Monday, October 24, 2011

The Age of (too much) Information!

Here's my latest for AOL's Patch! Still thinking about finishing the book; but it's more work and I'm lazy.

I love the show, “House Hunters” on HGTV.  I get a kick out of seeing the insides of homes, getting decorating ideas, etc.  But I just watched one that blew me away.  There was, & I’m REALLY not kidding here, folks, a telephone in the bathroom – by the toilet.

Now, I don’t know about you, but how disturbing would it be if during a conversation, you heard a flushing sound? I guess it would make an undeniable point; eww.

It got me thinking, though, about how we live in a (too much) information age. We have to be able to reach out & touch each other, no matter where we are. And, as evidenced by the toilet phone, no matter what we’re doing.

Everywhere you go, folks are carrying cell phones. I was in a deli once and saw a woman telling the clerk (who had other customers, including me, standing in line) to wait a second so she could take a call.

If she had been in the process of brokering peace in the Middle East, I could understand. Instead, she answered with, “I’m not doing anything; what are you doing?” Maybe it’s me, but that hardly seems like a reason to ignore a person who’s handling your food.

I’m willing to bet that the deli clerk agreed with me and probably had visions of launching some cold cuts at her.

I’m not saying that cell phones are bad; I have a Blackberry with a cute Barbie pink silicone housing. I spent more time coming up with a nickname for it than I did naming one of my kids. The fact of the matter is that they come in handy.

And as if I’m not already calling the kettle black, I have a land line, my cell, call waiting and an answering machine. Oh, and my car has Onstar, so it has its own phone and number. I can’t be incommunicado if I wanted to.

Having them and knowing how to manage my communication devices is another matter entirely.

I was on our land line talking to my best friend, Michele, when my cell phone rang; while trying to decide what to do, call waiting began to buzz in.

I’ve never been this popular in my life.

Of course, I was confused, and I’ve never gotten the knack of call waiting. I tried to put Michele on hold to answer the call; pushing random buttons in an attempt to figure out which one would put her on hold and let me talk to whoever was beeping in.

While I was frantically trying to figure out how to see who was beeping in on our conversation, the cell kept ringing. I told who I thought was the person on the call waiting that I’d be right there, as I reached for it. Unfortunately, I had only recently bought the Blackberry, and I didn’t have my reading glasses on so I couldn’t see which button I should push to answer the call.

I was pressing numbers faster than a frenzied accountant on a calculator at tax time.

All the while, the Blackberry was playing Def Leppard’s “Hysteria”; the ring tone that I thought was so cute when I downloaded it. At the time, however, it was an accurate description of me.

Finally, whoever was trying to call the cell gave up, or they went to voice mail. Since I have no idea how to retrieve my voice mail, that’s going to remain a mystery. I was just happy that Def Leppard had finally shut up.

I got back on the landline, thinking that I was going to be talking to whoever had beeped in on Michele and me, only to find Michele laughing. Seriously, what were the odds that I hadn’t managed to put her on hold? Turns out, I’d pushed almost every button on the phone, but managed to dance all around the one that I needed.

When Matt got home that night, I figured out who was beeping in. He wanted to know why I didn’t answer the land line; he’d let it ring twenty times. He thought I might have been in the bathroom.

I asked what he was calling for, and he said he just wanted to know what I was doing. Visions of the lady at the deli counter went running through my head.

Then he said, “Hey, I saw a program the other day.  Did you know they have phones you can put in the bathroom?”

Shoot me now.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

When Waterbeds Attack

I’ve always loved waterbeds and had one every since I moved out of my parents’ house; the old fashioned “full baffle”, hard sided waterbed. Fast forward to marrying Matt, and we found a new, soft side waterbed. To make it even cooler, the water was in tubes. This eliminated the full jiggle that the old style was famous for and you can use normal sheets.

Like all beds, however, soft side waterbeds need to be replaced every 5-10 years; it was time for a new bed. I had an idea -why not give the open baffle, full jiggle style a try, and Matt went along with it.

You know, you’d think he’d learn.

We bought our new bed, and I marked the occasion by purchasing satin sheets. The bed was set up, and I opened my new, silky sheets, and began to spread them across the bed; then attempted to tuck them in.

I hadn’t thought far enough ahead to realize that 750 pounds of quasi open water was going to be heavy. Lifting the corner was going to be a challenge.

I struggled to raise it, then jammed my right knee under the mattress. I was able to tuck the sheet under on my left side, but I was at an odd angle, and couldn’t quite tuck it in on my right. I figured that what I needed was more leverage and I didn’t want to lose what I had by removing my knee.

In a move that would make contortionists everywhere proud, I managed to bend down and use my left shoulder to hold up the mattress. In that precarious position (while mentally giving myself a pat on the back for managing such an acrobatic feat), I reached for the sheet with my right hand.

And here’s where the science of wave motion comes into play.

If you push a body of water one way, it’s bound to come back in the direction it came from; often with almost the same force. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw what might as well have been a tidal wave barreling towards me.

Just as it hit, my foot began to slide, sending my body careening backwards. My knee recoiled from under the mattress, slammed into my chest, and I began to slide under the bed (although I think it would more accurately be described as lurching).

My left hand was waving wildly, trying to grab the bed post in a desperate attempt to slow my descent, while I was still clutching the sheet in my right hand. There was no help to be had; I was going down.

I landed with the grace of an elephant on my back.

I was lying there, looking up at my ceiling, legs and arms akimbo, with half of my body underneath the bed, as the rest of the sheet slithered off the mattress and landed on my face.

The theme from “Deliverance” was playing in my head.

I’ve matched wits with children, adults and even animals, and lost. Losing to an inanimate object was a new low, even for me. If only that was the one time my waterbed mocked me, it would be enough. Sadly, it had just started.

I finally managed to get myself up off the floor and an hour later, my new waterbed was made. I beamed with pride.

Note to self: don’t ever beam with pride – it usually doesn’t end well.

When Matt got home, I was excited to show it off. I stood next to the bed and like a “Price is Right” model, I swept one arm over it as I patted it with the other.

He was only minimally impressed, as he didn’t know what I’d been through to get those sheets on that bed. But he was happy, and said that it was a good thing I liked the amount of water in it.

Wait; what?

He explained that after set up, you’re supposed to lie on the bed to see if you prefer more or less water; didn’t I know that?

Why, yes I did (I lied).

Knowing that I probably didn’t, he instructed me to lie down, which I did. Turns out, he was right about adjusting the level of water; my rear end hit the bottom of the bed, while water surrounded me on all sides. If you’ve ever seen someone in drifting down the river an inner tube with their rear ends almost completely immersed, you’ve got the visual.

Unfortunately, in order to add water, we’d have to unzip the pillow top; those sheets that I’d spent the better part of an afternoon putting on had to come off. Thankfully, however, when it was time to put them back on, Matt helped. I wouldn’t be adding another bruise to my posterior.

That night, as usual, Matt went to bed first (I’m a bit of a night owl). When I went in later, Matt’s 6’2” frame had displaced a good sized amount of water; it looked like a small hill on my side of the bed. But I figured that once I lay down, my weight would balance us out. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and I promptly rolled down the bubble of water, landing face first on Matt.

Taking it in stride, he squinted up at me and said, “Not now, dear, I have a headache.” We adjusted the water levels yet again.

A week later, I got up in the middle of the night to find that a cold front had come through. By the time I came back, I was so cold my teeth were chattering. I went running into the bedroom, trying to get to bed and under the covers as soon as humanly possible.

Now, when I say I “got into bed”, what I meant was I vaulted myself with the grace of a charging rhino. I thudded onto the mattress with such force that Matt was launched off the bed and onto the floor.

I stared at the empty space that he’d previously occupied, mouth agape and held my breath. The wheels in my brain were spinning to come up with an explanation as to why I’d suddenly turned into an Olympic worthy gymnast; and tried to formulate an Olympic sized apology.

After what seemed like an eternity, he got up, looked at me and said, “You know, you’d think I’d be surprised.” Then he got back into bed, pulled the covers up and went back to sleep. I sat there for a good 30 seconds, then breathed a sigh of relief.

It’s been a few months, and we’re both pretty used to the mattress. Although I admit, I’ll feel a lot better when Matt finally stops erecting a mountain of pillows on his side of the bed every night. Thankfully, I haven’t done any more vaulting, and going to bed has gone without incident.

But, in my world, there’s no such thing as “without incident”.  There’ll be plenty more opportunities for Matt to bellow, “Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do!”

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy
She was pretty dumb.