Sunday, December 26, 2010

Another year down....

Well, just made it through yet another Christmas. This is not my time of year... I really don't like trying to figure out what to get everyone while I'm on a strict budget and then worrying that whatever I chose wasn't considered adequate or acceptable.

This year (against the rules of being a husband) I got the wife a KitchenAid stand mixer. I chose this because the only other thing she really wanted was out of my price range and also because on many occasions I've had to pull her away from the displays in the store due to the fact that she would pet the mixers and coo like a dove.

Fortunately, she seems to be happy getting a mixer as a Christmas present. Not all men are as fortunate as I am:) And as a bonus? There are about 73 different attachments that can be used as fall-back gifts on birthdays and other holidays. Not that I would do that, but it's nice to have the option.

Now it's time to start with birthdays for everyone. The kids are easy, since I have two in college and one in high school that are always happy to get whatever amount of monies that I can send. Thankfully my wife is thoughtful enough to tell me throughout the year exactly what items I should add to my list of potential gifts for most occasions. She's so subtle about it too.... "Honey, put xxxxx on the gift list." It works for me!

April will mark year three of a five year long goal that I am working on and I am so very happy that I only have two years left to reach that goal. Life will be much simpler and more relaxed once I get to that point. (I won't share the goal, but I did want to share the sentiment.)

I am making plans to visit my older children this summer. I'll probably spend a week with them and they have already planned out our activities for that point in time. It should be a very happy reunion:) It's harder than I thought it would be for them to leave home for school. I often have to stop and remind myself that they are of legal age and the ability to "protect" them is now extremely limited. The time spent rearing them seemed so very long in the process but somehow feels to be a totally inadequate amount in hindsight. It's hard to consider the fact that I've either done a good job or not. The rest of life is up to them. *sigh* I don't feel ready to let them go, but I have no option.

Now that this year is done, I only have to wait for the cats to finish stripping the Christmas tree of needles so that I can take it down and spend countless hours vacuuming them out of the carpet.

Oh joy. *smirk*

Happy New Year:)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I made a trip to the eye doctor today since my last trip was almost two years ago and I'm not seeing quite as clearly as I once did.

The doctor asked if I wanted "Progressive" glasses, the no-line glasses for those of us in need of bifocals. I informed him unequivocally that I tried those for about 8 months at one point in time and I simply could not get used to them. He then informed me that due to the nature of my vision issues, I would need trifocals.

I had a few options-

Go with the progressives and get a narrower field of vision and hate wearing them because you look like an owl since you have to turn your head to the direction that you want to focus on. Not to mention the fact that I hated them the first time around, there's not much chance of me falling in love with them this time.


Get a taller lens and put the trifocals on them, still looking like an owl with the "big-eye" lenses framing my face.


Order multiple sets of glasses.

I did somewhat of a compromise. I ordered two sets of bifocals. Set number one will have distance and computer reading prescriptions in them, along with photo-gray ( the old timer's language for "Transitions".) The other set will be normal glasses with one prescription for computer and one for reading. This way I'll be able to work on spreadsheets and such without having to switch.

As for the evolution in the title? I'm wondering if I will look like a fly when I'm 80 and need a different prescription for each foot of distance that I try to take in. Would that be considered as evolving or devolving?

Now all I need is a pair of glasses to wear when I look into the mirror each morning. One that sees everything but gray hair and wrinkles::::)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Torture at the table.

I think that I'm going to start a grass-roots movement in the state of Florida.

For starters, I love salt on my food. Copious quantities even. Salt poured liberally onto food simply multiplies the wonderful flavor of whatever one eats. To be sure, it's not the same to cook the food with lots of salt because cooking alters the way salt interacts with the food being served. You have to be able to add salt to taste after the food is prepared.

When I first came to Florida, I noticed two things-
  • The over-abundance (verily a plague) of whole grain breads.
  • Every freakin' restaurant in the state uses the "grind it as you need it" shakers for salt and pepper.
Wheat bread in itself is fairly innocuous, when used as a building material or as insulation blown into the attic. To actually consume the stuff by choice is beyond my comprehension.

Salt, on the other hand, is a necessity. What restaurant owners here don't seem to understand is that for the hard-core saltaholic there is no way to hold a two pound bacon cheeseburger in one hand and salt each bite with the other without all of the ingredients sliding from between the buns into your lap when two hands are required to operate the damned salt dispenser. (The meat has to be salted, just coating the lettuce with salt and waiting for it to mingle with the meat as you chew is not an acceptable practice.)

I'm fairly certain that the "grind your own" salt mills were introduced as a cost-control measure by the restaurant industry. The bottles ship only one third full, and they don't actually dispense salt. Instead, the illusion of accomplishment is perpetuated by the fact that you would rather eat your food while it's hot than to look like an idiot twisting and twisting and twisting the salt mill over your plate as if working a grist mill until you actually get something out of the damned thing. This keeps them from ever having to replace those dispensers.

I think that those of us who need old-world salt dispensers should be able to get a little blue "Handicapped" table tent to carry with us. It would be the size of a credit card so that it fits comfortably in your wallet, and it would fold open to be placed at the edge of your table when you sit down in a restaurant to alert the wait-staff that you require a one-handed salt shaker when you are eating. If they can't provide a normal salt shaker, they should be required to stand at your table and work the salt mill to your satisfaction so that the food can actually be consumed before it falls back to room temperature.

I may start carrying my own shaker.

In a holster.

On my hip.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I think everyone should have hobbies.

Two mornings ago I was grabbing a bite to eat before I left for a night shift at work. Keep in mind that I time my departures just so in order to be to work at the appropriate time. I placed a bowl of (excellent) chili that Amanda had cooked the day before into the microwave and set the time. I then began to fill my thermos with coffee when all of a sudden a great gray ball came flying into the kitchen through one door, leaped onto the counter (knocking down three containers of animal treats), flew six feet from there and landed spread-eagled on the kitchen table, slid across the table, hit the window, landed on the floor and leaped through the other door.

Not unusual except that there was an open bag of chips, two diet cokes with one sip missing, a candle, and several dozen individually wrapped candies on the table.

Until the cat cleared off everything but the two cokes. Against the laws of physics, the cokes remained lying on the table gently emptying their contents across the top of it as they spun in slow and lazy circles in order to cover maximum surface area with soda. Not too bad until except that the table is an older style with minute cracks between the boards that make up the top of it.

So I spent the next 20 minutes cleaning off the table, clearing the mess of candies and coke-soaked chips from the floor, and mopping it all up.

I wish it had been an off day. I would have spent the remainder of my time hunting the cat down and shaving him.... with a dull pocket knife.

As it is, he's given me an idea for my next hobby- "Cat in a Bottle". A bottle with a very small opening. One piece at a time.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Not sure where I went wrong...

I'm not sure where I went wrong. Perhaps it was the great idea to become a choreboy in the first place:)

Anyway, the way it usually works at home: I wash dishes before I leave for work, when I get in from work, and any time after Amanda cooks and I'm at home. That doesn't leave a lot unwashed at any point in time, but I really must give Amanda kudos: If I'm not home and she cooks, she almost always washes the dishes she uses to cook.

Now that usually leaves the plates, silverware, cups, and any pots containing food that have to be cleaned up after dinner. It's really not bad and I don't mind.

A couple of nights ago I happened to be washing dishes when she didn't have an opportunity to get to them before I got home and let me tell you- she used every single cooking utensil in the house to make a simple meal. And when I say all of them, I mean ALL of them. Three sets of tongs, 9 large spoons, two large roast forks, several knives, three cutting boards and a cutting "place-mat", 5 spatulas, two ladles, 3 burger flippers, three wire whisks, and an assortment of other miscellaneous items that are kept in the utensil drawer. Oh, and let's not forget all three measuring cups and every measuring spoon in the house.

I was simply amazed and astounded.

Good thing we had toast with butter on it for dinner. I'd hate to see what it would take to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches;)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hints for the "younger" crowd...

Ok, so you're newly married or perhaps even just reaching the stage where you would consider marriage. There is a rite-of-passage that every initiate to relationships must experience- Mastering the Apology.

It doesn't matter if you've done something wrong. You, as a man, need to understand that even if you're 100% right, you're never right. Ever.

Here are a few tips to make your passage a successful one:

1- Always say "I'm sorry I upset you" and NEVER give specifics concerning what you're sorry about. You probably don't have a clue what set her off in the first place, and it will only give her something else to be upset about when you're ultimately wrong about what caused the situation to begin with.

2- Be sincere in your apology EVEN IF YOU'RE RIGHT! Remember, you're never right.

3- It doesn't matter if you caused the problem or not, you must apologize for the mistakes of others since you will suffer the consequences in any case.

4- Never say "It won't happen again" because it will. Remember: You're never right. Instead, use "I'll do my best to see that it doesn't happen again".

5- Above all else never, ever, ever, ever ask "What did I do?". You're supposed to know what you did since you did it and all males are mystically born with the ability to read minds anyway. Saying "What did I do?" only opens the door to an entirely different set of woes that even the veteran apologist has difficulty dealing with.

6- Once the apology is accepted LET IT GO. I personally know of many cases where men have gone absolutely insane trying to figure out what the hell they apologized for.

One last thing.... if you follow these steps and still don't get it right?

I'm sorry;)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The benefits of chocolate...

Today I was having a really hectic day at work. Things were going well, but it was busy busy busy! Then about 4pm one of my closing employees called in. At 5pm two more failed to show up. That left the shift with only three people and the Manager in Charge which was just not feasible. And when all efforts to find replacements failed I started to get really steamed.

So I sent someone over to the store next door and had them pick up Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey's Chocolate bars, and Almond Joy coconut bars. When the booty arrived, I dove into the Reese's and promptly consumed an 8 pack of them. That's when I realized.... it's almost impossible to be angry when you're eating chocolate!

Either you stay angry and don't have any chocolate, or you enjoy the chocolate and get a brief respite from the anger. It's amazing! Give the theory a test run and let me know the results. I think that you'll agree with me:)

On a side note: Two younger children singing along to MP3 players (that Santa left in their stockings) at the same time with different songs playing sounds kind of like tossing a cat into a pen full of pit bulls. Especially when they don't know all of the words.