Friday, November 27, 2015

"As God is My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly!"

Collin's had to work on Thanksgiving the past few years, so our holiday observance has consisted of either a meal he brings home from work (he works at a restaurant) or a meal like the one we had yesterday--a three-pound turkey breast cooked in a crock pot, Stove Top stuffing, and sides made in the microwave. We're thankful...that he doesn't have to work the night shift!

One of our holiday traditions--one of the few we've been able to maintain--is watching WKRP in Cincinnati's Thanksgiving episode "Turkeys Away." It's one of the funniest sitcom episodes we've ever seen. If you've seen it, you know that already. If you haven't, take a look here....

Last night, we started talking about what might have happened if that episode had been made today, and how social media might have been an influence.... 

Multiple videos of the massacre might have been posted on You Tube, some of which would have been set to music.

There would have been a crowd on that Cincinnati mall parking lot, taking photos and videos with their smartphones....

Can't believe what I witnessed at the mall today. Shopping online from now on! 

I'll never eat turkey again.... 

Did William Kendall have anything to do with this? I heard he got suspended from Facebook again.

Oops! Disregard that last one.

And I can only imagine the Tweets....

Some idiot is dropping live turkeys out of a helicopter! #TurkeysCan'tFly

Is this maybe a new Syfy Channel Movie? #Turkeynado

I think I saw Ian Ziering with a chainsaw.... #Turkeynado 

We're running for our lives! The surviving turkeys are after us! #WhenTurkeysAttack

My kids thought we were going to see Santa. Off to the therapist. #WhenTurkeysAttack


Dr. Johnny Fever would have moved to Colorado, once pot became legal there!

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Clearly, even with Collin having to work, we still had way too much time on our hands!


Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday the 13th, Black Cats, Bait and Switch and Murphy's Law

It all started on Friday the 13th.

I ordered a new winter coat for Collin, an early Christmas gift, via Amazon. I now call him Black Cat because the coat, made by the Caterpillar company, is black and has the word "CAT" printed on the front (see photo). He ordered a big screen TV for me. The worse my eyesight gets, the bigger the screen I need, even in our small living room (also see photo).

The coat arrived late but in perfect condition. Fortunately, it came before the temperatures really dropped. The TV arrived late on Friday--with a cracked screen. (Where are those crying emojis when I need them?) Collin contacted Amazon. They immediately shipped a replacement, which was scheduled to be delivered on Tuesday, and instructed Collin to print the return shipping label they provided so they would be charged for it when UPS picked it up.

But it didn't end there.

Since the new TV was due to be delivered on Tuesday, and Collin was off work Monday and Tuesday, we decided to go get my new glasses on Monday--even though it rained (a downpour) all day. A new optical store had recently opened nearby. They advertised an eye exam and two pairs of glasses for $69.95. Good deal, huh? I thought so. I'd gotten my current glasses from another of their shops and was very happy with them. I got the exam, chose my frames, and the glasses were ready in an hour...for the advertised price.

Not this time.

I chose the frames while waiting for the eye exam. The exam went well, though the optometrist told me the best she could give me vision-wise would be 20/35 because I have cataracts. I could live with that. I've gotten used to blurry vision. I do all of my reading on my Kindles (I have three, plus two other tablets) because they'll read to me. I'm home 90% of the time, since I'm not supposed to go out alone. How much trouble can I get into, parked on the couch in front of my big-screen TV?
The woman who completed the order for my glasses was quite pleasant. Her sister wants to be a writer. I recommended my publisher. She explained each of the add-ons, which she said would be included in the price. This surprised me, because my current glasses are as bare-bones as it gets. Finally, she finished and said, "Give me a minute to get your total."

Total? Uh-oh. Red flag. Danger, Will Robinson!

She was back in minutes. The total, she said, was over $200.00--I don't remember the exact amount. I think I was having a minor stroke and blacked out for a minute. I explained that I had requested the $69.95 special. She tried to explain why I needed the add-ons while I mentally tried to figure out how this could be when she'd said they were included in the package price.

She removed one add-on, which brought down the price a little. "No," I said quietly, not raising my voice.

Reluctantly, she removed another. Still not $69.95. "No," I said again.

More add-ons were removed, but the price was still not the price that was advertised. "No."

She explained she'd have to talk to the optometrist before she could remove anything more. I told her the doctor would have to approve it, because I was only paying $69.95. She went off to talk to the doctor.

When she returned, she said one item had to remain because it was required by law. Really? How could they advertise glasses for $69.95 if this extra was required by law? I made it clear that I would only pay $69.95. She talked to her supervisor, who said she would discount the extra $45, bringing the price to--you guessed it--$69.95.

By this time, it was almost 1:00 and Collin and I were so hungry, I was on the verge of Hulking out. (I'm pretty unpleasant to be around when my blood sugar drops.) We stopped at Penn Station for lunch and headed home without stopping to pick up Collin's paycheck, what had been part of the plan for the day.

We got home to find a notice on our door. FedEx had tried to deliver the replacement TV. Great. What else was going to go wrong? Amazon doesn't require signatures for delivery of packages, so I decided it was best that he hadn't left it, especially in the heavy rain. I'd already made it clear to Amazon that I was not buying gifts for my neighbors, so if anything came up missing, we would expect a replacement or a full refund.

Collin read the notice carefully and discovered the driver had left the TV at the leasing office. He took our little hand truck and went off to get it. In no time, he had it unpacked, the stand attached, and ready to be turned on.

That was when we realized we didn't have a table big enough to accommodate it--well, except for our dining room table which would not only look pretty silly in our living room, but would have prevented us from opening the front door....

Friday, November 13, 2015

Okay, So It's NOT Christmas...Yet!

Collin and I are going to have an exceptionally good Christmas this year. I started my shopping early, since I got my first Social Security check and a healthy royalty check in the same week last month. I expect to finish my end of things early next week. I doubt Collin will be very far behind.

We did decide, out of necessity, that we would each get one of our gifts early. Collin needs a new winter coat, and I have a feeling that, even though the fall weather has been mild so far, he'll need it before Christmas morning. I found a great deal on a coat I knew he'd love. It's water-resistant, wind-resistant, and will keep him warm even in the lowest temperatures (the customer review from the guy in Norway convinced me of that).

It arrived yesterday. He wore it to work today. See?

I get my early gift today--because he's at work and it's due to be delivered at any time now. He got me a big-screen Roku TV. The worse my eyesight gets, the larger a screen I need, even in our small living room. I love streaming--I binge-watch a lot (last weekend, it was The Librarians), so a Roku TV is the perfect choice.

I can't wait--even though it's going to mean doing some furniture rearranging tonight!

PS For the next five days, the ebook edition of The Unicorn's Daughter will be on sale at Amazon. If you haven't yet read it but would like to, now's the best time to buy it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Parents, Please Send Your Children to Obedience School!

That one's gonna get me into trouble, I think.

Not too long ago, there was a story that made the national news--the owner of a restaurant in Portland, Maine got enough of a screaming child and, when the parents didn't do anything about it, she sounded off at the child. The kid finally shut up. By all accounts, that was a huge relief to the restaurant staff and other diners. But opinions on social media were divided. Some applauded the owner for taking action. Some said no matter what, she was out of line for yelling at a child under any circumstances.

Me? I'm on the owner's side.

It may take a village, but when it comes to putting up with other people's unruly kids, I prefer the hermit lifestyle to being part of the village. I've had to deal with unsupervised kids here in our apartment complex, with parents who not only don't discipline their kids but encourage bad behavior. Even after the police were recently called, the kids are still a problem. 

I've been in restaurants where loud, disruptive children caused other diners (myself included) to get up and leave without eating. I've been in a situation where some kid tried to take things, including food, off our table and the parents still did nothing. Of course that's going to make restaurant owners and managers angry, too. They don't want to lose business because somebody chooses to let their kids run wild. 

This establishment in England has the right idea. (Okay, they went for a humorous response, but the message is clear!)

If I had behaved so badly when I was a child, Mom and Dad would have immediately taken me home. When Collin was little, he was always well-behaved in public. Well, almost always. There was one tantrum--it lasted all of a minute. Had he been a problem child, though, we would have been getting our food to go. 

Tell me what you think. Should unruly children be allowed to ruin restaurant meals, movies, etc. for others, or should proprietors be allowed to make the parents take their kids and leave? 


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

It's that time of year again. Party, eat too much candy, and then get an extra hour of sleep when you set your clocks back. You're going to need it!

Trick or Treat!!! 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

She's 50? She Doesn't Look a Day Over 40!

An important resident of my hometown had a birthday yesterday. The Gateway Arch is now 50 years old!

She looks great for 50--polished, slim, a lady who commands attention--and to my knowledge, she's never had a facelift. At least not until now. There's some major work going on at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, not expected to be completed until 2017. The place is a mess, actually, hardly a suitable place to celebrate the great lady's golden anniversary. But celebrate we did. I'm just sorry Collin had to work yesterday, making us miss out on those Arch cupcakes!

Like most grande dames, the Gateway Arch has a bit of a checkered past. Her story starts decades before the final piece was inserted into her magnificent form on the morning of October 28, 1965. It starts in 1933, with then-Mayor Bernard Dickmann, a New Deal Democrat, and Republican lawyer Luther Ely Smith. The country, St. Louis included, was emerging from the Great Depression. When city leaders were planning their pitch for some federal money, Smith pushed Dickmann to dedicate a potential riverfront project to Thomas Jefferson, to give the proposal a national element. It worked, and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, then known as Jenny Mae, was born.

But there was a catch.There's always a catch, especially when government money is involved.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt would approve the funding requested--but only if city residents approved a $7.5 million bond issue. On September 10, 1935, it was approved with a 71% yes vote in an unusually high voter turnout. It seemed a miracle had taken place in St. Louis, and a large number of the dead had risen from their graves to vote for it! In spite of protests from New Deal critics, FDR awarded the project $6.7 million from his Public Works Administration. Thirty-seven city blocks were demolished with little regard for history--only the Old Courthouse and the Old Cathedral escaped demolition.

The project came to a screeching halt on December 7, 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and  the US officially entered World War II. It didn't resume until the final months of the war, when the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Association announced a design competition. They were looking for something bold and dramatic, not "just another statue." Among the entrants were were Eliel Saarinen, a Detroit architect, and his lesser known son, Eero. Eero Saarinen proposed a towering arch. It was chosen by a unanimous vote, but when the design was announced, not everyone was thrilled by it. There were jokes, most notably one about a giant croquet wicket.

President Harry S. Truman dedicated the site in June 1950--and two weeks later, the Korean War began. Once again, the riverfront project was on hold.

After numerous setbacks and budget issues, the excavation for the Arch got underway in 1961. When it was finally completed in 1963, Eero Saarinen wasn't there to see his design become a reality. He'd passed away in 1961. The Arch itself had a final price tag of $11.4 million, $56 million for the whole park. It wasn't a bad price to pay for a landmark now recognized around the world--and to secure St. Louis as the Gateway to the West.

Monday, October 26, 2015

You Deserve A Break(fast) Today. Too Bad You Still Have To Get Up Early For It!

When McDonald's announced they would be serving breakfast all day starting October 6th, Collin and I were happy. We like having breakfast at our local McD's--we just don't like getting up early on his rare days off to get it. He's supposed to have two days off--Mondays and Tuesdays--but if a holiday falls on either of those days, he's lucky to have one day off. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Independence Day, he's never home for any of them. I still can't believe he was scheduled to work on Columbus Day--a Monday, when he should have been off. Would they really be that busy? Who plans a family get-together at a restaurant to celebrate Columbus Day?

As if that weren't bad enough, he got a call from the restaurant, wanting him to come in last Monday. He didn't get the message because his phone is turned off when he's sleeping. I knew about it because they also called my number. I didn't answer. We had plans, and they didn't include Collin having to work.

But I'm getting off topic here.

We were looking forward to being able to sleep in on his days off and being able to enjoy our favorite breakfast menu items...until the announcement came that the all-day breakfast menu would only be a limited menu, consisting of the "most popular" items. That meant Egg McMuffins, biscuit sandwiches, breakfast biscuits and gravy, McGriddles or steak and egg bagels.

None of the things we love.

I saw  a story on the evening news about how franchisees and employees have been complaining about the expanded menu, saying it was too much work. They claimed to be losing money because customers were ordering the cheap breakfast items over the pricier sandwiches.

Well, who decided to only add the cheap breakfast menu items?

Now, it's been announced that the company saw a huge jump in profits for the most recent quarter, and they're giving all the credit to the all-day breakfast. They made that much money in just a couple of weeks?