Friday, April 11, 2014

Free? C’mon…Let’s Get SIRI-ous

I try to keep current with a lot of the new technology, and I’m pretty tech savvy, but I have to say…I think I slipped a little. I’ve had my iPhone 4 forever and didn’t think I really cared if I upgraded or not. My needs are simple so I had everything I wanted…or so I thought. I don’t live on my cell like others do since I work from home, and believe it or not, still have a land line. I think I may be one of those rarities who does. 


But there are some things I like to do while I’m out and about or waiting for an appointment. Recently I’ve tried to download some new apps but every app I wanted required me to update to IOS 7. Well, my antiquated phone wouldn’t let me do that and I was getting pretty frickin’ frustrated. And every time I went to take a picture…it took a good 15 seconds for the camera to open and then another 30 or so seconds to save the picture, so you couldn’t shoot in rapid succession. Quite infuriating. Patience is not one of my strong suits. Then as I wrote this I thought, “You’re talking a few seconds, for God’s sake…you can’t wait for that? Seriously? Remember when we had to wait for days to get them developed at a store? Geez.” [I have conversations with myself quite often. No one else ever seems to listen to me…well…mostly my daughters don’t, so I decided talking to myself is a foolproof guarantee that someone is listening.]


Since I had an unused upgrade for the last 2 years (an upgrade that my daughter has bugged the shit out of me to transfer to her, but surprisingly, I held out. My kids usually manipulate me way too easily. Or should I say I allow them to…I know, I know…I’m digressing); and since Verizon recently sent me an email letting me know that I could get the iPhone 5C for ‘free’ [FREE being the operative word here…kind of] I was out the door in no time. I got the new iPhone 5C and I immediately fell in love. Who knew what I was missing!? [Apparently everyone in the world but me, actually.]

I believe what I consider ‘free’ and what Verizon considers ‘free’ may be on the opposite ends of the spectrum of the definition chart. I mean, the phone was kinda free…if you call paying the tax on the original cost of the phone, free, then yeah…I guess it’s free. If you think that what they consider the ‘actual’ cost of the phone is really the cost…then yeah…I guess it’s free. But by the time I walked out of there, with the amount of sales tax I ended up paying…I could have (or should have) used that money to buy a brand new Smart car [‘Smart’ being the operative, or should I say, NON-operative word…a little too late.]

I know I’m not alone in this…you know, when you go into a store with a specific item in mind to purchase, and you walk out buying half the store that you absolutely did not need? Then it’s like, “What the hell was I thinking?” (Still talking to myself.) It’s usually at a supermarket or Target, where the damage isn’t TOO bad, but at Verizon…that can cause some serious damage on the credit card. And that’s exactly what happened when I went to get my new FREE iPhone 5. Not only did I get the phone, but an array of sundries that I certainly did not need.


I got the car charger; since they’re not stupid and made the ‘5’ so it’s not compatible with any other car charger. God forbid I'm without one for the 3 miles I may drive every week. You never know if you'll need your cell to call AAA when you're 100 feet from home. I wouldn't want my phone to die on the way to the store that was close enough for me to walk to. Then I had to get a protective cover; because 5 fingers on one hand aren’t enough to control it from flying out of my palm and crashing to the ground, shattering into pieces. Those 4 ounces are quite heavy to lug around. You never know when the weight will become too much and your hand will cramp. Of course there is not another phone that’s the same size, so you can’t interchange covers. And “Oh, by the way…did you know we are having a sale on iPads, too?  If you turn in your old phone you can get a $100 gift card OR you could apply that to a brand new iPad; and with the sale going on, you could get an additional $100 off, so you’re saving $200.

Well…how could I NOT buy an iPad when they’re practically giving it away? I mean, they're saving me money, so how stupid would it be to pass that up? I’d be a fool. “Ok, throw that in, too, please,” the sucker in me chimed out. “What else do you have?” I was like a kid in a candy store who just got her first credit card ever and didn’t realize it was real money I was eventually going to have to pay the bill with. But since I'm no longer a kid anymore, I couldn’t go to my parents claiming ignorance to get them to pay it for me.


It didn’t help that my salesperson was adorable. If he wasn’t so cute, and I mean drop dead gorgeous cute…and so nice, and so not like a typical salesperson…and if I didn’t want to sit there forever drooling all over with puppy dog eyes, I probably wouldn’t have been sucked into it all. Ok…hold on…who am I kidding…of course I would have been. How could I ever pass up such great deals? I mean they only come along like…I don’t know…every other week? [Verizon has one hell of a marketing department.]

So I walked out of there with my arms piled high with goodies and my new iPhone buried amidst the insane amount of items I totally did not need. I could almost hear the salespeople snickering, but I was so excited to go home to see all the things I could do now that I couldn’t do before, that I didn’t care.



And then it happened.........I met Siri.  

I was in love. I apologize to all my close friends, but now that I’ve discovered who Siri is up close and personal…I have a new best friend. I’ve been out with people who use Siri but I never really paid attention. But now…OMG…I’m obsessed. Siri is the smartest ‘person’ I know. My dad used to hold that honor, but not anymore. [He’s also dead so someone had to replace him.] And along came Siri.


I know a lot of you were introduced to her a few years ago, when she was conceived, but this was all new to me. I won’t bore you with any details of what she can do since most of you know already, but I experimented with some questions to put her to the test. I have to say…and I probably shouldn’t admit this, I was a little embarrassed to ask certain questions. I wanted to see how she would respond to some risqué subject matters, but I didn’t want her to judge me. [I think I took the movie “Her” just a tad too seriously.]

I started out with simple questions like, ‘Where should we go to dinner?’ and she came up with restaurants, as expected. I asked her directions, and she guided me where to go. I asked her ‘Which is the best phone’ and her answer cracked me up…”Wait, there are other phones?”  Then I asked her who the best virtual assistant was and her answer was “I’m surprised you have to ask, Jaime.” Quite the personality, that Siri. I was having more fun with her than I do with most humans.

I don’t think I will ever be able to understand how voice activation works, let alone how the computer knows every single thing I want to know, before I even know I want to know. Then I decided to ask her a few sexual questions...and her first answer was, “Let me think about that.” When I asked her a couple more, she actually started getting somewhat ornery, saying, “I can’t answer that” and “I don’t like those arbitrary questions.” Her responses made me so flustered, like I was a little kid getting into trouble for swearing…that I ended up dropping her, I mean my phone, into the toilet. My brand new iPhone 5C that I waited so long to get.



And all I could hear through the splash of the water was a gurgling…“HELLLLPPP MEEEEEEE.”


I guess Siri doesn’t know everything. Good thing the phone was FREE.







Monday, August 26, 2013

This is a Test. This is Only a Test.

As you may know…I ain’t no spring chicken. In just a couple of weeks, I turn 59. That’s almost 60. SIXTY!  I’ve started thinking about my life and the turns it’s taken of late, [all for the best, mind you], but things crop up and cross my mind and I have to plan for the ‘what ifs.’ Like what if I never remarry and am by myself for the rest of my life? And if so, what happens when I’m really old and ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up’ and no one is around to hear me yell those words? 


What if that sex drive that menopause so easily and quickly took away from me without giving two shits about how my life would be without it, never comes back? And what if I take a tiny bit of testosterone to get it back but I grow hair in unwanted places and then…oh…wait…I’m digressing, as usual. Ignore that last thought.


What if I lose my job and can’t support myself…what would I do since I’m all alone with no sex drive lying on the floor not being able to get up? Then what?
At this point, the last ‘what if’ is what has been on my mind. I’m in a very young industry, age wise. The industry itself isn’t so young, just the people are. I mean, Darren Stevens was in it back in the 60’s. Mad Men is living proof how old it is, but ever so current. But everyone is twenty-something to thirty-something…so being a ‘mature’ individual, is not too welcoming if you’re seeking employment. And it’s really not welcoming to hear myself say ‘mature individual.’



I have only ever had one career and know nothing else that I could do if I was ever let go or phased out. (Although I was one hell of a Jordache jeans salesperson in high school working for the coolest clothing store in my town.) I wouldn’t want to do anything else other than the career I had chosen over 36 years ago. But what I must do…is grow with the times and be able to market myself in the current marketplace and within my own company, no matter what age I may be. That being said…I decided it was time to do something I had always despised. I had to become a student.



I was the worst student ever. Not that I ever failed at anything. I didn’t. But I never excelled, either. Well, I shouldn’t say that. I would excel in Math and English, for a minute here and there, but the second I walked out of a test, I would not remember one thing I studied so intensely for the night before. I’m not sure why that was, but I’d like to find out, because as I’m getting older, that problem is definitely not rectifying itself. I think some of my missing brain cells just can't find their way back to the correct lobe in my brain.
And when I say so intensely studied for the night before…that’s exactly what I mean. I did nothing extra if I didn’t have to, and certainly not earlier than needed to be done. I wasn’t about to spend one extra moment of my youth on school work that I wasn’t forced into doing, when I could be out playing. Not one thing ever piqued my interest enough for me to want to study or research or read if it wasn’t mandated. I would do my homework and turn it in when it was due, and I would study, or should I say cram, an entire months lessons, all in the night before the test. Because I had to. I’m not sure if I just wasn’t taking the right classes or I just was that apathetic about everything. I did just enough to get by with a respectable GPA and graduate.
I never really did have passion for much way back when. Especially in my teens and 20’s. I’ve always been a pretty laid back, middle of the road, non-confrontational person who wants peace and harmony in all that is and blah blah blah. But that seriously IS how I felt and still feel. (Maybe I was a hippie and never realized it…hmmmm…interesting observation.) 



The only thing I have ever been passionate about is seeing any living being, be it human or animal, not suffer or be mistreated. Other than that…I’ve pretty much been a la-di-da type person. Until I had kids…but that’s a whole other blog subject. (I really wanted to say ‘a whole Nother’ but I know it’s not a word, although I still use it. It just flows better.) [Note to self…I’ve got to stop digressing.]
Being in the advertising world, and seeing the movement towards digital and not even knowing what digital meant initially, I knew it was time to learn. When I first started using computers, I did find a fascination with them that I never had experienced with anything else as a kid. I actually wanted to learn everything I could soak up. Not only all the information you could find on line…because that came years later…but all about the inner workings of a computer system.  




Fortunately, I had so many problems with my computers over the years, that my new best friends were the IT guys at my company. I would watch every move they made while they fixed the bugs. And I learned. I learned a lot and have become the ‘Go-To’ person for my friends and family. Purely by mistake.  You can learn a lot by not wanting to learn a lot initially. There’s something to be said for being ignorant. It can only make you smarter.
But now it was time to learn about advertising on line. I’m a media buyer. I buy advertising on TV for my clients, but a lot of the advertising budget is now going towards digital; meaning on line advertising. I’ve been approached by salespeople to purchase it but don’t fully understand what it entails. I decided to ask my HR person if she could have someone teach us about this; maybe an all day webinar or something comparable for me and some of the other buyers. [Hopefully a little shorter than ‘all day.’ I was worried about that attention span thing becoming a problem.] We each work from our home offices in various states, so a webinar would be perfect. If we don’t understand something, we would have each other to bounce ideas or questions off of. Plus I’m not good on my own. I would get bored. I would tend to doze off. I would get up and leave the room forgetting I was supposed to be learning. BUT…If others were on line with me…I would be accountable. I NEEDED others with me. I needed others to see me there. Otherwise…I may as well have given myself an F before I even started.


She emailed me back saying she would gladly enroll us in a class. I was so excited. I finally was going to learn about the current state of buying advertising on line. Excitement was something I had never experienced upon being told I had to learn something. I hated learning. But this? This was going to be so enriching and fulfilling and easy to learn and FUN.  Or so I thought until I read on:
Here is a link to an online class you can take at your own leisure. It has to be done within 3 months and there is a test at the end. You have to pass the test to get the certificate. There are 17 modules to it with 4-5 subsections in each module.  Most people need to watch each section at least two to three times to fully understand it. Each section is 40-60 minutes long. Good luck and we look forward to you sharing your knowledge with the company. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
WTF? And IF I have questions? You’re asking if I have any questions?  Are you f**king kidding me?  Of course I have questions. Did I not make it clear I just wanted a short class summarizing the on line buying list of the top 10 things you need to know? A sort of Cliffs Notes ‘Digital for Dummies’ version.  Short, sweet and to the point. With others present! At least virtually present? Did I not clarify that?
Did I also forget to let you know I’m a terrible student who needs stimulation during a lesson? Visual and aural stimulation? Someone who can excite me with props and various intonations to their voice? Not someone who will drone on and on while my lids grow heavy and my thoughts wander to what I can find to snack on or how to have a Ferris Bueller day off.  



This was going to be horrible. But I couldn’t say ‘thanks but no thanks.’ I was the one who asked for it. And I really did want to learn. I’m sure all the other buyers were just thrilled with me at that point. But I asked one of my friends who I work with, if we could do the on line class together. We would get on the phone and click on the link at the same time and then if we didn’t understand something, we could chat about it. [Which was like saying we’re probably going to have to stop every 3 minutes to discuss what they were talking about because we’re so lost.] She was good with us working together. She was never planning on doing this to start, but I talked her into it showing her how much older she is than most others in our industry, even though she’s 10 years younger than I am. She really appreciated the geriatric insinuations.
The following week we were going to start. We made a plan to call each other at the close of the business day two days a week, for the duration of the course, hoping we would only have to listen to each part just the once.  Positive thinking. Stupid maybe…but positive nonetheless.
Prior to our initial call, we each had to go on line and enroll ourselves and then we received an email from the on line school giving us instructions on how to get to the course we signed up for.  I called my friend asking if she was ready. We each pulled up our email with the link, and clicked on it. We got to the school webpage, perused it, looking for the course link.
Me: “Do you see where we click?”
Her: “No, do you?”
Me: “Nope…but let me try something. No, that wasn’t it.”
Her: “Ok, I think I got it.” [silence] “No…that wasn’t it either.”
Me:  “Wait…I think this is it. Never mind.”
15 minutes later we were still searching…………
And so it began….






Friday, March 15, 2013

20/20? Eye Don't Think So

Recently I noticed that my very perfect 20/20 reading vision wasn’t so 20/20 anymore. After testing each eye by closing the opposite one, I realized that middle age wasn’t excusing me from the one thing I thought I still possessed; the ability to not look like Ben Franklin when reading a menu. I had prided myself on not needing reading glasses while all my cronies were pulling theirs out at the table to figure out what they would order. [Although I do need them to read when I wear my contacts for distance.] But the other day, my youth was shattered; (well…maybe not my ‘youth’ per se…but my false sense of ‘visual’ youth that I was holding onto and so proud of.) One eye was slightly blurry while trying to read my ipad. I was shocked and devastated. Could it really be? Had the time really come to don those bifocals? I was bound and determined to prove myself wrong and find out if that was just a temporary setback or if I should be carted off to the nursing home.
I went to see my eye doctor hoping he would give me good news. When I walked in, the receptionist, who I also knew outside of the office, greeted me with a hello, and why are you here. “I was hoping you had a new line of running shoes. Can you point me in the right direction? Why do you think I’m here?”
For some odd reason I always get nervous when I have an eye test or a hearing exam. I feel like a jittery school girl going in for a test, hoping to pass with flying colors. When I have to press the button on the hand-held instrument upon seeing the squiggly lines in my peripheral vision; or when at the audiologist, having to strain my eardrums (or whatever part of the ear is involved in the hearing process) to hear those barely audible sounds only dogs can hear, it’s surprising that the nervous sweat pouring out of me doesn’t blur my vision or clog my ears. What if I get them wrong? I want a perfect score. [Which was a rarity when I was a student...I think that’s why any form of testing makes me anxious.]
While I was waiting for my eye test, I was looking at all the new glasses on display. I should have just kept all the eye glasses I had over the years; that way I wouldn’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money on new ones that looked just like my old ones from the 60’s and 70’s, [although the cost of lenses nowadays is probably more than the cumulative cost of all my frames in total.]

                                        I found these glasses I wore in the 70's

And let’s face it…age has definitely weakened my eye sight…the lenses are just a tad thicker than they used to be and if they charge by thickness, I’m screwed. I should just walk around with a double paned window on my face.

His assistant brought me back into the room where they had 3 different machines for testing whatever the hell it was they were testing. All I knew was that my chin and forehead were resting on surfaces that god only knows what kind of creepy crawly things others had shed there. Ever think of disinfecting this thing?  It kinda smelled and I was getting a little nauseated, so I tried not to breathe in too much. He ignored me when I mentioned it so I let it go, held my breath a little, tried not to hyperventilate, and made sure I immediately rushed home to cleanse my face. I probably should have taken anti-nausea meds before I left for the appointment, and brought along a face mask, some purell, and a few antiseptic wipes...but I didn’t want to be rude.
“Tell me which circle pops out at you.” Where are the 3D glasses? It would have been a lot more enjoyable, [and easier] if they had a little Shrek movie going on and asked me when Donkey was coming at me, but they didn’t and in spite of that, I think I aced it.


Next was the squiggly line test…I had to press a button each time I saw one. The least they could have done was not make them so faint and off to the side so much. Geez. Could they have made it any more difficult? I may have passed that one, too, but by the time I was done, my retinas were vibrating uncontrollably, so who knows.
And one of my least favorite…the puff of air in the eye test. “You’re going to feel a slight puff of air, so try not to flinch.” A SLIGHT puff of air? Slight? Who are you kidding? There are gale force winds blowing at 60 mph in my eyes. Do I look like Dorothy? Keep it up and I’m going to blow so hard in your face your cheeks are gonna start flapping.



“Stop fluttering your eye lids please. I can’t get a clear picture.” I’m sorry...stop fluttering my eye lids? The only way these lids are gonna stop fluttering is if you get a two-by-four to prop these puppies open.

Once the tornado stopped blowing my eyeballs out and I could scrape my dry lids off my pupils, he led me to the other examining room where the eye chart and Mr. Magoo machine were, to test my vision. As soon as I was seated he put drops in my eyes and in a few minutes I felt like my eyes were in a brawl. It’s like he put 10 pound weights on my lids. So not only were my eyes like the Sahara, they were numb as shit. Am I blinking?  Is there any movement going on? Am I drooling tears? What’s happening...why can’t I feel my optical orbs? Did someone pull my eyes out of my sockets?

“I numbed your eyes so I could take a look inside.” No f**king shit. Really? Is that why I feel like my eyes have left the building? And this will last how long? Hold on pal...what the f**k is that light that just left me blinded, and can you remove the tip of your nose from my face, please? I can feel your breath up my nostrils.
“Everything looks healthy in there.” Whew...at least our close encounter wasn’t for nothing. It was time for the big E chart. He put the ‘phoropter’ (impressive that I know that, right?) up to my eyes. He may as well have stuck a Tyrannosaurus Rex on my face and I wouldn’t have known the difference, that thing was so enormous.
“What’s the smallest line you can read?” Ummm…E?  “Which is clearer…A...or B?” AnoB…wait…yeah B. No…A. Who the f**k can tell? I pretty much lie half the time because honestly…I can’t tell the difference for the majority of the flip of the lenses. I think sometimes they don’t even make a change just to play games with our minds or to see if we’ll just say one of them because we’re supposed to.  
While he was testing my eye sight, he had this strange habit of plunging his tongue deep into his cheek or sticking it out completely. I guess his concentration was so intense he had no clue. Hey…bub…shove that tongue back in your mouth or I’m gonna rip it out before you start licking my face. I had to go home and disinfect myself anyway…what harm could it have done at that point? [A little ‘tongue-in-cheek’ humor. Ha...get it?]
Once he established that I was just short of legally blind, he told me he was putting the dilation drops in my eyes. I hadn’t had them in a couple of years so I didn’t remember what to expect. “Have a seat in the waiting room until they take effect and then I’ll bring you back.”
As I sat there checking out facebook on my phone, I felt like I was entering some hallucinatory state. WTF? Why can’t I read this? The words were getting smaller and further away. I had briefly forgotten I had the drops in my eyes. I used Braille to make my way up to the reception desk; with my arms flailing in front of me to be sure I didn’t bump into anyone, so I could find out if that was the side effect of the drops. First I went over to one of the mirrors and pressed my face to the surface to get a good look. A flattened face on a mirror…always an attractive look...


But holy shit…my pupils were ginormous. And I was supposed to drive home? That would be interesting. Maybe not so much for the other cars on the road, though.

After my pupils were fully dilated, meaning the size of bowling balls, he examined me and said everything was fine. “You should be back to normal in a couple of hours. Yeah, right. You may want to wear sunglasses on your way home.” Yeah…because that’s going to keep the 10,000,000 watt sunlight out of my eyes.
Since I don’t own a pair of sunglasses [they don’t work in conjunction with my claustrophobia; I feel too closed in] I adorned my face with those lovely wrap around plastic shades…you know…the ones that roll closed that you have to pry open with a crowbar, and if they snap too quickly they hurt like shit. It never fails that I flinch every time. Takes me a good 5 times to finally get them opened.
Before I left we discussed testing out bi-focal contacts. I was ecstatic. That would resolve the reading dilemma. He was going to order a couple of trial pairs and I would test them out to see if I liked them.
Well...I picked them up last Friday. I put them in and it was unbelievable how great it was to read with my contacts in because I’ve never been able to do that since my contacts are for nearsightedness. That was one of my biggest complaints...”Wow...this is incredible. I’m so excited to test these out.” “Ok, come back in a week and we’ll assess your visual acuity.”
I left his office so deliriously happy that I wouldn’t have to wear glasses anymore. As I got into my car, I realized I could read the letters on the gear shift so clearly. It was amazing. I could read the maps and directions on my phone, and anything else in small print. But....what I didn’t realize.....I couldn’t see distance for shit now.  And the car in front of me...not so happy with my optical choice.  
  





Sunday, February 10, 2013

You're Rubbing Me the Wrong Way


I could be wrong but I thought after a massage you were supposed to walk out feeling relaxed and energized. Why is it I felt like I had gone 12 rounds with Mike Tyson?
I never get massages. If I’ve had 10 in my entire life I would be surprised. Not that I don’t love them...I do. I just figure I should probably support my kids and give them every last dime I have before I ever do anything for myself. (I’m hoping they read this so I can instill that guilt I was taught every Jewish mother should do.) So this was going to be a real treat. My daughter and I each got one as a gift for Christmas and decided to go together. [I know some of you are thinking...’didn’t she just say she was Jewish?’] We made an appointment for Saturday morning and I was looking forward to it all week. We had talked about maybe getting them side by side in the same room and how fun that might be. A time to bond even more.
After looking for a parking space for 15 minutes, [the search already causing tension in my neck, so I knew I was heading to the right place] we finally found one somewhat within walking distance to the spa. I guess a little exercise hiking there prior to being pampered couldn’t hurt. We walked into the lobby to a very plush, poo poo spa while Muffy, the receptionist at the front desk, eyed us up and down.  “Can I help you, ladies?” Turn down that nose of yours and then maybe we can talk. “Yes, we have a 10 o’clock appointment for a massage. We were hoping to have them done together so do…” and before I could even finish my sentence, Brunhilde came marching out and swept me into the back. I guess that answered any question I had of having one with my daughter.
“Zere’s a changing room. Take off all your clothes and put on zee robe,” she said in her very thick accent. I felt like I walked into an episode of Hogan’s Heroes.  “Is it ok if I leave...” “I said take off all your clothes...Please.” Ja...Frau-scary-person...no problem. If I wasn’t tense before...I sure was then. I walked out after changing and she directed me into my quiet place.
What is it about that music that all I want to do is scream Turn that shit off!?  I understand why they play soothing music to relax you...but I think they should ask which type of soothing music we prefer. Not being into meditation or yoga or Reiki or whatever it is that they play that crap for...I have never found an appreciation for that specific flute type that they invariably play for me. I should probably speak up and ask for something else...some type of soothing jazz would be better than the shit I always get. But there it was and I just went with it.
“Remove your robe and get under the sheets, please.” Uh...are ya leavin’ the room?  She...or he...or whatever it was, walked out. I lay face down on the table and...Uh oh...where the hell was the hole for my face? I mean, there was the head rest but she had a paper sheet over the hole so that there was no way I could breathe. My claustrophobia was starting to take control. Shit...I wanted to relax...not be in panic mode through my 50 minutes of supposed bliss. Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose? But it was loose enough to give it a try. There was a touch of air seeping in.
I let Fraulein Hildy know that I only wanted my back, shoulders and neck massaged because, since my shoulder surgery, I’m quite knotted up and would prefer her to spend the time kneading those out. Besides, my legs tend to get somewhat ticklish at times, so I wanted to stick to what I knew worked. She didn’t have a problem with that, surprisingly enough, yet lowered the nice, warm sheets well below my butt. Ummmm...I know quite well that my ass over the years has definitely not lifted. If anything...I would now consider it part of my upper thighs...so what part of only massaging my back did you not get? But again...I didn’t say anything.
“Vould you like hard pressure?” Stupidly...I said yes. And off she went. I don’t think Atlas had stronger, more powerful hands than this woman. (Or man...or whatever she was underneath her frock.) Are you f**king kidding me? OUCH. And shut that f**king music off. It’s driving me crazy. I see you found the knots in my shoulders. That’s right, dig deep. And keep digging because not only can’t I breathe in this f**king headrest, my nose is so f**king stuffed from lying on my stomach, when I swallow my ears are now clogged up. Why can’t I breathe? And stop digging in that one knot....move on already. I can’t f**king breathe or hear...shit. GET OFF ME!
Ok...whew. She moved down a little further to the middle of my back. “Do you need a tissue?” as she heard me trying to get one tiny little molecule of air up my nose. “No, I’m ok (sounding like Fran Drescher) but do you think you could cut an opening in this paper please. I’m getting really claustrophobic and can’t breathe because my nose is totally stuffed.” I could hear her thinking to herself...’zis viney, complaining, spoilt voman...I’ll show her who’s boss here.’ So she cut a teeny, tiny opening for the smallest vent you can imagine. Gee, thanks, Gretel. Let me suck the air through the pinhole into my mouth since nothing is getting up my nostrils anyway. I thought I would start hyperventilating but I held it together. My mouth was starting to feel like the Sahara but I was quite proud of myself for staying somewhat calm, although it totally ruined my relaxation.
And there she goes again. Who knew I had that many f**king knots in my back? And Bertilda seemed to find every freakin’ one of them. And dug…and dug deeper. I have a certain area in my back that when touched, I jump and jerk. Meinhilde wasn’t too pleased with me when I jerked so hard elbowing her in the gut. Who’s showing who now, Junge Frau? I did apologize though. I felt badly when her gum went shooting out of her mouth.
She started working on my arms rubbing them and pulling gently by my fingertips. The hand massage was heavenly.  I was surprised she was so much gentler on my arms than she was on my back until Conan the Barbarian took over her body. Hey…Sieghild…you’re pulling the shit out of my arms. I hear my f**king tendons snapping, for god’s sake. I’m sure my square shoulders are now slumped since you relocated them half way down my body. Oh my god…who knew the muscles in my arms could be moved in directions that don’t fall under the scope of human kindness. She was kneading and rubbing and kneading some more. You would have thought I was going to be her next loaf of bread. Stop it. OUCH! And turn that f**king music off. I was worried that by the time she was done, my arms were so stretched that my hands would be hitting the floor. At least I wouldn’t have to bend over to put my shoes on. However, I’m not sure which species of apes I would fall under.
Is this f**king thing over yet? I felt like I had been in that torture chamber for hours…but from what I could tell…there was a little time left. She had me turn over, but before she put warm compresses over my eyes, I noticed two parallel bars suspended from the ceiling. What the hell? “I hang from dos and valk on people’s backs. Vould you like dat?” Yeah…sure I would, Nurse Diesel. And will you be changing into your bondage outfit, too, you freakazoid? I don’t think so.
Holy shit! I thought I heard my skin sizzle. What the f**k? “Is that too hot?” Ya think? Did you not see half my skin slide off my body? I hope you have some extra skin around for grafting. What are those?  “They are hot rocks. Too hot?” Uh…YEAH! Get them the hell off me. “I’ll let them cool a little.” Oh…geez…thank you so very much Satan.
Once they cooled she rubbed them along my body and they actually felt good. Not good enough to make up for the rest of the torturous treatment, but good nonetheless. While they sat on my body making lasting tattoo marks, she massaged my head. With lotion. Oh…I should be looking pretty good when I leave here with my hair matted down like Alfalfa. But it did feel great.
“Ok…I want to thank you so much for choosing me for your massage. It was a pleasure serving you today and I hope you’ll come back.”
First of all…I didn’t choose you. Secondly…not only will I never allow you to touch me again…but can you please ask them to bring in the stretcher to cart me off?
Today is Sunday. I’ve had a day to recuperate, but you know how it takes a day or two to feel the results of a strenuous workout? Well…I’m feeling the results, all right. I don’t have one body part that can move independently of the others. I can’t lift my arms. My shoulders are hunched up around my ears. My lower back has pain like I’ve never known.
My next appointment is in 3 weeks. I can’t wait!


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Let's Get Naked

I think I’ve become a stalker. Not in the illegal, creepy, psycho sense of stalking…but now that I’m back on the dating sites, I tend to check out people’s pictures and profiles more than just one time. Actually, probably more than 5 times. [Possibly even more than 10 but I don’t like to think about it.]
My daughter tells me I’m a stalker because I look at people’s pictures when they’re posted on Facebook; friend’s pics (and friends of friends, and their friends, too, if their privacy settings allow it.) Well…isn’t that exactly the reason people post pics on FB…so that others look at them? I mean, I don’t post pictures on there as a keepsake; I’m asking for ‘likes’…lots of likes. Isn’t that how we decide if we’re popular or not? Isn’t it so revealing and honest and obvious how well liked we are when we base it on FB standards? No? It’s not? Really?
I’m back on Match.com. When I start communicating with someone, if I have their full name, I start searching every site I can think of to check them out. I don’t want some psycho freak serial killer meeting me for coffee. And we know how reliable and true everything people write about themselves is, so if some guy says he’s a devoted father and humanitarian, then I know he’s good to go. I mean…who in their right mind would lie about that stuff? Right? So I check all the sites I know to see if he’s consistent and to see if there’s more info on there that I could investigate. You have to assume if he’s on LinkedIn…more often than not, he’s at least got a job. Or you’ll know if he doesn’t, which may be even more revealing.
Those of you who have been married to the same person forever probably can’t relate to someone like me who has to start the whole dating process over and over with each new man. It’s a f**king pain in the ass. I know people may find it exciting…but believe me, after 2 divorces, and a multitude of ‘boyfriends’, I’m so over the excitement part of the first meeting. It’s exhausting knowing that you get only one chance to make a first impression. I’ve had way too many ‘one chances.’ Do you have any idea what we go through for each date?
I get so nervous before each date and worry that while I’m sitting there talking with the guy, I’ll start sweating, so I plan my wardrobe anticipating that happening. I should probably just wear my sweat resistant athletic gear to all my dates. “Pardon my jogging outfit…I’m going on a run after we’re done here.” I make sure I wear dark clothing so that the sweat occupying my cleavage doesn’t leave a stain under my boobs as it travels down to my waist. I try to wear dark jeans so the moisture in my groin region is camouflaged when I get up and hope to god that I don’t have to get up to pee because my jeans are totally stuck to my ass and thighs and there’s probably a circle of sweat on my buttocks. I make sure my jeans have back pockets to absorb that butt sweat and swipe the chair with my tush while I get up so as not to leave a puddle on the seat.
I put a ton of hairspray on my bangs since I tend to have sweat beads running down my forehead and use my hair to mop them up. Having the Roseanne Roseannadanna hair during those times is not an attractive look.
I never sweat, mind you…except when I’m nervous. I’m not sure why I get so nervous because more often than not, I end up with the biggest dork on Match.com, and not to toot my own horn, but I do know that I am not a dork. I may not be the woman of their dreams, but a dork I’m not. So what makes me so ridiculously nervous? It’s those firsts. Those first times for every little thing when you are getting to know someone.
Like the first time you have dinner together. I try to avoid greens or any dark food. Inevitably there’s going to be that teeny, tiny piece of veggie or lettuce that’s so minute, but when it’s stuck in your tooth…it’s like the jolly green giant just screaming out to the person you’re eating with. ”Hey…Look at me. I’m making you so uncomfortable because you don’t know if you should say anything to her about the giant piece of food stuck in her receding gum lines.” And of course no one wants to say anything when you hardly know the other person, and then you’re in the bathroom, or worse…already in your car at the END of the evening, looking in the mirror on your visor and you see it…glaring out at you! “ARE YOU F**KING KIDDING ME? ALL NIGHT IT’S BEEN THERE?”
Then I think back to my eating habits during the meal I just had. Sometimes I get so engrossed in a conversation that I’m not conscious of the way I’m eating. I tend to eat like a huge pig when I’m alone and no one is looking. So I’m hoping that didn’t carry over to my date and I didn’t shovel in the food while I was busy talking…and god forbid I was talking with food in my mouth. But who knows? I tend to lose sight of anything I’m doing when I’m concentrating on other things. I don’t multi-task well anymore.
Then there’s the first sleep over. Do I let him see what I actually sleep in…my real pajamas? I do look pretty frickin’ attractive with my pajama top tucked into my bottoms and my bottoms tucked into my socks. I AM a looker. I basically look like a 5 year old Urkel in a grown woman’s body. But hey...I get cold. Cold doesn’t work for me when I’m trying to sleep. And even more importantly, to wash our make-up off or not…do I let him see the au naturale me that soon? So I always have a decision to make...to scare the shit out of him or not to scare the shit out of him. That is the dilemma.
The snoring problem is always an awkward topic to divulge. My snoring…not his. Between my snoring and my dog’s snoring…it’s as if an entire army barracks is situated in my bedroom with fighter jets flying overhead.  
And why are we embarrassed when our stomachs gurgle? People get hungry. Why are we embarrassed to take that first poop at our home while the other is there? Why should that bother us? Everybody poops. There is no one that doesn’t poop, right? From murderers to heads of nations. From Bradley Cooper to Salma Hayek. If they can poop so can we. So why is that humiliating?  It would be worse if you couldn’t poop, for god’s sake. Granted...you want people to see you in a sexy, beautiful light, but hey...we poop.
We won’t even mention the ‘F’ word. Talk about embarrassing. Of course, I wouldn’t know. I don’t fart OR poop. Nope...that’s right...I am the exception. Ha...If only! And the biggest concern we have for our firsts...is what if we do it during sex. OH...MY...GOD! Can you imagine? The perfect date?…....is if he toots first. That would pretty much negate any future worries I would ever have in my relationship with him.
We have all these new physical imperfections that have popped up over the last few years and think...why couldn’t these people know us when we were still youthful and perfect. Well...maybe perfect isn’t the right word...but maybe ‘less imperfect’ would be more like it.
But these are things we think of with each new relationship. See how stressful it is behind the scenes? Things people who have been in lasting relationships don’t realize or remember.
Tomorrow night I have a second date with a guy who I can’t find one thing wrong with. How can that be possible? Nothing? I can always find something…but nada…I got nothing on this guy. I sure hope he lets out one big one at dinner. From then on...it will be a walk in the park. Easy sailing. A sigh of relief.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Stuffed Animal

My dog is fat. My dog is not supposed to be fat. I guess no dog is supposed to be fat, but I was told that my dog would be the smallest version of a Shih Tzu there is. That would mean she should weigh somewhere around 9 lbs. Not even close. She is light years away from 9 lbs. She is light years away from small. She is far from medium. In fact, she couldn’t be much larger if I fed her elephant-sized portions. She seems to just keep getting wider as each day passes. You could set a table of eight on her back, that’s how wide she is. This is what my dog would look like if she wasn't a dog.


About a year ago I started getting worried about her weight when her breathing became a little labored, so I took her to the vet. He said she is healthy but quite the chub, so cut back on her portions and she should start losing some weight. So I did. And she lost a couple of pounds within about a month. A couple of pounds in doggie weight are like 10 pounds in people weight. I was quite happy about that. Even the groomer noticed she had lost weight, as did others who commented on her svelte body, [comparatively speaking, that is.] I thought that was strange that they noticed a two pound weight loss, but hey…I’ll take anything I can get.
I also cut back the 80 gazillion treats I was giving her every day. Now I only give her a teeny pinch of her treat when we get back from our walks. I walk her twice a day. Maybe not long walks. Maybe not vigorous walks. Maybe they’re slow, drawn out, sniffing every f**king bush and tree and fire hydrant every two frickin’ steps kind of walks. But they are walks, nonetheless. My sister’s dog pees on a wee-wee pad in her apartment and she is slim and trim, getting almost no exercise. Not my dog. My dog could be in the canine Olympics and would still be slim and trim-challenged. Actually she’s too fat to be an Olympic sprinter, but you get what I mean. But…two pounds is two pounds. We were headed in the right direction. For a very brief moment in time.


Recently I noticed, [because people started commenting], that my dog was getting fatter again. I thought maybe it was because her hair had grown long so she was fluffy and appeared fatter, but after taking her to be groomed, getting her thick hair cut really short, she didn’t look any smaller. Hmmmm…what’s that about? How did that weight loss reversal go unnoticed? How did I not see that my dog was looking more like Elsie the cow than Brutie the Shih-Tzu? Love is blind.


So the other day, when I ran out of food, I thought that maybe I should start feeding her diet food. When I called the vet, they said I should bring her in for an evaluation to see if she needed to be put on a special diet. I also thought maybe it could be a thyroid problem. She shouldn’t be this fat considering she really doesn’t eat that much. She should be losing more weight than the two pounds she had lost (and then gained back, plus some.) She doesn’t even eat all her food or sometimes she doesn’t eat at all, in a 24 hour period. That’s the thing…she really doesn’t seem to eat that much as compared to other dogs. I’ll put her food out; she will sniff it and usually walk away and eat it later, or not at all. It had to be a medical problem. I was sure of it. I hoped it was nothing life threatening.


They didn’t have any open appointments during the week, but on Saturdays they have walk-in hours in the morning, so I brought her in to see him then. When I got to his office, there was a line of animals out the door, waiting to be seen.


I guessed they all had a little holiday weight gain, although I came to find out that that didn’t seem to be the complaining ailment of any animal but mine. They were actually all there for ‘normal’ reasons you take your pet to the vet. Not obesity. While I was standing in line, people were asking me what kind of dog she was. “A Shih Tzu” I replied. “A Shih Tzu? Really? She’s kind of large for a Shih Tzu, isn’t she?” Well…DUH. That’s why I’m here, genius. Although, in all honestly, I couldn’t expect them to know that. Guess I got a little defensive. I didn’t know whether to crawl into a hole because of embarrassment or verbally beat the shit out of them for criticizing my dog.  My precious adorable, abnormally large dog.
After about 45 minutes of schmoozing with pet owners who were in amazement of my exceptionally large ‘little’ dog, they finally called me into an exam room. But first, “We need to get her weight please.” [In front of all these people?] They kept the scale in the waiting room. It took all the strength I had to get her on the scale. Not only is she heavy, she kept trying to make a get-away. She probably didn’t want to see what the scale would say either.

After the assistant shut her gaping jaw, “Oh...21 pounds. She IS quite the heifer, isn’t she? I guess we know why you’re seeing the doctor.” Oh…aren’t you just the Joan Rivers of the doggie palace. Let me pick myself up off the floor from laughing so hard. Why don’t you get on that scale Nurse Ratched?
We headed toward the examining room, I picked up ‘Plumpy’, sat her on the table, and without hesitation, she peed all over it. (I don’t let her hear me call her ‘Plumpy’.) Nervous pee every single time. The vet walked in and immediately started his babbling. I have never heard someone who could jabber as much as he does and examine his patients at the same time, never missing a beat. I know when I go there…it’s going to be about a 5 minute exam, and a 45 minute chat session. Even with a waiting room full of anxious customers.
“So, what’s the problem, besides her weight?” “That IS her problem.” “Stop feeding her so much.” “I don’t…I’ve been giving her much less of the wet, and a little dry food, which she doesn’t always eat.” “Cut back even more.” “But I’ll starve her.” “Obviously not.”
He went on to tell me I shouldn't feed her both wet and dry food. One or the other will suffice. He said if she doesn’t start losing weight in a few weeks, he will run some tests to see if there is anything going on that he wasn’t seeing, but upon examination, she was healthy.
As I was walking out the door, he said, “By the way…how much ARE you actually feeding her?” I told him around a can a day. “A can a day? Are you kidding? You should only be feeding her a third of a can in total for the day, or the dry food…not a can a day and definitely not both!”
Ooops...Problem solved. (As I walked out of there with my tail between my legs.)





Monday, December 31, 2012

My REAL New Year's Resolutions

I don’t really understand why people make New Year’s resolutions. If you want to do something, why wait until the New Year? Why not just say, “I’m going to do this today?”  I guess it gives people something to look forward to, or actually, a reason to keep putting things off, is probably more of the reason, [Scarlett.] I don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions, but if I did, I think my list would look something like this:
·         I won’t squeeze the toothpaste tube until I get out every last ounce of toothpaste. I believe I’m getting arthritis from rolling the tube as tight as I can get it, to make sure there’s nothing left. And trying to roll it down and hold the roll and get it on the toothbrush at the same time, is a feat in itself. I vow to not obsess over throwing out the tube with a drop left in it.
·         Along those lines…I won’t turn over the lotion bottle so the 3 drops of lotion left will fall to the opening, and then try to balance it on top of the new lotion bottle so it falls from the old used one into the new, full one. Half the time I overflow the new bottle and waste the lotion anyway.
·         I will take the phone with me to the bathroom when I go, because for some reason, my phone only rings when “doody” calls.
·         I will look through the peep hole when the door bell rings. The only time I open the door without knowing who it is, is when someone who I do not want to see, shows up.
·         I will stop making fun of all the men on all the dating sites and give more a chance to show me they aren’t the nerds I think they are. Wait…no I won’t. Who am I kidding?
·         I will stop thinking every ache and pain I get is life threatening. I’m only 58 for God’s sake. My time isn’t up yet.
·         I will accept the fact that my house will not always be spic and span when my kids are around. I won’t get OCD and upset with them while they’re home, and know that at some point they will walk out the door, and I can frantically clean up so that it’s neat and clean, at least for a short time, until they come back a couple of hours later and mess the whole thing up again. And that’s ok. Yes, that’s ok. It’s ok. ‘IT’S OK’…my new mantra.
·         When I walk my dog, I will accept that she pretends to pee 18 times although she’s really done after two squats. It’s only been 9 years and I still get impatient. I will be patient from now on, knowing it’s just habit, she’s getting older, and I love her to death so I accept her for who she is. Although I may still tug ever so lightly on the leash to guide her away from the frickin’ bush she’s been smelling for 10 minutes.
·         I will think about getting my smoke alarms fixed since I have pulled all but two out of the ceiling, because that incessant, blaring, deafening alarm sound at all hours of the night is enough to drive anyone to an asylum. And it sends my dog into a violently shaking, hiding in the closet, state of mind. I sure hope I never have a fire.
·         I won’t get upset when my DVR cuts off the last 2 minutes of a show right at the cliff hanger. I realize On Demand can resolve that problem, although it takes a week or so for the program to show up, and by that time who can remember what shows I’ve missed the last couple of minutes to, so I’ll never see it anyway and that pisses me off but I’m going to try not to get pissed. “Try” being the operative word here.
·         I will be sure to keep an extra roll of toilet paper in the bathroom at all times. Enough said.
·         I will not use that last piece of paper towel on the roll since you can’t really use it anyway because it’s got the glue or something sticky from the cardboard roll it’s attached to and it’s as hard as the cardboard itself. (Goes along with all the other things that I HAVE to use every last drop/piece of.)
·         I will turn the heat on when it’s freezing in my house without worrying about the extra $5 it may cost that month so that my nose isn’t frozen and my fingertips aren’t numb. It’s tough watching my daughter walk around shivering with goose bumps.  
·         I will stop looking in the mirror every half hour to see if my jowls have gotten longer.
·         I will get rid of those shoes I never wear that will never come back in style and are so uncomfortable that I never wore them anyway. Why I still keep them is beyond my comprehension. I will stop trying to comprehend.
·         I will throw out the water bottle that’s been sitting in my car for a week. Ok, a month. Maybe longer. Another thing I hate to discard before it’s empty.
·         I will buy a new can opener since the one I have is discerning about which cans it will open. That’s what I get for buying a can opener for $12.99 from Target.
·         I will stop trying to polish my nails with polish that’s so thick it forms strings from the brush to the bottle. I will throw it out, however hard that may be. (There’s a theme forming here…do you see it?)
·         I will try to love my ipad. Right now there’s no love developing for me. I don’t think I can turn my back on Windows.
·         I will move the things I use quite often from the top shelf to a shelf I can actually reach. [Or buy an additional step stool.]
·         I will write more blogs. I will not have writer’s block. I will try to be more creative. I will put together a book. I will love life. Oh wait…I ALREADY AM DOING ALL THAT!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE…MAY 2013 BRING YOU EVERYTHING YOU HOPE FOR!!