For a Quarter More We Could Buy You More Brain

Posted by Kathy on October 5th, 2016

washing machineEvery so often I perform one of my most-hated chores: taking our oversized comforter to the laudromat. Somehow time spent at the laundromat is some kind of wrinkle in the time space continuum, such that 1.5 hours is really a day. A whole staring-at-tumbling-laundry, God awful boring sort of day.

I load up all my crap in the car and lug the hulking blanket, along with my wallet, iPhone, car keys, detergent bottle and fabric softener sheets into the laundromat. Did I mention how much I hate this process?

So I get things going by pumping $6.50 worth of quarters into the Volkswagen-sized washing machine. I see a message on the display asking whether, for one more quarter, you want "Super Cycle."

I’m thinking "Yes, yes I would like a Super Cycle because that probably means it’ll be done faster. Like a lightening fast SUPER DUPER WASH CYCLE THAT’S DONE IN A FLASH." No, that’s not what it Super Cycle means.

I means it adds 10 minutes to the wash cycle.

10 minutes.

It’s like 4.5 hours.

But at least I had my iPhone! Did I tell you I bought an iPhone?! Changed my life. Gets you through the tough times, like waiting at the doctor’s office, standing in line at the grocery store, and Super Cycles at the laundromat.

Smartest thing I ever did.

The Last Holdout

Posted by Kathy on September 2nd, 2016

iphoneWe are shutting down our 2G network by the end of 2016.” – Your friends at ATT.

And so it begins.

I’ve been a cell phone user since 2008. The crappy kind of cell phone with the capability for only old school texting. The kind where you put only a handful of minutes on it each month for emergency calls. The kind that gets you laughed out of the room if you dare show it to anyone.

I deserve it, though. See, I’m a computing consultant by trade, surrounded by cutting edge technology every second of the day. And yet, I used a ridiculously outdated Nokia that I called my “Playskool phone” because it really was. Actually, even toddlers would point and laugh at it.

But now I have to be dragged into this century kicking and screaming because ATT won’t support my phone anymore. “Come on, Kathy. You can do it. Everybody’s doing it!”

Why have I resisted coming into the smartphone age? For a couple reasons:

1. The cost. I don’t want a new large monthly bill that I will surely have the rest of my life. We’re always trying to cut costs and now we’re negating all that effort.

2. I’m already plugged in everywhere I go, except my car and leisure stuff. Laptop at work, laptop at home, iPad at work and at home. Yup, my iPad is on the nightstand because it’s the last thing I check before calling it a night. I don’t want the last slivers of freedom from technology consumed by yet another device.

Sure, I could just let my 2G Nokia die a natural death and leave it be. Live my life cell-phone free and continue to have people question my sanity.

I was all set to fade into the connection-free abyss until I needed a phone in a bad way last weekend.

After doing steps at a local football stadium with my sister, we went to leave and I discovered my car battery dead.

Luckily, she hadn’t driven away yet and she has a phone. So I called my husband to come with jumper cables, which he did. My sister’s like “GET. A. PHONE. ALREADY.”

The next day my husband dropped me off at a job fair so I could hire a student assistant for the year. I don’t always stay at these fairs for the entire time allotted and didn’t want to tell him to come pick me up at the end. If I wanted to leave early, how would I reach him?

No phone, only email on my iPad. So the poor guy had to keep checking his email from home to see if I sent a “Come get me” message. Ridiculous, I know.

Yeah, I could have asked my table-mate to borrow his phone to make a call home, but then he’d realize I didn’t have one and I’ve had enough people laughing at me this week, thank you.

So here I am in the market for an iPhone and it’s crazy what they cost and how much the monthly bill will be. Part of me thinks I should just get a pay-as-you go Playskool phone again, but the other part sees the value in upgrading to something more full-featured.

When the gal at the ATT store laid it all out for me, I complained about cost at every turn. Data plan, cost of phones, installation fee, taxes, accessories. Even with my discount from work, it’ll cost something like $120/mo for two of us and that’s not including the cost of the phones.

The saleswoman said “Wow, I haven’t seen someone like you in a long time.”

What? Someone who’s disgusting by having to attach myself to a never-ending bill every month for something I wish I didn’t need?

I don’t know. I hate it, but I probably deep down want it. It’s like exercise. It’s good for me, but it costs time and effort. The phones and plan will cost me mucho bucks and freedom from every-waking-minute connectivity. I’m not the sort of person who can disconnect easily.

And so it begins.

In My Next Life, I’m Coming Back as a Cat

Posted by Kathy on May 31st, 2016

Every morning when it’s about time to do my cardio video in the living room, it’s the same thing.

My cat Lucky waits for me in the center of the room.

I take this as my cue to put my sneakers on.

I load up my water bottle, move the ottoman out of the way, and prepare two couch blankets in a very specific fashion.

I take the first one and fold it length-wise, then lay it across the couch, smoothing out any wrinkles. Then I take the second blanket and fold that too. I drape it over the couch in a way that creates a tent.

I now have an A-frame house for Lucky, who knows now that he can move to the end table and sit there.

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I begin the video.

For the first couple of minutes, Lucky does nothing but observe me, making sure I have good form and that I’m getting into a zone.

After that, he begins pawing at the edge of the top blanket to indicate that he’s now ready to enter his tented house.

There is plenty of room for him to just crawl through the side opening I have carefully created for him, but no. He paws at the blanket because he wants me to stop doing my cardio, go over and pick up the top blanket, pull it back, then wait for him to decide the time is right to enter.

This may take five seconds or it may take a full minute. Meanwhile, I’m losing precious cardio time. I coax him by saying “Come on, Lucky. Who’s a good boy? Lucky’s a good boy! Go on, go in!”

I encourage him as long as it takes, then he slowly makes his way through the tunnel to settle his warm little body into a nice blob under the center of the blanket. I return the top blanket to its position so as to recreate the tent, taut and well-constructed.

Here, he either makes a satisfying little noise or he says nothing.

Either way, I go back to doing the cardio. If this was a day where he said nothing going in, I go back over to the couch and poke him through the blanket until he makes the noise. I don’t know why I do this. I guess for the same reason Lucky has his routine. I have mine.

Halfway through my workout, I ask him how he’s doing – “Lucky! Is he a good boy? Yes! He’s a good boy!”

When I’m done with the video, I go back over and ask him if I did a good job today. He looks at me like he wants to answer. I like to think what he wants to say is “You did a great job, Mommy! And thank you for making my blanket tent a good one today. You’re the best Mommy! Yes, you are!”

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I love this routine of ours. I like to make Lucky comfortable each morning because we don’t know how much longer we’ll have him. He’s getting up there in age. I love that he has to have a house tent made for him “just so.” I will do it for him forever and always.

So what do you do for your pets just to make them comfortable?

The Mini Junk Drawer

Posted by Kathy on May 22nd, 2016

You have a junk drawer, right? Of course you do!

But do you have a mini junk drawer? A drawer so small that for all intents and purposes is really just decorative. It can’t even fit cutlery. It’s a dumb drawer.

We have one in the kitchen. It’s where my husband Dave and I years ago decided “This is where we shall put all our important receipts and crap. It will protect only crap of the most critical kind. We will never lose anything important if we put it in this ridiculously tiny little drawer.”

And so we did.

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Today I cleaned it out because it could finally take no more when I tried putting in a receipt for my cat Lucky’s medication. It cannot handle the addition of a 0.05mm-thick piece of paper.

As I extricated the pile of stuff, the things I realized we were saving got more and more stupid.

  • Receipts for any meaningful work we had done on the two cars we don’t even own anymore
  • Receipt for a PC our family bought Dad in 2007
  • Receipts for carpet cleaning, purchase of a storm door and new mattress and work on our garage door and microwave
  • Blood work results for my husband
  • Meals on Wheels donation receipt
  • Two Sharper Image mini catalogs
  • Black and white 35mm film (do kids these days even know what that is?) 
  • Said 35mm camera
  • A bird feeder warranty (because, you know, they go bad)
  • Zinnia “Guaranteed to Grow” flower seeds (2 packs)
  • My college transcripts (so that’s where they were!)
  • A thank you letter from 2002 for work I did on a client’s PC that crashed (what?)
  • Instruction manual for a Motorola pager. A pager!
  • Approximately 80,000 screws, nails and cables for unknown things

If this is what I fit into mini junk drawer, you can just imagine what’s in my full-service junk drawer.

The only thing I plan to leave in Tiny Junk Drawer is the meat thermometer. It shall now be known as Meat Thermometer Drawer. At least until we want to save another critically important receipt. Or flower seeds.

So where do you keep all your super duper important things?

How to Be a Thoughtful Officemate

Posted by Kathy on March 16th, 2016

MorningStar-Farms-Spicy-Black-Bean-BurgersYou know how people get all ragey when someone in the office heats up fish for lunch in the communal microwave?

You know how you want to ask them if there is possibly some other less smelly kind of food they could eat instead? But you don’t dare because it’s considered rude?

Instead, you tolerate the smell that lingers for two hours afterward and pray they don’t want fish again tomorrow. But they do. And you want to murder them. But then they finally retire and you can go about the business of smelling other people’s less offensive food choices.

And you rejoice.

But then, if you’re like me, you worry that your own food might be offensive to someone else and they’re just not telling you because rude.

And then you get all paranoid because you really like your food choice, but you don’t want the smell to permeate the entire floor of your building when you heat it in the microwave inside your office.

So what’s a gal to do?

You do this.

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I’m so paranoid now about my breakfast and lunch smells that I’ve taken to blocking the wide crack under my door during cooking, and for half an hour after. Because I’m thorough. And paranoid. And weird. Yet thoughtful.

The only problem is I don’t know if it’s working because, you know, I’m inside with my food smell and don’t know if I’m truly blocking it from seeping out. I’ll have to call someone on the other side of my floor and ask “Hey, do I stink down here?”

I’m also guilt-ridden because a friend knitted the shawl that I’m using on the filthy floor as a smell blocker and she’ll only know about it if she reads this blog post. Heather, if you’re reading, I swear I’m going to bring in an old towel instead so that I can go back to wearing the shawl instead of using it to keep my food odors from the noses of others.

Gotta keep the peace, right?