The other day I was walking into Target just as some guy was walking out and I turned to look as he set off the “I’m stealing your stuff” alarm. I thought it was funny that I turned to look because no one else did. The Target employees and the guy himself just kept doing what they were doing…nothing. I think we might have developed the wrong approach to these alarms. They are now like car alarms. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear a car alarm go off? “Oh my god someone is getting their car stolen!!”? No. More likely you think, “Ugh…can’t someone shut off that damn thing?” I think the best way to steal a car would be to go ahead and set off the alarm, point your hand at the car and press on an imaginary button about 50 times and then just go ahead and steal the damn thing. No one is even going to think twice about it. I also think that Target and other stores either need to remove those alarms from their doors or respond to them. What if when the alarm went off at Target an entire group of Ninja looking characters swooped in and tackled the offending person? The rule should be, if you set off the alarm you have to quickly lie down on the floor and not move. It sure would make it more interesting when that stupid alarm went off. At least it would make it more entertaining for me.
As threatened here are some pictures from Christmas at the Carroll’s
Opening a handmade gift from Jen. A super cool camping setup made of felt and such.
Some funky headbandy thing that Sara wanted.
Sam and his train from Grandma Wilma and Grandpa Larry. He was as excited as he looks.
We set it up in the garage temporarily and he wanders out there 20 times a day…
Greetings everyone from the frozen tundra of Tampa, FL. It has got to be at least 45 here this morning. I had to break out the clothes I wore in Norway to traverse the path to the car. Ok. I’m not fooling anyone huh? It is cold here, but we aren’t exactly holding our icy breath for a white Christmas.
I wanted to take a minute and tell everyone who checks in here hello, and wish you all Happy Holidays. I’ll probably be relatively shut down until the new year, but who knows? I took a look back at the Christmas time posts from WLL this time last year and I realize, even more than usual, how much I have to be happy about and thankful for. It’s been one heck of a year. I’ll offer the cliché “Next year will be better” and I think I’ll just believe that instead of looking for reasons why it might not be. Happy Holidays and thanks for your help, good wishes, prayers, friendship, and everything else in 2009.
Check back in for pictures and such, but my witty commentary might be minimal.
If you have been reading here long enough you might get the idea that I have an extensive list of pet peeves and things that annoy me. You might be right. I’ve been harassing Jen and Sara for quite some time now about yet another one of them. It’s not as funny as this exchange:
Person #1: “Can I ask you a question?”
Person #2: “I think you just did”
It IS, however, along those lines. Here is the line that gets me every time. “Can you do me a favor?” How can you possibly answer that question without at least having some vague idea of what the favor is? What if the favor is something like…Immerse yourself in chocolate syrup or Go beat up the neighbor? I cannot commit to any favor that might get me in trouble or danger or syrup. The problem about “Can you do me a favor?” is also that you can’t say “Well…that depends on the favor” without looking like a jerk. I think the idea is that you should assume that someone who is asking you a favor won’t hold you to a favor that puts you blindfolded and naked in the middle of the highway. I guess I’ll just keep answering this in the jerky fashion because I just know my family is waiting for me to answer “Yeah sure!” and then pay me back for years of “I don’t know. You watch.
Lately everything I do seems to have a bit of drama built in. Only I can turn an ordinary dentist visit into a “thing”. It was just a simple cavity. I’ll spare you the details but suffice it to say, when one side of your face starts to burn and pain shoots into your eye, things aren’t going well. Just prior to this happening I heard the dentist say, “Whoa…Ummm..” and then for about 30 seconds I was blind in my right eye. I really don’t have the details of what happened, but what probably was about a $200.00 procedure and visit suddenly was free. I have an appointment with the eye doctor tonight. I wonder if he will make some of my teeth fall out?
Ok…forgive me if this is even more rambling than usual, but I just had a run in with “the law”. The reason it’s in quotes is that he wasn’t really doing any LAW related work when we ran into each other. We live in a “gated community” and the reason that this is is quotes is because half the time the gate isn’t working and it takes an act of congress to get your phone number changed in the magic box. Well tonight I decided that since I left my remote control to the gate in the house I would follow the next person in. This just happened to be a police car. It crossed my mind that it might be a sketchy maneuver and apparently he thought so too. I reasoned that I did actually live there and that I wasn’t breaking any actual laws. He pretty much called me stupid, or actually he did call me stupid and proceeded to read me the riot act. I was actually cool with that because I knew how it was going to end. The part I didn’t really like is that he wouldn’t let me speak. So I gave up. After a few minutes of getting yelled at and a fake license check he calmed down, shook my hand and went home. I got enough words out to tell him I didn’t mind him stopping and checking my address, but I didn’t get out the part where I think he went a little overboard. Probably better that way.
Add to the list of “Things Jon thought he had all figured out, but alas, does not”, sick kids. Sam is sick. He’s just your usual sick, nothing to be worried about, but it does involve taking medicine, and that’s the part I thought I had figured out. This isn’t unusual, because I have solved this problem many times. The first time we had to give the kid medicine we would put it in a dropper, wave a bunny in the air and then shoot 60 cc’s of motriprofin into his cheek. No problem. It didn’t take him long to catch on to this and as soon as the blue bunny made an appearance he would curl up into a ball and stuff his fist in his mouth. We were then able to get away with the “look Daddy will drink it first” method. This lasted about 2 illnesses and now I can’t even get near that stuff or I get sick. Finally I thought I had stumbled upon the miracle of all medicine taking miracles. NERDS. This is candy that is sour and disgusting to adults, but to kids it is basically a spoonful of sugar. Get it? Don’t make me hum the song. Pop whatever medicine we were taking into his mouth, follow with spoon of NERDS and whammo. Smiles and fever free Sam. Until last night. Suddenly NERDS tasted disgusting and there was no bringing back any bunnies. I’m not sure who came up with the idea, Lunesta impaired Mom or empathy deficient Dad, but we are now chasing medicine with chocolate chips. Two chips per half table and the world is a happy place. I’ll let you know what the next iteration is. Who knows? Maybe there is a book deal here. “What to expect when you’re expectorating”
I’m in a bit of a quandary. The Publix deli that we get our cold cuts from has this thing they do that makes me uncomfortable. Whenever you ask them for X amount of cheese or meat they go back to their super slicers and then present you with a slice. They always want to know if it’s ok. Too thick? Too thin? The problem is I don’t really want that free slice they offer. I’m not having lunch there at the deli counter and it seems kinda weird to be chomping a partial sandwich right there in the middle of the store. You’re probably thinking what’s the big deal? Just refuse the slice. Well that’s where they get weird. The last time I said I didn’t want the free slice the guy got all offended. He asked me like 5 times, “Are you sure?" The I think he went back and whispered something to the other shower cap wearing gang, because they were all looking at me. I’m just going to have to buy the pre-packaged stuff. Now the deli people make me nervous and they have knives.
A man with a winking problem applies for a position as a traveling salesman and goes in for an interview.
“Looking at your résumé, I can see that you’re more than qualified,” says the interviewer. “Unfortunately, we can’t have our sales reps constantly winking at customers, so we can’t hire you.”
“But wait,” says the man. “If I take two aspirin, I stop winking.”
“Then show me,” replies the interviewer.
So the guy reaches into his pants pocket and pulls out a pile of condoms in all different shapes, sizes, and colors before finally finding a packet of aspirin. He pops the pills and immediately stops winking.
“It’s great you stopped winking,” says the interviewer, “but we can’t have our salesmen womanizing all over the country.”
“What do you mean?” asks the man. “I’m happily married.”
“How do you explain all the condoms?” asks the interviewer.
“Oh, that,” sighs the man. “Have you ever walked into a pharmacy, winking, and asked for aspirin?”
Well…here it is. The one year anniversary of this blog.
What started as a platform for getting the word out on my dad’s health and status, turned into the Carroll version of the Northern Europe Rand McNally, and is now basically a place for me to goof on the less fortunate. I hope everyone has gotten use out of one of the many versions of this blog, and I’m glad that the health status of my dad didn’t take up the entire year.
You might be interested to know that “We Love Larry” has been visited by approx. 1,000 unique people from over 56 countries on every continent but Antarctica. Hey dad…..better find someone you know in Antarctica. I only really tell you this as an aside since the only real ideal of the blog is the one it had from the beginning. A place to check in on and cheer on my dad. The rest of it is just space filler.
Love you dad.
Things that are bugging me lately…
1. Big Macs are getting noticeably smaller. This is probably a good thing.
2. Bluetooth stuff SEEMS like a good idea, but it is extremely annoying.
3. Why won’t the Publix guy say anything when I say goodbye or thanks? This guy is one more blank stare away from getting a complaint filed.
4. Why can’t I just get on the treadmill everyday. It’s just in the other room. I have time. WTH?
5. Seriously? People are surprised about Tiger Woods? I want to hear a story about a poor slob with no prospects or hygiene pull that off. Now THATS news. (Stolen from ShaneCal)
6. Pretty soon I will have found my entire history of acquaintances on Facebook. I don’t want to know where everyone is.
Hey guess what? I’m two days away from the WLL 1st anniversary.
Maybe I’ll get some of those bracelets made, like LIVESTRONG? I doubt there are any colors left since the whole world got on that bandwagon.
(10 minute elapse)
Apparently you can customer order those things. For fun I put together a half red, half black one with WLL on it. Only $1.50 a piece. I could sell 50 of these and break even. Considering the hundreds of readers on this blog this is entirely feasible. Too bad those silicone wristband things are pretty much passé.
Gotta go…I have to find a better WLL 1 year anniversary plan.
I was putting a book back on the shelf the other day and I got to thinking about something. Before I start to type what appears to be really weird stuff and you start thinking I’m crazy, the book was about time travel of a sort. For some reason I was giving this more brain power than is really necessary and I decided that even if I could go back in time I would just look like as big a dummy as I do in my own time. Keep up with me here. If you were to travel back, call it 100 years, what super knowledge of the future would you have that would make you rich or famous? Besides betting on the World Series or maybe making some stock investments what else could you do? Could you invent the computer earlier than it was already invented? How about the TV? There’s no way I could explain TV or help someone built it or tell them anything other than a story about it. 100 years ago cars would have been around, but even if I went back far enough to get cars invented I would have been the dumbest guy in the garage. I can see it now. I would have been locked up in some sort of institution. “There he is, that’s the guy who thinks we can send men to the moon” I think there might already be time travelers in our midst, but they are just too dumb to speak up for fear that they would look like idiots. Note to self…when time travel is invented…send back the smart people.
Oh, by the way. The book was Replay by Ken Grimwood
Mom and Dad have safely returned to Orion and sub-60 degree weather. I already miss them and can’t wait to get together again. Sam still has his banana aversion and is still singing the new song that he and Larry arranged. This song goes something like this: “Christmas dog saved the day! Christmas dog saved the day! (repeat 50 times) Bow wow wow, bow wow wow!!! Sorry. It had to be noted for posterity. Especially if a similar song makes the top 40. Residuals you see. We are all looking forward to Christmas and counting down the days while we twiddle our thumbs waiting until the very last second and wondering why half our budget is spent on postage. Here are some additional random photos from “the visit” and holiday preparations.
This one edited to retain maximum Christmas surprise.
Today I participated in a necessary ritual that has its roots in medieval times, the kindergarten, flash mob, sheep fest birthday party. I don’t really know when this started but it seems that the party du jour for kids consists of the following:
1. Invite as many children that you possibly can to aforementioned event.
2. Take the number as obtained above and then add 10%.
3. Find a space that only accommodates the above number –15%.
4. Supply some form of entertainment along with appropriate waivers.
5. Sit back and watch the fun.
Me and Sam went to “Bounce-U”, and indoor version of all of those blow up jump around thingys you see advertised or used in county fairs around the country. Kids love them, and much energy is expended, but attending these events is such an awkward social exercise the the parents. I guess it’s just one of those things you do for your kids, but sheesh…consider the following.
- I enjoyed talking to the mother of the girl who bit Sam on Friday, but she never mentioned it until I bit her back….not her back, but in return. You get the idea.
- The hostess of the “party” was one of the women who never says hi to me. We are now fast friends. Ok, well…we speak now. Cross that off the bucket list.
- The husband of the hostess, not to be referred to as the host since he really didn’t do anything, bumped into me and I thought we were gonna fight when my apology went unacknowledged.
Here are some pictures of the event. If they seem fuzzy blame Apple and the iPhone camera. This phone was not intended to capture 5-6 year olds in their native environment.
Sorry for the lack of activity, I’ve been taking a bit of a holiday break. We have been enjoying the company of the Orion Carrolls and trying to ramp up Christmas activities after the Thanksgiving doldrums.
Here are a couple of blurry cam shots of various goofing around.
So as I’m listing my “I’m thankful for” people list (read below) I got distracted and stopped listing family members…and didn’t list Tim, Sally, Adam, and Julia.
I’m moving them up to #3.5 on the list since I am, of course, thankful for all of them. I know my mom and dad are thankful for the time they spend with them and I wish we lived a little closer so we could also spend time together.
Me and my brother have lived apart for a while and I’m not sure anyone other than us understands the nature of our relationship, but that’s ok. He also has a birthday today, so I think I double whammy neglected him.
Love you “Alton” people. I hope to see all of you soon.
It’s funny but I sometimes forget I haven’t even been doing this blog for a year. I only really remember when it comes time to post milestone items like “Things I’m thankful for” on Thanksgiving. I’ve never written them down or shared them with anyone. Once again I get to record these things for posterity.
1. It would be pretty uncool to have a blog called “We Love Larry” and not be thankful for the man himself. Mom---Don’t read this to him, he’ll just get upset. There were some pretty dark days near this time last year and during a lot of them I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to see my dad again. I’m thankful for all of the days between that time and now because I sure didn’t think I would get them. I’m thankful for you Dad.
2. Equally uncool would be to be thankful for Larry, but not for my mom. I’m so thankful that for the times when we couldn’t be at his side or be there to help, my mom was ALWAYS there. I’m thankful for you mom and I love you both.
3. Sara, Sam, Jen – I would probably have to start a whole new blog to express how thankful to have you guys in my life. I love you all.
4. Beth, John, Allie, Linda, Bill – you are not #4 on the actual “I’m thankful for” list, don’t pay any attention to the numbers.
5. Health – I’m thankful to have the strength and energy to have roamed the hills and mountains of Norway, biked the miles of trails in Holland, traversed the subways and streets of London and to be healthy and strong enough to do it again if I get the chance.
6. In a mixed bag of thankfulness I’m thankful for: The lady who keeps Sam’s school running, people to throw candy at during Halloween, my long distance co-workers who seem like they are closer than they are, the opportunity to work from home and help my kids have a normal day, my friend Mike who can always be counted on to add further value to my mostly daily observations, the Tijuana Flats girls who prove that “kids” are still hard workers and nice people.
oh…and anyone who reads this blog and shares my day. I hope that those of you that do read this have a great Thanksgiving and as much to be thankful for as I do.
The other day I was at the grocery store playing a cat and mouse game with the actual shoppers there. I only have one job when I’m at the grocery store, and that is to drive the cart. I don’t really drive the cart as much as I kinda lean on it and bitch and moan my way through the aisles. The cat and mouse game enters into the fray when there is a lull in the shopping action. Not wanting to be a burden on other shoppers I always try to pick a place to park the cart where I won’t be in the way. It usually goes like this.
Jon: I think I’ll park over here by the Limburger cheese.
Shopper #1: Excuse me sir…but I’m trying to get to that cheese you are blocking.
Jon: Oh, sorry. I’ll just move over here by the pile of expired chicken cutlets oozing out on to the floor.
Shopper #2: Hey buddy! You wanna step aside while I scoops up them chicken pieces?
You get the picture. It doesn’t matter where I try to hide there is always some joker trying to get what I’m blocking. Another problem with the grocery store is that apparently the rule for driving a cart are completely different from driving a car. There is driving on the wrong side, no signaling, no one yields, it’s chaos. I have, however, removed this problem from my life for the most part. I found that I am now a known complainer of such extremes that no one really wants me to go with them to the grocery store anyhow.
Remember the other day when I mentioned the smoking lobster guy? Dressed as a lobster, holding a sign, touting a restaurant special? Well the sign holding situation is reaching a very tension filled time. The lobster has moved down the street and now there is a dancing hot dog entering the fray. A couple of days ago we pulled up to the stoplight a block down the street and Sam yelled out “Smoking lobster!” Sure enough, there he was in all his glory. The problem was he was in the median and I think he was taunting the Pizza hut girl holding a sign across the street. Not to be outdone the Dominos guy was going head to head with the homeless guy on the other corner. Once I had taken all of this in something caught my eye on the other side of the street. That’s right…enter the dancing hot dog. I have prepared a visual aid for you so that you can see how this all looks, at least on “paper”
I’m somewhat nervous about taking a picture of any of the participants because I think they might use their costumes as a way of covering up who’s beating me up. Plus…who wants to be beaten up by a dancing hot dog.
Keep an eye on your newspaper headlines because this is gonna blow at some point and once again…you are in the know.
I have an obligatory post due today regarding my visit to Sam’s school and their “Thanksgiving Feast”. Jen had to work, Sara had school, but me and Sam had a good time. I wonder what those people think of me? Maybe it’s a tad conceited to think that they pay any attention to me at all, but I drop Sam off and pick him up pretty much every day. I show up in the middle of the day in shorts, T-shirt, and in need of a shave. I’m sure most bets are on “unemployed slacker”. I guess they would be half right. Anyhow…here are some pictures of “The Feast”
This morning I was remembering a funny incident from my past and I thought I’d share it with you.
I was listening to morning radio in St. Louis and the topic was dreams. At one point one of the radio hosts made the comment “Did you know if you die in your dreams then you actually die in real life?” While they were discussing this for a while I started to think about it a bit and then I picked up the phone and called in. They were still going on and on about if you die in your dream then you really die when I killed the whole conversation. I asked the girl who made the assertion the following question: “How did you survey this? Did someone ask 100 dead people if A: Were you dreaming when you died? and B: In your dream were you dying? One of the other hosts started cracking up and then picked up on the theme. They razzed this girl mercilessly for the next hour. I felt a little bad about that, but I’ve heard this assertion repeated since then a dozen more times.
Larry and Wilma have headed further south for a much needed break from grandchildren and living in a house full of the “other” Carrolls.
My in-laws have graciously given them shelter in their condo on Pine Island and I hope they can take some time to enjoy the sun, read a book or two and get away from everything. I’m not sure they have much of a choice because Pine Island isn’t exactly a hopping place unless you’re a fisherman or botanist. Either way I’m sure they will enjoy it.
Today I had one of those thoughts or bunches of thoughts and said to myself…”Gotta remember that. That would be a good blog entry”. I have since forgotten what it was.
On another note, we took the kids to get their flu shots and the gods decided to reward me with something to post here anyhow. Presumably until I remember the other thing.
You might have to look closely to see why this is funny, but there are some thoughts about how this happens.
- Someone wrote it down wrong and gave it to the printer?
- Printer got this and didn’t know it was wrong?
- Person who received the signs didn’t notice it?
- Person who placed the signs in the ground didn’t notice it either?
This is either a whole bunch of indifference or incompetence. Either way it’s slightly funnier that it is for the opening of a new hospital. I hope the doctors here are not “Opening Team memememembers”
Yesterday was the Worldwide 3rd Annual Superspectacular Valencia Gardens 2009 yard sale. Simply by reading that title you have experienced the highlight of the entire event. I am not a fan of yard sales, but they are necessary evils that bridge the gap between legitimate commerce and the black market. The problem is that I HOPED to sell all the stuff I didn’t want anymore for a fair price and thought if Jen and Sara slept in long enough I wouldn’t collect anyone else's junk either. Neither of those things happened. The funny thing is that there really seems to be no logic to the yard sale. People buy, and don’t buy, the goofiest things. I didn’t have any goofy things to sell, but here are some of the funny things that happened.
- 27” TV for sale Flat screen, not flat panel, mind you…but a nice TV. I ran an extension cord out to the edge of the garage especially for the lucky individual who bought it to test its viability. The guy who did buy it got me for an extra $5 because it didn’t have a remote and had no interest in testing it. The guy who bought the $2 lamp, however, asked me if he could try it out with “that extension cord over there”.
- People would buy things, pay me, and then leave the stuff there to pick up later. THEN they would come back and forget if they paid me or not! I could have sold a pair of twin beds we had about 6 times by this method.
- The Lexmark printer for $10? Didn’t sell. An old “Cars” Halloween costume for $1. SOLD.
- FREE mirror squares. No takers. $2 rickety wooden ladder? SOLD.
I did, however, experience a first at this yard sale. I told a lady that a scarf she picked up was 25 cents. She said she’d take it, but I didn’t have change at that moment. She said no problem, “Just take the dollar for it.” For all you expert yard sale people out there…this is just unheard of. I think I’m going to frame the dollar.
So remember the people who were calling my phone? I have another story of mistaken identity.
We moved here in 2005, settled in, got ourselves established as the Carroll family on Hawk Hill Loop. Excited to get mail at our new address I would diligently retrieve the mail every day and was pretty excited when in no time I started to get mail addressed to me. I kept thinking it was strange that after all of these years people would still send mail to JOHN Carroll. I’ve worked hard to establish myself as the “No H” Jon Carroll. Even funnier, I thought, was that the mail kept coming to our house at 22711 even though the JOHN mail said it was supposed to go to 22811. By now, being the smart people that you are, you have determined that there might be more going on that just a simple misspelling or address issue. You would be right. Curiously this is what was occurring. Here are two residents of Hawk Hill Loop and their addresses.
John Carroll – 22811 Hawk Hill Loop
Jon Carroll – 22711 Hawk Hill Loop
Haha, this is funny, strange and confusing as hell for the Postwoman. The one additional side note that made me a little wary and concerned for my own identity is that I got a couple of “Notices to Appear” for the “H” John and I can’t really remember how I found out, but it was for Possession of Marijuana. This hasn’t been a problem yet, but I envision the day when I’m tooling around Land O Lakes on my scooter, minding my own business, when I’m surrounded by Sheriffs deputies in a weird episode of COPS. Remember this when you are watching late night TV and you get to point at the screen and yell out “I KNOW THAT GUY!”
Things that are currently driving me crazy…
- Why can’t you ever find a pen when you need one? Are they hiding in the “other” sock from the dryer?
- When I find a pen why is it always red, out of ink, or broken?
- When is is ok to take the last of something? I NEVER take the last of something. If everyone played by this rule I guess there would always be little bits of stuff around. Besides Sara who takes the last of things?
- Why do people walk on the side of the road when there are sidewalk along the road? 50% of the kids that walk home from the bus stop around here do this.
- Why does it cost $695 for that old car theft system, Lojack when you could just throw one of these in your trunk and be good for $100.
- Facebook recommendations. Apparently if 15 of my other friends are cool with someone…I should be also.
I think this is the longest I’ve gone without posting. Sorry.
Happy Veterans Day to my Dad and others.
It’s been nice having Mom and Dad here in Florida. The kids are enjoying their company. Sam and dad have some ongoing banter about bananas. I think it is a conspiracy to rid the world of bananas. Sam like bananas until Larry arrived. Larry is a bad influence. Strange to write that in a blog titled “We love Larry”. I love him but my kid better keep eating fruits and vegetables when he leaves.
We haven’t really done a lot except hang around and be together. I’ll take it.
I’m sure a lot of conversations or, in this case, blog posts start with “I love my son but…” Well.
I love Sam but…
His timing is killing me. Every morning I get up before everyone else and try to get my day going. You probably don’t need the details, but it only includes a shower, some breakfast and coffee. I don’t know how many times I have made the coffee, gathered up some food and sat down only to hear the shuffle of his little feet coming to find me. What can you do? You can’t look at him and say “Oh shit, you’re awake!” I always just give him a hug and ask him how he slept. Sometimes I get a story about one of his dreams or the usual “Great!” Some day I’ll realize that this was obviously the right thing to do and miss it when he’s off to college or just not interested in a morning hug. Right now I’m going to scarf down these cheerios and finish typing. Shhh.
It has been one of those weeks. I can’t specifically blame any one thing. Ever have one of those weeks?
Highlights might include:
- Jen got a new bike. Remember that “Buy me a Dutch bike” crusade she entered into on Homeroamers.com? Well I got together with the usual suspects and we all chipped in and bought her a bike. Here is a picture of it.
Larry and Wilma will be here tomorrow night as we are all looking forward to it. This will be the longest bit of travelling they have done since Dad got sick. I hope everything goes well so they feel secure to do things like this again. They will be here through the month of November. Hey Mike! – Stop over and water the plants will ya?
All in all it has been a quiet and uninspiring week. Look above. Only one highlight. Crazy.
Not my material, but he shares my thoughts
Every year, tens of thousands of people die because organ donor status in the US is opt in. If you want to be an organ donor when you're dead, you need to go through steps now to opt in. The default is "no."
Press releases, sent by the billions, seem to have become opt out. If you don't want the barrage of nonsense, PR firms appear to believe that one by one you must alert each and every publicist in the world of your desire to not hear from them.
401 (k) plans tend to be opt in. If you do nothing, you get nothing.
Talking to the police after getting arrested is strictly opt out. Nothing to sign, you just talk.
Cheese on your pasta used to be opt out, but now it appears to be becoming opt in.
Bacon should never be opt out. Sorry, but that's just the way I feel.
I think there are a few general principles that could save us time and money and hassle:
- If there's a public good involved from a certain behavior, the default should be opt out.
- If the pressure or cost of opting out is high and it involves a civil right, then opt in is a better choice for our society. (Obviously a potential conflict to the first rule).
- If a business benefits in aggregate and the consumer is penalized on average, then it's smart public policy for it to be opt in.
- If your business is going to depend on this connection as an asset, opt in is the way to go. Opt out email is another word for spam.
So, I'd make organ donation opt out, public religious observance opt in, newsletters opt in and smart financial choices opt out. Anything that tricks a consumer into paying for something ought to be double opt in. And without a doubt, email (and commercial transactions of all kinds) are opt in. Smart for both sides.
No need to sneak around. Ask first.
So we have this Vespa scooter. We haven’t ridden it since we left for Europe and the battery has since died. The other day I purchased a battery and had the lovely experience of filling it with battery acid. For some reason I decided that working with sulfuric acid isn’t a big deal. Don’t need no stinking gloves, glasses, skin on my fingers. I proceeded to fill it and get acid on my hands as I picked up the battery to put it in the scooter. I also took this moment to put the screw package in my mouth to hold it while I did this. Mind you the screw package had been in the same box as the acid…which had some leak spots on it when it arrived. I’m surprised I didn’t just decide to chug the acid, since I was being so stupid. I finally got the battery in and decided to take it for a spin. I hesitate to ride the scooter because it reminds me of a joke that is pretty much true. The clean version of the joke goes something like this. “Scooters are like ______. They are fun to ride until your friends see you.” See..I couldn’t really clean it up. To top it off the helmets we have for this scooter make us all look like Marvin the Martian, minus the brush thingy.
Here is a picture of Marvin. I MIGHT send a picture of someone other than me riding the scooter for funny.
Since the inspiration of this blog is one of my parents and the other parent is really awesome…here is a link to a cool site about Awesome parents. I haven’t sent any Larry and Wilma pictures yet, but I think I have a couple that would work.
So I have a dilemma. My new phone came complete with a phone number that used to belong to what seems to be 3 different people. Two of the people I don’t really have a problem with. The first guy is apparently a guy named “Nut”. He gets calls from all over the country and everyone seems to be sad that Nut doesn’t answer the phone any more. The second person, Joan Aguilar, gets a call from a robotic caller about once a week. I press the hell out of #1 since it says they will quit calling Joan if you do that, but alas, it seems to be a lie. The third person is the dilemma. “Steven _____” apparently owes someone some money. The people tasked with getting the money think I’m Steve. I tell them my name is Jon and that they have the wrong number and they always say, “Ok Steve”. I refuse to tell them my last name because I don’t really feel like I owe them anything, but they are very persistent. I’m almost willing to tell them my last name, but I’m not sure that will end the questions. What do I do? I kind of enjoy making them mad at Steve’s expense. I figure I don’t really have anything to lose by making them mad at him. Any suggestions?
Ok…I really can’t wait. Halloween is officially a joke. First we’ll get the cuteness out of the way. Here is Sam and Sara in all of their Halloween glory.
Now let’s talk a little about Halloween and a couple of beefs I have with this “holiday”. Better yet, let’s do this with a list. Here is a list of the top 10 “Why you probably shouldn’t be trick or treating”
1. You don’t have a costume and you don’t even pretend you have one. Hell…one kid didn’t even have a bag.
2. You ran out of Marlboro lights halfway down the block. Seriously…some “kid” walked up with a mighty “Happy Halloween” with a cigarette in his mouth.
3. Your boss let you out of work a little early so you could get “the good candy”
4. You’re the third generation of trick or treaters in your family tonight.
5. You drove your car to the really good candy neighborhood.
6. You are going to go home, pop open a Bud Light and check your candy for tampering.
7. You have to make up a story about how you are trick or treating for your younger brother / cousin / nephew.
8. You have to quit early because you’re taking the SAT’s the next day.
9. You’re a girl and saying “trick or treat” might be considered solicitation considering how you are dressed.
10. If anything happens to you while you are out collecting candy, it’s ok, your home owners insurance will probably cover it.
It’s so crazy, but each and every one of those instances I thought up using tonight's visitors for inspiration.
It’s funny. I look back at Halloween in my past and don’t remember that much. Halloween wasn’t a huge deal back when I was a kid, especially in Orion. Everyone did the usual things, dressed up, begged for candy, the occasional prank. The first time I remember Halloween being different was in St. Louis. In St. Louis Halloween is pretty much a national holiday. EVERYONE decorates their homes, kids or no kids. There were about 20 different haunted houses to choose from and these weren’t your run of the mill haunted houses. These were for-profit professional deals. In fact…here’s a link to one of this years St. Louis haunted houses.
Crazy - $20 for a ticket! That’s how serious they are.
Florida has its own set of rules for Halloween. The interesting part about Halloween here is that you rarely have to worry about that November chill and covering up your costume because you are too cold. Here most people sit out on their driveways, evaluate the costumes as the kids stroll by and occasionally there is a “treat” for the adults. There is a house down the street that has offered jello shots for the adults as they wander the streets with the kids. I found that the people manning the jello shot station didn’t have very good memories (probably due to their own intake) and I could go back many times.
Pictures coming soon.
I’m not sure if this is happening in your neck of the woods, but it seems that the newest way to advertise your business is to hire some questionable character, give him a sign and send him to the roadside. I can’t even imagine how much these people must get paid. There is a guy at the intersection down the street, holding a sign for carpet cleaning. How much business is this guy bringing in with that sign? It’s even funnier that the sign says something like “5 rooms cleaned for only 89 cents!” This guy spends like 10 hours a day holding that sign. Down the street a local fine dining restaurant has hired a lobster to stand out front and hold a sign. For you slower readers it’s actually a guy dressed as a lobster. The other day the lobster was smoking a cigarette and waving his sign. That makes me want to go have a meal there. I’m tempted to do a whole bunch of crazy math and try to figure out the budget for this type of operation. The only thing that is holding me back is that I don’t know how much a lobster suit costs.
I’m sure this is an often heard diatribe or comedy routine, but I’m going to write it anyhow.
I am going to start a list. A list of all the things I’m going to do at Sara’s new apartment or house (whenever that happens). Maybe if I write it down here I will have sufficient memory of these things to actually do them. Here is a partial list.
- I’m going to eat her food and leave all the dishes and garbage on the coffee table.
- Anything I get out to use I’m going to leave wherever I want. I guess hair dryer is off the list though.
- I’m going to borrow stuff from her and then keep it. This is my favorite, but the opportunities will be limited. I’m not sure how much use I’m going to have of her stuff, but I’m borrowing it nonetheless. It’s going to be weird to ask for the mascara, but it’s going to happen.
Again…I know that these are the dreams of all parents who feel their kids have dumped on them at some time in their lives, but I can’t wait. It will happen. Promise
The community garage sale is coming up in a couple of weeks and I’m having mixed feelings about it. On one hand I want to dump all the crappy things I own and don’t use on someone else and on the other hand I don’t want to deal with the people who would buy my junk. 80% of the things people put out at garage sales they would just give away if you asked for it. Putting a 50 cent price tag on it just makes you seem greedy. Then you have the people who will offer you 25 cents for your 50 cent item. I wonder if I could make more money off my junk by just putting a tip jar on the table. The other thing I think is funny is that I can’t leave my garage door open during a garage sale. If you do then people always want to buy the stuff in your garage. “You sellin’ that there freezer?” I’m surprised I don’t get people wandering through my house when I’m not looking. I’ll update you on the actual sale when it goes down. I’m sure there will be photos to be had.
I’m not really sure how far Winn-Dixie stores are spread throughout the country, but every time one of their trucks passes me I crack up. What kind of marketing genius came up with “Winn-Dixie: Getting better all the time”? I can translate it for you if you want.
- “We aren’t as bad as we were yesterday!”
- “We’re really trying”
- “Not the best…getting better though”
Oh well. I guess I’m just too critical.
Now Florida is a pretty friendly place, so I’m wondering why I’m having a certain problem lately. Yesterday I walk by some guys house and since someone is outside I say hi….no check that, I say “Hey there, how’s it going?” What do I get in return? A blank stare. Ok, we’re not buddies, but if someone says hi or something similar to me I actually would have to stifle a response. It’s pretty much automatic. You say hi back. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. A couple of times in the grocery store, here and there at Sam’s school…it’s weird. I also go through a minute of embarrassment that THEY didn’t respond to me. Why should I be embarrassed? Anyhow, this is what is in my brain for the moment and now I can clear it away by pressing…publish.
Here’s the scoop behind yesterdays kayak trip.
When we were in Europe we took advantage of our time and opportunities and spent a lot of time together doing really cool things. We decided the other day that we didn’t do the same thing here in Florida and that we really had no good reason for it. The output of this discussion was the we resolved ourselves to doing something fun and family related every weekend. One day for fun, one day for cleaning up the house and the substantial grounds.
We found the kayak company online, called them and they gave us the friendly “Come on down, the water’s fine!” routine. Trying new things is always a tricky routine. If we had shown up yesterday and the weather had been bad or it started raining halfway through we probably would never go again. First impressions you know. As it was the weather was perfect and we had a great time. The pictures were few and of bad quality because I was using my phone to capture the moments. I’m not even sure a real camera could have done it justice. We kayaked about 4 miles. Some of it in open water and some of it under the canopy of the mangrove trees. When I say canopy I really mean two foot wide swath cut in the trees. Herons to the left of me pelicans to the right… The kids seemed to have a great time, mostly because they didn’t paddle. Actually Sara did a great job and caught on pretty fast. Eventually Jen and Sara made a good team in their tandem kayak.
Here are the other two pictures I took. Sorry for the lack of pizzazz. Now that you know each weekend will have an adventure of some sort attached you can check in and see what happened.
The fear of dropping my phone in the water also negatively contributed to the quality of the pictures.
I guess technically Orion’s colors are scarlet and black, but it doesn’t sound as cool when you say “The scarlet coats are coming!”
Larry and Wilma will be visiting sunny Florida in a couple of weeks. They are going to be in the area for almost a month and give us all a chance to celebrate together for many occasions…including Tim’s birthday, even though he won’t be here to help. He doesn’t know if but we celebrate his birthday every year, it’s just more fun when he isn’t here for it. We all buy each other gifts in his honor and have red velvet cake. (Just kidding Tim!)
We don’t have a lot of details yet, but we hope that this visit will allow them to enjoy the weather here and relax a bit away from home. I’m sure it’s a bit scary to travel after all that has happened over the past year, but it’s time. The plan is to get rid of the cooking, cleaning, doctor visit routine and replace it with more interesting things. Kayaking, swimming, maybe a little hang gliding.
Sunny is looking forward to seeing them again and Sam says that grandpa owes him a quarter. I don’t know what that’s about, but bring your quarters Larry.
As a part of our new “Get out and see the world” initiative we took a little tour of a local and American pastime…the flea market. Visiting a flea market is like visiting another country. They have their own rules, dialect, and customs. As I wandered amongst the flea market stalls I noticed some of these customs and experienced some of the language and dialects. I’ll share some of them here with you.
- At the flea market it might appear that you are free to wander and peruse the wares, but as soon as you stop at a certain item or god forbid you pick one up the proprietor of the “shop” will appear out of nowhere sensing a possible sale. I have found this to be unnerving and weird. They seem friendly enough, but I really try to keep moving and not stare at anything longer than a couple of seconds.
- Everything either has a price tag that isn’t REALLY the price OR the things will have no price tags whatsoever. If you pay the price on the tag the word will spread fast and wide amongst the other shopkeepers that “There’s a live one in the house”. We found a military surplus purveyor that had tagged none of his things because his buddy said “He likes to talk, so it forces people to come ask him the price” This also means it gives the guy a chance to size you up and pick the correct price for you. Don’t be wearin’ yur best duds for this guy.
- Don’t be thrown off by the extra apostrophes and missing letters on the signs. This is put there to make you look twice at the sign’s and to lull you into a false sense of superiority. Don’t be fooled. These people know there bizness.
- Eight track tapes are still available for all you Mac Davis fans. Shoot me an e-mail and I’ll pick a couple up for you.
Ok. I posted this picture on Facebook and got zero responses. This is seriously one of those pictures Jay Leno puts on his show. Did no one seriously let the owner of this Karate school know that his name had some sort of funny double meaning? The crazier aspect of the name and the following picture is that people would take their daughters to Karate class, buy them this uniform and THEN parade them around in the uniform!
The second funny picture of the Wesley Chapel craft show is of the same ilk. The process that had to occur for this guy to print a sign that says this is amazing to me. Here is how that process goes.
a – Come up with an invention and a name for your invention
b – Tell your friends and neighbors about it – at this point someone needed to do this guy a favor.
c – Print things up with the name of the invention – at this point the sign store should have asked if they misspelled the name of the thing.
d – Put up your sign and try to sell your invention – at this point someone like me should have pointed it out to the guy.
I just wanted to run up to the guy and yell “You get an F!” – Here’s the invention:
Just for fun here are the definitions from the dictionary of the two words he is confused about.
One that grades, especially:
One who grades students' work.
A piece of heavy equipment used to level or smooth road or other surfaces to the desired gradient.
The last picture from the craft fair is not as funny as it is “Florida”. We speculated on the name of this ice cream stand on our way in, but I couldn’t come up with anything except they named it something dumb so that people would come up and ask why they named it something dumb. At that point people would feel guilty about asking and buy ice cream. Nope. It’s religious in nature. Something about the birth and the death of Jesus. “On the third day he rose from the dead…” I guess on the 4th day Jesus decided on a scoop of Rocky Road with sprinkles. Anyhow…here’s that picture.
You know when you get in a traffic jam and you can’t figure out what is causing it? You either come across “something” or all of a sudden traffic just starts moving and you never know what was going on? Yeah I think it’s weird too. You know what else I think is funny? When people call other people rubberneckers or cops say…”Move along, nothing to see”. Well yeah there is. There’s broken glass and busted up cars. Skid marks and broken guard rails. Everyone looks, admit it. Even the people who are complaining about the other people slowing down are looking. They just aren’t honest. Oh and cops? If there wasn’t anything to see? You wouldn’t be standing there moving traffic along telling them there wasn’t anything to see. You’d be chomping a donut waiting for someone to do 35 in a 30.
In a follow up from the previous post I decided to take advantage of this mornings weather and ride my bike to the grocery store. This went fine. I picked up a couple of gallons of milk and went on my merry way until…BUZZARDS. These things scare the crap out of me. I don’t take my eyes off these guys when I walk by for fear that they are just poised to strike at the person who isn’t watching them.
The picture doesn’t do them justice. First of all, before the picture there were like 12 more of them. Second of all they are about 10 feet tall with sharp talons and menacing stares.
So I wake up this morning and after I poke my head outside it appears that a cold front has come thru. In Florida this is the equivalent to the first day of spring. We spend the first few days of Summer, back in February, getting excited about hot weather. Then we spend the next 7 months running from the car to the house to the pool. Winter in Florida is what it is all about. Today it is starting out at around 60 degrees with a high of 75. Just when I’m baked and ready to move. Here comes winter. Oh yeah…and end of hurricane season.
I had a theory a few years ago that I’m going to revive here so that Mike Locander can put his two cents in on. The theory related to car insurance / driving records. While there are a lot of details to work out here is the plan.
Every driver gets a number. Every number gets a score. Your score is your driving record. Here is where it gets complicated. If you are seen driving recklessly by someone they can call in your number and screw with your score. To call in a number you also have to give your number, so this way people can’t just call in every day and cause their ex-wife's driver score to go haywire. It’s similar to a points system that exists in most states for “points against your license”. In fact, the states can just use my system and there can be a centralized database for all drivers. I soooooo want to have some sort of recourse on the guy who cuts me off or the person who I see running a stop sign. Sure there are people who are going to get whacked unfairly, but I’ll figure out a way to counter it. I’ve had a lot of ideas that have hit the mainstream in the last few years…
This one might take a few years before our socialistic tendencies get the best of us, but you saw it here first.
I figured it would be impossible to take a 24 hour road trip and not sock away some observations along the way. Ok, so this is more of a pet peeve /rant.
I guess it also makes sense that my beef is with drivers and specifically those who don’t understand the turn signal. It’s a good thing the guy who invented the turn signal or directional signal didn’t call it something really confusing like Gyrocompass signal or the Quasi-Looky loo. If it had those names then the other 50% of the drivers would never figure out what it was for either.
I could list a bunch of things that I see happen, but I think this blog should continue to be a beacon of hope and inspiration to drivers that might not know any better. I can only speak for myself, but I see another persons signal to turn as an opportunity to help another person. I slow down or speed up to give them the proper room to achieve their goal. I hope to leave them with a warm, fuzzy feeling as they move their vehicle to precisely the location they wanted to move it. Sometimes I follow this maneuver with a little wave of my hand. My way of saying “Glad to be there for you partner! You’re welcome”. I don’t want anything in return really. I will say that it IS nice to get the wave returned. Sometimes I think my wave is misunderstood and I receive a one finger wave in return.
It blinks not to be mocked my friends. Mock at your own peril…especially in Florida.
After delicately balancing the camera on the TV and failing to get the timer to work about 10 times. I finally captured the entire collection of the “2009 Orion to Tampa Dog sled” competition.
Well…we survived. I think. There might be some delayed damage from that much driving in two days.
There’s something particularly unrewarding about travelling so far and not getting a big payoff. I’m sorry to say, but retrieving the dog was not rewarding enough to offset the drive. We did, however, get to visit with my parents for a few hours. Wilma and Larry decided to drive the dog over from St. Louis rather than dropping her off and letting Tim bring her to Nashville. This is the first time that Jen and the kids have been able to visit with them in person since last Christmas. I have a couple of more extensive items to post later, but here are some thoughts from the drive.
- Truckers seem to have a great life. There were plenty of places I saw on billboards offering them massages, spas, and “trucker discounts”
- Driving is an art form that many people seem to never have grasped. Dry pavement and sunny weather and people still couldn’t keep their wits about them.
- How fast do you have to be going to get pulled over? I saw a dozen people pulled over by various police agencies, but most of the time I was riding along with the rest of the world at 10-15 MPH over the speed limit. These people must have REALLY been going fast.
- A Nintendo DS battery life is only about 4 hours.
Ok. Today starts the trek to Nashville to pick up Sunny. This is the last piece of unfinished business from “the trip”. The kids are super excited to get her back, but no one is very excited about driving 24 hours in two days. I also think that all of us are in various stages of a cold and won’t be good travellers. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
or…if you don’t see anything on this blog for more than a couple of days, it might have gone very badly.
Wish us luck.
Nashville or bust!
I’ve got to type this up before I forget. I’m also typing this up strictly for posterity. I’m sorry if it is mushy or sounds silly, but I make mental notes to remember things and then I don’t. The blog is a diary for this moment.
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been dropping Sam off at school in the morning as Jen continues to recover from surgery. I have discovered that this might be the most satisfying and relaxing part of my day. No, not because I am dropping my 5 year old rambunctious kid off and getting some much needed quiet time. It’s because when I drop him off and he heads out to the playground I get to see him in a lot of different ways. He’s independent and confident. He’s excited and happy. He’s curious and active. I watch him run out onto the playground and immediately begin searching for two things. How many of his friends are there and where are they? Where is Miss Marjorie so that he can tell her “Buenos Dias” and get one back from her. As strange as it seems I think that if Miss Marjorie takes a day off we are going to have to prepare Sam. I stand and watch Sam for a while before I go. I probably have a luxury that the other parents don’t have as I watch them throw the backpacks on a hook and run the other way. He doesn’t really do anything worth watching except he is healthy, happy, and having una buena dia.
I will try to break my streak of cynicism here tomorrow, but for today you get some more.
You ever notice those “Neighborhood Watch” signs?
Criminal #1: Hey Joe. Look at that place over there! Corner lot, shades closed, grass is overgrown….lets take them for everything they have!
Criminal #2: Are you kidding? Did you see the sign? The neighborhood is watching. We don’t stand a chance.
There was about 3 weeks in the 80’s that people in these neighborhoods got together at one of the neighbor houses, had some beers and talked about taking back the streets. The toured the streets for a couple of hours with flashlights, patted themselves on the back for 265 consecutive crime free days and moved on. I’m sorry, but I laugh when I see these signs. Are the neighborhoods without the signs at serious risk? Do you just have to buy a sign? I’m always looking for the people to peer out of their windows as I drive through their streets, just begging them to bust out the Bat signal.
If you want to see a true measure of someone and their thought processes, here is my suggestion.
Take their car. Park it in the local day care / pre-school parking lot. Tell them they have to get it out of the lot at ___ time of day. Then tell them they only have 2 minutes to do it and see how they process all of this. I sit and watch people try to drive in and out of the parking lot of Sam’s school all the time. I see all kinds of crazy things. The person who honks at kids, not to warn them, but to tell them to get out of the way…not a great parent. There is also the “I’m in a hurry” mom/dad. I could never understand how speeding in and out of the school parking lot was going to get you wherever you are going so much faster. I can’t even imagine how that person would begin the story after they hit someone. “Well officer, I was in a hurry to get to ____” No matter what goes in that blank it isn’t going to make sense. The last person I hate to see is the “Leave your 2-3-4-5-6 year old in the car while you just run in” parent. Are they crazy? Keep in mind that this is also Florida so if they want to keep the kid cool they also have to leave the car running. If I didn’t think I would get arrested I would hide the kid from them and see what happens. Well there ya go. My observation for the day. I’ll try harder next time.
I saw the craziest thing today at the market. I had gathered all of my purchases and taken my place in line at the “Less than 10 items” checkout just behind a guy with 11 purchases, go figure. When it came time to pay the most curious thing happened. This guy reaches into his pocket and brings out some strange rectangular wallet. He asks the clerk for a pen and proceeds to take 20 minutes transacting his business. Seems he wrote some sort of note to the cashier on a piece of paper, she took it and his drivers license, and then they gave him the groceries. I can’t imagine how this deal works. They must have to gather all of these notes and trade them somewhere to get money. What a weird system.
When Bill and Hillary first got married Bill said, “I am putting a box under the bed. You must promise never to look in it.” In all their 30 years of marriage, Hillary never looked.
However, on the afternoon of their 30th anniversary, curiosity got the best of her and she lifted the lid and peeked inside. In the box were 3 empty beer cans and $81,874.25 in cash. She closed the box and put it back under the bed.
Now that she knew what was in the box, she was doubly curious as to why there even was such a box with such contents. That evening, they were out for a special anniversary dinner. After dinner, Hillary could no longer contain her curiosity and she confessed, saying, “I am so sorry. For all these years, I kept my promise and never looked into the box under our bed. However, today the temptation was too much and I gave in. But now I need to know, why do you keep the 3 beer cans in the box?”
Bill thought for a while and said, “I guess after all these years you deserve to know the truth. Whenever I was unfaithful to you, I put an empty beer can in the box under the bed to remind myself not to do it again.”
Hillary was shocked, but said, “Hmmm, Jennifer, Paula and Monica. I am very disappointed and saddened by your behavior. However, since you are addicted to sex, I guess it does happen and I guess 3 times is not that bad considering your problem.”
Bill thanked her for being so understanding. They hugged and made their peace.
A little while later Hillary asked Bill, “So why do you have all that money in the box?”
Bill answered, “Well, whenever the box filled up with empty cans, I took them to the recycling center and redeemed them for cash.”
Early Saturday morning a policeman waited across the street from a popular bar, hoping for a nail a drunken driver, possibly preventing a tragic accident.
At closing time the patrons came out and the officer spotted his potential quarry. One man was so obviously inebriated that he could barely walk. He stumbled around the parking lot for a few minutes, looking for his car.
After trying his keys on five other cars, he finally found his own vehicle. He sat in the car a good ten minutes, as the other patrons left. He turned his lights on, then off, wipers on, then off. He started to pull forward into the grass, then stopped.
Finally, when he was the last car, he pulled out onto the road and started to drive away.
The patrolman, waiting for this, turned on his lights and pulled the man over. He administered the breathalyzer test, and to his great surprise, the man blew a 0.00.
The patrolman was dumbfounded. “This equipment must be broken!” he exclaimed.
“I doubt it,” said the man, “Tonight I am the designated decoy!”
Is there a Discovery channel show that would describe how the 14 year old brain works? Please?
I find it scary that my 14 year old is so close to being behind the wheel of a car and making X number of decisions every minute, but can’t make basic decisions at home that are successful. I want to put in my usual disclaimer. I love Sara and will always love her, but she is driving me batty.
I’m going to give you the scenario, but it is going to sound dumb and petty…not unlike other things I’ve written previously.
Me: Hey Sara. Please empty the dishwasher and load it again before you go to bed.
14 year old brain: Uh huh.
The first mistake is that I heard “Uh huh” and thought it represented a verbal contract. An affirmative answer of some sort. I now know that “Uh huh” in 14 year old language means “Whatever…just stop talking or bothering me. I’m not really listening to you.” The part that kills me the most is that not only did she obviously not do what I asked, BUT she also used dishes the next morning and stacked her dirty cereal bowl on top of the dishes I asked her to put away. How does a brain process something like this?
I thought this was only a “Sara thing” until I was driving home the other day and encountered another 14’ish year old kid on a bike. This kid was riding his bike in the middle of the road like he was on the ride at Disney, whistling “It’s a small world after all…” I honked at him to get out of the way and what do you think happened? He stopped in the middle of the road. Turned around and looked at me. Evaluated what I might be honking at him about and it took him like 30 seconds to realize he was in the middle of the road. I know this was the process because I saw his face change expression when it finally occurred to him what might be the problem.
I’ll talk to you guys later. I’m going to call some doctors and see if there are any studies being done. I have a brain to donate to them.
So we’re driving back from the hospital today when I decided to make a joke. Jen wasn’t looking and I yelled out “EEK! She was startled and asked me “WHAT!?”
I thought it was funny.
Funnier still is that the license was a Rhode Island license from a car dealership near our old house in Warwick, RI. I had to take a picture. I wonder what the driver was thinking as he looked in his rearview mirror and saw someone taking a picture of his car.
This post is a problem for me really. How do I get to tell everyone how cutting edge I am and yet generate sympathy for the people involved.
First…my post: Posted 9/12/2009 – Home is where the cart is
Second…a story from the Huffington Post - Similar? - I think so
Stay with me people. The thoughts in my head are keeping you about a week to ten days ahead of the rest of the world.
Here are some things / people that I am mad at and probably shouldn’t be. Some of them don’t know I’m mad at them, so don’t tell.
The March of Dimes – How sad is that? They just won’t stop calling me and as much as I might want to give them 2 nickels, they won’t let me get a word in edgewise.
The mean girls at Sam’s school – Jen will like this one. There are two women who pick their kid(s) up and drop their kid(s) off at the same time as Sam, but they never say hi even when you say hi to them. They are mean. I’m going to take a picture of them and post it here so you can see them.
I don’t like my home owners association. They said my mailbox is too dirty. Their letter said that I shouldn’t take this as a criticism, but really? What is it then?
I don’t like the guy who stops by my house every once in a while and greets me with a “Hello neighbor!” and the proceeds to try to sell me the last of the steaks in his truck. True story.
I don’t like my desk. It’s too cluttered and it is impossible to keep clean.
I don’t like tomatoes.
Stop me if you’ve read this before…..
Did I already go on my rant about doctors appointments?
About a thousand years ago I went to the doctor. I had an appt. for 9:00 a.m. At around 9:30 I started getting mad and asked them what was going on. At 10:00 I called Jen and told her I was mad. At 10:30 I told the people at the desk that I was leaving…what happened after this made me think about how everyone is so programmed by circumstances that we no longer see what’s wrong when it is wrong. The people at the desk were astonished that I would leave. They couldn’t believe that I was leaving and were yelling at me to come back as I headed out the door. I called Jen and told her my story and she said “You can’t leave…it’s always like that at the doctors office".” Why? Would you go to an appointment anywhere else and wait for an hour? Hair dressers? Here’s a good example: Would you sit for an hour waiting for someone you had planned to meet for dinner or lunch? No way. You would think they were killed or maimed in a horrible accident if they didn’t arrive in the first half hour…or they would have called. There’s another difference. Have you ever waited past the appointment time at the doctor and had someone come out and tell you they are running behind or give you an update? Not on your life.
Everyone I talk to about this immediately starts making excuses for the doctor.
“Maybe there was an emergency” – Seriously. How many emergencies do you think happen in the course of a day at the general practitioners? I’ll tell you how many. Zero. For the sake of argument let’s just say there was an emergency. If your schedule is so tight that one event throws off the entire day and makes my 9:00 appt. a 10:30 appt. then we have bigger problems that I thought.
The reason that this problem continues to be a problem is for the following reasons:
1. – There is no customer service score or threshold for the medical community. There is no “on time” score for your doctor. Would you go to a doctor that had a 1 star customer service score and a 5% on time appt. rating?
2. – No one complains about this and if they do who do they complain to? The doctor? They have zero control over any of it. Their insurance company? Good luck with that. Right. There’s no one to complain to.
3. – People are scared of making their doctor mad. You don’t care if you make Tires Plus mad because they can’t get your car fixed in a reasonable time, you will just go down the road to Tires Extra Plus. People won’t even consider leaving their doctor. They have all the papers and all their “stuff”. Plus..they “know” us.
Ok…I’m done. Next time your are waiting for your doctor in the waiting room, and then again in the secondary waiting room, you can remember that I’m mad too.
Many of you have commented on the references I have been making to Tampa General Hospital and my spending time there. Sometimes I forget that people actually read this blog and that it isn’t just my own comedic diary of sorts.
My wife, Jen, has made some very courageous and serious decisions that involve her attacking cancer before it attacks her. Every doctor we have talked to has indicated that, while they can’t be 100%, every indicator says that she would have had to deal with some form of cancer in the future. I don’t want to go into a lot of details since they aren’t mine to give, but she is on the final leg of this battle and will be recovering and going on to a long life of taking care of “her own self”, our kids, and her family.
Thanks for your words of support and concern. She is doing fine and is, by far, one of the strongest and bravest women I have ever known. Today the blog can be “We Love Jen”
Now that I’ve given Tampa General the business by busting on their in–house McDonalds I feel I’m obligated to give them credit for something.
They have this very cool system for the waiting room that gives updates on whoever you are waiting for. From arrival to the recovery room and throughout whatever procedure is being done they have the status on the TV in the waiting room. Now if you are like me I’m already thinking about how they can make it better and here are the things I have come up with.
1. – Pay per view surgery – let’s say you are bored watching the pretty color coded screen for some update and want some additional upgrade. They should offer up some video of ongoing, interesting surgeries. Who knows? Maybe they would inspire someone in the waiting room to go on to a medical career. I think it would drive down the McDonalds business however.
2. – Online betting on status updates – This one COULD take a morbid turn, but I think it’s worth looking into.
3. – Twitter / Facebook synergy – Maybe the surgeon could post some pics or one liners about what they are doing live and online. How cool would that be? Maye you could even pose questions to the operating room while the surgery is going on.
If you need a million dollar idea, just drop me a line. I have tons of them. I only ask for a modest return on my intellectual property.
I’m sitting in the hospital making my observations for the day and I only have one that jumps out at me right away.
There is a McDonalds in the hospital. ??? It’s somewhat disconcerting to watch the hospital staff wandering in and out of the McDonalds here with Egg McMuffins, hash browns, and other stuff that they are probably fixing on the floors above the McDonalds. Maybe it is to keep the shareholders happy.
“See shareholders? We are committed to keeping the hospital open and profitable by getting money from McDonalds to operate here and keeping the flow of obese, heart patients coming in” I’m walking around trying to find the Hamburgler Heart Wing. I’ll let you know when I find it, but right now I’m going to get a Big Mac.
Since this is “We Love Larry” I'm contractually obligated to post a picture of him once per month. You should see the rest of the contract, it’s full of clauses like that.
Wilma gets the bonus appearance here today.
Love you guys!
How hard can a sand castle be? We went to the beach yesterday and every time I go I have grand designs on building a sand castle with Sam. Sam has grand designs on everything else, but I will not be deterred. Here is my (our) creation from yesterday.
This is before the walls were completed and I had fortified the defenses. Here was what I had planned to create.
My helper was more interested in knowing when we could knock it down.
We had a great day. Same fell asleep on the way home at around 6:30 p.m. and woke up this morning at around7:30 a.m. I wish I could still do that.
I made an entry about my high school friend Dave Wells a while back. He’s living in China for 3 years teaching. Here is his blog about life in China and various subjects. His wife Jane is also pretty funny and they both write about their kids, their jobs, and all of the above. Check it out.
I haven’t done one of these in a while, which in the scheme of things is probably good.
Today Larry and Wilma are heading off on a bus trip to St. Louis to catch two days of Cardinal – Cub baseball. He is a braver man than I am. I hate bus trips. Maybe I can convince someone to get some photos from this trip.
I think his health is roughly the same. He struggles at times with his breathing, but keeps chugging along. He has some follow up appointments coming up with his oncologist at the end of September, so the stress will ratchet up for a while. Visits like that only seem to be reminders of everything. I’m hoping to get them down to Florida during Fall and Winter when it is the nicest here, but we never seem to find an exact date. Anyone who reads this, and also talks to them, can ask them “Hey…when are you going to Florida?” Maybe they will get the hint.