Monday, October 30, 2006

With Any Luck, I Can Hear You Now

I've been with Verizon Wireless since I first bought a cell phone. The feature that sucked me into their plan was the fact that after a two year contract, they gave you up to $100 towards a new phone. I do love free. I think so far, I've gotten three free phones thanks to Verizon.

I was up for another free phone and kept procrastinating shopping for one. The closest Verizon Wireless store is perpetually understaffed. I will not wait for a half an hour to spend money in that store. Then I figured that I could pick out a phone ON line instead of waiting IN line at the store. The only downside to that was I didn't have an employee standing in front of me explaining all of the buttons.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Anything with an O.N./O.F.F button, I can usually work that part. Anything beyond that and I'm lost. I didn't want a lot of bells and whistles so I took one of the easiest phones I could find. Or, so I thought.

One upgrade this phone has is a speaker phone. I did like that part. The night I got my phone, I called my good friend Maura to tell her all about it. I told her about the speaker phone feature and she wanted to hear how that sounded. I moved the phone from my ear and turned it this way and that, looking for the button that would make it happen. I couldn't find it. What did happen though was in turning the phone this way and that, I dropped the phone. Luckily, it fell on the dining room rug.

A surprising thing happened. The speaker phone was turned on during the fall! Go me! What a cool feature. So Maura and I finished our chat and I closed the flip part of the phone to hang it up. Life was good in my eyes.

A few hours later, brother Jim called me. I lifted the flip of the phone to answer the call only to find out the phone was still on speaker phone! Dang, that's not good! Do you have any idea how big the freakin' book is that came with the phone? I will never read through that big book, so I was hoping for user friendly.

I finished my conversation with Jim on speaker phone then handed it over to Ron to figure out how to shut that feature off. I think I have that part figured out now.

Every night I am transferring phone numbers over to the new phone. I didn't realize I knew that many people. It seems to be taking me forever. I'm hoping by the end of this week to have that task finished.

If anyone decides to call me in the near future, bear with me. I have answering the phone down pretty well. I can make a call if the number is programmed in ok, but anything else is not going so well. If you leave a voicemail and I don't call you back by the end of the day, you better call me again. There is probably some kind of technical difficulties on my end.

Can you hear me now?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Just For Fun

Dang, I suck.

I used to be a good speller. But with the invention of spell checker, I rarely have to worry about my spelling. As the saying goes, if you don't use it, you lose it.

Check out this website. I am ashamed to say I didn't do as well as I thought I would. I really expected to ace all of them! HA! I did better than the average, but I'm really disappointed in myself. I guess now I know why I didn't get to go to Washington D.C. for the National Spelling Bee!

Monday, October 23, 2006


I'm no spring chicken. I've been around for awhile. Most of my years, except for a few years of insanity that was spent in the south, I've lived in the northern climate. It's the end of October. Without looking, any northerner could probably tell you that the end of October will be chilly at best, cold at worst.

Do you think I should know that after all these years?

I got up this morning, and took a hot shower. After my shower, I was running around; downstairs making coffee and then putting a lunch together to take with me to work. I ran back upstairs, stuffed myself into pantyhose, slacks and a sweater. Yes, I am warm. Even a little sweaty.

I grabbed my laptop and headed out the door, down the driveway to the garage and off to work. No big deal. Part way to work, I hear the traffic report. It's snowing on the east side of town. (I am on the far west side.) There are numerous accidents on one freeway heading into downtown due to ice on the road. Hello? Cold in October? Who'd have thought. Where is my coat? On the hook in my hallway at home, where it belongs.

This afternoon, I watched the snow fall outside my office window, wondering just where the heck my brain was today. At least the weather-casters had good news for me for my way home. It did warm up to the low 40s today!

I am an idiot. Achoo!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I Love Country Life

I wrote recently about the long drive to my last audit site. Most of this drive happened over long country roads. It was not uncommon to be in the middle of cornfields or fields of alpacas or cows or shetland ponies. In the daylight, it was really a nice drive.

Yesterday was my last day at this site. We finished a little early and called it a day. On my drive home I came across a road side stand that you actually had to pull in someone's driveway to get to it. The signs said "Pumpkins - $2.00" or "Mums - $2.00". How can anyone resist a deal like this?

The Mums were absolutely gorgeous. The picture at the top is the bunch I bought yesterday. The best part about this country road side stand? No one was manning it. There was a box on a bale of hay that said "please place money in here". Can you believe it? So I grabbed $2.00 out of my wallet, put it in the box and put the Mums in my car. I love country life!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Left In My Hour Of Need

I realize I've been away from blogging for awhile, so I am trying to catch up!

Last Saturday, Ron and I spent the day playing with Susan and Georgia. We had a great time! We spent a part of the day at the Botanical Gardens. It was awesome!

They were having an herb fair at the Botanical Gardens that day, and Ron bought me some Marjoram. Don't ask. That may be another blog. We won absolutely nothing on the Chinese auction but I did buy a picture for the house. Hey, we've only been here three years next month and we finally bought a picture for the walls. Go us! The picture is now sitting on our dining room table as we can't decide on where to hang it, but at least we have one ready to go up. Life is good.

I do have to write about something serious that happened to us last Saturday. In my true hour of need, when strangers should come to your aid, I was left alone to fend for myself. I still can't believe it happened. What happened to compassion? To giving? To community? To saving my butt??

The four of us walked to the Hershey's Children's Garden, a part of the Botanical Gardens. Anyone with children should really check it out. The place was amazing and made me want to be a kid again. Very interactive and scaled to kids. A truly great place. Ron and I truly got into the spirit. We were reliving our childhoods. There were fountains aplenty as well as drinking fountains and even a pond. With all that water, all we could think of was to have a water fight! What else?

I admit, I got him with some water. Not a drenching, but I definitely drew first blood. He for some reason thought he should retaliate. As soon as I saw him go for a handful of water, I did what I had to do. I ran behind a couple that I never met before, figuring that they'd protect me in my hour of need. Do you want to know what they did? They looked at Ron, they looked at me, and realizing what was going to happen, they said "NO WAY" and moved quickly to their left. That left me in direct line of fire for Ron. Not good. Luckily I was wearing nothing that was dry clean only, so I was ok. A little damp, a little cold, but ok.

I can't believe those two strangers wouldn't protect me in my hour of need. What has this world come to?

Look Out For Tuesday The 17th

Some people were worried about Friday the 13th. I wasn’t one of them.

I may be a lot of things, but I don’t think I’m superstitious. Black cats, broken mirrors, bring ‘em on. Friday should have been just another day, maybe a little better than some since it was a pay day. Other than that, it should have been no big deal.

My Friday the 13th started off with me getting almost all the way to work before realizing that I have neither one of my cell phones on me. I’m not as worried about my personal cell phone, but while at work, my work cell is utilized a lot. Let’s just say I’m happy I’m not paying that bill every month.

So that was my big faux pas. Was it Friday the 13th bad luck or was it just me not awake in the morning when I’m leaving for work. I think it was just me not awake yet.

Since I pretty much breezed through Friday, with only the phone incident, I should be set for the week, right? I wish. My horrible bad day came on Tuesday the 17th. It was a very bad day. I’m marking that day on the calendar from now on.

It started with a lot of rain. I was awakened many times during the night to the sound of the storm coming through. In the morning, it was still raining hard.

I have a long drive to work. I am literally in the middle of nowhere and to get here, I take a two lane Podunk road in the middle of nowhere to get to the middle of nowhere. This is a two lane blacktop road that hasn’t seen fresh paint on the lines at least since I was a little kid. At the side of the road is either a ditch or a bunch of trees. Absolutely no where to pull over if my life depended on it, and believe me, my life depended on it.

So, it’s raining cats and dogs, it’s dark and I can’t see where the road stops and the ditch begins. To top that off, there is so much water on the road, I’m hydroplaning on top of the water more than my tires are touching blacktop. And to make matters even worse, every time a semi truck drives in the opposite direction of me (I seem to be the only one heading south, the only other cars I encounter are northbound) it splashes so much water up on to my windshield that I am literally blinded for a few seconds while the wipers make a couple of swipes. It was absolutely terrifying.

It was just such a helpless feeling. I can’t see, I’m afraid to try to turn around as I’m not sure I can find a place to turn around, nor do I really know where I am in relationship to home. I know if I keep following this road, I end up where I need to be. But, I would have little to no hope of finding an alternate route home.

Then I had enough. I called my boss to complain about the road conditions and to state that we are both nuts. Him for making me drive this drive and me for driving it! It was one of those rare occasions that he actually agreed with me. He was faring no better on the road he was on than I was. So he decided that we should give up on our plan to head to the audit site and instead just head for our office. Good in theory. My problem was that I had little to no clue how to change my game plan of going from point “A” to now point “C”.

So, I called Ron. I was nice enough to wake him up and everything! I gave a crying version of my dilemma and asked him to look on a map on the internet and help me get to the office from where I am at. Of course, Ron asked me where I was. Me replying “I don’t know” was not helping him help me in the least! Finally, I found a cross road with a route number. As soon as I mentioned the route number, Ron knew sort of where I was. I was told to head left on that road, and I would come out somewhere that I would know. Good thing I believed him because sure enough, I came across a road that I did know and was able to take it right back to the office.

So there I was, stuck in the middle of nowhere in the rain, not wanting to drive any more.

If I ever win the lottery, the first thing I’m buying is a chauffer. Trust me, I would give up my driver’s license in a heartbeat if I could. And, pooh on Friday the 13th. Beware of Tuesday the 17th!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Where Is Steve Irwin When We Need Him

It sucks to be the people in this parking lot. Check out this video.

However, since Steve is gone, I happen to have my very own hero living right here in this house!

This morning, I was in the bathroom doing whatever it is people do in the bathroom first thing in the morning. When I finished, I was standing at the sink washing my hands. As I was lathering up, I looked up into the mirror and what do I see? A HUGE spider on my face! Ok, he wasn't really "on" my face, but he was on my face that was in the mirror. I was not a happy camper.

I wasn't in charge of all of my faculties yet so I did what I do best. I screamed. Loudly.

Poor Ron came running and once his heartbeat slowed down when he figured out I wasn't dying at the moment, he took care of my hazardous situation. It may not have been a nine foot alligator, but it was just as life threatening in my mind. My hero saved me!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bomb Squad Knocking

I knew that Mike and Mary Jane were having company this weekend. Their gang from Meadville, Mike, Jenny, Evan and Grady, were coming for a visit.

That's why I was quite surprised when brother Mike called about 9:30 tonight and asked if we were dressed! He said it was an emergency, and their whole gang was on their way over. Hey, who was I to argue! Ron and I got dressed, turned the outside lights on and we were ready. Sure enough, the whole gang comes over!

I thought my neighbors were nuts. Mike wins on the crazy neighbor contest. You know how your Mom always said "it's all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out". Well, for Mike's neighbor, it was all fun and games until he almost blew his arm off. So much for playing with explosives!

The ambulance came to take him away and the bomb squad came to secure the neighborhood. Mike's was just one of the houses that was evacuated while the bomb squad secured the neighbor's garage. So where did they pack up and go to? Our house!

Now really, how cool is this? Poor Grady decided to sleep through the whole party, but the rest of us hooted and hollered and sang along with Evan playing the piano. Then he found the treadmill!

First, he has to make sure Papa is right behind him, just in case.

Then, Papa had the bright idea to teach Evan how to push the buttons!

Then, it's time for Evan and Papa to go for a long walk!

I'm telling you, when you're this cute, you can get away with anything!

So, sorry that you guys were evacuated by the bomb squad, but I'm glad you decided to come be safe with us! The police captain did call an hour or so later to give the all clear and my group was back on the road.

Now this may be my true calling . . . emergency shelter!

As a side note to Jenny - no, my tree is not up and decorated already. It's just not been taken down from last year! So no Christmas pickle prize yet! :)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Dance With Me

One of my sicknesses is reality television. I’m ok with that, I could have worse habits.

One of my new favorite shows is Dancing With The Stars. You take a dozen or so celebrities and pair them with real champion ballroom dancers and call it a show. The celebrities have to learn all of the ballroom dances from their partner and each week they dance. There are usually two different dances done each week, with half of the dancers doing one dance and the other half doing the other. A panel of three professional ballroom dance judges gives them scores from one to ten with a top possible score of thirty. That score combined with a public vote via cell phone or internet rates the dancers and the dance team with the lowest score goes home.

I’ve learned a whole lot of new terms watching this show. I know about holding your form, about staying on your toes, head back, the Tango, the Mamba, the Jive, The Waltz, etc. Yes, I love this show. It scares Ron because now I get a crazy idea that WE need to take dance lessons! I think he’s rather eat razor blades followed by drinking unsweetened lemonade before dancing, but a girl can hope.

One of the contestants is none other than talk show host Jerry Springer. He’s not the best hoofer out there, but he’s having a ball and that makes him fun to watch. When the show started, he said that he couldn’t dance. His goal was to last long enough on the show to learn the Waltz. His daughter is getting married soon, and he really wants to Waltz with her at her wedding.

Last night, was his chance. He ended up dancing a Waltz with his partner. Was it the best Waltz I’ve ever seen? No, but being a Daddy’s girl myself, watching him break from his dance partner at the end of the number and go right to his daughter and hug her for all he’s worth left me in tears. I wasn’t the only one left without a dry eye. His dance partner, his daughter, and half of the other dancers were also in tears, as well as a judge or two.

I am a sucker for a good cry.

Now for my prediction for tonight's show – Sarah Evans, you got to go, girl. Dancing is not your forte.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

So, what’s new?

Let’s see. Ron was in California recently for some training at the corporate office. The company, in my opinion, spent a lot of money for nothing. The day they were to spend training, his boss, the trainer, ended up in the hospital. He tested positive for the e-coli virus thought to come from eating fresh spinach. Not good.

As a side note, I TOLD my Mom years ago that spinach could kill a person. She didn’t believe me then and made me eat it. Finally, I get to say “I told you so”! Now if someone would just prove it about peas, I’d truly be vindicated.

Since he’s been back, I’ve been working an audit that is a long drive every day. It takes me about one hour and 15 minutes each way, and that’s with no accidents. I am out of the house by 6:30 in the morning and I’m happy if I’m back home by that time of the evening. This is too many hours in a car each day. Unfortunately, the next audit will be just as long if not longer. Bummer.

Last week was brother Michael’s birthday. He and Mary Jane bestowed on us the honor of celebrating with them. It’s tougher to celebrate once you hit that over 50 mark, huh, Mike? I know he said something about wishing this was happening on the weekend and not on a school night. He couldn’t handle his tequila as well on a Thursday night as he could have on a Friday night! And, the party pooper wouldn’t let me call the waiter for the customary birthday sombrero! C’mon now! What’s a birthday with out that?!! Happy birthday, my brother!

We went to a clam back this past Saturday. I learned something there. I learned that I don’t like clams. Nor do I care for mussels. Glad I paid to go to a clam bake, huh? Actually, Ron paid, but still! At least I had back up food. The cost of the ticket really did buy a bonanza. You started with a small salad, roll and butter, baked sweet potato, corn, then for the entrees - a steak, a chicken leg and thigh, then the dozen clams and dozen mussels. Even without the seafood, I was stuffed. The food was good and Ron got extra clams and mussels, so he’s not complaining!

See? A whole lotta nothing to report here.

I’m ready for the fall. I think this is my favorite time of year. I love the weather getting cooler even if it means my heating bills go higher. I did turn the furnace on for a few hours over the weekend. It was almost a necessity. It was a bit chilly here in the mornings, but once we got by that, it warmed up nicely. That puts me in the mood for fall food.

We went for groceries over the weekend, and I went nuts in the gourd aisle. I have an acorn squash that I’m not sure when I’m going to cook it. I got a spaghetti squash that will be baked and mixed with butter, onion and garlic tonight, with an added veal patty and we’re calling it dinner! Ron’s never had spaghetti squash before so I’m excited about making it for him. To top off my gourd excursion, I also have a butternut squash that I have the perfect recipe (I hope) for an awesome butternut squash roasted garlic bisque. Should be some interesting dinners this week at our house. Now if we don’t come down with e-coli or botulism or something fun like that after a week of my cooking, all will be right with the world.