and I was already hooked.

I bought a few movie stills to hang in my room and spent that summer falling in and out of lust for both Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford. I think I saw the movie a few more times in the theater as well. But, that’s where the love ended. I saw Empire Strikes Back along with the rest of the world, but hated the ending. How dare they cliff hang me with at least a year to wait for the outcome.

Return of the Jedi was good, but neither that or Empire Strikes Back grabbed me in the same way Star Wars did. I also did not like any of the prequels. Jar Jar Binks was fucking annoying as hell, and the story didn’t interest me in the least.

I never jumped on the Star Wars saga bandwagon. You’ll won’t find me at Comicon dressed as Darth Nihilus (Stern fans may giggle at that), and I don’t collect the figurines. But if that wonderful, original, innovated film from 1977 is on television, I’ll grab my kids, pop some corn and plop on the couch to escape in to space for 121 minutes.