Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tip of the Day

When making meringues NEVER substitute Splenda for regular sugar.

Another culinary disaster!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Ain't Got No. . .

Mr. Fixit wanted to change his withholding status on his W-4 form. Since his company no longer has Human Resource people in stores, he must go to the company's website with any HR problems.

The website indicated that that there are two ways to change one’s withholding: one can either send an email requesting the change or log in to the website and make the change online.
Since we always seem to have a problem logging in, I wrote an email with all the pertinent information asking that the status be changed.

This is the reply I received. It is verbatim except for blocking out identifying information.

“In order to assist you with your request you can access your federal and state with holdings under *** on the ******* website depending on the state that you are in you can change it yourself or you need to fax in a signed request for us to change it for you.”

(Keep in mind that Mr. Fixit’s employer is one of the largest retail chains in the country.)

Whoever wrote this reply needs a few more lessons in sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and spelling (with holdings?). Sad, isn’t it?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Br-r-r-r! The temperature is up to 16 degrees outside my window from 8 degrees when I woke up this morning. I've only seen it this cold once in the 26 years we've lived here. I'm expecting the water pipes to start bursting any minute. I wonder how many of Ben's trailers have burst pipes this morning. I don't envy him being out in the cold this afternoon to fix them when we are expecting even colder temps tonight. We had one pipe burst in a cold snap before Christmas. I got up several times during the night to let the water run a bit hoping that would help.

And, heat pump heating stinks! The thermostat is set at 70 degrees; the temp indicated on the thermostat is 64 degrees. Mr. Fixit is filling up the kerosene heater as I type.

I realize that many people would think that 16 is balmy compared to what they are experiencing, but for us Carolinians this is darned cold!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Hero!

Tonight a few minutes after 8:00 pm the phone rang. Caller ID indicated a call originating from a different area code than ours and the caller was identified as “City Watch Alert.” I had never heard of it, but I decided to answer. A recorded voice said, “Please hold for an important message.” Just as I was about to hang up, I heard another voice mention a missing elderly gentleman missing from his home up the hill from us. He had been missing since 6:00 pm. The weather is nasty—rainy and cold—and he was described as being 79 years old.

I told Mr. Fixit about the call. He said he thought he would take a walk around the neighborhood to see if he could see the poor man. He had just done his daily routine on the treadmill so I was a bit worried about his going out into the cold, wet night, but he went anyway.

He called me about twenty minutes later to say that he and two other men had found the old man. He wasn’t too far from his home, but he was in an out-of-the-way place wrapped in plastic that he had found. He said he was very cold. They took him back to his home and notified the police so the search could be called off.

Mr. Fixit—What a guy!

A Dad and His Whistle

Give a dad a whistle and he turns into a maniacal coach yelling at his players perhaps forgetting his basketball players are kindergarten age.

These basketball coaches should take a few lessons from the little guy baseball coaches who seem to be much more laid back. There are a few exceptions among the baseball coaches, but only a few.

What is it about basketball that turns usually mild-mannered dads into winning-is-everything coaches?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Big Brother Is Watching Me

Being a fan of British mysteries, I have requested and received more than a few videos from Net Flix. At the beginning of some of the videos is the logo of “Acorn.” I assume it is the distributor of the programming.

Yesterday I received a catalogue from “Acorn” offering videos of British programming of all kinds and rather expensive gift items. I wondered how I made it to their mailing lists since I have never purchased any of their videos; I have only rented from Net Flix and watched the ones available through my local library and recorded some from television.

I have also received a couple of advertisements from companies that mentioned that since I purchased such and such movies I may enjoy their product similar to the ones I purchased. The movies mentioned in the offer were purchased from Amazon. The new offer was from a company other than Amazon.

Did I sign away from privacy rights? I don’t think I like Net Flix or Amazon selling my renting and purchasing information, as well as my name and address, to other companies. It’s rather like having the FBI or Homeland Security checking up on my reading list at the library. What other information have they been sharing, my credit card numbers perhaps? It’s very disturbing to me; my paranoia is alive and well. I suppose it’s harmless unless they are sharing my credit information. My movie preferences are rather benign—mysteries and thrillers for me and westerns and comedies for Mr. Fixit, but nonetheless, they are nobody’s business but mine.

If I did unknowingly agree to the companies “sharing” my information with others, how do I rescind the agreement? Or do I have no say-so in the matter? Time to “Contact Us” it seems.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Gift

While I received many nice gifts this year, this is my favorite. The children gave these travel mugs to Mr. Fixit and me.

These are the pictures on the cups.

The first one is all five grandchildren, and the second one shows that not all little guys are that fond of the Jolly Old Elf. You have to agree, this must be the real Santa, not one of his "helpers."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

May I Have a Do-Over?

A lot of people are glad that 2008 is over and are eagerly awaiting 2009 to bring better times. I’m not one of those people. By the time a person gets to be my age, you realize that time passes too quickly. I would gladly re-live 2008 (even with the endless campaign ads) if it meant I could stretch my time on this earth. There are too many hours just to enjoy life, too many books to be read, too many movies to be seen, and too many back roads to be explored. I need every minute of every day and more.

My usual resolutions about losing weight and emptying the to-be-ironed basket are being completely ignored. I’m 63 years old. Even if I lost weight I would still have floppy arms, loose jowls, and a sagging butt so why worry (apart from health concerns). The diet Mr. Fixit is on now will certainly lead to some weight loss for me, too, so I’m not going to worry about it. And guess what, that to-be-ironed basket will be full the day after I iron everything in it so why bother? I’ll continue to iron on a need-to-ironed basis.

I would like to keep my house cleaner, but who cares about the clutter when Mr. Fixit suggests that we run to Wal-Mart or to one of the nearby towns for a bit of finger-shopping. (Finger-shopping is a term my mother used when one goes shopping but buys nothing. Hmm, perhaps that description sounds a little felonious. There’s no shoplifting involved. It means you shop, pick things up, examine closely, and then put them back on the shelf.) Who cares about a few dirty dishes in the sink when Mr. Fixit says, “Let’s see where this road goes.” (I have no idea where to put the question mark in that sentence so I just left it out.)

(My one resolution should be to stop using parentheses.)

I do wish for a better world in 2009, but I’m not holding my breath. I would like to wish everyone contentment in the coming year. Happiness is fleeting; contentment lasts a lot longer.