Mucking through sewer problems during April and May was bad enough, but the aftermath has been almost as bad. The new sewer line was dug diagonally under our drive to reach the town sewer. The approach to our house looked as if army tanks had rolled through.

Then, equatorial rain and hellish heat arrived with June and July. The gravel that had been pounded into the trench needed time to settle before the drive could be repaved or replaced. But with all the rain, it settled so much in spots that driving in and out brought back memories of Sunday afternoons riding along graveled country roads to visit my grandparents when I was a kid.

In August, more storms dumped Niagara-ous amounts of rain. One Thursday morning there was sinkhole in the middle of the driveway. Florida came to mind. At least there were no alligators.

Our PT Cruiser was nearly swallowed whole. Can you believe it?






Watt the heck happened?

“The bulb broke off in the socket and you can’t get it out,” said the wizened helper at our local True Value hardware store. I’d walked in holding the socket and the broken remains of a three-way bulb aloft in a plastic baggie.

“Well, yes,” I said, “but that’s not the problem.” He was already heading to the front desk to get a screwdriver. Quick as a bulb burning out, he had the shards removed.  “What happened is, I put in a new bulb, after the bulb I’d just replaced two days ago burned out. When I screwed the newest bulb  in, it flashed then exploded. Glass sprayed all over. It looked like fireworks.”

He stroked his chin. No place but in a local hardware store would a clerk stroke his chin. Nor for that matter, help without being asked. I love local shops.

The solution was, buy a new socket assembly. I bought that and a bag of the peppermints I can only find at Christmas. The guys at the counter laughed at me. “Well-l, I didn’t really come in here to buy candy,” I said, attempting to make excuses for myself.


40 years’ use shows.

The next day I decided I could replace that socket myself. I consulted our 1975 edition of How things work in your home) and what to do when they don’t.  Can’t beat its concise directions and easy to understand drawings. I attached the twisty little copper wires onto one thingie, then the other twisty copper wires to the other thingie. Put in a new bulb, and POW. Three in two days. I was running out of bulbs. I called son-in-law Martin. He and Les were on their way out — they’d stop by in a few minutes.


Look at diagrams once, and once again.

When I showed him how carefully I’d followed the book’s instructions, he looked at me with a grin teetering on the edge of laughter. “That’s not the ground,” he said, “this is. You shorted it out.” I mistakenly wrapped one of the copper twizzlies around the switch instead of the terminal. Not good.

Within seconds he’d done it properly. Helpful sons-in-law are as good to have as a helpful hardware man. We have another good son-in-law in Bill, but he lives too far away for these drive-by fix-its I seem to need more and more often these days.


Hostess gets the ‘ho ho’s’

There’s a first time for everything. Ah yes, I remember the days when, if you wanted a table in a busy restaurant, the hostess would write your name on a pad, tell you how many minutes you’d have to wait, and point you towards a comfortable sitting area.

Screen shot 2015-01-11 at 11.32.06 AMThen along came those annoying buzzer things to hold or stick in your pocket. They resemble something from “Star Wars.” Scare the bejesus out of you when they buzz.

Now there’s a newer twist. The technology that arrived with iPhones and iPads usurped buzzers. Where have I been you’ll ask? Hm, well, locked in my own little world still using a landline, and neither twittering, tweeting, nor texting. I do have a cellphone, but it’s only for emergencies, my emergencies. My immediate family and one or two friends have the number. Phone’s seldom turned on though.

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 12.15.29 PM

Even if an iPhone cost $3.50, I wouldn’t want one.

Recently we went to a new restaurant within walking distance from home. I gave the hostess our name, told her there would be four of us. She asked for my phone number. I considered lying since it was obviously a marketing ploy — get our number and hound us with phone calls. But I gave it to her and prepared to wait. Not minutes, mind you, but an hour — an hour until we were seated, and forty minutes until we got the pizza we’d ordered the instant we sat down. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, when Leslie and Martin arrived I mentioned I’d had to give our phone number. Leslie burst out laughing. “You gave them your home number, didn’t you, Mom?” Her laugh bounced off the high ceilings.

“Well, she asked for my phone number” I huffed. “I don’t give my cell number to just anyone, you know.”

My daughter knew without asking that I didn’t even have my cell phone with me. She explained restaurants nowadays want your cell number to alert you, especially when there are a lot of people waiting to be seated. By this time there were at least twenty-five people standing around, and as many more walked out when they heard how long the wait time would be.

“I’m standing right here. If she calls our name, I’ll hear her…” Leslie started to interrupt, with a comment about my hearing I was sure, so I amended my words to, “…I’ll read her lips.”

“What if you decide to go shopping down the street?”

“If I wanted to go shopping, I’d go shopping. I wouldn’t be standing in line here…” I spluttered. “And, no, I don’t want a smart phone so a hostess can call me to say my table is ready when I’m standing two feet away!” Oh yes, I was on a toot.

“Other people like the convenience,” my daughter argued.

“‘Convenience’ would be getting seated in a restaurant in a reasonable amount of time, without benefit of a phone call,” I grumbled.

“Sorry, Mom, but you’re out of touch.”

Screen shot 2015-01-11 at 12.03.53 PM

At least I’m not as out of touch as my grandparents who refused to have a telephone at all. “If someone wants to talk to me,” Granddad said, “they can come to the door. We’ll set on the porch and we’ll talk.” 

My mother was as frustrated with her parents as my daughter is with me.

Leg Shaving 101.

Ohio University. Sophomore year. 1958-59.

My roomie, Arlene, came down the hall from the shower one evening glaring intently at her razor. She was holding it up in front of her nose, a perplexed, slightly cross-eyed look, on her face.

“This doesn’t work as well as it used to,” she said.1295868

“When did you change the blade last?” I asked.

“Am I supposed to change the blade?”

“Um, yes, they do get dull after a while.”

“Oh. I guess my dad always changes it.”

“You mean you’ve been using the same blade since you left home two years ago?”


“Change the blade.”

The memory of that conversation still makes me laugh. I thought of it again a few weeks ago when I came across the flow chart below.  I saved the chart, with no plan to use it.

Screen shot 2014-10-12 at 2.30.32 PM

Now I’m using the chart for the “funny factor,” but I have reason modify it. Diagonally from “Do you care if people see your hairy legs?” I’d put a starred box that shouts:

Screen shot 2014-10-15 at 11.34.33 AM

And of course I’d check NO!

Screen shot 2014-10-15 at 12.02.13 PM

Screen shot 2014-10-15 at 11.45.40 AM

Well, darned if I didn’t end up in the ER after a couple of short circuits. When the nurse pulled back the bottom of my jeans to find the pulse in my ankle, I was relieved to be able to say, “I’m so glad I shaved my legs last night.”

“Oh, never worry about that, Sweetie. Everyone in here wears scrub pants on their shifts because no one has time to shave their legs. We’re all in the same boat.”

Even so, I was glad I’d done it, especially when a series of attractive, young doctors arrived.

As if they cared whether my legs were shaved.

At least I had a pulse.