Rainy Day Saving

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When I finally convinced my parents that it was time to move out of their 3-leveled townhouse (after both of them had fallen) and into a condo without stairs, the fun had only just begun.

It never occurred to me that this almost 60-years-married couple could not (and would not) part with a single item… many of which had not seen the light of day in more than half a century.

We all love our memorabilia and no one would ever suggest throwing out an original photo or a special letter. But 70+ year old school report cards, brittle clumps of no longer fine, baby hair and (there are no words) what appear to be baby teeth in little plastic treasure chests are NOT items that need to be saved and moved to yet another home.

Sometimes, ‘out with the old and in with the new’ has tremendous merit – especially when not doing so turns a home into a hoarding house!

Not Quite Seasonal

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Many days throughout the year are marked by some celebration or another. The major holidays are booming and even lesser ones are becoming Hallmark gold.

But what about those days – you know the ones – where nothing special happens and we’re lucky if we even remember them? Maybe the weather was bad or a game we wanted to watch wasn’t being televised and there was nothing else on TV but repeats… Don’t they matter, too?

Even on those unremarkable days, children are born, people die and life altering events happen halfway around the world. But we aren’t aware of any of it. We just go about our business until the next ‘big’ thing comes along.

So, next time you wake up and have breakfast and wonder what you’re going to do that day… just look at all the gorgeous colors outside your window. It costs you nothing, it (hopefully) puts a smile on your face and maybe even brightens up an otherwise ordinary (NOW seasonable) day.*

*Between one upcoming holiday and the next, casually pick a day (a Monday, for instance) and make it memorable. Go out and take some pictures; look up someone you’ve lost contact with; volunteer at a shelter (be it for humans or for our four-legged friends). Believe me… it’ll matter!

Read My Lips

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Have you ever yelled at the driver in front of you (when they stopped short for no reason) from the safety of your locked vehicle? Did you ever curse out the person in line in front of you (under your breath, of course) when they asked the cashier to check the price on several items or to ring up a few items separately for another purchase?

If either of these scenarios happened to you, did you really think the intended victim could ‘read your lips?’ And what would you have done if they could…?

I’ve thought, on more than one occasion, that another human being was:

1) Stupid
2) Illiterate
3) Entitled
4) All of the above

It’s amazing to me that people consider themselves above the law or think that somehow rules don’t apply to them.

I’ve seen people smoke in front of NO SMOKING signs; use cell phones after NO CELL PHONES announcements are made; talk when NO TALKING has been instructed and play loud music (with or without headphones) when there’s a clearly marked sign telling you that it’s NOT PERMITTED.

So, what makes some individuals decide that rules apply to everyone BUT them? I don’t have an answer to that. But I do know that, next time someone takes it upon themselves to ignore such warnings, I will not hesitate to speak my mind, loudly and clearly, so that there is no misunderstanding MY words!

Which Costs More?

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I don’t know when it is, exactly, that a person stops wanting things. Maybe if you grew up in times of war or depression, you were accustomed to doing without. We are such an entitled generation that we take most everything for granted. Sadly, we ‘expect’ rather than ‘desire.’

When we’re small it’s always, “gimme, gimme, gimme.” When we’re a bit older it’s, “I want,” “I need,” “I’m the only one who doesn’t have…” We sound like a bunch of spoiled brats. But, more often than not, our whining gets us exactly what we want.

Fortunately, at some point (usually when WE start paying for our own food, clothing, rent, gas), we get it. That’s when we have to start looking at the prices of things as well as the balance in our checkbooks (okay, we don’t really use checkbooks anymore but you know what I mean…).

So, now we begin a new chapter in our financial history book called: “Which costs more?” 

  • Dine out or cook in?
  • Movieplex or movie rental?
  • Vacation or stay-cation?
  • Bookstore or Library?

And then it hits us. The big divide between what we think we need and what we can actually afford. That’s not to say that we must give up all essentials – only those little ‘extras’ that we didn’t really need in the first place!

Two Left Shoes

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English is a complicated language. Yet most people who learn it as their second language seem to be far more fluent than the rest of us who study, say, Spanish or French for a few years in high school. Why is that? Maybe it has something to do with all those double entendres, colloquialisms and oxymorons we spout both for comedic purposes and, let’s be honest, because we misuse them… Often.

Here are a few new expressions that have popped up since I’ve started living with my parents again:

Passenger-seat driver. That one’s pretty self explanatory… When I’m chauffeuring my Dad around town on various errands, he’s always pointing out every car that he thinks is in my way or every sign that he thinks he’s reading correctly or every imminently dangerous situation that’s about to occur (in his opinion) while sitting in the passenger seat instead of the back seat – where people usually sit when they want to annoy drivers.

Upside-down knife. Imagine cutting into a nice piece of steak… and cutting and cutting and you’re about to send it back because it’s like a piece of rubber. Then you’re told it’s not the meat, it’s the knife. Meaning, the knife is upside down. You’ve been painstakingly trying to cut something with the serrated edges up instead of down. My Dad, sadly, suffers from this anomaly. But, on the bright side, think how many calories he burns in the effort. 

Two-left shoes. We’ve all heard the expression ‘two left feet’ when referring to someone (hopefully not you) who couldn’t dance. But what about someone who can’t see or feel the difference when putting his shoes on the wrong feet… It seems like they’d notice that right away, doesn’t it? Only, my Dad keeps walking up to me with his shoes on the wrong feet and asking me if they’re right. It would be beyond cruel to not correct him or, worse, to wait and see if he eventually noticed (I’m no prankster but I know there are people who find great joy in tying someone’s shoe laces together under the table in hopes that, once they get up, they’ll immediately trip).

It’s a far better idea to just laugh it off and tell him, “you must have two left shoes!” 

Over The Hill

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Over the hill… depending on which century you were born in, the end of that sentence could go one of two ways:

1) and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go OR

2) you old bag o’ bones

Those of us born in the 20th century most likely think of Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf. The rest of you probably think about the rest of US old timers. That could mean anyone over the age of 30 or pretty much anyone who still remembers:

  • cassette tapes
  • cordless phones
  • FAX machines

But, as they say, you’re only as old as you feel. Or, in dog years, you’re already dead. Or, forty isn’t old if you’re a tree. Or, once you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed. Or, as I choose to think of it, I’d rather be over the hill than under it!

Self-Serve Checkout

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I am just as guilty as the next person of sighing when there’s a ‘newbie’ at the checkout. I know they’re learning and I realize it’s to make them better at their job once they’re on their own but, seriously, every time and on every line I choose to stand on… what are the odds?

Now that it seems like I’m constantly on line buying groceries (I used to just pick up what I needed when I needed it) and picking up prescription renewals (I’m sure it would kill the insurance companies to have all the meds be due on the same day), I thought it was time to ‘check out’ the quick checkout (usually referred to as self-serve or self-check).

By virtue of its very name, I assumed it was a quick way to help myself out of the store during the busy shopping hours. But you know what they say about people who assume…

First obstacle: There is no SELF in self checkout because almost every time you weigh an item, the machine tells you to wait for assistance. Call me crazy but, if I thought I was going to need assistance, I could have stayed on line.

Second obstacle: Every item in the store is not necessarily marked and, if there’s no price or store sku, you’ll again need assistance.

Third obstacle: Just because there’s a price or sku doesn’t mean the machine can read it and… yup, here we go again.

Fourth obstacle: When it’s time to pay, oftentimes the machine won’t accept your credit card/cash/other payment. So, why did you choose this method of self-serve checkout?

Oh yeah. You were in a hurry. Or you didn’t want to stand on line. Or you’re just a glutton for punishment. Whichever the case, assume you, once again, made an ASS out of U and ME!