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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Olympic Car Driving

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for a bicycle.

For the very first time in my life I went on an adventure all by myself; ok, half way by myself. My sister and her husband drove me as far as Biloxi, Mississippi and I went on to Florida alone.

My training for this event began as I tried to rent a car on line. I made it as far as "What size car do you want?" Once upon a time there were cars; just cars, not big cars, not little cars, not compact cars, not sub-compact cars, not economy cars, not midsize cars, not SUV's, not smart cars, not luxury cars, just cars. And their names were Chevrolet, Ford, Pontiac, Dodge, and Cadillac not Cobalt, Hyundai, Taurus, Elantra, Toyota, Avio, Kia, Fiat, Peugeot, Scamp, Swinger, Jeep, not Escalade, Escapade, Marmalade, or Just Made. I called the car rental place and asked a live person to hold a car for me. "Yes, what size would you like?" "An average size car for one person and one suitcase," I said.

I arrived the next morning to pick up my average size car. The rental agent seemed friendly enough. The car seemed friendly enough. I smiled in a friendly manner, signed the papers, paid the fees, and got the keys. I put the key in the ignition, pushed the gear shift forward which immediately activated the windshield wipers. Through much trial and error, I managed to deactivate the windshield wipers. However, when I tried to remove the key from the ignition to put my suitcase in the trunk, the anti-American automotive brat wouldn't turn loose. My niece said I had to push then pull. It worked but then there was no key hole in the trunk when I tried to open that. "Here, it's in the door." "What's in the door, the trunk?" "No, the button to open the trunk. "Why isn't it on the dashboard" "I don't know, but see there's a picture of the car with the trunk open." "In the door, at the bottom?" "Give me your suitcase." I located the real gear shift in the floor, waved good-by, and drove to the nearest gas station as I was on empty.

That's when the friendship really ended. The car was definitely un-American. No matter where I pushed or pried, or banged I could not open the hinged gasoline cover. I looked all over the dash for some kind of picture of a gas cap. I looked in all the unlikeliest places under the seat, in the backseat, in the glove compartment, above the visor, even the door.

After ten minutes I went inside the station. "I know this is a dumb question, but do any of you know how to put gasoline in this Hyundai rental car?" A child around twenty-two years old said "I do. I have a Hyundai." We walked out to the car. I was trying to push then pull to get the key in the lock to open the door. "You know you can just push the button on the key ring?" "Yes, thank you. I knew that." She opened the door and pointed to an itsy bitsy rectangular button with a picture of a teeny tiny Smurf sized gasoline pump stamped on it at the side of the driver's seat. Now who, but an unfriendly nation, would put the electronic switch to the gasoline cap on the floor of the car? "Thank you," I said again as the child walked away not quite stifling a giggle.

Car 1, Driver 0. The foreign car may have won this round, but there are more events to come. Next week GPS Let the games continue. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Scratch That!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for a scratching post

As you slowdown in life, the allergies that have been chasing you for the past sixty-five years finally catch up. I'm sure if you are in, near, or close to my current decade, you have noticed slight changes in your digestion. Lactose is no longer your friend so you become intolerant. Strawberries start to give you hives. Prunes become your fruit of choice…by default. Almonds and other nuts can suddenly make you itch for no apparent reason.

The other night I was awakened at three a.m. with itchy boobs. Now I know what you are thinking, but that isn't the case. My scalp, ears, knees, arms, and back also began to itch. I tried scratching with my finger nubs, a brush, the door facing…I was headed for the metal bar-b-q grill brush when I passed the medicine chest and remembered the Benadryl.

When I awoke, two days later, I suspected the almonds. In my futile attempt to lose weight the last two days, I had opted for the Asian Salad covered in almonds with the fewest calories at Mickey D's. I had eaten that two days in a row and on the third day the itching began.

While food choices must change, or will, you begin to invest large amounts of money in Benadryl, Calamine lotion, anti-histamines. That may not be the only thing you must change.

The laundry detergent I have used for ten years, I suspect has turned on me. Good old Arm and Hammer laundry detergent is exhibiting more hammer than arm. That is the only thing that I can figure that is causing me to continue waking with the itchies since I haven't eaten any nuts in a week. Once I was fully awake, I realized I was itching all over just not all at the same time. When I was a kid we believed that such itches were caused by "beatchy bugs". By the time you reached the spot that was itching, the "itch" would beat you to another spot…beat-you-to-it bugs... beachey bugs. I ruled out bed bugs since no one else was having the same symptoms.

The other possible cause of my itching is my attempt at recycling. Previously I had changed laundry detergents in an attempt to whiten and brighten my husbands' tee shirts. He began to itch. Rather than throw away the container with the handy dandy dispenser that I could dispense from the upper cabinet right into the washer, I just poured Arm and Hammer into the container. I don't think they got along. Maybe it's a chemical reaction. Maybe you aren't supposed to recycle empty jugs to keep the economy on track. By recycling, I may have put hundreds of dispenser people out of work.

Now I'm not only itching, I'm feeling guilty as well. So between the nuts, the detergent, my attempt to repurpose, reuse, guilt for my contribution to the national debt, I am now depressed. I think I may have to resort to the wine cure….eight ounces of wine every two hours; then whatever is happening, I won't care.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Geek for All Seasons

By Jody Worsham

All right reserved for Frequent Geek Trips

The Geek Squad, I imagine, was started by somebody's grandchild who constantly had to program his grandparents' DVD player, change their digital clocks to daylight saving time, identify all buttons on their cell phones, and set up their computers. Then he had to translate 21st century terminology into Boomerisms. For Example:

Tweet= formerly what the birds did but now a shorter form of texting with stalking capabilities.

Facebook= previously known as a picture album, but now a way for people you've been trying to avoid for 30 years to find you.

DVD= a shiny mirror thing that has movies on it, not underwear for a dyslexic grandpa

Update= What your computer will do whether you want it to or not and then you have to call for help…again.

Cut and Paste= what you used to do with scissors and glue but you now do with a mouse, not the live or dead kind but the kind attached to your computer.

Keyboard= a typewriter without the throwback thing or that annoying bell.

Blog= a diary that everybody can read whether you want them to or not.

Blogger= Gossip, know-it-all, motor mouth on a keyboard

Blog roll= Not the fruitcake log you got for Christmas but a list of stories you read when you accidently find them on your computer

Internet= world-wide party line

E-bay= formerly known as the Sears Catalogue or newspaper want ads

Webcam= An electronic Peeping Tom.

Lap Top= Not a dance at a men's club but a small computer you can put on your lap

Netbook= Not a book about nets but a small lap top (see above)

Giga bytes= Not Texas size chigger bites, but a measure of storage capacity for your computer

Social network=quilting bee where there is no quilt and you don't have to provide refreshments.

Apple=not a fruit but the kind of computer you should have gotten in the first place

Recycle bin= like your pantry with the canned peaches from 1939 and mismatched cups and saucers, formerly known as a trash can.

Jitterbug= a dance from the 1940's now a telephone with big numbers, loud speakers, and a live person on call 24/7 who can dial, forward, answer for you and call you by name, also what I'm going to get you for Christmas next year

Spam=pretty much what you think it is except it isn't meat and it doesn't come in a can.

1-800-CALL-THE-GEEK = the number you call when you've lost your remote, hit delete, see a blue screen, have a call on hold for more than two hours, time to switch clocks to daylight savings time, or need me to open the childproof medicine bottles.

I don't care who started the Geek Squad, I'm just glad they did. When I can't find a ten-year-old to solve my electronic problem or open my aspirin bottle, I head for the store with the nearest Geek. No need to ask which counter to go to. You just look for the longest line of people with the most white hair, the thickest glasses, and the computers with the most pink stickers on the bottom!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

1-800-U-R-N-H double Hockey Sticks!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for plane tickets to the Artic

I knew this past weekend was going to be hot. I live in Texas. It's hot in the dead of winter.

Our favorite and only RV camping spot has shade trees but none when the sun hits the side of the trailer in the afternoon when they are needed the most. This time we thought we were prepared. We arrived at the campsite straight up high hot noon. Dr. Hubby proceeded to set up the trailer and then to unfold the six windshield reflectors for eighteen wheeler trucks he had bought. He began placing them on the roof of the slide-out. He used 2x4 blocks and bungee cords to hold them down. Then he attached more windshield reflector things to the outside of the windows using those suction cups things for holding Christmas wreaths. I had already applied tin foil to the inside of the windows before we left home. When he finished we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies.

I'm sure the people next door expected to see us emerge with tin foil wrapped around our heads so our brains wouldn't be sucked out by the aliens. I will say, however, that the TV reception was the best we've ever had.

We turned on the AC and set it for 45 but it couldn't keep up with the increasing heat. Inside the trailer with two children, two dogs, and two adults was like living inside an Easy Bake Oven. We went outside where there was a breeze. Outside the trailer with two children, two dogs, and two adults was like living in a convection oven, hot air blowing hard!

We had the Scalped Yelp with us and a black lab puppy we were "holding" for the new owners until they returned from the cool mountains of Oregon, assuming they would, indeed, return. Anybody who has ever had a puppy or tried to potty train a two-year-old knows that when they "have to go", they have to GO, right then no waiting. When the lab puppy yelped at 3 a.m., Dr. Hubby yelled for him to "HUSH". I, on the other hand, knew that sound meant "I need to go potty and I have a really bad tummy ache." Any mother of eight (ten if you count the dogs) knows that sound so I put the leash on the puppy and took him outside. Yes, he HAD to go and yes he had a tummy ache for good reason.

The heat and the puppy tummy ache continued for the next two days alternating with puppy throw-up. I gave the puppy Pepto Bismal but that did not buy me enough time to get him off the bed before we had major poopage. I stripped the bed linens and headed for the nearest wash-a-tiera. Dr. Hubby tried hosing down the trailer to cool it off. When that didn't work he turned the hose on himself, the children, and the dogs. I was still washing bed linens.

Sunday afternoon word came down that the fireworks scheduled for that evening had been cancelled due to the high fire danger. The six-year-old, I think delirious from the heat, chose that moment to confess that he had given the puppy a Snickers and animal cookies on Friday as a treat. "Did you give the puppy a lot of Snickers and animal cookies?" I asked. The future politician evaded the question with "Well, how many is a lot?"

I Googled puppy diarrhea plus Snickers and animal cookies overdose. The recommendation was to keep the puppy cool, no stress, and hydrated. I thought that made pretty good sense for us as well so we cut our long weekend short by two days. Dr. Hubby readied the tin-foil-alien-non-heat-repelling RV for travel and we headed for home.

We arrived home by midnight. The children slept all the way as did the dogs. It helped that we had the air conditioner turned so low it was spitting ice. Once home as I slid between the icy sheets of our bed with the air conditioner set on a comfortable 62 and the ceiling fan blowing just short of hurricane force winds, I turned to Dr. Hubby and said "I don't want us to turn into one of those old couples who are content to just sit on their front porch sipping mint julips, but dang, it feels good to be home and in our own bed." He snored in reply.

If you need to get in contact with us our new number is 1-800-C00L-DUDES R-HOME. We are no longer in Hell.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Old Man and the “See What I Caught!”

The Old Man and the "See What I Caught!"

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Sea World Tickets

My husband is seventy years old but he looks and acts like he's much younger. We are both somewhat shocked when we see former classmates and how much they have aged. Of course, they haven't had the advantage of a six-year-old and a nine-year-old to keep them hopping, jumping, reaching, stretching, and grabbing for the Advil for the past six years.

Last week Dr. Hubby took all of us fishing. This week he decided to take the "old folks" fishing; that is his friends who are just a few years older than himself but don't have young children 24/7 to keep them hopping, jumping, reaching…well you know.. I asked if he intended for the six-year-old to tag along. "Of course. He will be the life of the party." He told the "old folks" a couple of days in advance about the fishing trip so they would have enough time to get ready. Unfortunately, he told the six-year-old the night before. No sleeping for either of them. Too much excitement and anticipation.

With Dr. Peppers, Honey Buns, peanut butter crackers, Snickers, Gatorade, iced tea, eighteen life jackets, six lawn chairs, sun screen, seventy-two rod and reels, ice chests, fifty-five tackle boxes, video games, minnow buckets, ladder so the elderly could get onto the barge before it is launched, all was ready. You will note from the last fishing blog the absence of the port-a-potty. All men this time.

At exactly 4:37 a.m., Dr. Hubby woke up the six-year-old. At 4:38 a.m. said six-year-old was dressed and out the door. At 4:45 the "elderly" arrived and were awaiting the departure. At 4:46 I rolled over and went back to sleep. Breakfast was not included by me in this arrangement for which all of the participants were grateful.

When Dr. Hubby returned, I asked him how it went. "Well, I got the two older guys up the ladder and onto the barge by having "the kid" (age 63) help pull while I pushed from behind. I just tossed the six-year-old over the rail and he was good to go. Then "the kid" helped launched the barge and drove the truck and trailer back up to the parking lot. In the meantime, I got the other two situated in chairs for the ride to the crappie hole. The wind was blowing pretty hard. I've never seen water splash over the top of the deck before." I interrupted long enough to make sure the six-year-oId had been thoroughly strapped into his life jacket. "Oh, yes." "So everything went ok", I asked. "Oh yes, well except when I told the boy (the six-year-old) to put ice on the minnows to keep them cool." "And?" "Well, he put so much ice in the minnow bucket that he froze the minnows. We had to leave early."

That's my boy. When the water is rough and the fish aren't biting, you do what you have to do. No minnows, no fishing. They learn so quickly!

His friends were in the barn cleaning fish. All of them wanted to know when they would be going again, including the six-year-old who came running from the barn yelling "See what I caught? I caught the first fish. Granddaddy caught the biggest and the rest of "the guys" caught a few but I think they mostly had fun trying."

I know Dr. Hubby spent more time serving as "rod boy" to his friends than he did fishing. I also know he had a good time taking his "elderly" friends fishing and sharing the joy and fun of having a six-year-old as your constant buddy.

Years from now when "the guys" are sitting on their front porches wondering if the fish are biting, Dr. Hubby will be sitting on the barge with his grown-up buddy; the old man and the "See what I caught, Granddad?"