Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

For Sale to Dell Computers

For sale: one coffee cup. Only $499.99. What is that, Dell? It arrived broken and won’t hold coffee? Well we offered you the Special Warrantee for only $199.99 when you bought it, good for one year, but you didn’t buy it, remember? Too-bad-so-sad, but coffee cups are made of breakable material, and you can’t just expect to get one without a chip or a crack that actually holds coffee. Duh!

But here’s what we’ll do. Since you just bought it, if you pay our special Ceramicware Fee of only $130.00 for 90 days, you can give us a two-hour window when you’ll be home sitting around doing nothing at all, ready to drop everything for hours and hours at the ring of a phone, and we will have our outsourced techs call you at their convenience—maybe within that time period, and maybe not (because we’re not real clear on your time zones)—and explain to you over the phone how to fix it. For hours and hours and hours, we will guide you through the process of taking plaster and filling in that chip. In other words, you get to pay a large amount of money to spend an enormous amount of time fixing your own coffee cup! Voila! Fixed!

It’s not, you say? You say it still leaks, and the plaster got wet and fell out? It’s probably because you used the wrong brand. For only $50 more, you can use our brand, which we highly recommend, because it’s specially made for coffee cups. If that still won’t work, it’s probably that you didn’t use enough and you will need another container. Our plaster-applicators will also be necessary for $50 more, as will our hardeners, shellacs, primers, and drop cloths. Then we’ll sell you a set of paints so that our techs can guide you through the easy-peasy process of re-painting the coffee cup design for 187 hours on the phone with someone you can’t always understand. Just be aware they’ll be a teeny bit patronizing if you are not a professional artist, and a woman to boot.

Still doesn’t work? Lucky you. Because you paid that tech fee, you can just do it all over again. And again, if necessary! And again and again and again! And if we apply the plaster using the hard blow of a hammer, we will simply tell you not to worry, insist that the powder that was once your cup is just fine, and hang up, because we know that when you call back, you will just get someone else. You see the nice thing is, we stand behind our outsourced techs…so far behind them, in fact, that you could actually say we are hiding back there! Try to find us, ha ha!  The beauty is, because we don’t have to pay them nearly what we’d have to pay American ones, we pass the abuse on to you, the customer.

Of course you could always pay your own coffee cup repair people at several hundred more if you insist on actually drinking your coffee. Not our problem! Also not our problem that you pay for 20 hours of phone minutes per month and have actually run out of minutes a week early on more than one occasion because you’ve spent that much time on the phone with us!

If, however, we are feeling especially generous, we will ship you a box complete with instructions on packing your coffee cup, and we will let you mail the cup to Timbuktu for only 7-10 business days. We like to say it that way, because it sounds so much nicer than “several weeks without a cup of coffee,” doesn’t it? We won’t ship you a new, unbroken coffee cup, of course—because you didn’t purchase the warrantee—but what we will do for you is fill the chip in ourselves with plaster and then ship it back again. And if it arrives with another few cracks and chips, oh well! Because the truth is, “we”—meaning our outsourced plaster-applying techs—can just keep this up until your coffee cup is over a year old, and then we can either sell you another outrageously-priced warrantee or act horrified that you want us to keep fixing your old, broken up coffee cup. The nerve!

Let’s toast, shall we? To our cleverness in coming up with a way to scam money by charging honest people over and over and over for a bad product that never worked right in the first place. Drink up! Except not you, because that piece-of-crap cup will never work.

Isn't this great Squidward? Just you & me together for hours and hours and hours! And then the sun'll come up, and it'll be tomorrow, and we'll still be working! It'll be just like a sleepover! Only we'll be sweaty and covered with grease! ~SpongeBob SquarePants

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Special Delivery

It started, as do most of our backyard adventures, with the bunnies.

But these were not the big, mean, fat bunny gangs. These were itty-bitty, adorable little piles of tiny precious babies no more than 4” long, tops. In other words, future big, mean, fat bunny gangs.  But they were so teensy weensy and helpless that I was horrified when I almost mowed two of them. What ensued was a call to Wildlife Rescue, a homemade bunny nest, and lots of checks to make sure said babies were making it back to Mama. Which I think they did. In fact, I believe the above is one of them several weeks later.

In the meantime, though, I discovered a cat hanging out in the yard, presumably waiting in line at McBunBun’s. I ran it off several nights in a row. I’d see it from the window, but it would be gone like magic as soon as I’d get the door open. Finally I waited at the door without closing it all the way and flung it open. There was a black cat—not merely crossing my path, but standing on it.


When I got a close look, it became clear that this was really a cat skeleton wearing a fur suit. And let’s face it—there is nothing sweeter than a hungry kitty. So I uttered those fateful words. “Awww. Are you hungry?”

Bet you can guess the answer.
The rest, as they say, is history. Here we are, months later. We’ve taken out ads and made reports at shelters. We discovered that there are some very strange people who “collect” black cats. And the nice people who came forward ended up deciding he couldn’t be theirs, after all. So he chose us, and we’re glad. I didn’t think I was really a cat person, but The Great Catsby is sort of perfect for our family.

Some pets are sought, and some are bought. The others are, I guess, the ones that someone up there thinks we ought to have, delivered right to our doorstep.

And that’s pretty good luck.

The Great Catsby
A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere. ~Groucho Marx

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ten Computer Things

Those silly voodooers! Now that my Dell computer has been reformatted a record FIVE times since April, I’d like to give them a great, big low five to the nether regions. Though—not to brag or anything—but with all that waiting time while on the phone to Dell and while programs are installing again and again, I’m getting very good at the Plants vs. Zombies game installed on the computer I’ve been borrowing. Please be patient with me as I find, bookmark, and read your blogs again. In the meantime, to celebrate my FIVE reformats, here are:

Ten Things I’d Like to Do to My Dell Computer That’s So Far Been Reformatted FIVE Times Since April:

  1. Make my Dell computer that’s had to be reformatted 5 times try to follow instructions for six hours straight from a Dell tech with a thick accent while my computer is unable to go to the bathroom or move around because the phone ran out of battery power three hours ago and has to stay plugged into the recharger.
  2. Spray paint anti-gang graffiti on my Dell computer that’s had to be reformatted 5 times and drive it to the bad part of town, shove it out the door and make it walk home.
  3. Force my Dell computer that’s had to be reformatted 5 times to teach kindergarten, and then when it’s too tired to move, let it take a nap in the bus slots.
  4. Make my Dell computer that’s been reformatted 5 times wait at the dentist’s office for three hours to get its keys replaced with only a copy of Taxidermy Today as entertainment.
  5. Buy my Dell computer that’s had to be reformatted 5 times a one-way bus ticket to Goehner, Nebraska and make it sit next to the guy with green teeth who spits when he talks and wants to tell it all about his boil lancing operation and has pictures.
  6. Set up my Dell computer that’s had to be reformatted 5 times on a blind date with a mimeograph machine that really, really likes spiffy new computers and likes to sit real close and leaks purple mimeograph ink.
  7. Donate my Dell computer that’s been reformatted 5 times to the gypsies who are going to encourage Uncle Fonzo in his computer-juggling aspirations despite his vision disability.
  8. Take my my Dell computer that’s had to be reformatted 5 times for a day of fun at Six Flags and make it ride on the scary ride where they make you take your earrings out first lest they get sucked out of your head. Then have the annoyed teenaged attendant forget to push the safety bar till it clicks.
  9. Make my Dell computer that’s been reformatted 5 times watch an all-day, commercial-free marathon of Say Yes to the Dress, interrupted only by frequent commentaries by Honey Boo Boo.
  10. Make my Dell computer that’s had to be reformatted 5 times ride to the top of the St. Louis Gateway Arch in one of those tiny elevators with the lady with the B.O. that smells like spoiled chicken soup that could be smelled all the way from The Museum of Westward Expansion.
 And a bonus:

  1. At the top of the Arch, open a window to give it a better view and then give my Dell computer that’s had to be reformatted 5 times just a little nudge.

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward. ~Kurt Vonnegut