Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thoughts of a Twitterless Thinker.........December 30, 2011 edition

So there I was sitting at my computer, 1:30 A.M., noshing on leftover mashed potatoes and gravy, and scoping out the blogs of my online buddies. I was laughing at their antics, marveling at their creativity, and admiring their mad writing skills. And then...a Eureka moment when I thought to myself--"Hey! I have a blog! I should go write on it some time."


Fellow bloggers: Do you ever have days when you feel like you have nothing to say? When it seems as if everything has already been said? When each day seems like every other day so writing anything down seems so redundant?  If so, how do you conquer that blase feeling? Dang, it was so bad I considered setting up a Twitter account so I could feel justified in having nothing to say.

As I pondered setting up said Twitter account, I remembered that it might be seen as a betrayal by those Quangsters who rely on my being a Twitterless Thinker. To satisfy those three people, and to keep myself from plunging into the deep dark depths of 140-character thoughts, I bring you the latest installment of Thoughts of a Twitterless Thinker.

You know what I've been thinking about most lately?  In a few days I get to find out the gender of my latest grandchild--Em's baby. I'm thinking girl. Em's thinking girl. I'm thinking the ultrasound tech is thinking girl but doesn't want to say anything until the official gender unveiling on Tuesday. I'll keep you posted.

My son, being a thirteen-year-old, now communicates with his friends online more than he does in person. I had one of his friends sitting in my office using my computer, while Weston was in his room using his computer. They were involved in a group chat with a couple of friends from school. At one point the two boys were just typing to each other and I mentioned something to both of them that maybe they should just get off the computer and go talk to each other face to face. You know, since they were only a room apart and all. Each one looked at me with the 2011 equivalent of "Are you high?"  Silly me. There I go thinking again.

Speaking of online chatting, you are all familiar with the chatting acronyms, right? You know, like LOL means Laughing out Loud, and BRB means Be Right Back. Weston was feeling mildly hurt because he thought his friends thought he was "lame."  I assured him that was not the case, but to prove it he confided that when he says something online, his friends will respond with LMAO. When I told him that it meant Laughing My A** Off, he brightened. He thought they were responding "Lame-o!"

I'm thinking that most of this post will be my thoughts on dealing with the creature called "The Thirteen-Year-Old."  For some reason, as soon as Weston turned thirteen, he lost massive amounts of brain cells, to the point where I have to re-teach things he learned when he was three. Things like when you get up from the couch while holding a plate of spaghetti, make sure that you hold the plate in a horizontal position. Holding it in a vertical position will cause the spaghetti to slide from the plate to the carpet. I thought he knew that, but maybe I didn't stress it enough when he was three.

Or things like when it's cold outside, you stay warmer when you wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Like a toddler, he prefers to dress himself, so when he runs around the house in a short-sleeved t-shirt, ankle socks, and shorts and then complains, "I'm freezing!" I tend to say stupid things like, "Maybe you should change your clothes."

Or when he's sitting at his computer with his headphones on, and his chores are left undone and his room is a mess, and I say, "No computer until your chores are done and your room is cleaned."  He smiles at me and says, "Okay."  Twenty minutes later he is still plugged in so I repeat. He nods and smiles, " I am."  Ten minutes later I go back to his room, slightly more irritated than the first two trips and tell him again to get off the computer and get his chores done. He unplugs and says, "Mom! I am!"  

There's that awkward moment where I am left wondering if English is his second language or if I have failed to teach him the proper bodily actions to perform when your mother says to get your chores done. They don't involve sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen with headphones attached. Did I not teach him these things when he was but a manling? Oh wait! Maybe he's playing some new Facebook game called Chore-ville, where the player thinks that actions performed online are duplicated in the real world. 

Today I was convinced that all the life-skills training that I have done with this child since age 0 have been for naught. I was certain that my young man was replaced by someone else's obstinate defiant two-year-old.

Me (noticing that Weston was ready to walk out the door to go to an Airsoft game in thirty degree weather): "Why are you wearing that jacket? It's not even dry. Did you pull it out from the washer?"

Weston: "It's okay."

Me: "It's not okay. It's soaking wet. It hasn't even been in the dryer yet."

Weston: "Mom. It's not that cold out. It's fine."

Me: "You can't wear a sopping wet jacket. You are going to freeze."

Weston: "It's not that bad."

Me: "Go put on your winter coat."

Weston" "It's too small."

Me: "When did it suddenly get too small?"

Weston: "My arms show when I stretch my arms out." He puts on the coat and demonstrates. About two inches of his forearms show.

Me: "If you put on a long-sleeved shirt, then your forearms won't get cold."

Weston: "Mom! It's not a coldness thing. I don't want my arms to get hit by airsoft pellets."

Me: "Then wouldn't a long-sleeved shirt still help?"

Weston: "Argh. Mom. You don't get it."

He's right. I didn't get it. I thought my "How to Pick out Appropriate Clothing" training had ended nine years ago. Looks like I'm starting from scratch. After ten minutes of arguing, he finally left the house with a long-sleeved shirt and his warm winter coat. I was exhausted. 

On the bright side, he is still capable of making me laugh. One day Computer Geek, Weston, and I were coming back from Walmart and stopped for gas. Computer Geek started to get back in the car but Weston said, "You left your receipt hanging at the machine."  CG sees that it is so, gets back out of the car, retrieves the receipt, then gets back in. He says to Weston, "Thank you for letting me know about that."  To which Weston replies, 

"I am a noble steed."  Indeed.

I'll close this thoughtful post with an amazing tip I learned over the holidays. Have you ever been to Walmart and tried to get some pop, only to discover that all the pop at the front of the shelves has been removed? And that you are far too short to reach the pop you want, way at the back of the shelf?  Many times I have said, "Oh well. I guess it's just God's way of saying that I shouldn't drink pop," and then I move on. No more! God has provided an awesome pop-retrieving tool.

We were at our local Walmart and noticed that the fake 7*UP was almost gone. The last few bottles were waaaay in the back. Shaq could not have reached those bottles. Two Walmart ladies were working in the aisle, and because our Walmart has awesome customer service (I'm not lying--these people are even happy when I use coupons. They rock. Yay for store # 2794! Give 'em all a raise!) they asked me if they could help. 

I explained that I was far too short to reach the pop I wanted. These two ladies had a brilliant solution. "Let's find Max." 

Max shows up and he is approx. 6'3".  Does he reach up there and get my pop? No. Remember I said that even Shaq could not have reached those bottles?

I learned that the ladies didn't go find Max because he was tall. They found Max because he was smart. Max showed me an uber cool trick that I am now going to show you. Amaze your friends! Stun your relatives!  I now present the Walmart No Stilts Needed Pop Retrieval Tool:


Amazing, right? The tool is inconspicuously hidden in the shelving unit itself.  It slides right into the hole when you have finished pulling the pop toward you with the elongated staple-like pop-grasper. So the next time you feel inferior because you can't reach the pop that is inconveniently stored above your head, just look for the thing that looks like a staple camouflaged against the shelving unit. How many times have I looked right at it and never known?

P.S. Max, who is a serious customer advocate, gave me permission to take the above photo.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Anything Embarrassing Happen to YOU Lately?

A friend dropped by on Saturday with a plate full of fudge. (I swear I was born lucky.) We chatted for a few minutes and then I pushed her out the door so I could gorge on the fudge she had to leave. After we said our goodbyes and she closed the front door, my son looked at me and said, "Boy, I bet you are embarrassed."

I couldn't think of any social sins I committed during the course of our conversation, so I asked Weston, "Why should I be embarrassed?"

"Because the back of your skirt is tucked into your underwear."


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dressing my Angels

Early last week, I got an email from one of the coupon sites I haunt. They directed me to the Victoria’sSecret Facebook page, where VS was giving away gift cards on a daily basis until Christmas. I scoped it out, by reading the rules as well as comments by previous winners and losers.

Every day until December 15, the company is giving away a total of 100,000 Victoria’s Secret gift cards. However, they begin giving away each day at precisely 9:00 A.M. Eastern and only give away until that day’s allotment is depleted. That means by approximately 9:07, all of that day’s cards are gone.

Since that’s 7:00 A.M. my time, I didn’t even bother entering the first few days. I get ready for school at that time and felt entering a contest was not high priority. Last Thursday though, I was running ahead of schedule. I noticed it was 7:04 and thought I would give it a shot.

I tried for a few minutes but kept getting an error message, presumably because thousands of other people were also trying to enter. I was ready to give up, and thought, “I’ll give it one more shot.”  That one more shot won me a gift card.

I was pretty excited. The amount of the gift card was a secret. They don’t tell you the amount until you have placed your online order and are ready to check out. After reading the comments on the Victoria’s Secret Facebook page, I assumed I probably won a $10 gift card, since that is what all of the people were saying that they won.

Later that night, I was ready to go online and place an order and use my $10 gift card. I wanted to order something for daughter Kay. Thinking that I would just buy something for ten bucks, then pay the additional tax and shipping myself, I started looking for ten dollar items. Any of you who have ever shopped at Victoria’s Secret know that means my options were limited. I finally decided on body wash. I called daughter Em, who knows these kinds of things, and asked her which fragrance Kay might like. She suggested a few and I added the body wash to my “shopping cart.”

I entered all my shipping information and got to the section where I had to enter my gift card number. I also had our personal card information ready since I knew I would be responsible for paying anything over the $10.  With tax and shipping, my body wash came to $16.99.  I looked at the total, expecting to see that I owed $6.99.  I was wrong.

Instead, I read this, “Your gift card covers your entire purchase. No additional payment is necessary. Your new gift card balance is $483.01.”

I read it over a few times, sure that I had made a mistake. When I realized I was not dreaming, nor breathing, I called Em back. I was hoping that she would be kind enough to come over to my house and help me use up my $500. She graciously accepted. She drove right over. In her pajamas. That’s my girl.

Now anyone who knows me knows that I do not have a figure conducive to shopping at VS. My daughters however, do. Merry Christmas, angels.

Over the next three and a half hours, Em and I sat online poring over that website. We got Kay and Gnome on the phone, requesting their help in spending the $500. They were also happy to oblige. Okay, “happy” is too mild. “Delirious” probably covers it better. 

Em, being the consummate online shopper, used her eagle eye to discern that I also got free shipping because my order was over $25, and an additional $25 off because my order was over $150.  Twenty-seven items later, I logged off. If anyone needs help navigating the Victoria’s Secret website, just call me. I know that website top to bottom. My order came to $497.44. Whew. I felt accomplished.

A few days later, I am still in shock.  I keep checking status on my order, to make sure that it’s real. I am so grateful to Victoria’s Secret for their generosity. I looked at their site and found that out of the 100,000 cards they are giving away, only 82 were the $500 cards. And what did my dear husband have to say about all this?

“Now can you go win me something from Cabelas?”


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