Next Available Representative

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On days like today, when I no sooner fix one problem that another one crops up, I wish I was automated so I could just say: “For Spanish, press 1” or “To speak to the next available representative, press 2.” Then I could have a nice cup of tea out on the terrace and chill.

I can’t seem to make my parents understand that I am neither a handyman nor a magician. I can’t just make things work all of a sudden and I only wish that I could make some things disappear. All of a sudden I find myself solely responsible for two of the most important people in my life and I am constantly doubting my ability to handle it all.

So, before you take on any new challenges in your life (no matter how large or how small), take a deep breath, write a list of pros and cons (if that’s your style) or talk it over with the person who knows you best. And if the phone ever starts playing that mind-numbing, ‘you’re-on-hold’ music… run like hell!

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Summer Survival Guide

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Summertime… and the livin’ is easy. Oh, Mr. Gershwin sure had it right. That’s how I remember my childhood summers – playing outside in the warm sunshine till it was time to come in for dinner; eating dripping ice cream cones before they melted down my arm; and going to ball games where the sounds and smells were like coming home.

Huh… funny how times change.

Now, as I sit inside my air-conditioned home, I can hear the visiting grandkids of our neighbors running around outside, screaming and having fun. And then I hear my Dad’s voice – yelling at them to be quiet from the comfort of his lounge chair in the living room (“bratty kids”“why can’t you go play somewhere else?”).

Later on, when the sun starts to set, we go out on our terrace to relax and breathe in the cooling air. I look over at my Dad and see him not sitting still but, rather, swatting away at the pollen endlessly blowing from the trees and the bees that have moved on from the flowers to our private domain.

When we finally surrender to the natural order of summer and come inside to watch the ball game on tv, we’re barely into the first inning when I hear Dad yelling at the screen (“you moron” – “I coulda caught that ball” – “are you blind?”).

Ahhh, the sounds of summer. The only thing missing is the smell of stale beer and sauerkraut.

And if you listen really hard, you can almost hear yourself thinking, “how many weeks till fall…?!”