Sunday, January 30, 2011


When I was a little girl, snow was beautiful white stuff that fell from the sky. It was something to play with, create with—enjoy. If there was a lot of it, school was canceled. My love affair with snow lasted until I started to drive. Then the sighting of the white flakes became terrifying. Deadly black ice, remnants from the previous week’s snow, lay hidden under the freshly fallen snow waiting to send my car into a pirouette.

The occupants of the row houses where my family lived set to work at the first drop of snow. We knew that the snowplows would build an impenetrable usually three or four-foot wall of snow making it a herculean job to dig out each car. Thus, we literally parked our cars bumper to bumper at the first sign of snow. The lead car was the one that left for work first and the last was a stay home Mom. And, as predicted, when the Department of Sanitation buried our cars, we were prepared. All we needed to do was clear our hoods and windows and then together, we dug out the first car. At night, after all of us were home from work, we parked in the order in which we left for work. It took a while to maneuver to the right morning departure time after each of us returned from work, but it was much easier than digging out five cars. To make sure no stranger dared to park in our spots before we returned, garbage pails somehow seemed to block their entrance.

Snow took on a new meaning when my children were born. I relived the joy of my childhood through their excitement, but grew to hate dealing with the melted snow in my front foyer. At this stage of my life I was a fancy suburban Mom with an automatic garage door. Instead of a thin strip of a sidewalk to shovel as we had when we lived in our row house, Hubby and I now had a 60-foot driveway that resembled a ski slope. Snow blowers were not yet the “in” thing.

Then we moved to Florida in ’73. Snow was replaced by monsoon rains and flooded streets. Instead of fearing skidding on black ice, I feared pulling into my driveway and having a water moccasin wrapped around my wheel axle. (Folks deny this, but it is true. It can and does happen if the manmade lakes overflow—and that only happens when some engineer forgets to lower the water levels of neighborhood canals and lakes before big rains. The purpose of all the man made lakes in these areas that were built on land formerly called the Everglades is to catch the monsoon rainwater and “ship” it out to the Everglades preventing flooding.)

Today, as I read all the complaints from my Northern brethren on Facebook about the latest blast of snow, I really would like them to consider moving to Florida. We have it all, but without the snow. I cannot mislead you. It does get cold here. Today, when it dipped to 55 degrees this morning, our outdoor water aerobics class was canceled.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ghost Buster Needed in Boynton

My house is haunted. The ghost, or ghosts, first appeared last Sunday after I gave my very first author talk about how my new book. During the discussion I referred to the fact that the sibling rivalry I grew up with—the teasing and taunting on the part of my older siblings towards me, (I was always innocent)—today would reclassify what was once thought of as a normal family as a dysfunctional one.
When Hubby and I arrived home hours after the event, I discovered the curling iron for my hair was on. (It doesn’t have an auto shut off.) I distinctly remembered pressing the on button to off and told that to my husband when he accused me of not turning it off. “You were talking on the phone while doing your hair and not concentrating on what you were doing.”

Fortunately, the hot part was in a position that there was no damage.

The next day, when I started my car I heard a voice from my glove compartment telling me to turn left at the corner. I stopped the car, reached into the glove compartment and turned off the GPS. I hadn’t used it for two weeks, so why, if it was on— I later told Hubby before he could say I didn’t turn it off— didn’t it “talk” before?

Later that day, when Hubby and I came home, we heard a motor running inside our house. Somehow, my hair dryer went on by itself. Surly either my husband or I would have heard the loud noise if the dryer was on before we left the house. Logic said so, thus I wasn’t blamed for nearly burning our house down because I was busy doing three things at once. The next night I turned off the lamp in the family room. Two minutes later, it went back on by itself.

I shared the stories with my Mah Jongg group. One of the players informed me my house was haunted. “My mother does it to me all the time if she is pissed at me. I yell at her to stop, I’m a grown woman, and then she leaves me alone for awhile.”

I believe visits from beyond possible, so I was excited at the prospect of finally having my first “visit.” After our game was over, I came home and stood in my bedroom. I told my parents in a loud and clear voice that I loved them, and knew that they loved all of us equally and did their best, but the statement about my family being a dysfunctional family by 2011 standards was true. I begged them to understand and stop playing tricks before my house was set on fire.

Hubby heard me and wanted to know who I was talking to. I told him, he reiterated that I wasn’t concentrating on what I was doing. The next morning my husband called the electrician—just in case he was wrong and either we had a short in the walls or a ghost. The electrician patiently— via speakerphone—walked us from each misbehaving appliance to the next. It seems each appliance could stop operating before the button was put completely in the off position. So, if someone is in a hurry, and doesn’t make sure the switch says off, or listens for the click, the appliance can go back on.

I would never be so careless to not turn things off properly. My house is haunted. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Remedial Phone

Remedial Phone

I must confess I do not know the difference between a Smart Phone, I-Phone, or I-Pad. I know what a Blackberry is but have no clue how to operate one. Regardless, it would serve no purpose for my lifestyle. I don’t tweet or twitter and have no need to have instant access to my email. I agree with the school of thought that too much personal information via chitchatting on various social networks may come back and haunt some of the posters—especially if they want to run for public office. I prefer when my children and grandchildren call me, although I must confess I feel very special when I instant message my grandchildren on Facebook and they respond.

Last week when Hubby and I were waiting in the cell phone lot at the airport, it was obvious the Delta website we checked before we left our home posted the wrong arrival time. “If we had the fancy phone some of my friends have,” I told my husband, “I could check the arrival status.”

If we had it, the plane will land and depart before we would figure out how to access the information we need. “Call Gary,” my husband said. “See if he’s by his computer.”

I called our son and he wasn’t. Then I called a friend who was and in less than a minute had my answer.

“What if no one was available to look it up for us,” I said, beginning to feel we possibly needed to update our cell phone.

“We could always call the airline directly like we did before computers.”

All I could think of was when we started to use the computer to check flight status how I would “double-check” with a human who worked for the airline. When they replaced the human with a robot, I stopped double-checking. How many years ago was that? I honestly can’t remember!

The next day while lunching with a group of “girl” friends, one of the women had a question that none of us could answer. Another took out her high I-Q phone, slid her finger on the screen, “typed,” and voila, the answer to the question appeared on her screen.

Another reached into her handbag and removed the same instrument, held it up for all of us to see, and said, “Her’s is a Smart Phone. Mine is a dumb one.”

We laughed. I knew just what she meant. If Hubby and I bought a phone with a zillion features, ours would not be at the head of the class either!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Believable Realistic Fiction

I did not write the below. It showed up in my email this morning. Few jokes give me a laugh out loud when I read them, and this one did. Maybe it is because I know so many men, young and old, within my circle of friends and relatives who would do some of the things listed. Even my book, Retired NOT Expired, has a chapter devoted to why, in my home, shopping together is not a couples activity. --Eda

After I retired, my wife insisted that I accompany her on her trips Target. Unfortunately, like most men, I found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunate, my wife is like most women - she loves to browse. Yesterday my dear wife received thefollowing letter from the local Target.

Dear Mrs. Samuel,

Over the past six months, your husband has caused quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and have been forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against your husband, Mr. Samuel are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in other people's carts when they weren't looking.

2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

3. July 7: He made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to thewomen's restroom.

4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, 'Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away'. This caused the employee to leave her assigned station and receive a reprimand from her supervisor that in turn resulted with a union grievance, causing Management to lose time and costing the company money.

5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&Ms on layaway.

6. August 14: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.

7. August 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told the children shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows andblankets from the bedding department to which twenty children obliged.

8. August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, 'Why can't you people just leave me alone?' EMTs were called.

9. September 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.

10. September 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

11. October 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the 'Mission Impossible' theme.

12. October 6: In the auto department, he practiced his 'Madonna? look by using different sizes of funnels.

13. October 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled 'PICK ME! PICK ME!'

14. October 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed 'OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICESAGAIN!'

And last, but not least:

15. October 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, and then yelled very loudly, 'Hey! There's no toilet paper in here.' One of the clerks passed out.