Friday, July 20, 2018

PEN PROBLEM



I was at the dining room table balancing my checkbook when my son, Alex walked in. “Can I borrow your pen for a minute?” he asked.
I handed over my pen. Alex looked at it for a moment. “What's Affinia?” he asked.
“Oh, that's the hotel I stayed in with your Aunt Liz last weekend.” I was busy with my phone calculator as I crunched some numbers. “We had such a good time. It was a great hotel!”
Alex looked confused. “So you stole their pen?”
“Stole?” I stopped what I was doing and looked over at him. “I didn't steal it!” I cried. “They want you to take them. It's advertising for them!”
“Is that what you tell yourself?” Alex laughed as he wrote his return address on the envelope he was holding.
“No really!” I cried. “I'm serious! As a matter of fact, I collect pens.” I reached over to my purse and began rummaging around, finally pulling out several pens. “See!” I cried holding them out for him to see. “It's like a little keepsake from all places I've been.” I began going though them. “Here's are three different ones from the three different hotels I stayed in when Aunt Liz and I went to the Netherlands.” I smiled as I laid them down on the table. “Here's one from an MRI Imagining place.” I look at that a moment longer. “I don't remember ever going there.” I shrugged my shoulders. “Oh, well. I still have their pen!”
Alex just nodded his head as I put those aside and looked at the others.
“See this one's from my bank.” I held up the green pen. “They have buckets of them when you go in.” I looked over at Alex. “They wouldn't have buckets of them if they didn't want you to take one. Would they?” I argued.
Alex shrugged his shoulder, seeming to agree with that one.
“You know, a long time ago, banks used to have their pens tethered to a table so you couldn't steal...I mean borrow one if you wanted to.” I laid that pen down with the others. “I really think my bank made a genius marketing plan when they began giving the pens away!” I pulled three more of their pens from my fist and laid them on the table.
“You really like your bank, don't you?” Alex was shaking his head.
I shrugged my shoulder again. “I guess I'm there more than I thought.”
I was still going through my collection when I had another thought. “You know,” I looked back at Alex to see if he was still listening to me. “When a place doesn't want you to have a pen they find ways to let you know.”
Alex looked confused. “Really?”
I nodded my head. “I was at Motor Vehicles the other day, to renew my license, and they had pens with long paper tubes attached to them. They must have been two feet long! It wasn't like I could toss that in my purse!”
“That's because they don't want you to!”
“I know! I get it! I didn't want a pen from there anyway.” I shook my head. “It's not like anyone would want a keepsake to remember that place.” I gave a disgusted look.
“Why do you need so many pens?” Alex asked.
I looked at the pen that was still in his hand. “Because when people ask to borrow one I always have a spare.” I held out my hand. “Can I have my pen back please?”
“Can I keep this one?” Alex held on to the pen. “I don't have one in my room.”
I looked down at my pen pile and grabbed a green bank one. “Sure! But could you take this one instead?” I handed it to him as I took back the Affinia pen, looking at it lovingly. “This one has a great memory attached to it.”

Friday, July 13, 2018

SWEET TREATS



I was walking down the stairs following my son, Alex, as we headed to my office when I reached into my sweatshirt pocket and felt the familiar crinkle of a candy wrapper.
Pulling it out I offered it to him. “Would you like a hard candy?”
Alex stopped right in his tracks and turned around to look at me. He then looked down at the golden wrapped candy I held in my hand. “Did you actually just pull a hard candy out of your pocket?”
I was a little confused. “Yeah.” I looked at the candy. “It's wrapped. It's not like it has pocket lint on it or anything.”
“It's not that.” Alex shook his head. “But you do know that's something a little old lady would do?”
“What?” Now I was a little indignant. “I'm not old!”
“I didn't think so either until you started keeping hard candies in your pocket.”
I put the candy back in my pocket and felt the other two that were already in there. I decided not to mention those to him. “It's not just a hard candy!” I argued. “It's a Werther's Original! A delicious caramel treat!”
“It's a hard candy.” Alex repeated as he went into my office to help me with my computer. He sat down in my chair and began checking to see why my computer was running so slow. “Pretty soon you’re going to be wearing sweaters in the middle of summer.”
I looked down at my sweatshirt. “Okay, I'm wearing this because the air conditioning is always freezing in here! I don't go outside wearing it!”
“Ah-hum” Alex nodded as he scrolled through my computer. “I see a few cats coming your way soon.”
“Oh my gosh!” I cried. “I just wanted you to taste a really good candy one of my friends gave me!”
Alex turned the chair around to face me. “Did your friend pull the candy out of her sweater pocket?” His eyebrows were raised in a questioning look.
I thought back to when my friend and I were talking about our favorite candies and she'd been surprised that I'd never tried a Werther's. As I pictured our conversation I realized she had taken one out of her pocket. I looked at Alex and sighed, there was nothing I could say.
Alex just laughed. “If you and Dad aren't careful, old people ways are going to start sneaking in.”
“It was just a hard candy.” I sighed again.
“It starts with a hard candy and moves on to Dad wearing black socks with his sandals and having one of your cats curled up on his lap as he's waiting to have dinner at four in the afternoon.”
“You know we already eat dinner at four.” I reminded him. “You like eating that early.”
“That's my first dinner.” He began going to different sites on my computer. “So it's really like a late lunch for me.”
“Well, your Dad's allergic to cats so I don't think that one's coming.” I sighed as I pulled the candy out of my pocket and began unwrapping it. “But I'm telling you these are delicious!” I popped it in my mouth, then took the other two out of my pocket and tossed them on my desk. “But I'll stop carrying them in my pocket, okay?”
“That's a good start.” He picked up one of the candies from the desk, unwrapped and popped it in his mouth. After a few seconds he looked back at me. “These are pretty good.”
I just shook my head and laughed. “Do you know you drive me crazy?”
He got up from his chair. “Yup.” He kissed the top of my head. “You're computer's fixed.” he said as he headed out of my office.
“Thanks!” I called as I sat down to get some work done. I looked over at the golden candy wrappers laying on my desk. Maybe I'd get a bowl for them instead.

Friday, July 6, 2018

NATURE'S FIREWORKS



“Oh, come here little guy, you're never going to find your soul-mate inside.” I scooped the lightning bug off the dining room wall and headed to the kitchen door.
“Who are you talking to?” My husband, Steven asked as I passed him in the kitchen.
“This little guy.” I held out my cupped hands, letting him see the glowing light shining between my fingers. “Can you get the door for me?”
Steven opened the back door and we both stepped out on the deck. “Fly away little guy! She's out there somewhere!” I opened my hands and the beetle slowly crawled to the edge of my fingers then flew away to join all the other lighting bugs in our yard.
“Wow! There's a lot of them this year!” Steven said as he sat down to watch.
I sat down next to him. “They say we get more when we have a wet Spring.” I shook my head. “We sure had one of those!”
“Wet and cold!” Steven added.
“It felt like we never really had a Spring.” I got up and went inside to turn on the ceiling fan we have for the deck. Even though it was early evening it was still in the high 80's. “We just went right into Summer.” I added as I came back outside and sat back down.
“Well, the lightning bugs are certainly loving it!” Steven leaned back in his chair.
“Look at all those guys frantically flying around searching for a date!” I laughed as our yard was dotted with several dozen flickering lights.
Steven looked at me confused. “How do you know that all of those are males?”
“Because it's usually the males you see flying around looking for a mate. The girls just hang out passively waiting for one of the guys to impress her enough before she flashes back that she's interested.”
Steven just shook his head. “Some things never change, no matter what species you are.”
“What's that suppose to mean?” I cried.
“Oh, come on. How many times did I try and get you to ask me out to lunch?” Steven laughed.
“How many times did I have to tell you I wasn't going to be the one asking you out.” I leaned back in my rocking chair and looked over at him. “You'd had to ask me!”
Our son Alex came out on the deck. “What are you guys arguing about?”
“We're not arguing!” I said. “We're discussing. It's different.”
Alex sat down in a chair across from us. “Okay, what were you discussing, in a raised voice?”
“You're Mom's the one raising her voice. I'm just stating facts.” Steven explained.
“I'm not raising my voice!” I cried.
Alex and Steven looked over at me.
“Okay, maybe a little.” I looked over at Alex. “When we first met, your Dad tried to get me to ask him out instead of just asking me out!”
“You could have just asked me out.” Steven shrugged his shoulders.
Alex looked at the both of us. “Are you kidding me?” He laughed. “You two have been married for over 30 years!”
“32 to be exact.” Steven looked over at me and smiled.
“It'll be 33 in November.” I added.
“So what got you talking about who asked who out?” Alex asked.
“Lightning bugs.” Steven and I said in unison.
Alex just shook his head and got up from his chair. “Nope. Don't even want to know the rest of this one.” he said as he headed back into the house.
“Too bad for you!” I called after him. “It's a good story!”

Friday, June 29, 2018

BIRD BATHING



It was early afternoon and I was sitting on my back deck reading a book when my son, Alex, came out and sat down in the chair next to me.
“You just get up?” I asked as I marked my spot in my book before putting it down on the table.
Alex was rubbing his eyes. “Yeah, I was up till four working on my game.”
“How's it going?” I was truly interested. Alex design's video games and even though I had little knowledge about writing code I knew he was good at it and more importantly, he loved it.
“Pretty good.” he looked over at me. “I'm making progress.” He stretched and looked over at our small bistro table. “Is that our pasta bowl?”
“Yup.”
“Why's it out here?” He got up and walked over to it. “And why's it filled with water?”
“I'm conducting a little experiment.”
Alex came back and sat down. “What kind of experiment?”
“I'm seeing if a bird bath is worth investing in.”
“WHAT!” Alex looked slightly disgusted.
“Birds need water.” I picked up my water glass, taking a small sip as if to prove my point. “Not only to drink but to clean their feathers and get rid of any parasites.” I set my glass back down.
Alex looked back over to the pasta bowl. “So now that's going to be filled with bird parasites?”
“No, I told you I'm just using it as an experiment.” I pointed over to the bird feeders that were filled with birds. “As soon as one of them shows some interest, I'm bringing the pasta bowl back in and going to buy a real bird bath for them.”
Alex just shook his head. “What got you started on this?” He gave a resigned sigh.
“Remember how hard it rained last night?” I pointed to the deck where there were still a few puddles. “Well, I was running to the store this morning and you know that pothole at the end of our street?” Alex nodded so I continued. “Well, it was filled with water and three robins were trying to bathe in it! I almost ran over them!” I was hoping Alex would see my reasoning. “I was going to pick up a bird bath right then but, I decided to see if they'd use it.”
“And?”
“Well, so far no one's been interested.” I sighed.
“How long have you had it out?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Maybe half an hour.”
“And you're positive no birds have been in it so far?”
“Positive.”
We both watched the pasta bowl. “You know you can't just leave standing water out all day.” Alex added.
“I know. I'll have to change so it doesn't become a mosquito hatchery.”
Alex just nodded.
A robin landed on our railing, looking over at the bowl.
“Oh, I think we might have our first customer.” I whispered rubbing my hands together.
Alex jumped up, startling the robin so that it flew off.
“Hey!” I cried. “Why'd you do that?”
“Now we both win!” Alex went over to the bowl, dumped the water out and tucked the bowl under his arm. “You're experiment's complete.” He began walking towards the kitchen door. “Now you can go out and get your bird bath and I can still eat pasta out of this bowl!”

Thursday, June 21, 2018

PHONE AFFLICTION



My husband Steven and I were both in our living room, each of us quietly scrolling through our phones.
“I just sent you an e-mail of a link I thought you'd like to read.” Steven said as he continued scrolling.
“Oh!” I clicked on my e-mail. “What's it about?”
“Read the link.” Steven repeated.
“But you're sitting right here! Can't you just tell me?” I was feeling a little annoyed.
“It's a pretty long article.” He looked up from his phone. “I'm in the middle of answering an e-mail from one of my clients.”
I began reading the article, which was about an app that tracked the amount of time you spent on your phone. It was written about the president of Apple who had decided to put it on the next upgrade for the phone. But before he released the upgrade he decided to use it himself and was shocked at the hours, per day, that he was on his device.
I looked over at Steven shaking my head. “How could he be shocked? We all live on our phones! Between messages, e-mail, Facebook, Goggling things, and playing Solitaire I wouldn't be shocked if the app told me I'm on my phone 8 hours a day!”
“I've got you beat!” Steven had paused his texting and looked over at me. “I bet I'm on my phone a good 10 hours a day with work!”
Just then Alex walked into the room, catching the last part of Steven sentence. “What do you do 10 hours a day?”
“I'm on my phone at least that much every day!” Steven answered.
“That's unbelievable!” Alex stood there shaking his head. “You two spend way too much time on your phone's.”
“Apple is going to tell you exactly how much time you spend on your phone.” I looked over at Alex. “It's just not our phone's they can track. They can also track how much time you're on any device.” I had to smile. “Like how much time you're on your computer.”
“That's not fair.” Alex objected. “I work on my computer.”
“Well, I work on my phone.” Steven added.
They both looked at me. “Well, I sometimes work on my phone.” I shrugged my shoulders. “A little.”
They both started to laugh.
“Wait a minute!” I cried. “I have an idea!” I looked at both of them. “Why don't we try not to be on our phone's at dinner tonight?”
Alex shrugged his shoulders. “That's a easy one for me.”
“Me too!” I agreed, then looked over at Steven.
Steven shrugged his shoulders. “Sure. I'll give it a try.”
A short time later, dinner was on the table and we were all sitting down. It didn't take long for Steven's phone to chirp that he'd gotten a text. He glanced at his phone, than over to me. “So, how was your day?”
I had to smile. “Pretty good...” I was ready to tell a story that had happened at work when Steven's phone chirped again.
He glanced down then back at me. “That's nice.” His phone chirped a third time. “I'm sorry, but I really have to take this.” He picked up the phone and got up from the table. “There's a problem at one of my job sites and it has to be dealt with right now.”
“Fine.” I sighed.
I could hear my phone ringing from the other room. “It can go to voice mail.” I said as I looked over at Alex. “So, how was your day?”
“Pretty good.” he was about to continue when my phone started to ring again.
“Hum, two times right in a row. I'm not going to answer it.” I said as I got up from the table. “I just want to check to see who it is.”
“Sure.” Alex called. “That was a fun experiment.”
“Okay, I admit it!” I cried. “Your Dad and I are addicted to our phones!”
Alex just nodded his head. “The first step is knowing you have a problem.”

Friday, June 15, 2018

WHO CARES? I DO!



“I'm so embarrassed!” I cried as I came into the house and tossed the bag with my new shoes on the chair.
Steven came out of our bedroom. “What happened?”
“I ran into someone I haven't seen in a while looking like this!” I swept my hand up and down my torso. “Ripped jeans that are clearly not a fashion statement but just a hole worn at the knee! A tee shirt that I'm probably going to be sleeping in tonight, if I don't spill anything on it at dinner! A sweatshirt that's missing the little toggle thingy that zips it up! Glasses, not contacts, no make-up, and because it's rainy out my hair's frizzed out like a clown!”
“Oh, come on. You don't look that bad.” Steven went back into our bedroom, while I followed him. I'd caught him in the middle of cleaning out his closet.
“Thanks. But I know you're just being nice” I grumbled. I sat down on the bed watching him look through his shirts.
“Hey, I've seen your hair twice that size when it's really humid out.” Steven smiled, but I wasn't in the mood for joking around.
“It was so embarrassing.” I just shook my head. “There I was bending over trying to get a shoe on when I hear my name being called. I look up, my hair's in my face and there she is, looking all put together while I look like this!”
“I'm sure she didn't notice.” Steven pulled some shirts out of his closet and tossed them on the bed.”
“Oh, she noticed!” I sighed. “Women judge each other. It's what we do. I could see it in her eyes as I was apologizing for looking the way I do.”
“You apologized?” Steven looked confused.
“Of course I did. I didn't want her to think I always go around looking like this! I was hoping to counteract the judging!”
“Did it work?” He began going through his sock drawer tossing the older socks on the floor next to the garbage bag.
“It was too late. She judged me.” I laid back on the bed and threw my arm across my eyes. “It got even worse when I broke out in the sweat! I had to keep mopping my upper lip with my sleeve.” I couldn't help but groan.
“Why'd you go out dressed like that if it's bothering you so much?”
“Because I dressed for a home day. I wasn't planning on going anywhere. But then I remembered I needed shoes for that dress I'm wearing next weekend and I just ran out not thinking.”
“Well, there's a valuable lesson in there somewhere.”
I sat up on the bed. “A valuable lesson?”
“Never leave the house without looking in the mirror and thinking someone out there will be judging you.”
“Says the man with a stain on the front of his sweatshirt.”
Steven looked down. “Oh I had soup for lunch. I must have spilled some.” He continued sorting out his clothes.
“Aren't you going to change?”
“Nope. I'm not planning on going anywhere.” He looked over at me and smiled. “But if I do I'll look in the mirror before I go.”
“You're a funny man, Steven. A funny man.” I said as I laid back down on the bed.

Friday, June 8, 2018

CHIPMUNK CHATTER



“Look how cute they are!” I was sitting on our back porch with my son, Alex as we watched two chipmunks tumble around in a patch of clover.
“You can hear them squeaking at each other.” Alex laughed. One of the chipmunks had broken free from the tumble and raced towards the woods, the other followed closely behind.
“I wonder if they're playing or really mad at each other?” I could see them still chasing each other in the underbrush of the woods.
“They didn't look like they were playing to me.” Alex said as we turned our attention to a cardinal and blue jay trying to get to the feeder at the same time.
“I say the bluejay wins this one.” I called but another cardinal swooped down and chased the bluejay into the oak tree on the other side of the yard. “Okay, I guess I was wrong on that one.”
Alex pointed to my bird house as a small bird flew out of it. “What's that?” Alex asked.
“It's a black capped chickadee!” I was feeling almost gleeful. “They've been working on the nest for a few days now!” We saw another one fly into the birdhouse carrying more nesting supplies. “I can't wait for the babies to arrive!”
Alex pointed to the small bunny hopping around around the clover patch nibbling on a clover flowers. “He doesn't seem to mind that were sitting right here, three feet away from him.”
“I know! I love it!”
A hummingbird zipped by us headed for the feeder. “I'm suppose to be doing errands right now, but I don't want to leave our yard.”
The chipmunks came running out of the woods, their cheeks stuffed with food. One ran right past us and into the hole that was next to our deck while the other one ran straight for the enclosure where we kept our garbage pails. “Well, we know one of them picked a really stinky spot for their home.”
Alex shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe he's hoping something will fall out of the garbage pails and he won't have to travel too far to eat.”
“Yuck.” I shuttered at the thought.
We'd turned our attention back to the feeder where a red headed woodpecker was taking advantage of the fact that the cardinals had chased away the bluejay. “Isn't he beautiful! I don't see him at the feeder very often, he's usually picking the bugs from the trees.”
Alex thought for a moment. “I don't think I've ever seen him at the feeder before.”
“Well, that's because I spend more time out here than you do.” I looked at my watch. “Oh, man. I really should be getting my errands done.” I started to get up but another hummingbird was headed for the feeder. “Maybe just a few more minutes.” I said as I sat back down.
“You're not going to do your errands today, are you?” Alex had to laugh.
“Maybe I'll get them done tomorrow.”
My husband, Steven came out on the porch. “What are you two up to?”
“There's so much going on out here that I just can't talk myself into leaving.” I sighed. “Right now I feel like I could hold my pointer finger up in the air and a butterfly would land on it.”
Alex started to laugh.
“I'm serious!” I cried.
“I know that's what scares me.” Alex got up and gave me a kiss on the top of the head before he went in.
Steven sat down next to me and patted me on the knee. “You know if anyone in this family could get a butterfly to land on their finger it would be you.”
“Aw, thanks.” I pointed to the chipmunks as they chased each other through the clover. “I'm warning you, once you start watching them you won't be able to stop.”