Saturday, August 29, 2009

An Open Letter to Our Local PBS Station

If you wouldn’t replace “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” and “Masterpiece Mystery” with “Celtic Woman” and “Motown Sounds” that I’ve seen eleventy-seven times during your fund raising, I would be more likely to send a donation.

This and That

Our weather has finally taken a turn for the better. It was hot today, but it’s pleasant outside this evening. I even sat on the deck for a little while. I hope this means that fall is just around the corner. The leaves have begun to turn and fall very early this year; it doesn’t have anything to do with the drought like it has the last few years.

Last weekend Noah had a tournament in a town about an hour and twenty minutes away from us. They were the hottest days of the baseball season yet. Those poor kids had to play back-to-back games both Saturday and Sunday. One little boy couldn’t play Sunday because he was so badly sunburned. Noah did quite well as usual.

Not much else is happening around the Fixit household. Mr. Fixit is quite happy that he's back on his normal four hours a day at work. He hasn’t worked his normal schedule for a long time. He has been working six hours a day for quite a long time, and he worked one week 40 hours.

We have some new student neighbors. Every night someone comes in about 1:00 am with the car radio blasting, and almost every night there are as many as seven or eight cars parked in the yard. They also have a dog. I can take a little noise, but I hope the dog doesn’t start chasing my cats.

There is nothing as frustrating to me as my computers. I wanted to "share" the printer connected to the old PC with the new laptop. Jason tried to help me over the phone, but it’s difficult when he can’t see what is going on. We worked until 11:30 pm one night and couldn’t get the darned thing working. The problem, I think, is the old computer uses Windows XP, and the laptop uses Vista. (I’m not too thrilled with Vista.) The next day I did a search on the error message and found that lots of people have had the same problem sharing the printer that I was having. Thank goodness, I found an easy-to-understand instruction for the solution to the problem, and I am now able to print material on the laptop. Now if I could fix the glitch in the scanner I would truly be worthy of being called The Wizard. Mind you, I’m the only one who calls me The Wizard. I uninstalled and reinstalled the scanner software, but I think I should have also included the scanner itself and started from scratch. I suppose I will just have to live with the little glitch.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Where Do They Get This Stuff?

Noah and Owen stayed with us today because their summer daycare ended Friday and school doesn't start until tomorrow.

"Spongebob" doesn't come on TV until 11:00 am. I said, "Are you guys ready for 'Spongebob'?" Owen, who begins first grade tomorrow, said without missing a beat, "I was born ready."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

At Loose Ends

Here it is Saturday morning. I feel like a sailor without a ship, a cook without a stove, a teenager without his cell phone. I feel like a grandmother with no little guy baseball games to attend. What to do, what to do?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

An Open Letter to Coca-Cola

Dear Mr. Cola:

May I call you Coca, or even Coke? You and I have a very long acquaintance, but perhaps you are unaware of it. I remember when I was three years old I would wait for the Coca-Cola delivery man to make his stop at the corner grocery my mom and dad managed. After he unloaded Dad’s order, he would give me a Coke and sit me on top of the chest-type cooler in the store. I was too shy to say much, but I remember looking forward to his visits.

Now that I think about it I realize that I have known you longer than anyone unless we want to talk about some relatives that I haven’t seen in fifty years. Some people are best forgotten even if they are relatives.

You have been a constant in my life since I was three. You were there when I walked home from school and stopped at the drugstore for a cherry Coke that cost a nickel. You have been my drink of choice for most of my life. I wouldn’t trade you for the finest wine. There have been very few days when I haven’t had a Coke.

Coke, I would like to tell you how much I like your new packaging on the two liter bottles of caffeine free Coke. It evokes memories of those curvy little eight-ounce bottles of my youth.

I do have one little problem with you, Coke. Why in the world is the bottom of your bottles designed to be so unstable? Can’t you just make them flat so that they don’t fall over in shopping cart and in the trunk of the car for the trip home? Please, please, please! Give us a flat bottom!

My New Philosophy


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eccentric or Just Plain Goofy?

Mr. Fixit and I crossed the line between quaint eccentricity and just being two old loonies. We have always spoiled our pets a bit, but we never treated them as people. In fact, we have never even given them “people” names like Sam, Max, or Emily. We have had Dandy, Sarge, Cutie, and Vicious (Vishy, for short). I decided not to name the cats we have now, but their descriptions have become their names. We have Big Boy, Little Boy, Little Girl, and Mother.

Since the cats are feral, they spend most of their time outdoors; however, when the weather is bad they come inside, but they are restricted to the kitchen and dining room. They also come in every night to have a nightcap while I do my medicine routine.

Yesterday when Mr. Fixit came home from work I told him that the Big Boy wanted to stay indoors the previous night. I explained that I thought it was because the skunk had paid us a visit. About 12:30 am the cat started meowing. (He is a very loud meower. I think he may have a little Siamese in him.) I thought maybe he wanted to go out. When I came down to let him out, I discovered that he didn’t want to go out, he just wanted some company. I sat with him for a few minutes and then went back upstairs to continue my book after turning on a nightlight for him.

Mr. Fixit said, “He barely lifted his head when I came down to have coffee. He didn’t want to go out. I thought maybe he would start meowing so I thought about turning on the television so he wouldn’t be lonely.”

I said, “Did you listen to our conversation? We were talking about nightlights and television for the cat. We are now officially goofy.”

Note: We had a cat who actually watched television. She enjoyed cartoons, wildlife programs, and westerns. Mr. Fixit made her a padded bench so she could sit comfortably in front of the set. Maybe we crossed that “goofy” line a long time ago now that I think about it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"What Do Retirees Do All Day?"

This morning in Yahoo! News I saw an article that appeared in “U.S. News” entitled, “What Do Retirees Do All Day?” According to the article, retirees (between the ages of 65 and 74) spend 9.51 hours on personal care activities. The personal activities included sleeping. I suppose that it could also include personal hygiene and related activities. Personally, I spend about 5 or 6 hours sleeping on a good night. Mr. Fixit sleeps a bit more even though he gets up at 2:00 am five days out of seven. He can fall asleep anywhere. He is a champion napper. Oh, I nap, too. Mostly it’s when my glucose levels go up. I spend about 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Perhaps it would be more honest to say I should spend 30 minutes on the treadmill.

According to the article, retirees spend 2.26 hours on household activities. Yeah, right! There is cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, and financial management (known in our house as bill paying). Mr. Fixit does the yard work, household repairs, car repairs, and he shares the shopping chores. I think we are doing more than 2.26 hours.

I noticed that there was no time allotted for Wal-Mart activities. If Mr. Fixit and I miss two days in a row, the manager of our local store asks the police to do a welfare check on us. Okay, that’s a joke! She does notice a drop in her sales for those two days though.

The article also reports that Americans in the same 65 to 74 age bracket watch about 4 hours of television a day. How can that be possible? I can watch 5 hours of “NCIS” each and every weekday. That doesn’t include the Wednesday marathon. Doesn’t everyone watch reruns of “NCIS”? Then we have 2 hours of “Bones,” and “Law and Order” is on around the clock.

Reading accounts for only 45 minutes a day for most elders. What do they think I’m doing from 2:00 am to 5:00 am when Mr. Sandman hasn’t done his job properly?

Then comes computer time. I spend about an hour and a half every day catching up on the news: local, national, and world. My day can’t begin until I read “Dear Abby” and do the crossword. I have to check my blog list to see who has some interesting and fun to say. Then every few days I spend a an hour or so posting to my blog. In the afternoons I hit my game mode. I have several sites to play computer games.

A lot of my activities overlap. I listen to more television than I watch. Most of the time I am on the computer at the same time as Gibbs is keeping me company via the TV. Or I can read and watch TV at the same time. I usually have a movie running in the kitchen while cooking and cleaning.

Then there are usually a few days a week when Mr. Fixit and I go exploring those backroads that we’ve never driven before.

We seem to be busier at this time of our lives than we were when we were both working full time and raising a family. I do enjoy the freedom though. We have choices we never had before. We can explore or Mr. Fixit can mow the yard. I can read a book or load the dishwasher. If we decide to explore or read a book, the grass will only be a little taller tomorrow and those dishes aren’t going to run away from home.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


From the time I turn on the television and check my email in the morning, I am assailed by Hate. I am sick of it!

The most virulent Hate doesn’t seem to be coming from enemies outside our borders but from inside our own country. I listen to the news and see stories of our President being maligned for trying to bring our country back from horrendous mistakes that were made by others, not him. I hear him verbally assaulted for trying to correct inequities in the health care system. I see silly stories from the so-called “birthers” who claim that he wasn’t born in the US. I have even seen the silliest story yet criticizing his birthday cake. When will those spewing Hate stop? Why do they do it?

I have my own theory that the Limbaugh’s, Hannity’s, Palin’s and Coulter’s of this world have less than altruistic reasons. Let’s face it, Hate, like sex, sells. They make big bucks spreading venomous stories. If they ever tried using intelligent argument instead of Hate and Fear and offering viable solutions for this country’s problems, they would no longer have an audience. Instead they rely on Hate and Fear to garner wealth and power which in turn feeds and perpetuates their enormous egos.

I am not saying that there is no room for argument and differences of opinion. As a nation, we support debate. We are a nation that was built from toil of different races. We offer the freedom to worship as each individual sees fit. These are the some of the reasons that we are the greatest nation in the world; will this internal Hate bring us to our knees?

The general public seems to be thriving on a steady diet of Hate. What is really surprising to me is that the people who listen to the hatemongers and spread the vileness claim to be good Christians. Why are they ready to believe everything these people say? Maybe it because it plays into the Hate that’s deep in their souls for anyone different that they are. They try to hide their bigotry by invoking the name of God at every turn while spreading their malignant feelings. What happened to the slogan that was everywhere a few years ago—WWJD? Do they think that Jesus could harbor such vile Hatred in his heart for all his children? Maybe they should take a good look into their own hearts. How will they be judged by Jesus who taught love, forgiveness, charity, tolerance, and peace?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dusting Off My Soapbox - Kids & Cell Phones

A few days ago in a local newspaper an article appeared reporting a controversy in a Georgia school system. The school board is contemplating implementing a new rule concerning use of cell phones in the classroom by students. The penalties seemed quite mild to me—confiscation of the phone for a period of three days for the first offense and requires parents to collect the phones. The holding period the next offense is a bit longer; the next, even longer. The article stated that most parents support the rule and the confiscations. Of course, most of the students are against the measure. These are some of the cogent, intelligent remarks made by the students. One young Einstein offered, “That’s stupid.” Another said, “We need the phones in case of emergency.” Uh-huh. Perhaps the emergency necessitating a text message could be “Dude, what’s the answer to No. 11?” or “Whassup?” Or perhaps a little emergency sexting?

What I found most interesting in the article was the support of most parents. It seems to me that they have given over one more facet of parenting to the school system. If they don’t want their children distracted from their educations, why don’t they make and enforce that rule themselves? Why does a kid need a phone in the classroom? If you can convince yourself that your child needs a phone at school, give it with the condition that the phone is to be left in the locker. If the child doesn’t obey the rule, take the phone away. More than likely, the parent is paying for the phone and its service; therefore, it belongs to parent and should be given to the kid with that understanding. Don’t wimp out—enforce your rules. Don’t cede your parental authority to a beleaguered educational system that has been given more than it can handle. Let the teachers educate; don’t make them surrogate parents. As parents, it’s our job to teach ethics, morals, etiquette, and good citizenship.

And if your child has his phone confiscated in school, support the school. Not all rules are made to be broken.

Monday, August 3, 2009


It seems we spend a lot of our time at baseball tournaments, but I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend.

Cole's team who played in the Charleston World Series was ranked 5th in the 13 and under division and 2nd in the State of South Carolina. Would it be too grandmotherly to say that Mr. Fixit and I are very proud of Cole and his teammates? Maybe I should just skip that part, huh?

Noah and his team had a tournament this past Saturday and Sunday. They won two games and lost two games. We don't know yet how they were ranked.

Saturday Mr. Fixit and I drove across the state to see some of his relatives who were camping near Myrtle Beach. It was a long round-trip drive, but he enjoyed seeing his nieces again. We only had one day because we wanted to see Noah play ball at least one day.

Mr. Fixit in his "Dirt Devils" team tee shirt, front view.

Mr. Fixit, back view.

Noah, our little "Dirt Devil."

As usual, click to enlarge.