Archive | October 2016

No Left Turn, No Left Turn, No Left Turn!

You know what really grinds my beans (for you car guys, it would be what really grinds my gears)?

Red-light runners. I believe Phoenix is still the red-light running capital of the country. I see it every day! And I tell people to never be the first or the last through the intersection. Twice, I have been directly behind a car that got hit by a red-light runner. From here on out, let’s refer to them as just runners…of the worst kind. With the last incident, both drivers were alright, probably due to side air bags. As witnesses, we were at the accident scene for a half hour. Guess what? During that time period, there were three more runners! Come on. Police cars with whirling lights, cars where they shouldn’t be, people milling about. And you still couldn’t pay attention and stop? Unbelievable.

Were you too busy texting? Too engrossed in your phone conversation? Checking e-mails? Was getting that fancy pansy latte coffee sooner more important? Quit being so self-centered. You could destroy or end the life of someone and their loved ones. Do you really want to live with that?

Driver lost control of vehicle well texting on cell phone Occupants in critical condition

Driver lost control of vehicle well texting on cell phone Occupants in critical condition

Distracted driving puts us all at great risk. And let’s talk about the aggravation of it. Drivers who remain stopped, when the light has been green for quite some time because they’re not done with a text. I’m terrified that someone will get rear-ended. One time, I saw this guy going the opposite direction on a four-lane street and then he just stopped right there to text. I see a stampeding herd of cars coming his way so start hammering on my horn to get his attention. I did, in the nick of time. Unbelievable.

woman driving on cell phone not paying attention and about to hit a man on a bicycle.

woman driving on cell phone not paying attention and about to hit a man on a bicycle.

What really prompted me to write on this particular topic was what happened today. I’m sitting at a red light on a road with three lanes going each way. I’m first in line in the very right lane. The light is still very much red when a car from the lane next to me, without slowing or stopping, proceeds to turn right, right in front of me. In this case, too many rights make a wrong. I was flabbergasted! Such an anomaly. And why? Unbelievable.

During traffic school (yours truly was in a left turn accident), the instructor informed the class that 70% of accidents happen within 200 feet of an intersection. Most of these crashes involve left turns. His words of advice: no left turn, no left turn, no left turn. Do whatever it takes to avoid this. Further advice: drive the freeways instead of city streets when you can. Much, much safer. He will go five miles out of his way to do this. He has investigated way too many fatal accidents.

To my surprise, the deadliest roads are rural. Is it the deer, moose or elk? No. It’s us. We tend to drive faster on rural roads. The lanes are much narrower leaving less room to recover from a driving error. We get aggravated, if not belligerent, with slow-moving cars and attempt to pass when we shouldn’t.  And of course, we’re texting & talking. With negligence, cars become weapons.

For forty years,  I never had an accident. And then bam! Two left-turn accidents within two years. Right turns are my new best friends.

Let’s bring back civility and respect in this country, starting on the roads. Pay attention. Be kind. Be respectful. Make it believable.

Close-up Of A Man Holding Cellphone With Message Notification While Driving Car

Close-up Of A Man Holding Cellphone With Message Notification While Driving Car

 

This Is Very Simple. Make Me An Offer.

Lily-Livered Lubbers

It all started in 1995. For the summer (even though it snowed on June 1st), we were lily-livered landlubbers (taking a break as live-a-boards on our sailboat in Florida) in Flagstaff, Arizona. 7600 feet altitude with mountains all around. After living at sea level for so long, I did experience altitude sickness initially.

Hubby and I were painting a house for my brother and sister-n-law when he spied this forlorn orphan great white whale of a car next door. He painted and panted after this car. When our day was done, we went next door. The owner was home.

The Adoption

scan-5-1“Is your 73 Buick for sale?” he asked.

Her immediate reply was, “Make me an offer.”

“Does it run?”

She said, “Make me an offer.”

“Can you tell me something about the car?”

“This is very simple. Make me an offer.”

“Ok, $50.00.”

scan-4-1“Fine, I’ll take it.” Then, she proceeded to tell him a little bit about the car. Her husband was an astronomer. He used to put his large telescope in the back seat of the car to study the stars. Flagstaff has preserved the night for astronomy since 1958 with lighting ordinances. Lowell Observatory is located there on pine-crested Mars Hill. Flagstaff became the world’s first International Dark-Sky City on October 24, 2001. Distant galaxies, constellations, the Milky Way, planets and whatever else shines above will delight your eyes. Now back to the story. Therefore, there was no back seat in the car. The rest of the interior was pretty shabby. The rear fender arches were in the early stages of cancer. But the rest of the body was nice. The paint was old but still on the car. Most promising was the convertible top.

The Makeover

Hubby asked if it had any hub caps. The owner was in the process of moving. She said she would look and then pulled out a loose-leaf notebook, looked up hub caps and stated that they’re in box number thirty-nine. We proceeded to the garage where she gave us the hub caps. The Buick did not run because it needed a distributor. He went to the local car parts store and purchased a brand-new distributor in stock (for a twenty-three-year-old car) for $89.00. More than the car costs. But wait…it gets better.

When we opened the trunk lid, there was a treasure of $11.50 in pennies. Therefore, the car only cost us $38.50! Hubby eagerly got the car running in no time. He then searched the town for similar Buicks and found yet another abandoned orphan Buick. But this one had a nice interior. The two orphans were united into one.

Tangles With The Tank

Then it was time to go back to being sailors. The Buick and our Chevy Beauville average white van (we also met a Vanna White van of Wheel of Fortune fame at a rest stop) were put on the market. Whichever car sold first would determine our fate for the cross-country road trip. The Buick Centurion became our new commander; we were the soldiers.

file-oct-02-10-00-45-amBeing avid windsurfers, we had hauled a mountain of boards, masts, and sails with us which would not fit in the Buick trunk. Mr. Resourceful got creative. He found what I’m sure was the first original pop-up camper trailer. It popped out too. We named it Pop Tart. And piled it high with gear.

At the beginning of August, we headed east with plans to attend hubby’s brother’s wedding in Cincinnati. The car’s air conditioning was cold as ice which made us and our two cats purr with happiness. Then disaster struck. Right at the New Mexico border, the car started overheating when the AC was on. We were doomed. No more AC. And getting hot and crabby. All four of us. Both cats were desperate to escape. We could not roll the windows down. Would you spend up to $2,400 for AC repair on a $38.50 car? And, who knows, would the car even make it? We decided to tough it out much to the chagrin of both cats. And they let us know. One of them tried her best to get adopted at a Shoney’s coffee shop. Thank goodness we found the escapee before she was successful. After that, she resorted to sitting on the dashboard, right in front of the driver, whenever she could. Her anger was apparent.

Danger In The Dark

Puma (17 Years) - Puma ConcolorDown the road, we set up camp in the middle of nowhere.  All was well. It was peaceful with the roar of a river nearby. The cats, afraid to explore, stayed right between us on the blanket with our sleeping bags. In the dark of the night, we hear this blood-curdling scream. A BIG cat scream. Hearts palpitating, adrenaline rushing, feet pounding the earth, we all rushed to the car. All were safe. The small cats liked us again. We did our best to sleep.

 The Clampetts Have Arrived

The next day, we arrived at a five-star hotel in Cincinnati for the wedding. I remember this like it was yesterday. All of us were exhausted, sweaty, and crabby again in this beat to shit car with a pop-up trailer in tow with all kinds of crap piled on top of it.  One of the cats had her face squished up against the window trying to get out as fast as she could. The concierge came out to greet us. I opened the door a bit, and all this trash fell out. The Beverly Hillbillies Clampetts have arrived! Totally embarrassing. I think the concierge was embarrassed too. He clearly stated that we would not fit in the hotel’s parking garage and directed us to street parking. How could I convince him that we were not white trash? After we had cleaned up for the wedding, I don’t think he recognized us. Thank goodness. And thank goodness for the family: they will love you no matter what you drive. A great time was had by all.

Flotsam And Jetsam

A few days later, we were at the end of our journey. As we pulled into Saint Augustine, Florida, both cats popped straight up. They smelled the salt air and knew they were home. They had this glory hallelujah look on their faces. We did too.

scan-4scan-5-2It was back to working on the boat. We had the steel hull built and then finished it out ourselves while living in the boatyard. We had an off-shore shipping container (looks like the trailer of a semi-truck) that served as our workshop, kitchen, and storage area while under construction. We used to sleep in the average white van until we had a berth ready onboard. There was a communal bathroom/shower for the boatyard. Some of our family and friends were quite shocked as to how we lived. We couldn’t have been happier.

Jabberwocky

Now despite the fact that storage space was severely limited, we still went out most weekends “garage-sailing” for entertainment. One sale after another. The rule was: we could not return home until the convertible was heaped high with stuff. We’d buy anything that maybe, just maybe,  could be useful to a friend or us. Or anyone in the boatyard. Or some guy walking down the street. Or maybe it just struck our fancy, like this industrial blue blob that was regurgitated from a plastic extrusion machine. It captured hubby’s heart. To him, it was artwork. To me, it was toxic waste. It didn’t matter. Sharing our loot was great fun! At least for us. The Buick served us well.

Get Your Beach On

parked cars on the beachscan-3-1The Buick Centurion was also useful as a  playpen for childish adults at the beach. We’d pile all our friends into it with the radio blaring the best of Motown and head for the beach. In Saint Augustine, you could drive on the silky, white sand beaches. The sand was so fine; it squeaked when you walked on it. Boogie boarding in the pounding surf, gobbling french fries and pounding down drinks at the beachside snack shack made for a perfect Slacker Snack Sunday. Never mind that we fried our bodies in the sun until we were candidates for a 911 call. Life was good. Except for the time I got a speeding ticket for going 21 mph on the beach. A sticky choke prevented compliance with the law of 15 mph. Tough enforcement on the playground.

It all came to an end in the Spring of 1996. The boat was finally ready to travel, and so were we. The beloved Buick was put up for adoption and found a very good home. And we sailed away. A happy ending for all!

scan-6-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loud Meow. Feed Me Now!

 

A cathouse…but not THAT kind of cathouse.

Three cats live in my house: Beajoulais (black, gray & white), Babbaluche (orange tabby) and Bogie (black tabby). Conversations abound.

I insulted Babbaluche today. I told him, “Your hairball looks like Donald Trump’s hair.” He didn’t respond. But he did give me a dirty look.

Me to Beajoulais: “Why did you just puke into your water bowl?”

Beajoulais: “Um…it’s time to change the water?” “Better than a “landmine” on the rug?”

img_0811Babbaluche was tapping me in the middle of the night. Sleepily, I said, “What do you want?”

He replied, “Scratch me to sleep.” Like I have a choice. He will keep tapping until I respond to his liking.

My sarcastic response was, “I’m here to serve you. Your wish is my command. 24/7. I know who the boss is here.” Then he licked me with that sandpaper tongue and I melted. Maybe I ,too, crave attention. Like a Kardashian. Was that a CAT*call?

Bogie cat*er*wauling down the hall in the middle of the night, “I’m so lonely.”

“Bogie” I called out. “Come on little guy.”

His response, “Here I am,” as he CAT*a*pults onto my chest with a thud.

Beajoulais has a bad habit of spraying in the same spots, over and over, to mark his territory. I spray a no-mark concoction, over and over, to no avail.

It’s our You spray, I spray game. Nobody wins. I told him, “Beajoulais, I’m gonna stick a cork in you!”

img_1467-1Beajoulais replied, “Land mines are in your future.”  CAT*a*clys*mic event that would be.

Now if that didn’t gross you out, try this: when you’re loving your cat up, they’re so into it that they forget to swallow and therefore, drool. We have three droolers saying, “I love this!” The toothless Babbaluche takes it further. He gums anything and everything in sight…including himself. We have one rule: no gumming the girls, a.k.a. ta tas.

We just replaced our sliding door with French doors. No big deal in our world. In their world, CAT*a*stroph*ic! All three of them asked, “What have you done to my life?” The original opening door was moved 2 feet to the right. It might as well have been 2 miles. All of them go to the original door site to be let out. Instead of the door, there is now a screen there. And there they wait, and wait, and wait to go out. It took three days of working with each one to re-program them. And we thought we were the creatures of habit!

Babbaluche gave me a scowling meow with a wrinkling of his nose. Interpretation: this food sucks. Finicky feline.

“Try this you little-spoiled varmint.” He asks for food dozens of times a day with a commanding meow. What’s a mother to do?

img_4950Two of the three cats go to bed with us every night. At about 8 p.m., Babbaluche will stare at me asking, “Isn’t it time to go to bed?”

I reply, “No Bob…not yet. I’m sorry.” And then he goes to bed and enters a CAT*a*tonic state. I fight for my space. Cats sleep more than any other mammal, up to sixteen hours a day. If you have more than one cat, you need a king size bed.

Beajoulais climbs into bed telling hubby, “Let’s snug and you can scratch my belly. I will purr you to sleep if you do.” And he does. Both are blissfully happy.

Quite often, these three are CAT*te*gorical in their demands. Cat*naps, food and attention are high on their list. All of them are love “sluts”. Beajoulais will stand on the computer keyboard facing you until his needs are met. Babbaluche will follow me around all day long, like a lost soul, looking for love. Even when I’m showering. I’m not going to describe his behavior with my underwear on the floor. It’s embarrassing! Bogie will give you this come hither look as he wiggles around, hoping I will brush him. After awhile, he ricocheted off the wall and is off to another adventure. He’s the incorrigible teenager. The best bumper sticker I ever saw was: I’m the mother of a teenager. Now I understand why some species eat their young.

img_4065Cats have no morals. They will sleep with anybody and kill anything. Thank goodness all my boys are fixed. I think they’re sweeter not having to think about sex all the time. Too bad we can’t neutralize the killing instinct. During a fancy dinner party, Bogie pranced up to the arcadia window directly in front of the dining table and proudly deposits a dead rat for all the guests to see. I don’t know what was more embarrassing: that it was a rat or that it was dead. Bogie sat there waiting for praise for this gift. He was disappointed. I was mortified.

Beajoulais displays Wild Kitty Kingdom the best. He will race down the hall, circle the entire living room like it is a Grand Prix motor race course and then he goes all-terrain climbing the mountains of kitty condos we have…eight to be exact. And then he might repeat the course. Cats can run up to thirty-one miles per hour. I know cats get bored easily. They ARE one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. And they may have pent-up energy. But sometimes, I wonder if there is something wrong with that cat.

The Huffington Post says that cat owners, a.k.a. cat people share a lot of the same personality traits as cats. Supposedly, we are introverted, smarter, more sensitive and more non-conformist. Forget counseling. I feel better about myself already!

You know what they say about cat people. We’re always gushing disgusting cutesy stuff about our furry felines. Well, guess what? Here’s your platform. I want to hear your stories. Maybe I will CAT*a*log them. Or let the cat out of the bag. It could be the CAT*a*lyst that we need. Let’s talk!

 

Peter Principle

 

Ya know what really grinds my beans? Let me tell you about my boss, Peter, who is a highly principled guy. So let’s just call him Peter Principle. Maybe he was your boss at one time too. Where do I start?

Where Is He?

He’s there but he isn’t. Not like he’s one sandwich short of a picnic. Not that kind of not there. He’s not invisible. But he should be as he has no effect. Peter never knows where his employees are or what they’re doing. There’s only three of us! His daily rant is, “Nothing ever gets done around here.” Curiously, he only says this to me, not to the “offenders”. Like:

Boss Ego“Doesn’t that bother you about John taking two and one-half hour lunches?”

I reply, “He’s my co-worker–what am I supposed to say?” Inside my seething brain, I’m really saying,”You’re the manager. Do something.” Is he testing my anger management skills? What does he expect? Peter might show up for work about 11 a.m., if not noon. He IS on time if HIS boss plans to be there. What an example to set. I wish he would say to me, “Why aren’t you working?” My reply would be, “I didn’t see you coming.”

No, No, No!

No leadership. No management plan. No direction to employees. No nothing. This is a bad boss problem. A dangerous world for us subordinates: landmines, disasters, punishment, second-guessing from what he says. Who’s responsibility is it to compensate? The boss or the subordinate? How do I manage my boss?

 Drama Queen

Peter Principle thrives on conflict and drama. That’s all he knows. I can only surmise that he is totally uncomfortable in this role as manager. Why else would he bitch me out about nothing day after day? The bellowing of the bull to show who’s boss. Maybe it’s due to his genes. He is part blow-hard, he-man, and —hole. The boss from hell. Let’s hope he goes back to where he came from. Will he fall on his own sword?

Dog Pile

Esquire magazine said the root cause of manager incompetence is that everyone in the organization keeps getting promoted until they reach their level of incompetence. Then they stop getting promoted. Given enough time, every position in the company will be occupied by someone who can’t do their job. Soon enough, the company will probably implode. Catastrophic failure. A dog pile of useless employees. On top will be Peter Principle.

Do you know Peter?