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Friday, September 19, 2014

Smart Cars are Too...


By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for “Driving for Dummies”  

“Tower, this is Medicare Mom Six-Niner, ready for takeoff.”

“I read you loud and clear Medicare Mom.  I have you on GPS and a visual. Rear camera is alive. Dogs, bicycles, and fences are out of range.  You are cleared for takeoff. Start your engine.

“Engine START.”

“Medicare Mom this is the tower; voice recognition is not available on this model.  Use the key."

“Roger that Tower.  Inserting the key, ignition ignited, now adjusting seat elevation.”

“Roger that; you are doing fine.”

“Tower, the running lights are malfunctioning.”

 “That’s because you activated the rear windshield wiper."

“Turning off the windshield wiper….now.”

“That’s the alarm.”

“Disengaging the alarm…now.”

“On Star how may I help you?”

“Disengaging On Star….now.”

“That’s the radio.”

 
“On Star, do you need assistance?"

“Re-disengaging On Star…now."

“Medicare Mom, this is the Tower.   Just hit menu”.

“Oh, good, can I order McDonald’s now?”

 “No.  That is the menu for selecting which screen you want.”

“I knew that.  Tower, would you check the thermal readings.  It seems a bit warm.”

“Thermal readings are within normal range.  You have activated the driver’s seat seat warmer.   Locate the thermal seat actuator, located to your right below Screen A, disengage by tapping not swiping.”

“Tower, Medicare Mom here, could you repeat that. The windows are fogging up."

“Medicare Mom , below Screen A.”

“Tower, searching for Screen A, is that for the air conditioner?  Is it that a red button”

“No.  Do not touch the red button.  I repeat, do not touch the red button."

 “Tower, if the red button is for air conditioner, I’m touching it.”

“Medicare Mom, the red button is SOS.  It is a special button to be used only in emergencies.  Do you copy?”

“Tower, I copy.  The red button, SOS, Stamp Out Stupidity. Must be used in D.C. a lot.  Tower it is HOT in here."

“Tell you what we are going to do, Medicare Mom.  Look to your right… that’s your left...right RIGHT.  Now look for the picture of a chair with wavy lines coming off of it. That is the car seat seat warmer.  Push that little BLACK square with your finger.”

“Pushing BLACK square ...now.  Thanks, Tower.  Temperature is dropping.”

“So am I, dropping off duty that is.  Medicare Mom, I’m turning you over to Supervisor Bitt. He will take it from here.”

“Medicare Mom Six-Niner, this is Ray.  Let’s take this one step at a time.”

“Roger, Ray Bitt.”
 

 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

GMC, Chrysler, Chevy Listen Up, Down, and Over


By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for automatic covered wagon

Recently I have been watching car commercials, the ones where the car automatically stops before your foot hits the brake or stops when you are about to back into something.  There was even one where the car automatically signaled that a car was in your blind spot. Considering that yesterday I took out the picket fence… for the second time, but not in the same day, I am considering getting one of those.

I already have a car that has a backup camera that beeps at me when I get too close to a curb, bush, basket, or anything within range but it only shows what is directly behind me. It can tell me how to get from A to B, if I have an address, where the nearest gas station is or McDonald’s which is equally important.  If I am running low on gas, my car will beep at me.  It ding-dings if I forget my seat belt.  It dongs and flashes if I leave the turn signal on too long.  I can even speak to it and have it call someone.  The control panel resembles that of a 747 airplane.  Want to know air pressure in any of the tires?  Push a button. What that means, I don’t know. Want to adjust the temperature for passengers to the left or in the back seat, push a button.  Pretty smart car.

However, I figure if I wait just a bit, I can purchase the ultimate car of the future.  First, and most importantly, this car is going to have a trash compactor for McDonalds cups, wrappers, and straws, old homework papers, newspapers, flyers, notes from school, plastic bags  and other assorted debris that will then be converted into fuel.

Next it is going to have a computer program that allows me to log in all the times for the kids’ karate lessons, ballet lessons, games, practices, orthodontist appointments, and school holidays, then I won’t leave one sitting at the ballet studio for 30 minutes like I did on Wednesday.  When I turn on the key, the car will ask “Do you have both children?  Today is pizza day, no need for lunch kits. School starts at 8:05 you are ten minutes behind schedule take FM213 and proceed at 67 miles per hour."

It will have an automatic locking accelerator and doors that will activate when it senses I am turning into Wal-Mart for the third time that day.  That alone will save me enough money to pay for the device.

One of the best features it will have is the automatic full length Plexiglas backseat divider that will rise from the seat the minute any anatomical part of either passenger’s anatomy crosses the DMZ.  It will also have a noise activated front seat sound-proof barrier that will drop whenever sound from the back seat reaches 3.9 decibels.

It will also have cameras on both sides of the vehicle as well as behind and in front of each wheel that can detect bicycles, trash cans, backpacks, skates, dogs, frogs, balls, and chickens.  Upon detection a mechanical voice will sound “Warning! Warning! Danger! Will Robinson,” like in "Lost in Space" or in my case “Warning, picket fence and all objects within 100 yards, Warning.”

The best safety feature will be the chauffer device.  At the end of the day, when my rear-end is touching the axil and the sun is sinking below the horizon, I will put the car on “Chauffer” simply say “Home, Jeems.”

American car makers, take note!  My husband has cash.
Tip: Hook a Wal-Mart sack around any knob in your car for disposable litter bag. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Kee Kee Koo Koo! Kee Kee Koo Koo!


By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for an agent or mid-wife

I guess it is fitting that the book is being born on Labor Day.   But having no previous experience with giving birth to anything, I was not prepared.

As most of you know I have eight adopted children.  God knew what He was doing when He sent me six children already house broken, walking, and eating solid food before He sent me a one day old baby.  But nothing has prepared me for giving birth to a book.

The gestation period for human babies is nine months.  James Patterson may be able to pop out a book in 53 days like my Shih Tzu pops out puppies in that same amount of time, but I think I am more between the Asiatic elephant and the Alpine Salamander.  The elephant’s gestation period is one year and ten months while the viviparous amphibian, The Alpine Salamander is pregnant for three years and two months. I have been carrying  this book around for two years and three months.

It took a year to write it, a year to re-write it so it made sense, then 92 days to figure out the business end.

Here it is Labor Day and the book is born.  Now what?

When I announced the birth to my Christian Writers’ Group, one member asked “How do you feel?  Are you excited?”

How do I feel?  I didn’t know.  Numb?  Depressed?  I said “I don’t know nuthin’ ‘bout birthin’ no book but from what other mothers/authors have said, I think I’m suffering from postpartum depression.  I’ve wagged this thing around for almost two and half years and all of a sudden, here it is—out in the open for all to see. And it’s little and it doesn’t do anything.  It just lays there.”

 Since I am not a normal mother, maybe I am not a normal writer.  I don’t think I am a normal writer.  What if people don’t buy the book?  What if they do and don’t laugh?  I didn’t laugh.  I mean I grinned a few times but is that worth $8.53 cents plus shipping?  But then I am always surprised when people do laugh.

So what should I do?  I can’t take it back.  It’s too late.  It’s out there.  People know!  Besides, I am not the only author.  Even if I could delete my half, then Wanda Argersinger’s half would not make any sense.

This is all Wanda’s fault anyway.  She’s had children.  She's even published books before.  She should have warned me about PPP, Post Partum Panic.  It was all fun and games when she said “Let’s write a book” and dumb me, not knowing what was ahead, said "Ok."  I may never speak to her again!

Of course now that I look more closely at it, it does look kind of cute with its little red cover.  It may have been Wanda’s art work, but it was my idea.  And the stories are laughable.  And later, years later, when I see it on a table at Barns and Noble I will think "Wanda and I created this little book of laughs." It took both of us to make this book.  Ok, maybe I will talk to her…tomorrow.

So maybe I will buy 30 copies myself and give them to my family.  Families always think your baby is darling and cute even if it is ugly and not so funny.

But what if they recognize some of the characters in the book?  What if they talk to each other?  What if they compare stories? They won't know it is all made up based on facts.  If they see themselves in the book, my family tree will look like it has been pruned down to a nub.  I will be family-less.  Cut from the will.  Chopped off the tree.  Excommunicated.  A literary orphan.  A…A... uh oh! I feel another attack of PPP coming on.  Kee kee koo koo! Kee kee koo koo!
Tip:  Read this book, then pass it on as a gift.

“Kin We're Not Related To” by Wanda Argersinger and Jody Worsham is available at Amazon.com and Create Space Books in both paperback and e-book form in English unless Jody hit the wrong button. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Where was Moses When the Lights Went Out?


By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for New England LED Lantern

Where was Moses when the lights went out?  If you said Wal-Mart you are right.  Well, Moses, Bobbie, Sharon, Jerry, Steve, me and about 200 other people.  We were all in Wal-Mart the other day when the store lost power.

Now losing electricity is a common occurrence when you live behind the Pine Cone Curtain.  Tall pine trees, shallow root system, soaked earth, and a gentle breeze will almost guarantee falling pines and downed power lines. And when you are at home it can be an inconvenience for an hour or two or eight but when you are in Wal-Mart, well that is a black-out of another color.

I was on my second visit of the day to Wal-Mart.  Hey, some social media folks hound Facebook hourly; I choose to wander the aisles of Wal-Mart two or three times a day.  My face appears on their video tapes so much that the employees call me by name.  As I went up and down the aisles noting which brands had moved up to eye level on the shelves and which ones had dropped to the bottom shelf, I heard the thunder.  A few minutes later the lights flickered, then went out. As I looked all the way down action alley I could see the rain pounding the pavement.  Might as well see if Pedigree had been bumped to the bottom shelf by Beniful.

“Jody, lease make your way to the front of the store” came from a silver haired lady wearing a blue vest. 

“I can do that, Madge.”

I moved toward the front of the store thankful for the skylights and noted the bakery and frozen food area had full lights.   A generator no doubt.  Donuts and TV dinners rule!

As I arrived at the front of the store, I glanced behind me.  It looked like the Spanish Armada of shopping carts was descending on the unmanned check out stations. Ten minutes passed, fifteen, twenty.  Pools of melting ice cream spread between ships of the Spanish Armada.  Previously frozen pizzas took on the shape of bottles and boxes beneath them in the carts.   Blue vests, maroon vests huddled with long sleeved-white-shirts-and-tie types. At one point a blue vest went from aisle shouting that it would be at least an hour possible more  before power could be restored and the cash registers would be up and running.  At that point it was as if someone had shouted:

                                                     ABANDON CARTS!

Wal-Mart emptied faster than a Baptist church on game day with a 12:10 kick-off.  The abandoned Spanish Armada was left becalmed on a sticky sea.  I hesitated wondering what to do about the half consumed Coke in my basket and the opened package of M&M’s beside it.  Hey, I got thirsty and hungry waiting for the lights to come on.  Being basically honest, I asked a Blue Vest what to do.  “Just forget about it.”  So I did.

Not knowing what the Wal-Mart policy was on semi-melted food, I was a little wary of any Wal-Mart “Specials” the next day.   However, I did notice Moses stocking up on ice cream and misshaped pizzas.

 
Tip:  Eat a full meal before you go grocery shopping.  You will save money and avoid spilled cookies, chips, crackers, and pretzels on the way to the check-out counter.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Zip Zap A-Dee-Do-Da


By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Marketing 101.

We are nearing that most wonderful time of the year…the starting of school.  To mask my total elation and lessen the clouds of gathering gloom of my soon-to-enter fourth-and-eighth grade children, I suggested a trip to Zip Nac, our very own homegrown zip line adventure course.

Keeping true to my adept bargaining skills, I chose to go on the day after the Kids Discount so I could pay the full price of admission. 

“Come on.  It will be fun.  The big finale to our summer.” 

We arrived without reservations…I mean we had not made any reservations.  As luck would have it, there just happened to be two empty spaces in the next group going out. 

“Hey, that’s my old violin teacher.  What’s she doing here?” came from the thirteen-year old.

“Former, former violin teacher.  We don’t say old and I guess she wants to zip through the trees, too.”

I signed all the necessary release forms and the children were harnessed up.  I was satisfied with Zip-Nac’s extensive safety equipment, especially the strength of their double cables capable of hoisting two cars along the zip line although I do not know why you would ever want to send two cars zipping along a cable, double or otherwise.

While the children and music teacher were zipping along the tree tops, I consulted my Summer Count Down Till School Starts clock.  Eight days, four hours, and thirty-two minutes till First Day Drop Off.  Yes.

The children finished the last Zip, all smiles with only a couple of bug smatterings showing on their teeth.

“Can we get a Zip Nac t-shirt so everyone at school will know we survived?”

“If you show up breathing, won’t that be proof enough?”

“No.”

“How about if I make you a copy of my credit card statement with Zip Nac in red?”

“T-shirt!  T-shirt!  T-shirt!”

Ok, I admit I was proud that they ascended the three story tower, swung from a tiny clip on super strong cables, and flew through the trees without crying for mercy.  T-shirts for both.

Now here is where I think they put the marketing ZAP in the ZIP.  First the kids were presented with rubber ZIP Nac bracelets.

“Only people who have completed the zip line course will have one of these.  You can’t buy them in any store so if you see someone wearing one of these, you know they have done the course.”….[all 15,282 of them].

“And if you Zipped with us today, your t-shirt is 1/3 off plus you can design your own,” came from salesperson #2.

A-ha!  My chance to revitalize my temporarily atrophied bargain seeking muscle.

“We’ll take two.”

“Follow me to our t-shirt room.”  Translation, t-shirt storage closet.

Blank t-shirts of every size and color were stacked along two walls.  On the third wall were several t-shirt transfer choices in black or white above a table with a t-shirt transfer machine.

For 1/3 off, the children were empowered to design their one of a kind, but odds are probably like someone else’s, t-shirt.  The power was intoxicating.  The nine-year-old slapped a transfer on the front of his t-shirt and placed it on the machine.  When the bell dinged, he raised the lid and ripped off the paper.  Instant transformation.  The blue shirt now had the Zip Nac logo.  He was so excited he put another transfer on the back.  Again, instant art.  Then he added CONQURED to the bottom of the front, and two more designs on the sleeves.  He looked like a Zip Line NASCAR driver.  Every part of his shirt had some kind of design or logo.  He was a walking billboard advertisement for Zip Nac. This was repeated by the thirteen-year-old.

 You can’t buy that kind of publicity.  Well, actually I did, but for 1/3 off!


TIP:  Stash some suckers or snack size candy (non melting kind) in your car to avoid over priced snacks at entertainment events.

 

 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pass the bronchitis, please!


By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for cough medicine and Depends.

I always thought walking pneumonia, or in my case walking bronchitis, meant you were sick but still walking around.  According to my doctor it means the disease is making the rounds, walking from one person in the family to the next.

I don’t know why I am surprised.  In our family, we are at both ends of the “most likely to get” spectrum, that being the young and the elderly.  It started with the nine-year-old.  Since he is prone to pneumonia, we wasted no time in getting him to the doctor for antibiotics and cough medicine only this time it was bronchitis.  Next it walked its way to Dr. Hubby who kept walking or riding on the tractor trying to outrun it which he did for a while.  Bronchitis then jumped on the teenager who was sure she would rather die than try to swallow a pill.  I was the last in line, weakened I am sure by the administering of fluids, ice cream, and cough medicine on a 24/7 basis. 

I tried to fight it on my own but at a certain age, your body is more willing to wave the white flag than you are.  Back to the doctor for a shot, antibiotics, and more cough medicine, this time prescribed by the quart for the entire family.  Pills were also prescribed for the still hacking teenager whose performance of “I’m dying from trying to swallow a pill” has been nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Most Over-acted Dramatic Near-Death Performance by a teenager with limited audience.  I am sure she will win.

To date, the nine-year-old has stopped coughing and has resumed running around shirtless chasing frogs, turtles, and squirrels in the woods.  Dr. Hubby has successfully outrun the bronchitis but not a ground wasp that nailed him on his back.  Our Academy Award Nominee has one more performance…er…pill to go.  I am working on Day 13 of the Walking Bronchitis. 

I think it has finished its walk and has stopped for a vacation in my chest.  The good news is that due to constant coughing, my waist is two inches smaller.  The bad news is the coughing has caused my bladder muscles to react in a most embarrassing way.  While the others cough and race for the box of Kleenex, I race for the bathroom. 

Sometimes I make it.

TIP:  Put several paper towels in a gallon zip-lock bag, the kind with the slider.  Makes a great portable barf bag.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Prop Dusting!


Or Cleared for Landing

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for “Raiders of the Last Crap-o-la”

 

It must be in the air or I'm just getting older or because spring was late this year, but I have been de-crapping room by room for the past month.  I started with our walk-in closet which I can now actually walk in.  Some very skinny people now have some barely worn out of style clothes to wear.  Then it spread to each kid's room.  For some reason it is easier to get rid of their “collections” than mine. 

 

I organized and labeled all my craft and sewing items in the upstairs craft room.  I really thought I had painted the floor three years ago, but once it was cleared, I realized I had not.

 

I organized the linen closet.  I see no reason to keep waterbed sheets these days, do you?   I donated them.

 

The hall walk-in storage closet was next.  Once I removed the computer towers, the monitors with the green screen, the box of mystery cords, connectors and floppy discs, three boxes of assorted picture frames, and the curtain rods not used since mini-blinds were invented, there was room for the vacuum (which had been living in the hall for the past year) and the carpet shampooer which I didn't know I had.  We will also be cooler this summer (found three fans) and warmer this winter (found two portable electric heaters.)

 

The guest room was an easy fix once I rehung all the pictures I had taken down two summers ago when I painted the room and made up the bed.  I also tackled the guest closet.  I gave up on Nehru jackets and Madras pants every coming back in style and donated those items to a traveling circus that came through town.

 

While I was at it, I emptied the freezer.  I violated the unwritten law of frozen food:  "If the label has initials, a date that does not end in B.C., a solid covering of ice at least three inches thick, and no power outages of more than two weeks, it is good."  I tossed 80% of the contents.  The raccoons, possums, and other night creatures ate well that evening even if their lips and tongue turned blue and they were shivering from internal frost bite.  

 

 And you know what?  I won't need to buy hot dogs for the 4th of July picnic next year.

 

Yesterday I emptied four desks.  I mean really, how many shoe boxes of map colors do I need?  I also discovered that I will not need to buy school supplies for the next two years and art gum erasers NEVER dry up no matter how many years they have been in the back of the desk drawer; however, sticky notes will dry up in less than a week.  I sharpened all the pencils I found and returned 27 pencils to each desk. I had enough pencils left to supply the entire third grade at my child's school.  I found ball point pens that were still writing even though the companies they were advertising had gone out of business years before and a drawer full of Magic Markers that had all lost their magic.

 

I have saved our bedroom for last, the Mount Everest of scrap paper with semi-formed ideas, the Adriana Trench of necessary but unknown computer stuff, the Atlantis of the lost and forgotten, the Antarctica of solid minutia, the Sahara of forgotten wrappers and cans … Ok that last is mostly the kids hiding their contraband under the bed when I suddenly enter the room.  Four filing drawers later and two Wal-Mart sacks of unknown wires, chargers, and forgotten passwords plus three trashcans of, well trash, I found my I-Pad, my digital camera, and a Valentine I forgot to mail…with a 28 cent stamp.  I was making progress.

 

I would like to think all this purging was leading to a more simplified, organized, and calming home, but I think I was just making more room for me to move through the house with the extra pounds I have gained.  Either way, there’s more room for all of me to get down the hallway and now the freezer has room for Blue Bell Ice Cream. 
\

Tip:  When tidying up, carry a laundry basket with you to collect "orphans" (items that don't belong in that particular room).  As you progress from room to room the orphans will find their home and you won't be running your legs off.