Thursday, March 31, 2011

Technology and Tupperware

I wanted to buy a photo album. A simple photo album.
I didn't realize that this was a fools mission until it was too late.
I walked into the photo department. Walked around and around. Didn't see any photo albums. There was memory cards, scanners, all kinds of discs, ink cartridges, USB cables, flash cards. No albums.
Puzzled, I asked the photo lab employee, who was a teenager with pink streaks in her hair. Actually, she wore them quite well and looked charming like that. She was friendly and polite. But when I asked about the photo albums I saw something on her face- total confusion.
"A photo- album?" she asked, saying the word 'album' like it was totally foreign to her.
Maybe it was, I realized.
"Well, just to- put my pictures in," I said, suddenly feeling acutely aware that this was, indeed, an antiquated concept.
She looked puzzled. "There might be some in the Tupperware section?" she said, as though she were asking me the question. "Or you could try a hobby store?"
A hobby store?
Was putting your pictures in an album considered a hobby now??
Over in the Tupperware section there was about one third of one shelf devoted to photo albums. There lay a few albums. They looked dusty.
And perhaps for the first time in my life, I felt clued out.
I mean, really clued out.
Like the time when I was staying at my friends house, and her grandma came over.
"So, you girls chum together?" she asked us.
My friend and I looked at each other. We didn't know what to say. We looked at her, and then back at each other. Shrugged and said "yeah, I guess so," real polite like but then we laughed about it later.
Except in this instance, I was on the other side of the equation, standing forlornly in a Tupperware aisle, looking at the dismal selection of photo albums and feeling outdated, irrelevant, where the only other person in the Tupperware aisle was an overweight, graying lady who remarked to me that the price of Tupperware has sure gone up. I looked at her, feeling annoyed that suddenly, I was in her cohort.
Just because I buy photo albums doesn't mean I care about the price of Tupperware.
But actually, I do.
I like Tupperware, kind of a lot if I'm going to be honest about it.
But in my defense, I do also have flash cards and USB cables and DVD plus R's as well as minus R's.

And then it happened again.
Our kids spilled milk on our alarm clock.
Apparently, alarm clocks don't drink milk.
So last weekend I found myself in London Drugs, walking up and down the aisles looking for an alarm clock.
"Get this one," my son told me, showing me one that cost $199 and was also an IPod docking station, as well as possibly some other things.
"That's for an IPod," I said. "I don't even have an IPod. I just want a plain alarm clock."
One was voice interactive.
One was rheostatic. Whatever that meant.
I ended up getting one that has a projection feature that projects the time onto the ceiling. Rather than sitting up and looking at the alarm clock, I can now see the time as soon as I open my eyes.
Technology is actually pretty cool.

And I'm using my Kindle now. The only bad thing that happened was that I was reading a thriller, and right at the climax I got a little box pop out and say "battery power low. Please recharge your Kindle."
And since it has to be plugged into the computer to recharge, and the computer is downstairs, and I didn't feel like sitting in the basement to finish my book, I ended up having to wait to finish it, which was a significant source of frustration.
I really hate it when my electronic devices die right before climax.
But that's a whole other topic right there.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Losing My Spamming Virginity to Fr33 Porn

In my pre-spam days, I took the lack of spamming kind of personal.
"They hate me," I would say to myself, whilst reading blog posts about how annoying spammers are. I would type my comment "I've never been spammed, I guess that's the good thing about not getting any traffic, LOL." But then I was like, why don't I just write "I'm a totally desperate LOSER who blogs in the basement in my pyjamas drinking wine by the box," which is more or less the truth, but still. There's something unsettling about seeing it typed out like that. So then I'd backspace it and write instead, "I hear ya," but then keep the LOL, so then I wasn't technically, actually, lying. If it ever came down to it in a court of law that I lied about being spammed, I could say, in my defense, that the LOL showed that clearly I was joking about hearing ya, although why it would ever come down in a court of law, I don't really know. But the point is-- I was vaguely jealous of the glorious spammed.
What am I chopped liver??
I mean, maybe I want some sex pills, too. I don't, but, still. It would nice to be offered every once and a while.

So, naturally, I was quite excited to get some spam offering me "fr33 porn."

My excitement quickly gave way to  confusion.
What the deuce is fr33 porn?
Is it free porn?
Or do the 3's nullify the word "free" Must be some sort of scam. That's how they get you. You go there and then they charge you some huge dollar amount, and then your like 'But it said free!" and they're like "No, it said fr33."
Or was it actually thirty three dollars? Or 33 minutes?
What, exactly, did the three's stand for?
Is it a sex thing? I didn't know. I pondered that. Probably a sex thing, being a porn site and all. But what??
Is 33 the square root of 69? Could be.
I don't know, I'm bad at math.

And today I got more spam! Even better than the cryptic and indecipherable fr33 porn, which I eventually decided not to go for.
Today I got this: A product so good that you will not believe that it's true. A product that, apparently, if I ignore it now, I will regret it later.
(Is that a death threat there? Kinda sounds like it to me.)
At this point I was bracing myself for some kind of sex product, I scrolled down, half scared to look.
But no.
No penis enhancer or any other such product.
What was it you ask?
It was, and I quote: "The first and only single leg compensation plan ever created."
What, exactly, does that mean?
I don't know.
I guess it's an insurance plan specific to the loss of a single leg.
Which, I don't know, maybe if you're the type of person who's apt to lost a limb somehow, you might be inclined towards that. Maybe you lead a high risk lifestyle- you get into a lot of knife fights or you sleep with your legs on the train tracks and you don't have a very clear understanding of the train schedule, or a watch, or you're a pirate or what have you. But me, myself, I think I'm quite happy to play the odds. Even though, yes, admittedly, I might regret it later.
If I end up with one leg, that one could really turn around and bite me in the ass.
But I'll take my chances.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm not buying it.

A list of things I'm not buying:

1)Chase banking with overdraft protection. On the commercial: Someone's rock climbing and her cell phone rings. She answers it with a smile. Apparently, it's her bank telling her that her bank account is about to go into the overdraft, so she quickly transfers some money around to avoid this financial pitfall.
Here's why I'm not buying it: Because the LAST thing I would possibly want in the WORLD is someone calling me to tell me that my account is going into the overdraft.
Do you have any idea how many phone calls I would be getting?
At work: "Randine, your account's getting close to the overdraft."
On the way home: "Randine, your account has gone into the overdraft."
While I'm sleeping and the mortgage payment comes out at midnight: "Randine, your account has just gone deeper into the overdraft."
I mean, what can I do about it? Maybe some people have other, off shore accounts that they can transfer money into. But I don't. And my idea of having overdraft protection? Is having an overdraft period.

2) Activia yogurt. On the commercial: they make the yogurt sound like a dessert. "Key Lime Pie" "Apple Crumble." "Chocolate Souffle"
Here's why I'm not buying it: Because at the end of the day, it's still frickin yogurt. You can call it 'chocolate souffle' all you want, but it's still just a pile of lumpy, clump, vaguely chocolately tasting yogurt.  And I don't care about keeping my digestive system regular, either. Jamie Lee Curtis can stuff her BF Regularis up her arse. Pardon the pun. If I want a laxative, I'll drink the coffee they make at work.

3) Aflac. Okay, I actually want to buy Aflac. On the commercial: A duck is sitting in the park with his apparent owner, breaks out into a little song and dance, and gives his owner a stack of bills.
Here's why I'm not buying it: Because my husband won't let me. "Ooh, I want to get Aflac."  I told my husband after seeing the commercial. "We can't," he said. "We don't have Aflac in Canada."
"But I want it! You get a duck! A dancing duck!"
"You don't actually get the duck. You get insurance."
"No," I said. "The duck is the insurance. He follows you around, and he gives you money when you need it. The commercial was quite clear on that." But my husband- well, you know how he is. He's always negating my ideas, like I'm crazy.
Anyways, I became his friend on Facebook- the duck, that is, but it's not quite the same thing.

What I did buy: A Kindle! I haven't fully transitioned to it yet, because I still have some paperback books that I'll read first. But so far, I kind of like the Kindle, although I think it will take some getting used to. I usually like to read in the bath, so I guess I probably won't be able to do that. So that'll be different. But other than that, I like it. Buying books is kind of overwhelming. I type in fiction, and Kindle books and get like 23,000 books. I'm not used to having so many options.
But that's not a bad thing.
Anyways, have a good day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Brave New World

Tomorrow will bring big change in our house.
Tomorrow, my  lastest baby will shed his final vestiges of infancy- his soother.
At two and a half, this is long overdue. And it shouldn't be producing the amount of anxiety that it is.
The bad thing is that it's not even Alex who is anxious about it. It's me.
And I'm not anxious for the reasons you might think.
"He'll only cry for it for a day or so," people tell me. But crying? At this point in my maternal career,  I can handle that. Crying doesn't even phase me any more. In fact, I get more concerned when they're NOT crying. When things are too quiet, I begin to fear that something sinister is going on. They're in the kitchen drinking Draino, I think, irrationally. Because I don't even have any Draino. If my drains get clogged, too damn bad.

So what am I anxious about?
I'm anxious about letting go of his babyhood.
"But he'll always be our baby," Geoff told me, gently, when I told him of my fears. "Even when he's old, he'll be our baby."
"I know," I agreed. "But it's just the idea of what the sucky symbolizes," I said, which sound like I'm just all overly analytical about the whole thing, which of course, I am. But still- suckies were some of the first things I bought when I found out I was pregnant with him.I packed them in my bags to take them to the hospital. And he always looked so cute to me, so innocent and angelic, as he slept with his sucky in his mouth- pastel colors initially, which later changed to bolder colors with airplanes or dinosaurs on them, pulling at it at random intervals, sometimes lazily, sometimes furiously, his perfect lips curled into a perfect O.

So naturally, I 've given a great deal of thought to the fanfare with which Sucky should make his last curtain call. The plan for Sucky Quit date is this:

After supper tomorrow, we're going to go on a Great Sucky Roundup, as Alex has Sucky caches all over the house that we don't even know about. The sucky's will be collected into a gift basket. We will, as a collective, work on a letter to the Sucky Fairy, explaining that Alex has gotten too big to use them, and could she please find a little baby who could use them and give them to him? We will then leave the basket by the front door.
In the night, the Sucky Fairy will come. And we can't be sure, but we think that she MIGHT bring a present for Alex for being such a big boy and helping all the little babies of the world. I think it wold only be right and decent if she did.
Simple quid pro quo, and all that.

Alex seems excited by this plan. "I love the Sucky Fairy!" he told me.
I hugged him, and did a fake cry. "My baby boy is getting so big!"
He touched my face, and said "let's not be sad," which made me want to cry for reals.
It's pretty bad when a two year old has to console me. So I pulled myself together. This isn't about me and my need to have an infant to coddle. This is about him, and his need to grow up.  I can't infantilize him just because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Even though, yes, it does. It really, really, does.
But we have to take this step together, and embrace a brave new world. I think he's ready for it.

Bring It

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Truth About Zumba

"I've got exciting news," a coworker announced as she entered my workspace, closing the door behind her.
Not the Zumba thing again, I think to myself, bracing myself, because I know- KNOW- deep in my heart that it's the frigging Zumba thing again. I look up at her, slowly, and the look of wild excitement tells me that- yup it's the God  damned Zumba thing again. Only this particular person could look so excited at the prospect of an hour of exercise.  The only time you would ever see that look of pure, unadulterated enthusiasm on my face?
Maybe if I saw a chocolate fountain on a buffet line.

"Tuesday at 5:30, Meghan's coming back- for ZUMBA!!"

I force a smile at this.

"Really?" I say. "This Tuesday?" I say, thinking to myself, think of something QUICK.

She nods vigorously. "I wanted to give you the heads up. Because I know how disappointed you were last time when that thing came up. Right at the last minute."
"Yes," I say, with a nod. "It was really unfortunate timing that Alex got diarrhea so bad that day."
Because if there's one thing that's fucking awesome about having kids, it's this: A built in excuse note that no one will touch that you can wiggle you right out of any responsibility.
This is the formula:
(Insert child's name) has (insert gross medical condition. Explosive diarrhea works well. Ditto for ringworm.) so I won't be able to (insert duty you want to shirk.)
No body will ask any questions. They'll just pull a face, look all uncomfortable like, and say "I completely understand."
End of conversation.

But now she was standing in my office again, a look of hopeful anticipation on her face.
The thing is that I really do not want to hurt her feelings about Zumba. The first time she brought it up I made the mistake of saying "That sounds pretty cool. Maybe I'll check it out."
Really, I was only saying that to be polite. I wasn't going to check out Zumba any more than I was going to check out anything that might make me sweat. Unfortunately, she took this as wild enthusiasm, and firm commitment. For the ensuing week and a half she talked to me about Zumba every day.
"Try and come early," she told me. "You want to stand in the front row, that way the teacher can be more interactive with you. And that way, too, you can help us clear tables from the board room."
Clearing tables, too.
If there was any part of me that was in any way inclined towards this Zumba class, and believe me- there wasn't-- but if there was, this itself would have been a deal breaker for me.
I'm not moving any tables.

"Well, I'll have to see with Geoff's schedule right now. It's a very busy time."
Frankly, I'm surprised at how smoothly the lie comes out.
He works at a golf course. There's still two feet of snow on the ground.
Peak season this is not.
She looks slightly hurt, so I add, hopefully, "But we'll see."
She brightens up immediately. "You don't need to bring anything. Just a pair of spandex pants to change into."

Oh God help me if I have to go to this thing.
God help all of us.