Worst Case Scenarios, Part MCMLXXX

It always happens, no matter what we are doing or where we are travelling.

Hubby has the ability to think of 55 x 10³ things at once. It’s a gift and a curse. It does not matter if we are out having ice cream at Baskin Robbins™. In the middle of a delectable bite of Cherries Jubilee, he will ask any one of us a question involving a possible, but highly improbable scenario. It was no different yesterday on the way back from visiting family.

Hubby: Suppose we are on the way home, and suddenly you see a mushroom cloud go up in the distance. What would you do?

Me: Are you serious right now?

Hubby: Yes. What would YOU do??

Me: Uh, well… take my family away from it??

Hubby: And then what?

Me: Pray.

As an after thought I would also go beyond a place of high elevation to let the radiation rain off. But I was a bit groggy from dozing off in the vehicle. Once I was awake, we developed the “WWYD” scenario, to the flip side.

Hubby: What places would the bad guys send a nuclear bomb, and why?

Eldest: Well, high population areas, like major cities.

Me: Hmmmm…. San Andreas Fault, and Yellowstone.

Hubby: Damn honey, you are evul.

Me: Well, yeah. Oh, and add the TVA while you’re at it.

He may think of a metric ton of stuff at once, but I hone my focus to a singularity for effect. It’s a gift, not a curse ;)


In Defense of the Ice Bucket

A new fad for charity has gone viral in social media. The Ice Bucket Challenge has been going on for about two months, but it has just been in the past two weeks or so that the challenge has skyrocketed. It has helped to raise money and more importantly, awareness of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, also known as ALS. Between July 31 and August 18 of 2013, the charity had raised $1.8 million dollars. In the same time period of 2014, they have raised over $42 million. The rules are simple: first, accept the challenge, and pour ice into a bucket of water; second, you pour the bucket over your head; third, you challenge others by name to do the same. You donate a certain amount if you do the challenge, but if you choose to pass on the challenge (as some have done), you must donate a larger amount. The point of this challenge is obviously to raise money for research, so both challenger and the challenged should donate. That’s the bare bones of the whole thing.

Now to my rant.

I have been following along on social media a certain trend, if you will. Some people deride the challenge as being a “waste of water”, and a “chance at 15 minutes of fame”, and even “selfie grandstanding”. Others think the challenge is stupid because it’s not “jackass” daredevil enough. I have seen friends of friends say that it is better to send bottled water to Africa than to do this challenge. I have seen friends complain about it filling their media feed. Well, my turn to say something.

WHAT THE HELL, PEOPLE??

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Every day for a month we are inundated in pink. PINK!! And I don’t mean her music, either. Every organization, from the NFL to Hollywood to airlines to grocery stores to every single thing wears or decorates in pink to “bring awareness” of cancer. Hell, you can get a Kitchen Aid® mixer in a special shade of pink just for that campaign. They wear pink to “support awareness”. What the hell does that do? Who DOESN’T support awareness?? Putting a pink ribbon on everything doesn’t mean a thing. Most people are not aware that when they buy a pink ribbon pencil or a pink ribbon apron that the money is not necessarily earmarked for a breast cancer research foundation like the Susan G. Komen Foundation™. In fact, most of it isn’t. Only certain things specifically endorsed as having its proceeds go to a foundation are earmarked. But people still do it, and charities (plural) raise MILLIONS towards research. And yet some of the same people who complain about the Ice Bucket Challenge have no problem with Pink October. Seems a bit hypocritical to me.

Look, I’m not saying you have to do the challenge. I’m not saying don’t send water to Africa. And I’m certainly not saying you shouldn’t donate to breast cancer research. What I am saying is, no harm, no foul. You don’t like it on your feed, adjust your damn settings and quit complaining. Social media doesn’t belong to you. This has done more to increase donations to a worthy cause than anything I can recall. I do think that whole “it wastes water” is a bunch of hooey, seeing as most of the water ends up on a lawn in most videos. But it makes you seem rather small when you complain about a challenge that is harmless to you and to the participant. My grandmother-in-law passed away from ALS, and a very good friend of mine has lost family members to it, and now her mother has it. Unlike breast cancer, ALS cannot be treated so research is vital. Taking the challenge is a way to show others that you aren’t afraid. If you would rather donate directly, as we do every year, go to the ALS Association website.

And enjoy the fact that you can help, and cool off at the same time :)


Nothing Is Ever Lost

As usual, I have big plans. BIG plans. The kind of plans that require hiring some movers for a day.

I’m a dynamo but even I have limits, especially when it comes to moving a sleeper sofa down a flight of stairs.

Over the course of the next month, I will be moving Son upstairs into his own domain. He will now have his own bathroom, gaming area, study area and a nice full sized bed. Oh, and his own closet. Because he has a loft bed, the only room that had the high ceiling to accommodate it is the study, which has no closet. So, he was using the hallway closet to throw all his clothes and shoes hang up his stuff. This is how he felt when I informed him of my plan:

freddie mercury meme

Anyway, in the course of preparing the upstairs for his eventual move, I decided to start organizing all of my craft stuff, as I have been intending to do for the past year. Look, it is a certain fact that messy people are very creative, and I tend to live up to that standard. As I began to organize my clutter, I began to “find” things which I had “lost”.

  • Two pairs of earrings
  • My mom’s old brooch
  • Our tickets to the 2006 World Cup Semifinal match between Italy and Ukraine*
  • Four jars of gesso
  • One pair of socks
  • Several graduation announcements of family members
  • A coffee mug
  • Three hair clips and two scrunchies
  • My stash of 80’s cassettes

(* Yes, we had tickets to the semifinal match. Unfortunately, we also had non-refundable tickets to Paris, and since we were leaving for the US the following Tuesday, Paris won out. Before anyone freaks out, I offered to give up the trip to Paris for Hubby, and he decided that it would be more fun to tour Paris than to sit in a crowded stadium. So there.)

I had no idea I had so many jars of gesso. I suppose I kept thinking I had used it up and went out to get more. But I was elated to find my mom’s old brooch. I remember her wearing it to special occasions when I was little. I thought I had lost it in the move back to the US and had mourned its loss. And imagine my surprise to find my stash of cassettes. CASSETTES, PEOPLE!! There is something so satisfying about listening to a cassette that you have played so often, it is warped. Yes, I still have cassette players, and even a turntable. And now I have an urge to go listen to Warrant and Def Leppard. I’ll even wear a scrunchie while I blast “Animals” on the cassette player while I finish cleaning my craft area.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll find my UHF videocassette :D


On Being a Pollyanna

One of my favorite Disney films is Pollyanna. I love watching it, even at this stage in life. Hubby thinks it is too simplistic, but in its defense it is tailor-made for children. As usual, Disney deviated from the original story in order to give the impression of a happier ending. But the simple lessons override that.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Mrs. Snow (Agnes Moorehead) plays a cantankerous hypochondriac with the belief that she is not long for this world, and is determined to make everyone around her as miserable as she feels. After many tries to make her feel better, Pollyanna explodes and informs her that she should be happy that so many people do care, instead of complaining about insignificant and surely non-existent maladies. Simply, no matter how bad things are, there is always someone who cares for you.

Don’t shut yourself from the world.

Mr. Pendergast (Adolphe Menjou) is a hermit. He wants nothing to do with humanity, and wishes to be left alone. When he catches Pollyanna and Jimmy skulking around his house, he tries to scare them away, only to find that by putting Jimmy to work, he finds a lonely soul to fit his. Simply, one is never truly alone in the world.

The Greater Good is neither great, nor good.

Aunt Polly (Jane Wyman) is the town paragon, her father having founded it. She thinks of herself as the pillar on which everyone should rely. She controls the town to honor her father, and refuses to let it change, thinking she knows best. SHE will pay for this, and SHE will pay for that, but in return people have to be grateful, and she also expects the town to adhere to her personal beliefs, which includes controlling the church itself. It takes Pollyanna’s accident to make her see what love and charity really are. Simply, one should do acts of kindness for others, not for oneself.

Always find a reason to be glad.

That was her jones. Pollyanna always looked for the good, or the best, or the happy in people, in places, in things. She had an awful dress, but was glad it wasn’t boy’s trousers. Her father had asked for a doll in the missionary barrels, but received a pair of crutches. She was glad she didn’t need them. Simply, there is always a silver lining.

Sometimes we are bogged down with unfortunate events, sad news, things that are out of our control. I used to be full of worry and angst over the minutiae of every day. Did a payment go through? Did I answer that email? Is the water filter working? One day my daughter (she was 8 years old at the time) asked me why I was always so unhappy. And then my husband asked why I was angry all the time. I hadn’t noticed how my state of mind affected everyone around me. And then I remembered this movie, and found a reason to be glad. Oh, I’m not happy all day. I’m Puerto Rican, after all. But I do find something to be happy about every day.

And that makes all the difference :)


Still Here, Sorta

These past few days have been a bit more hectic than usual. Eldest is getting ready to start her new adventure as a sailor, Son is beginning his senior year in high school, and Little One is in marching band. Meanwhile, I am slowly coming to grips with the fact that my baby is leaving in less than a month, so I have been reorganizing the house.

Room, by room.

It’s not easy. I keep finding baby photos, kids’ art, love notes, hospital ID bracelets (don’t ask), and sundry items detailing every year of their lives. I also found a pair of earrings I had been missing since 2009, so I have that going for me. Still, I need to find a better way to organize all of the mementos.

(We interrupt this post in order to pick up my new ceiling fan from Lowes, so have a funny.)

ruining games lol

Hopefully I will be back in the groove of spilling all sorts of weird crap entertaining y’all with my boring life exploits. Maybe. I am toying with the idea of moving Son to the upstairs and making his current room an office-slash-craft room. And perhaps I may get a formal dining set for the dining room, which currently holds the mouse cage and two kennels.

*sobs*

I just want my house to look normal. And don’t tell me that’s a setting on the washing machine. I watch HGTV.

So, lots on things on the horizon, mostly in the vain hope to keep from becoming too anxious over Eldest leaving home. And getting Son ready for college. And having to deal with Little One not being a baby any more. That usually calls for a box of Hostess™ Cupcakes. Thank goodness they are back because otherwise it would be a box of wine :D


Sometimes It’s Not My Fault

I am usually the first person to admit fault in anything. Out of sweetener? My fault I forgot. Dead flowers? My bad for not checking the water. Dog had an accident? Oops…. forgot to let her out in time. I don’t mind accepting the responsibility, since most of the time it is easily rectifiable.

Except when it comes to my sister. It’s her fault everything she borrows from us gets ruined.

But there is a line that I do not cross. I won’t take the blame for something that I never did. A few evenings ago, Hubby and I were in bed watching TV, because there was a Monk marathon and that’s one of my jones. Anyway, he soon tired of it and decided to turn on his side, facing me, to go to sleep. Unfortunately, he didn’t notice that my leg was curled up facing him.

Hubby: *whimpers loudly*

Me: Are you ok??

Hubby: *gasps* That really hurt.

Me: What?

Hubby: You kneed me in the….

Me: WHAT? No I didn’t! I haven’t moved!

Hubby: Yes, you did…. *whimpers*

Me: No, I didn’t. You nutted me in the knee!!

Hubby: *stunned silence*

I would never, ever damage fruit of his loom. That’s like cutting off the heels to a pair of Louboutins because you tripped over your shadow. Makes absolutely no sense. So yes, sometimes it’s NOT my fault, and he should deal with the consequences ;)


When Progress Regresses

Tuesday, I was at the Dept. of Public Safety, Driver’s License office.

Yes, the dreaded DMV.

Normally I never have a long wait. The office is small and out of the mainstream, so it’s usually quiet. The longest I have ever had to wait was maybe 30 minutes. In retrospect, I have never waited long at any DMV office. I hear the agonizing stories from friends near and far, and I wondered why I had such good luck in my experiences with the government entity in charge of your identification.

I wonder no more.

You see, back in the old days, circa 2012, one would go into the office, pick a number, and proceed to wait until their number was called. It was a simple procedure and it was designed to service everyone regardless of reason. If you were there to take a test, you had to take a number, then be called, then they would issue you another number and you would go wait in another area to take your written or driving test. Simple and straightforward.

Take-A-Number1

Yesterday, I went in with Son to get his driver’s permit. I walk in and find a new contraption in the number dispenser’s place.

kiosk

Well, ok….. Son takes a number and we are instructed to look for our approximate waiting time on the NEW AND IMPROVED BOARD. The new board is divided into four groups: renewals/ replacements, driving test, new DL or ID, and “other”. And we realize that in a room of maybe 16 people, our wait time is almost three hours. At this time my Spock ears started twitching because there was a metric ton of logic missing from that estimate. So I began to converse with those waiting in Hell line. One lady had been there for two hours already, for a renewal. A young man was the ONLY one in line for a driver’s test, which the board said would be in five minutes, for the last hour. Something was off, but in my experience sugar is always better than vinegar. Unless you are making sauerkraut, I guess. I look around and see a sign for appointments, so I asked one of the DMV workers if they took appointments. And thus clarity began to form.

It turns out that office recently began to take appointments. You call and make an appointment for a certain day and time, and walk in when you are ready. But the website is ALSO taking appointments, without the co-ordination of the actual office workers taking phone appointments. So in the quest to make things easier for people who can’t or wish not to wait, the appointments are lumped in the “first come, first serve” basis even if you aren’t there. So someone that has a 9:00 AM appointment will be ahead of the person who came in and took a ticket at 8:05 AM. Before, if you needed to do anything at the DMV, you had to come in and wait your turn like everyone else. Now, not so much. The young man who was told he would only wait for another five minutes? He left after almost a three hour wait.

I’m not against technology or progress, but I am definitely in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” camp. This is why I still use stationery and am scouring the flea market for a typewriter and a rotary phone ;)


Life is Like a Cup of Coffee

Yesterday I was doing some grocery shopping. Kids were complaining of a decided lack of sustenance in the pantry, mainly junkfood. I was complaining of a decided laziness in their bones that prevented them from actually cooking what was available. But I was running very low on coffee and creamer and decided my needs outweighed my crankiness, so off I went to Walmart. Why there? because I didn’t feel like putting on make-up, ok??

Anyway, I got some general school supplies, some new anti-wrinkle cream, just random crap. Eventually I make it to the coffee aisle, whereupon I begin to make my selections: Donut House coffee and some hazelnut cappuccino for Eldest. Standing in front of the vast selection of K-cup coffee is an older couple, looking a bit dazed and confused. Having been in a similar circumstance when I first got my Keurig™, I decided to offer any help in picking out coffee. I’m not a connoisseur by any means, but I figured I knew a bit more than they did. I asked them if they needed any help, and the gentleman turned to me to thank me and asked me for advice.

That’s when I noticed his cap. He was a Marine, and had served in WWII and Korea. He was a little stooped, but when I asked him about his service he stood a little more straight as he spoke of his time in the Marines. He never spoke of the gore and the violence, though. He talked about the field, and his friends, and how even now he sometimes put coffee grinds between his gum and cheek so he wouldn’t wake his wife by using the coffeemaker. He talked about how the only fights he had were over who got the first cup of joe before patrol (first one done, was first one out on patrol). Coffee, he said, kept him sane and kept his world going. As I shook his hand to wish him well, he noticed my Aggie ring. He asked what class I was, and then proceeded to tell me of the Aggies he knew from his time in service: the Aggie who rescued cattle at the expense of a truck’s tires; the Aggie who made pigeon stew; the Aggie who sang before battle. He told me that every Aggie he knew was made from something he could never define, but that was easily recognizable. I told him I felt the same way about my Marine friends. He laughed and told me I was probably right. As I thanked him for his service, he asked me to thank my husband for his. When I asked him how he knew my husband was in the service, he pointed to my purse: Hubby’s Purple Heart, which I always carry with me, was sticking out. I laughed and thanked them both for a lovely time spent in the coffee aisle. They waved and wished me a good day.

In truth the medal could have been my dad’s or my brother’s or mine. But he is a gentleman of another era who learned that only men go into combat. His memories will soon leave us without record but that of what he chooses to leave behind. In that moment, I felt very small. I had been in the presence of greatness by virtue of history. I pray his story is told for a long time, and that children learn good things from it, like the reason those men fought over a cup of coffee.


Tuesday Sithy

You know, if this were an actual league, I would buy jerseys and give a darn about a team, or five.

the vaders football helmet

You can find them all here. Originally found at Imgur.

Now I’m off to go to the DMV to get Son’s driver’s permit. I have been trying to accomplish this for a week, which is why I have been remarkably absent around here, and which is also why y’all get a Sithy today. Otherwise I would be ranting and raving about government offices and no one has time for that ;)


I’m Not Old Enough For This

I am a bit freaked out today. Today marks a turning point in my life, and as much as I wished to be ready for it, I don’t think I am. No, nothing bad has happened. Everyone is in good health and accounted for. Also, I have my vehicle back so I am once again mobile, as in mom taxi. No, I am simply overwhelmed by the fact that today is my Eldest’s 19th birthday.

woman crying

WHAT HAPPENED????

It was just a while ago that she was catching lizards and geckos outside. Wait, that was literally two or three days ago. But I still remember her coming to me and asking for a pony tail, and picking out her “on”*. I still remember her asking for her sippy cup. I remember going Easter egg hunting and finding ladybugs to catch instead. I remember her crawling into bed with us when she heard thunder. Now she runs outside to take photographs of rain clouds and lightning. It wasn’t too long ago that she was asking for my help in shopping. Now she drives herself and gets whatever she needs.

*sobbing uncontrollably*

I’m not old enough for this. She was the first to make me a mother, and the first to make her way into the world. Her path to adulthood has not been without mistakes, but she has learned from those pitfalls and in that she has shown a maturity that is beyond her years. My baby is growing up, and all I can do is kick her out of the nest encourage her to fly.

I’m not old enough for this. But I do have to accept it. I take comfort in the fact that I will always be her momma. She may think I am a fuddy duddy and don’t know what I’m talking about right now, but just wait. She will face up to my wisdom soon enough ;)

*An “on” is a pony tail holder or hair clip. When they were little, I would hold one up to the girls and ask, “Do you want this on?” They understood “on” to be the name of the item. And they do call them by that to this day :)


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