Amazon is Trying to Ruin My Valentine’s Day

I just returned home from a solo trip to North Carolina where I was visiting my daughter and her family. I wanted to make sure I was home for Valentine’s Day because, well, you know, I had a hair appointment. They are kind of sacred.

Bob and I don’t make a huge, big deal about Valentine’s Day. We blame it on the commercialism and crowds – the 2 Cs. But we do not ignore this holiday. Ignoring it is tantamount to romantic suicide. We feel free to make light of it, but we always recognize it in some way. We’re not stupid! You don’t stay married for over 42 years and not learn a thing or two!

For instance, when I was in North Carolina I ordered something for Bob. Over Amazon. The account which we share. Which means that there are no more real surprises in life!

Of course, I forgot to tell Bob that something was coming. Something that I would like him to set aside without opening, and while he was at it, please keep his eyes off of the Amazon app on his phone – at least the orders section.

My mistake.

So, when I got home last night I noticed the opened gift on his dresser. Of course, he apologized.

It was really no big deal. None at all. But then I got to thinking.

Me: I was wondering why you opened the mysterious package that arrived while I was away.

Bob: It was addressed to me (they all are). I didn’t remember ordering anything so I figured you did.

Me: But why did you open it?

Bob: I wondered what it was.

Me: So, you didn’t think it was for you.

Bob: Right.

Me: Why did you open something that you thought was for me?

Bob: I wanted to find out what it was.

Me: So, it didn’t really matter who it was for, you were opening it.

Bob: Now you understand.

It’s hard to argue with that kind of logic.

So, a big HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY to Bob and to all of you, too. May your day be filled with scintillating conversation.

Flowers from Bob, waiting for me when I got home. He’s so sweet.

Advertisements

Bob and the Fob

Time for a Fob Story

We have two cars in our family, but mine is clearly the favorite. It’s newer and has more safety features than Bob’s does. For instance (in the newer category), I have a push-button starter. I leave my key fob in my purse. You can also start the car remotely, which has been helpful in keeping good attitudes when it’s 95 degrees outside so we can enter our car with the AC blowing. I have used it for the heat once, but if I lived up North, oh baby, that would be a desirable feature.

But initially there was a very minor, oh so small, downside. I hesitate to mention it because I know by now you think of me as a technological genius, but here goes:

The adjustment to the key fob was fraught with problems for me. You see, I’m a checker. With this newfangled thing, you simply have to have the fob with you for the door to unlock or lock. A pass of my hand over the “lock” and it locks. Or does it?

With my old car, I would yank on the handle to make sure I locked the door. Now, with my fob in my pocket, I would yank on the handle and the door would open, like it’s supposed to. How in the world was a checker like me ever going to be confident that her car was locked? It was mildly traumatic. For a few weeks I would dig my fob out of my purse and manually push the lock button, like someone would do way back in the year 2013. Embarrassing. Even I knew this was ridiculous, so I engaged my handy-dandy engineer, Bob, to help trouble shoot this enormous problem. (As I’ve told you before, always have an engineer around. They come in very handy. I’m so glad I had the good sense to marry one.)

Bob indulged me by keeping the fob in his pocket, locking the door, and walking away. I’m not sure if he walked away for the test or just to distance himself from me, but either way it worked out because I could pull on that car door handle until the cows come home and have proof positive that the car was locked.

Now I hardly ever doubt myself (at least when it comes to locking the car). I am a confident door locker – I thought you’d be happy to know that. I can pass my hand over the handle and walk away.

But Bob has his own fob problems. He has trouble with the unlock feature – his hands are not as delicate as mine, so sometimes it takes a couple of tries for him to register the unlock feature when he puts his hand around the door handle. Another problem with Bob and the fob is that he loves the remote start. Often on a cool evening he will use that feature and when we enter our car, I’m greeted by an AC blast. Well, that drives me crazy, but Bob is so happy to start the car from far distances, I’d hate to end that kind of entertainment for him. Then one day I realized that I always have a fob in my purse, so I can get in the car first and shut off the air. I tell you, my life is complicated.

While on the subject of riding in the car with my husband, I’m wondering if anyone else goes through a scenario like this one. It’s getting slightly warm in the car, so I open my window. Things are perfect for about two seconds, then Bob realizes that he, too, is warm, so he opens his window. Of course, I become cold and wind-blown, so I close mine. Bob becomes aware that I’m uncomfortable so he closes his window. It’s the cooling cycle of life, I guess. We finally give up and turn on the AC with the dual control feature.

Yes, there are a lot of things to overcome in our modern world, but as long as we laugh with each other about them, I think we’ll be okay.

I’m a Fairy Blog Mother – Meet my Blog Daughter

I recently became a fairy blog mother. That is to say, barely a fairy blog mother. I have a wonderfully funny friend named Roxanne who has been threatening to start a blog for some time now. She asked me if I would meet with her to help her get started. Yes, she is that funny – I laughed and laughed. Only she was serious.

Those of you who have followed me for a while know that all of my computer prowess is attributed to the wonderful man I married, Bob the Engineer. (Yes, that is part of our wedding vows. I must ascribe to him all tech glory.) It is only because of him that I have not thrown the computer out the window.

You might not be aware, since I have been doing this blogging thing for a while, that I have a fairy blog mother. Her name is Debi and she is one of my bestest friends. She writes a blog called The Romantic Vineyard. She had the painstaking job of getting me on WordPress. She is very patient.

Roxanne and I met one day to get her started. The first thing I wanted to establish is why in the world she would ask me for help. She said (and rightly so) we think alike. It will be fun.

2 Ibuprofen for the laughter headache

The first meeting would have been more fun if Roxanne had remembered to bring her computer, but still we plugged along. We met again, this time with her computer. We were definitely making progress. Not! I suggested we call Debi, who I keep on speed dial.

Debi came to the rescue. She planned a meeting with Roxanne on a day that God chose for me to have other plans. (He is a good God.) They got it together. Now, Debi is a fairy blog grandmother. It’s always nice to have a grandmother around, blogging or the regular type.

Roxanne just started her blog, Not That Big a Deal, last week. Please check her out. I know you will love her as much as I do. Click here to laugh along with Roxanne.

And, if you would like to check out Debi’s blog, which is all about inspiration for your marriage, you really should! It’s a great resource. Click here to be inspired by Debi.

Happy reading!

 

How Do You Think? I’d Love to Know

Bob (my husband the engineer) and I were driving down SR 441 towards Mount Dora when we passed this sign. We both had our own interpretation of it, which is one more example of how we often process information as if we came from two different planets. This not only entertains us, but it leads to some interesting conversations. Full disclosure, it often leads to some really stupid conversations, but at least we laugh a lot.

Initially Bob thought the improvements would be finished by the end of the Winter of 2018, which he believes starts in December 2018 and ends March 2019. I thought the sign meant that they would be complete by March of 2018, before the first day of spring. My thoughts are that all but ten days of winter happens in the next calendar year. He was thinking they were referring to the month/year that winter begins.

Obviously, the answer as to when the improvements will be complete is sometime in 2020, but indulge me for a minute. We would like to know what you think. When do you think the improvements will be complete? Please leave your comment.

I have placed a call to FDOT and left what I can only assume is a confusing message asking for the projected completion date. If they haven’t put me on some kind of a watch list and agree to answer my innocuous but weird question, I will reveal their thinking in my next blog post. No fair calling the number on the sign. We don’t need more of us to have our intentions questioned. Please play along. I would love to know how those brains of yours work.

Comment below please.

True Confessions of a Floridian

True confession time: I have been obsessing over the weather. I can’t get over the atypical May we are having down here in Orlando, and I can’t stop commenting on it. I feel like I’m in a Seinfeld episode – you know, the show about nothing. Only I’m not Jerry or George, I’m one of their parents, or worse yet Uncle Leo.

Let me explain (sans Seinfeldian references). You know that old saying – it’s not the heat; it’s the humidity. That usually refers to the fact that it’s the humidity that is making the day miserable, not the heat itself. But recently it’s been the humidity, or lack thereof, that has made the days downright tolerable, if you’re in the shade and it’s morning or evening, if you’re wearing lightweight clothing, and if you’re not exerting yourself. It’s been wonderful.

We have not experienced this kind of low humidity for a sustained period of time during the month of May or June since way back in 1998. The downside is that Florida is on fire and we have a drought that is coaxing snakes, alligators and bears out of their natural habitat into our yards, but isn’t it nice out!

All of this humidity talk is driving Bob crazy, but only a little. He’s figured out a way to either help pay for our vacation or silence me by putting a jar on the kitchen table and every time I mention the “H” word, I have to drop a dollar in. Looks like we’re going to have a great vacation! I’ve added $5 to the jar just with this post, plus I sneaked the cash out of Bob’s wallet so it’s a win/win for me.

Kids Really Do Say the Most Surprising Things – Part II

I have mentioned repeatedly the brilliant move I made when I married an engineer. Marrying an engineer means never having to call a repairman. To quote Ferris Bueller, “It’s so choice.”

We had been having problems with our pool pump. I watched Bob as he quickly diagnosed the problem. I’ll describe for you in layman’s terms what he did after pulling something or another apart. He looked at it. He then put the thingamajig back on the what’s-it-called saying he’d have to tackle it later. He didn’t have the right tools.

The next day after he came home from work, he kissed me hello as I cooked dinner and headed out back.

img_1607-1Layna, who is four, was happily doing puzzles on my iPad at the dining room table.

Just five minutes later, Bob was back inside. I asked him if he was going to work on the pump tonight and he said he just fixed it. “It’s easy when you have the right tool.”

I know I shouldn’t be amazed at him, but I still am. I winked at him and told him, “I think I got the right tool when I married you.”

Obviously, the compliment was wasted on Layna, who kept saying, “Bumpa is a tool? Bumpa is a tool?”

 

 

 

Sweating the Small Stuff

I know you’re not supposed to eat late at night, but last Friday our late-night snack turned out to be a good thing. Bob and I were watching TV and it was almost bedtime when I realized I was hungry. I grabbed a banana, an unusually healthy choice. Bob headed to the pantry to take inventory. I heard a muffled noise from the pantry, which is around the corner. It’s hard to spell these things but it sounded something like “whoa, whoa, mwahhhhhhhhh!” and was followed by silence.

“Bob,” I repeated three times as I went toward the sound. But Bob was no longer in front of the pantry. Bob was in the family room and assured me he was okay. Okay for a man who had just had a mouse run across his bare foot. (I know it’s awful of me, but I was glad Bob discovered our intruder. He handles those things much better than I do.)

Acceptable Garden Mouse

Acceptable Garden Mouse

So, you know that saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff.”? I don’t think they were talking about a mouse in your house. I could feel anxious beads of sweat (also small) break out on my furrowed brow. This was another first for us – a rodent in the house.

We have been talking about our Bucket List of things to do while we still have the energy to do them. Extracting a mouse from the house did not make the list. Even if it did, we would not want to start on that project at 11:00 on a Friday night. And when I say “we,” I mean Bob.

I would have been happy for him to get right to it, but he wanted to go to bed. Bed – the place where you sleep. The place where a little mouse could come and crawl over you while you sleep. Maybe we should pull an all-nighter and do some serious binge watching.

Bob, in his even-tempered way, assured me that the mouse went to the opposite side of the house from our bedroom. He was certain it wouldn’t come near us. Neither of us has any experience with this, and I am always amazed at the things that Bob knows about and wonder where he acquired his vast array of knowledge. Still, I had a feeling that Bob was pulling a “B. J. Surhoff.”

Sidebar – B. J. Surhoff used to play baseball for the Orioles. Bob is very good at stating facts like he has no doubt about their authenticity. For instance, when the kids were growing up, we used to collect baseball cards. Being from Baltimore, we raised our children to be Oriole fans, so those were the prized cards. One day one of the children asked if we knew what B. J. stood for. Without batting an eye, Bob said, “Brian James.” We all believed him. Why shouldn’t we?

Years later, we learned that Mr. Surhoff’s name is really William (Billy) James, hence the initials. I have to give Bob credit for being close and credit for giving that assured “dad” answer, but he lost some credibility. Plus, we all love to bring that up whenever we get the opportunity.

So, he admitted that his was an educated guess about the tendencies of mice as well as an effort to get some sleep. I stuffed a towel under the bedroom door and slept like a baby. (Thank you, Jesus.)

Do you see a mouse in this picture?

Do you see a mouse in this picture?

I think the mouse slipped in while we were having tree and shrub work done last Thursday. We must have disturbed his environment; and with all the going in and out I was doing, he found an opportunity.

Not to brag, but the weather down here in Orlando is so amazing right now that we have had all of the French doors open to our pool. We think the little guy must have made a break for it, because there has been no sign of him, which is comforting and a little disconcerting all at once. We have traps set with peanut butter crackers in them, but no mice have been caught. I will confess that the smell of peanut butter makes me want a snack, but I will resist. After all, that’s how this whole thing started.

Seventy-two Hours

Apparently it only takes 72 hours alone together before my husband and I are grasping for things to talk about. Three little days!

img_6409We had just gone through a very busy stretch, and life had not given us much time to simply be together; so we booked a three-day getaway at the beach. Day one was relaxing. No schedules. No other people to consider. No work. It was just the ticket.

Days two and three were more of the same. Sleeping in. Eating out. Long walks and talks on the beach. Near perfection.

Then came the ride home where I stupidly mentioned the (then upcoming) election. Oops! It had been a perfectly wonderful, relaxing time! What was I thinking? But it wasn’t the whole ugly election subject that prompted the decline in our conversation. It was the fact that we could go to the library to vote early.

And it wasn’t the going to the library part that revealed that we truly had exhausted our conversational topics. It was my saying that since we moved to a different county, I needed a new library card.

But the true downfall came when Bob said he would get one, too, even though he hasn’t actually used a library card since 1971. When I pointed this out to him, he confessed that getting a card might not be a good idea, but it wasn’t for the above reason. It was because he was thinking of getting a new wallet, a skinny one that would not handle as many cards. Then he started going over every card in his wallet. At that point, I had no choice but to jump out of the moving car.

Somewhere between the new Costco VISA and the stamp card for Asian Chao Emperor’s Club Customer Loyalty Program, I started laughing uncontrollably. Thankfully, Bob joined in. I guess this is what it has come to after all of these years – 72 hours. After that, we must recruit friends, family, or even a member of the opposing political party to rescue us and infuse new life into our conversation. It’s good to know one’s limits. It’s also good to laugh at yourself. And if all else fails, a nice quiet ride might be the best choice of all.

What’s in Your Wallet?

Have you seen Blue Bloods?  It’s a television crime/drama that is almost as much about a family consisting largely of cops as it is about what those cops do in their day-to-day jobs as police officers in New York City.

Blue Bloods Poster

The show, starring Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg, was recommended to us by several of our friends, so we decided to give it a try.  The relationships of four generations are heartwarming and amusing.  They gather together every Sunday night around a large table for dinner and conversation, which includes prayer before the meal and anything-goes topics of discussion.

The commercials during the show do more than advertise products and services.  They also give away their target audience.  Half of the ads are of the “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,” variety.  We usually fast forward through them, but we still get the gist of what actors like Betty White are offering.

This has raised concerns and questions between Bob and me.  Are we too young to be watching this show?  We are the pre-walk-in-bathtub generation.  Furthermore, should we admit that this is the kind of show we like?  Our pride could take a hit if people only knew what kind of programming is being viewed behind the closed doors of our home.

Our conversation has also been influenced by this show and has given way to new things to argue about.  In one episode the great-grandfather has a heart attack and is rushed to the hospital.  Tom Selleck (his son) is asked what medications his dad takes.  Poor Tom doesn’t know and feels like a lousy son.  The pharmacy has to be called and precious moments are wasted in an effort to find out if Great Gramps takes blood thinners.  SPOILER ALERT:  Gramps pulls through.

We put the show on pause and I say to Bob, “You know, if you were admitted to the hospital I wouldn’t know what medications you take.”

Bob:  “I don’t take blood thinners.”

Me:  “You take fish oil.  Fish oil is a blood thinner.”

Bob:  “I don’t think that counts.”

Me:  “Oh, it counts, baby.”  (I say this with enough confidence to cover up my lack of confidence.)

Then I look at him with nothing but love in my eyes and say, “You need to have a list of all the stuff you take and put it in your wallet – just in case.”

Bob:  “I constantly am trying to get stuff out of my wallet.  I don’t want to add to it.”

Me:  “So you don’t even have room in there for a piece of paper that could save your life?”

Bob doesn’t like to argue.  He tries to let that last one go but I’m on it with, “I’m right, you know.  Just tell me you know I’m right.”

“You’re right,” he admits.  “The list is a good idea.”

“Thank you,” I say.

We start the show back up, and I look at him with respect that he would admit when he was wrong and joy that this conversation could very well save his life someday.  Love is welling up in my heart and then a realization sets in, and I say, “You’re not going to make the list, are you?”

He gave a simple answer – no.

That’s when I knew that we had entered the next stage of our marriage – old people arguments.  No more arguing about the kids or calendars or jobs or vacations.  We’ve moved on to bigger things – what’s in your wallet?

Beware of the Couch – Part 3 of 3

Wednesday I began telling the history of couches in our family which leads up to an incident that I didn’t want to tell you about my husband.  As a reminder, he has insisted that I should tell this story in the hopes that it will help even one person.  Today I conclude the story from the point where I realized that things aren’t always as perfect as they seem.

One night about four months into owning this perfect couch, we had a gathering of about 18 people.  Bob and I were sitting across from our couch when we noticed it bowing in the middle.  The guys flipped it over and, lo and behold, the delivery men had not set the center leg on the thing.  The frame had bent and was starting to crack.  The furniture store was extremely apologetic and said we could replace it, but that couch was no longer being made so we had to pick out something else.  Oh, the agony!

We picked out a couch that was definitely second fiddle to the other one, but we were limited in our choices so we settled.  We told ourselves it would do.  It didn’t.  After less than a year the cushions were wearing and it hurt my back to sit on it.  It was the joke of our family how I never sat on my couch.  After about five years, my father-in-law had mercy on me and gave us a new couch of my own choosing for Christmas.  This, of course, was a mixed blessing because it meant that we could replace our couch (Hooray!) but it also meant that we had to shop (Boo!).  Bob and I spent a couple of weeks looking around and eventually agreed on a fabric covered Lazy Boy that reclined on each end.  This brings us to present day.

Oh Boy!  Oh Lazy Boy!

Oh Boy! Oh Lazy Boy!

Even though we no longer have children at home or pets, we had the couch treated for stain resistance.  We didn’t want to take any chances.

Our new couch was delivered at 4pm on a lovely Tuesday afternoon.  That night Bob and I each poured ourselves a glass of red wine and headed to the family room to watch TV.  As he approached the couch, which is a light color (I know, what was I thinking), I felt fear rise up in my heart.  “Are you going to sit on the couch with that?” I asked.  “I just don’t want anything spilled on it the very first day.”

He gave me a reassuring look, placed his wine on the end table, and had a seat.  I guess I should mention at this point that the biggest challenge in my marriage has been stain removal.  That may surprise you as marriages are plagued by so many things – financial crisis, health issues, communication problems, child rearing problems – but those issues come and go while spilling things seems to last forever.  Now let me state that Bob is a wonderful, caring man.  He can fix just about anything and is a good provider, husband and father; but he does tend to spill…kind of a lot.

So this was the most unrelaxing glass of wine I ever had, but we got through it with no incident so I slept well thinking that my new couch had made it through its first night in our home without being spilled upon.

The next morning I smiled as I went out into the living room and saw my beautiful new couch sitting there.  I happily headed to the kitchen and poured my coffee.  With cup in hand I decided to live dangerously and sit on our new couch for my morning Bible reading.  Now, I cannot over emphasize the importance of reading your Bible in the morning, especially when you sit on your new couch, run your hand across the new fabric, and realize that there is something spilled on it – something that looks suspiciously like red wine – something that is in the general vicinity of where your husband sat the night before with a glass of wine.

Remember, this is less than 24 hours since the Lazy Boy guys set it in our living room.  I called Bob and cut right to the chase.  “Honey, there appears to be something red on the couch cushion.  Did you by any chance spill wine on it last night?”

He insisted that he did not.

“Well, something red is on the seat cushion,” I said.  “Something that I guess we could not see last night but today in the light of day it is quite evident.”

He still insisted that he didn’t spill any wine, and then he got quiet – very quiet.  “I know what it is,” he said.  “It’s blood.”  He hesitated and continued, “When I was sitting on the couch, being so careful not to spill my wine, I found myself picking at my toes.  When I went to bed I noticed that one had been bleeding a little, but I didn’t think it got on anything.  I’m so sorry.”  He apologized over and over again.  I know he felt terrible about it.

Here’s another little tidbit that might round this story out for you.  My pet peeve is picking, especially toe picking.  Hearing that click, click, click drives me crazy (and that’s not a long drive).  So, with that in mind, you can only imagine that Bob really felt badly about the whole thing.

Thankfully, I was rather composed.  I can only account that to God’s grace and how it’s hard to get angry at somebody while you are reading the Bible and while they feel so rotten about the incident anyway.  I also will admit that I did mention to Bob at that point how I hate toe-picking and the grief it causes.  I’m fairly certain that I may have said that more than once, but I didn’t get angry – not too angry anyway.  I guess I was in disbelief.

So, I headed to the computer, registered my new couch’s stain removal agreement and immediately called the hotline.  They talked me through how to remove the stain.  It worked.  It even worked the next time Bob got blood on the couch.  And, I won’t even mention the day he accidentally kicked a mug of coffee that was on the floor and splashed the contents over the front of the couch (which I also was able to get out).  It’s the baptism with fire, or in this case, red wine and coffee.

Now you can see why I didn’t want to tell you this story.  But my sweet husband insisted that he was here to serve; and that truly if this story will help one person not pick his toes while sitting on the living room furniture and, therefore, make his wife crazy, it would be worth it.  Now that’s a humble man.  It’s also a humble man who has agreed that he won’t sit on the couch unless he’s wearing socks, though I don’t expect him to hold to that agreement.  We do live in Florida, after all.  It doesn’t really matter anyway; I am a pro at stain removal.

Advertisements