Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2021

Archive for the month “April, 2021”

I’ll Be Calling You…Ooo…Ooo…Ooo…Ooo.

SOME THINGS ARE INEVITABLE. Some things are expensive. Some things are inevitably expensive.

That was a big part of my day yesterday. I went cellphone shopping. I didn’t want to. I had to.

I have to admit that this shopping excursion was overdue…several years overdue. My phone was, literally, held together with Scotch Tape. About six months ago it had started to disassemble itself. I never knew that the two parts of the plastic shell were held together with glue. I know it now.

Over the years (about five at least) I must have dropped that phone a dozen times. There were so

many cracks in the glass screen that, in the right light, it looked like a street map of Houston – or like my eyeballs on the Monday morning of a three day weekend. People who saw my phone were asking me what it was. When I’d tell them they would LOL all over the place. Something had to be done. It should have been done a long time ago, but I don’t like cellphone shopping. Nobody does.

The coup de grace dropped on me two nights ago when I tried to order a pizza.

The speaker had been doing no more than mumbling for some time, but when I called the Pizza Hovel I could hear the young lady on the other end but she could not hear me at all.

My cellphone had become just a “Cell,” no longer able to be a real phone. That was the straw that broke Alexander Graham Bell’s back. I had to go shopping. I could no longer avoid the issue.

The second thing yesterday morning (Coffee came first) I headed off to “The Phone Store.” As soon as I walked through the door I could see that this was going to be fun …not. I was the only customer in the store and there was only one other person there and she was “The Manager.” She took one look at my pitiful piece of gear and said, “Oh, my God, what happened to it?” Rather than tell her the long story I just said, “It’s old.”

I did explain to her that I wanted to get a new gizmo and move everything from my phone to the new one. That’s really all I wanted for sure …that and the ability to order a pizza. She logged in to my phone and said something positive. “Fortunately, you’ve backed up almost everything so, even if I can’t move your files from this piece of trash you have them in the cloud.”

She showed me a couple of different phones and explained the features of the dohickey and of the packages available to me. I was actually going to save money and have unlimited data. I like that. According to The Manager I was lucky that my decrepit phone hadn’t dissolved itself into a pile of plastic and silicone. Who was I to argue?

Now I am at home trying to figure out what is what and how to make my new thingamabob do more than tell me the time. I think this is going to take me about a week and a few phone calls to 611 for help. I’ll do what I have to. I’ll beg. I’ll listen. I may even whimper if it might help.

You Gonna Eat That?

This is a throwback from a few years ago about food, health, and some other stuff.

“FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD!” WE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IT and, all too often we can’t live with it. We eat too much. We eat the wrong stuff and there are people who eat, yet are starving.

We have TV shows featuring the lives of people who have hit 600#, making themselves into virtual prisoners in their homes. Following that show will be another about Anorexia. In between there will be ad after ad for dubious products to help us slim down or bulk up. I can’t keep it all straight in my feeble head. I need to think about food on a small scale.

No matter what I might donate to help feed the starving it would never be enough. I have to start with myself

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The Cookie Monster Is My Hero

Sometimes there are just too many choices. Every day I am faced with the tasks of making choices as soon as my eyes pop open.

Get up or not get up?

Matching socks or just grab any old two?

It goes on like that until I have made the choices that will make m,e presentable to the world.

Once I get downstairs I am faced with an unending Q&A. It goes on all day. It seems like I can’t go anywhere or do anything without having to make choices. My only respite has been a those few precious minutes in the early evening when I’m able to relax, pour a cup of coffee, and nibble on a cookie or two….or three. But, now even that oasis has been overrun by a stampede of “Choose me! No! Choose me!” When I go down the Cookie Aisle a the Supermarket I am ambushed by a wall holding Twenty-Seven (Read ’em – 27) different Oreo Cookies! How am I supposed to make a choice for my evening snack when I am faced with that?

Jesus only had 12 Apostles to deal with. I have 27 Cookies staring at me. This is gonna be rough.

Ever since I was knee high to a Cookie Jar I loved the Oreo cookie. It was a simple chocolate cookie with a sweet layer of white stuff. Pulling the Oreo apart and eating the “White Stuff” side first was half the fun. I still do that. It’s Tradition! Now, with 27 different Oreos I am going to be hyper-busy pulling them all apart in the Krafty Oreo Test Kitchen. Here is a list of all the choices I am now faced with. Brace yourself.

1. Birthday Cake 2. Fudge Dipped Thin Bites 3. Mint Thins 4. Thins Bites 5. Chocolate Thins 6. Chocolate Oreo 7. Peanut Butter 8. Fudge Dipped Mint Thins 9. Red Velvet 10. White Fudge Dipped Thin Bites 11. Mint Oreo 12. Oreo Thins 13. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. 14. Spring Oreo 15. Dark Chocolate 16. Golden Thins 17. Fudge Covered Oreo 18. Carrot Cake 19. Mega Stuff Oreo 20. Pistachio Thins 21. Golden Oreo 22. Most Stuff Oreo 23. Oreo (The Classic!) 24. Lemon Oreo 25. Double Stuff. 26. Toasted Coconut 27. White Fudge Covered Oreo.

I had originally thought that there were just 25 varieties, but I was corrected by the nurse at my doctor’s office. I told the Doctor about my personal obligation to sample all of the Oreo varieties. He looked at me…then smiled. I think he was seeing himself behind the wheel of a brand new Ferrari.
It is going to take a while for me to sample all of these new Oreo cookies. I’m not going to try to get it all done over a weekend. I’m going to have to pace myself. Every night I’ll sample a few cookies along with my coffee. I am not a glutton, but I assure you that none of the cookies will go stale.

I have cleared a space in the kitchen where I can store all 27 packages of Oreos. We don’t use oven all that much.

Too Many Miles

THE LAST FEW MONTHS have been rather busy. Since last October my wife, the lovely and excellent Navigator, Dawn, and I have driven from Indiana to south Texas and back three times. At roughly 1250 miles each way that adds up to… (Musical Interlude while doing the math)…7500 miles. Most of it on various Interstate Highways, but we also had to deal with some State and local roads.

We saw Speed Limits vary from 50mph up to 75. Of course, the adherence to these limits was a purely mythical exercise. We did see cars pulled over by The Law now and then but only in certain states.

Mississippi: Lots of Speed Traps

Arkansas: Lots of Speed…

I don’t mind moving along at a brisk pace, but I don’t like feeling like I’m pedaling a Marx “Big Wheel” compared to the Monster 18 – Wheelers that are roaring past me at 100mph. I’m not exaggerating.

During our first trip south last October we drove I-30 across Arkansas from just outside of Memphis to Texarkana. Drivers on that road look upon the speed limits as a challenge. That night I got on Amazon and ordered a 2021 Road Atlas. I wanted to find an alternate road home. That had our return trip go along I-55 through Mississippi. That is my new favorite road. We could move along at a zippy rate without having to challenge NASA re-entry speeds.

One other thing that we noticed as we moved from State to State: The number of roadside billboards advertising “Ambulance Chaser” Attorneys. They must be keeping that branch of the advertising world alive. In Illinois alone I counted nine billboards screaming at us from some Personal Injury Lawyer who calls himself “The Hammer.”

How dignified.

Not that I’m making any snap judgments, but “The Hammer” has his picture on his billboards, and to me he looks like a refugee from any number of Gladiator movies… in a three piece suit.

Each state has its own crop of these lawyers who seem to be loitering along the road just waiting for an accident to happen. I bet that they would arrive on the scene of the crash before the ambulance.

I recall that there is one in Mississippi, a woman, who advertises herself as “Mama Justice.” How Quaint.

I don’t mean to say that there is nothing worth seeing along the roads of America. There is beautiful countryside and towns and cities. It’s just the tacky billboards that bother me – those and the surprising number of truly bad drivers that are out there cluttering up the Interstate System. Maybe it’s them who have spawned those shyster’s billboards?

We covered a lot of miles in the course of our three trips to Texas. Covering that much territory is tiring no matter how pleasant the conditions. A good meal along the way can lift your spirits and keep you going. I think we discovered the best way to achieve this traveling Nirvana.

We covered 7500 miles without once stopping at a Waffle House.

It Was What We All Needed

In this hustle-bustle world where we all find ourselves these days we don’t often get the opportunity to lift someone’s spirits and “Make their day.” I recently had that opportunity.

We were down in Texas for most of January and February – right in the middle of the winter storms that wreaked havoc in most of the state. Where we were in the Corpus Christi area did not escape the troubles. We were without power for several days and had water pipes burst that had us all seeking shelter in a local church that miraculously still had power.

As the week progressed everyone in town was feeling the stress. No power and, even if you had water, it was under a “Boil Order” to make it potable. Fortunately, there was one large supermarket in town that was open and trying to service all 5000 souls. I was sent to the supermarket several times to try to find water and food.

Not surprisingly the store was crowded. Everyone I saw looked haggard and worn down. The aisles were jammed and there were many empty shelves waiting for trucks to arrive from San Antonio to resupply the store.

At one point I was at the end of a crowded aisle in the Meat Department. Shopping carts were tied up in a gridlock as people were looking for anything they could take home. Moving in any direction was almost impossible. Caught in the middle of this traffic jam was a woman with her cart completely stuck and unable to move.

One look at her and I could see that she was on the edge of a complete breakdown. The stresses of the pandemic and lockdown and now with the power outage and freezing temperatures it all had pushed her to the brink. She was physically trapped, surrounded by other desperate people. She was on the verge of tears. Looking around she yelled out, “I want to back up. That’s all. Please let me back up.”

She was starting to panic.

People could see what I did and began to give her some leeway. She started to back up with her cart and get some room to move.

For a reason I still can’t understand, as she backed up, I began to make “Beeping” noises like a truck moving in reverse. The woman stopped and looked at me. I hadn’t meant to upset her or anything it was just a spur of the moment bit of silliness. I just shrugged and she smiled. Then she laughed out loud and began beeping as she continued to back up her cart. When she got her cart free of the gridlock she looked back at me again, laughed, and started moving down the “Bread Aisle.”

Thirty seconds earlier she had looked as if the world was crushing her and now she was laughing with a smile on her face.

I was feeling stressed myself, but our little beeping interaction lightened my heart as well as hers. Could there be something as out of place as two strangers making beeping noises in the middle of a crowded supermarket?

A moment of laughter surrounded by all that chaos.

It may have been a rough time for all of us but those few moments made our day

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