Monday, December 29, 2008

That was NOT easy

Time for a little rant. I bought a memory card for Lady Nottaguy-TYG for Christmas at Staples. A 4 gig card for her phone so she could download songs or pictures to her heart's content.

When she tried to load it in her phone, it didn't work. She took it to church and tried it on three other phones and a PDA. Nothing. So I gave her the other one I bought (I bought it, but forgot for who, we were going to use it in my future phone). Nothing on that one either.

I took them back today and explained to the employee at the customer service counter what was going on. At first she told me that since it had been more than 14 days since purchase, there was nothing that could be done. I then asked her, "If you buy something for a Christmas present, how can you return it within 14 days, if Christmas is more than 14 days after Black Friday, when I purchased it?" "Well," she said, since it was a Christmas present, I guess we can give you your money back." "Can't I exchange them for ones that work?" I asked. "No, I'll refund your money."

Yes, I did get a refund, but I would rather have two working memory cards. I don't think I will be going to Staples any time in the near future, regardless of how good the Black Friday sales are. As a rare man that loves to shop, this is a big step for me. But when you're not satisfied, you're not satisfied.

Alienating a customer who pays cash, "That was easy!"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Flashback Friday #18


As the songwriter wrote "It's the most wonderful time of the year". What child doesn't like Christmas. Even if you are a rotten brat all year long (I won't mention any names), you still gets gifts. At least you did at our house.

It was tradition that the brothers wrapped each other's gifts. Mom wasn't too keen on wrapping, and Dad didn't, so this got the majority of the gifts wrapped (Here, while you're wrapping, wrap this gift to Grandma). It was a great system.

It did have one major flaw. After the gifts were wrapped, my brother & I would get together to tell each other what we got. "Remember, you have to act surprised." my brother would warn me. We were good actors.

The one Christmas that I remember most was the year my brother got a cassette recorder (That's probably because he recorded nearly everything that went on that day, and we played them back year after year.) I think Mom was on to our sharing the information gig. After the gifts were wrapped we got together to swap tales of the riches to be found under the tree. The exchange was I would tell him one, he would tell me one. He started off, "You got a View Master projector." YES! I loved View Masters (and still do). I then told him "You got a gym bag." He exploded and grabbed the front of my shirt. "A GYM BAG!!!!" "I DON'T CARE ABOUT A GYM BAG, DID I GET A CASSETTE RECORDER??" "I don't know," I answered, "I didn't see one." With that the exchange was over and he sulked off.

On Christmas morning, we opened our gifts, and he did indeed get his beloved cassette recorder. He also got five 3-packs of blank tapes for a total recording time of 15 hours. Mom always gave us a "Toy Party" book to mark things we wanted. I believe I got everything I marked that year.

One year, Dad forbade Mom to go to any toy parties. It was the barest Christmas present wise. He apologized to her and told her that she could go to as many as she wanted the next year.

We always went to my paternal grandma's house for Christmas (by this time, all my other grandparents had passed away). My brother got the bright idea of playing "Candid Recorder". He would hide the recorder, and then turn it on to secretly record conversations. He was overjoyed when when one of the adults exclaimed "Oh (expletive delete)"

Mom also made Christmas cookies by the truckloads. I believe one year she made 100 dozen. That was the year my brother ate 10 dozen as they were coming out of the oven. Snatch one or two out of every 12 and they add up fast. He was a teen age boy, need I say more.

We didn't often have a lot of expensive gifts under the tree, but we always had a lot of gifts. Mom was a great shopper, and passed that trait unto me. I hope I have done the same with my daughters.
I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Bit Of Twisted Holiday Humor

Those who know me, kow that my sense of humor is quite warped. Perhaps that is why I enjoyed playing with The Weepies snowglobe. I hope you enjoy it too.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It... is...finished.

Last night Lady Nottaguy-TYG and I went out to finish our Christmas shopping. She hates shopping, but we also had Red Lobster gift cards to use, plus a coupon that expired soon, so it was worth the hassle of shopping to dine out as a couple at her favorite restaurant.

When we pulled into the parking lot, we saw this:

Why was this truck parked this this you ask? We wondered too. Here are some of our thoughts:

A. New driver coming to celebrate getting his (or her) drivers license.

B. Someone who was celebrating before, and now needs to get something to eat.

C. Someone who was afraid of getting their vehicle scratched.

D. A complete anti-social punk who will do as he pleases.

E. Someone who is REALLY big, and needed the extra room to get out of the truck.

F. All of the above.

We had a 20-25 minute wait to be seated. While we were waiting, a group of three came in and told the seating person "Harvey, party of four." I looked at my wife puzzled for a moment, and then it came to me. If you are an old movie buff like me, it came to you too. Jimmy Stewart's friend in the movie Harvey was an invisible, six foot rabbit. "I didn't know rabbits liked seafood." I told my wife. She replied "They also serve salads here." I guess that explains it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Flashback Friday #17

Winter Wonderland

I grew up in a small town in central Ohio (We didn't even have a stop light). Living in Ohio means you live through Ohio winters. When you are a kid, Ohio winters are great (Not so much after you grow up).

When we were kids, we loved to see it snow. Living in the rural community where we did, snow usually meant school closings, and what kid doesn't like that. School closings created an outdoor adventure for us.

We lived close to a creek that froze over during the winter and we would go back there and slide on the ice (We never owned a set of ice skates). This was great fun until you would find a piece of thin ice. CRACK was a sound you didn't want to hear. I went through the ice once. Fortunately I just went in up to my right hip. Going home was very cold, wearing wet jeans. It's a wonder I didn't drowned in that creek, seeing that I can't swim. We have also seen the ice get up to a foot thick.

We never owned a sled either. We would take a piece of plastic, a garbage can lid, a car hood (yes, we were rednecks), or anything else we could find that would make us zip down the hills. One year I made my own sled out of scrap lumber. You couldn't steer, but you could ride. I set up a four by eight sheet of plywood on a mound of dirt by our house to make a "ski slope". I brought shovel after shovel of snow over to make the base slope. When it was finished, I laid down on my homemade sled and slid down the slope. It was great fun until I hit the bottom and came to such an abrupt stop that my hands jammed into the front of the sled, and I catapulted through the air and landed on my back. I threw the homemade sled onto the burn pile.

Snowball fights were big around our house, especially if Aunt Shelly's kids came over. Eight to ten kids in a snowball fight is a lot of fun. The only problem with snowball fights is that someone always thinks he has to play dirty. Rocks in snowballs are bad news. So are snowballs packed so tight that you might as well be throwing a rock. The worst are snowballs dipped in water, and allowed to refreeze.

When the snow would drift, we would tunnel through the drifts. Back then, we were invincible. It didn't dawn on us that if the snow tunnel collapsed with us in it, it could possible kill us.

We loved making snow men, but with the vast amount of leaves that were always present in late fall, early winter, our snowmen looked nothing like the pictures in books. Ours were a sort of mottled brown. A friend of mine said she always thought part of the song "Winter Wonderland" went like this: "In the meadow we can build a snowman, and we can pretend he's parched and brown." Sounds like ours.

What was your favorite winter activity as a child?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Communication, communication, communication

Last night, I was reading through the ad papers while Lady Nottaguy-TYG was sitting nearby surfing the net. I read aloud from the Wal-Mart ad about FurReal Friends Biscuit My Loving Pup. "Obeys 6 commands and responds to touch". I then yelled into the living room to where Sparky was laying on the couch, "Hey, that more than you do." My wife turned quickly, glared at me and said, "You better be talking to the dog!" LOL & ROFL does not even come close to what I did.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My favorite goat

Yesterday our church had their Christmas program. My grandson, "The Boy" played one of the goats that inhabited the stable that glorious night. You can't go wrong with kids productions. Even if they don't do it right, it's still very enjoyable.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ninja John & the Black Belt

Congrats to Ninja John for attaining his black belt in karate. After "the accident", he was told that he would never be able to perform martial arts again. With God, all things are possible. I'm just glad that Ninja John is one of the good guys.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flashback Friday #16

Aunt Shelly's house

My faithful readers (both of them) know of Aunt Shelly. She is one of my Mom's younger sisters and the inspiration of a great many Jeff Foxworthy jokes. I think Jeff may have been there a few times while I was there playing with the cousins.

Aunt Shelly & Uncle Phil had 14 kids (again I say, no multiple births). They lived in a four bedroom house about three miles from us. The house also had a living room, kitchen & small dining room. The dining room was mostly taken up with a picnic table that served as the dinner table. The living room had a wood burning stove, a TV, an armchair for each parent, and three to four couches.

How do you feed 14 kids breakfast? Those who did odd jobs for the neighbors, or had money of their own, had their own box of cereal, purchased with their own cold cash. Nobody else was allowed to eat this cereal without the permission of the owner. Everyone else got corn flakes or whatever was on sale. When the milk was gone, the latecomers would put water on their cereal.

Since there were so many kids, they were able to get the reduced price for the school lunches, and nobody had to pack a lunch. After school, "sugar bread" was a favorite snack. This consisted of a buttered piece of bread with sugar sprinkled onto it.

At dinner, it was chaos. "Please pass the..." wasn't spoken. You just reached for what you wanted. Like the Serengeti, it was survival of the fittest. When the tribe was finished eating dinner (that was the only meal they all ate together), the dishes would be removed, and Aunt Shelly would stand on the picnic table bench and sweep off the table with a broom. The various dogs would gobble up the crumbs & scraps.

Unlike our house, they had running water, mostly. They had running water to the kitchen, but not to the bathroom. Water was heated on the stove to bathe, with several kids using the same water. The toilet was flushed once a day by pouring a large kettle of water into the bowl.

I thought the toys I played with used imagination. Their toys were imaginary. Sticks became guns or swords. small pieces of two-by fours became cars in the sand pile. Old tires became race cars and there were always races going on by seeing who could roll their tire so many laps around the house. A corn cob with feathers stuck in the end became racing pigeons, and who ever could throw theirs the farthest won. (Uncle Phil raised racing homing pigeons, and won several trophies with them). Discarded pantyhose were knotted up to play "cat, cat, get the cat" with the dogs.

A bike was a prized possession. It meant mobility, and mobility meant either a way to make extra money doing odd jobs, or peace & quite away from your siblings. Sometimes bikes were put together with pieces from several different bicycles. Sometimes brothers would combine the pieces they had to make a shared bike. One time two brothers who shared a bike quarreled. "Give me back my seat & handlebars." one of them shouted. How do you ride a bike with no seat or handlebars? You improvise. The other brother cut off a broom handle to use as handlebars, and used a brace & bit to bore a hole into (not through) a piece of two-by four. This became the seat. It looked crazy, but it gave him the mobility he craved.

At bedtime, the three girls shared a room, with the 11 boys vying for places on the beds in the other two bedrooms. Whoever didn't get a place on the bed slept on one of the couches. There were sometimes three to four to a bed, depending on the size of the young-un. Clothing was communal. If it fit you , you wore it.

These were some of my closest cousins. This may explain some of the idiosyncrasies I have. Then again, maybe not. Shake your family tree. Do any nuts fall out?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Flying in the sanctuary

On a post on my daughter's blog, she explained how graceful she can be. My wife posted a comment that spoke of me "flying in the sanctuary.' Valarie asked to hear the story. Here it is.

This is a picture of our church sanctuary. There is a wedding being planned in this pic. Please note the four steps that lead to the platform, and the staircases on each side leading to the baptistery.

I love dressing up and being silly for Sunday school or other children's ministries. I have a costume left over from the time I played Reuben the royal rodent in "My Way or Yahweh" about 20 years ago. I have resurrected the character as Ruben the church rat ("Church mice are a dime a dozen, I'm an original."). He has an alter ego as Ratman, who with his puppet sidekick, Squeaky, play the heroes in a lot of my skits.

In this particular skit, Squeaky is at the very top of the platform, which has a three foot wall which serves as a handy, impromptu puppet stage. I ascend the stairs on the right while engaging in conversation with Squeaky. I speak of needing to get back to the "Rat Hole" to recharge my batteries. With that I grab Sqeaky from the puppeteer's hand (a tricky move) and rush down the stairs. When I get to the platform, there are about three steps before you get to the stairs that lead to the floor.
Then (I tried it several times before the actual skit) I jumped from the platform to the sanctuary floor.I had planned to land, sprint to the double crash doors nearby, strike the Heisman pose with Squeaky, and crash through the doors.

The problem being was that on the way down, my heel caught the last step. This caused me to stumble, and wobble & stagger to keep my balance. As I got to the crash doors, I flung myself to the left to hit the crash bar. I missed, and crashed into the door. On the second try, I made it through the door.

I have learned that being 40+, fat, and non-athletic, this isn't a good thing to do. My flying days are over.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The missing tooth

Our oldest grandson, "The Boy" lost his first tooth. He had been stressing because all the cousins had lost teeth, but he hadn't. He noticed Friday that it was gone. The problem is, he doesn't know when or where it came out. He really did lose it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Flashback Friday # 15

Nicknames & Cousins

In my last post, I referred to a set of cousins who referred to me as "Gertrude", because I was such a momma's boy. I didn't see this set of cousins only but once or twice a year (and that was plenty for me.) There were two boys who were 9 & 10 years older than me, and two girls who were 7 & 5 years older. Other than reunions, They would go over to Aunt Pam's house where we would meet them. Her son, my brother & the two other cousins would barricade themselves in the son's bedroom & play electric football all day, while her daughter & the two girls would barricade themselves in her room and use perfume bottles as microphone to belt out the newest hit songs. (Rolling Stones, Beetles & Credence Clearwater Revival were the favorites). Now you know why I never grew close to either set of these cousins.

My closest set of cousins were Aunt Shelly's kids (she of the great outhouse adventure of Flashback Friday #2). She had 14 kids (no multiple births). I wasn't real close to the first six who were older than me, but the next five, all boys, were my constant companions. These are some of the nicknames I can remember from that family: Snook, Worm, Bean, Pork, Skeeter, Munch, Devil, & Dino. Munch got his nickname because my Dad caught him eating our cats canned food one time. Every year at the reunion, he asks me if I brought him canned cat food.

Another set of cousins had a couple of unusual nicknames also. The oldest boy was called Gooch. I was in my 30's when I first heard his real name. He had a sister called Pudgy. (I bet that helped her self-esteem)

The nickname everyone hated to be called in our family was Butch. That was the nickname of my Mom's youngest brother, who sometimes wasn't too bright. You could start a fight with the phrase "You're such a Butch".

Did you have a nickname when you were younger?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I hate being sick

I didn't go to work or church today because I was sick. I guess my last post was somewhat incorrect. Even though I did make some poor choices, they wouldn't have caused a 100.7 temp.
All I did today was lay around, watch old movies & sleep.

I think the thing I hate most about being sick is that I am a whiner baby when I'm sick. I was a Momma's boy growing up (hence the nickname "Gertrude" from a certain set of cousins). I tend to moan and whine and generally feel like I'm dying. (see my Flashback Friday posts for more on that).

My wife on the other hand likes to be left alone when she is sick. Don't ask her twice if she needs anything. A real frontier/pioneer type.

She took me for better or worse, sicker or poorer. This is definitely the sicker & worse of times.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oh what a night

A thousand pardons to the anti-nausea medicine Emetrol for ripping off their radio ad:

"Ralph, blow chunks, toss your cookies, heave, hurl, gak, upchuck, puke, spew, vomit, technicolor yawn, pray to the porcelain god, bow before the thrown... No matter what you call it nausea is no fun."

I did all of these, plus some I hadn't come up with names for last night, but as Andrew Lloyd Weber wrote"Don't cry for me Argentina". It was my own doing through a series a bad decisions. Kinda like a self-inflicted gunshot wound. If I were to tell the whole story, it would rival some of my Flashback Friday post in length. BTW, It had nothing to do with booze, I haven't touched that since I was 15. Please just pray that I will be feeling better real soon. Thanks.