Thursday, January 31, 2008

So Who Will Pay That Water Bill?

Yesterday afternoon was shaping up to be an average day. That is until about 3:45 when I heard a kerthump. I figured it was the kid on the other side of the building. Our building is less than sound proof so I can frequently hear cabinet doors closing or the neighbor's upstairs bathroom toilet flush. I am used to hearing the kid run up and down the stairs. So I figured the noise was just another everyday happening. Maybe somebody moved some furniture? Then I hear frantic voices outside. Even Daisy looked toward the window.

Curious woman that I am, I went upstairs to take a look out of the upstairs window. Oh, boy! One of the electric company meter readers had run his truck into the water main behind the fire station. His right front wheel was up against the water pipe. Water was running madly all over the place. Why he was driving the truck around the yard is a mystery to me. This also just happened to be a day when the volunteer fire fighters were at the station. Ok, I figured this will be handled quickly. Oh no. For two hours the six fire guys and the four meter readers stood around taking pictures and calling people on their cell phones. That is two hours with water running all over the place. A tow truck drove by. The driver asked if he could help. They waved him off. Finally two cop cars show up. They stood around with the rest of the people for another hour. Meanwhile the water is still running. No-one seems to have any idea of how to turn the water off. The water valves are in a large metal vault behind the above ground pipe ends. Water is completely covering the yard and the vault holding the valves. Luckily there is a drainage ditch along the side of the road.

Finally they get a tow truck. In less than 5 minutes he was able to pull the truck out of harm's way. Great I think. Wrong. Water is still running everywhere. By now it is nearly 6:30. People are still wandering around trying to figure out how to turn off the water. Apparently they don't want to get their feet wet. By this time Jimmy had come home. He laughingly said maybe he should go over there and turn the water off for them. Nah, the water company can handle it. Right?

Around 7:00 the water company truck shows up with a generator and a pump. After another seemingly endless amount of time the water gets pumped out so that the water company guy can shut off the water. And of course, as a result we have no water. Finally the problem is solved. All this took about 4 hours and 15 people to fix this. I have to wonder what will happen to the electric company guy to created the problem. And why was he driving around in the grass anyway? Who will have to pay the water bill? I'm also a little disappointed that it took so many people so long to handle this problem. Talk about using time wisely? All those people standing around. Problem solving 101? I think they all failed that class.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rolling Stones Gather New Kids?

This is proof positive that bands never die. We have all seen the ancient Rolling Stones go on tour again and again. I remember seeing the Who reunited some years ago. They filled the Astrodome. The Eagles kept fans guessing for a long time before they re-united. Van Halen will be playing again. This time with Wolfgang Van Halen. Come on Valerie, did you really have to name him that?

Even Boyz II Men have been every where lately. I can't remember when I last saw them. Now word has leaked that New Kids on the Block are about to re-unite. New Kids? Well, they may have to change the band name to Middle Age Men on the Block. Some people are all atwitter. Well let's just say some women are. Even Elizabeth Hasselbeck on "The View" was excited on the show today. Oh, boy. I can remember when my kids were given tickets to a New Kids concert by their aunt. They were sooo excited. That was the one time I actually felt compassion for my sister-in-law who took them to the concert. Such fun.

So now that the rumors of an empending tour are racing through the media and the net who will be next? Will 98 degrees come back? They could call themselves 98 degrees and on medication. The Back Street Boys could finally find their way out of the back streets. I always thought they were a pretty good group. But, that's just me. I happen to like harmony. Will Justine and Joey get the urge. Some how I think N'Sync is just too far out of sync to get back together. But you never know.

Let's face it. The Rolling Stones still draw big crowds and huge money. In the looks department, ah well they never were the type to bring home to mother. Words fail me when trying to describe these old men jumping around the stage. Then again, they have been around forever. Can the New Kids or any of the "boy bands" hope to compete with the staying power of the Stones? Well at least I can understand the words... Wonder what my granddaughter would think about them? Now which Kid did my girls like??

Monday, January 28, 2008

It's That Time of Year

"Hello boys and girls, do you know what time it is?" No, it's not Howdy Doody time. Besides if you were not watching tv in the 50's you don't even know the show. So what time of year is it? Super Bowl week! Yes it is the Monday of Super Bowl week. The hype will go on and on until late Sunday when we are subjected to all sorts of sights and sounds ending with the big game. Too bad none of my teams are playing. The Texans are looking toward the draft for help for next year. And my other teams, well... The Packers tried. The Cowboys kept seeing Jessica. Hey Tony, pay attention. Oh well.

We did have a Super Bowl game here in Houston. Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. Most people who went to the game liked Reliant Stadium, especially the players. On the other hand, the only thing this game will be remembered for will forever be "Wardrobe Malfunction". Thanks Janet and Justin!!

So now we have a week of interviews and speculation by sportwriters. How many clips will we see regarding Tom Brady? Is he injured, will he play? My guess? No and Yes. Personally I don't think he is hurt. Hey Giants, don't pay attention to the injury reports! How many times will Eli Manning and Tom Brady be asked the same dumb questions? Just imagine all that press following every movement and every word. Gotta fill all that tv time and newspaper space.

Finally Sunday will get here and things will begin in earnest. First there will be all the pre,pre,pregame festivities. That is to give you enough time to make sure you have enough snacks and drinks on hand.Then later in the afternoon you will have a chance to run out and restock all the stuff you finished off. Then there is the pre-game in which there will be dancers and singers who used to be popular killing time until the National Anthem. This will then be sung by a singer who will give new meaning to the word "butcher". Just sing it! I hate those vocal acrobatics some singers do. Frances Scott Key would surely have his ears covered, not to mention twist in his grave.

Finally the game will begin. And of course we can not forget those expensive commercials. In the past some of the commercials have been more entertaining than the game. We must also not forget to run to the bathroom at just the right time. Can't miss a play of the game. Or overload the sewer systems. I seem to remember a time when someone sent a bunch of kids to all the stadium restrooms to flush all the toilets at once. Testing anyone? At the end of the first half will be the much hyped half time "spectacular". Will Tom Petty make it grand? Will it be worth it? For that matter will the game be worth it?

Eventually after seemingly endless hours surrounding the Superbowl, a winner will be crowned, the trophy will be held up, probably by the winning quarterback and then all that paper will begin to rain down. What a mess. Will the Patriots have prevailed and gone on to a perfect season or will the Giants ruin the Patriots party? Will Eli finally get out of Peyton's shadow? I don't know. Me. I'm already looking forward to the Astros spring training. Just a few more weeks...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hot Chocolate That Heats Itself

It was cold and rainy last night so we decided to try a new hot chocolate. It was in a can which heats itself. I had seen this technology featured in a story about canning on the History Channel. The can has the liquid, coffee, tea, soup, or chocolate, in a chamber and beneath this is another chamber with water and quicklime also known as calcium oxide. The outer cover of the can has a cover which is easy to hold even when the drink gets hot. Heating the container is simple. Turn the can upside down. Pull off the tamper proof foil bottom and push the button in. The directions are easy to follow and within 5 to 8 minutes the drink is hot. When the bottom cover is pulled off and the button pushed this allows water to run into a chamber with quicklime (calcium oxide). I was lousy in chemistry but water and calcium oxide combine into calcium hydroxide which heats the container.

When I saw this on the History Channel, I wondered if we could find this in any of the stores. The company producing these drinks is Hillside. I was suprised when we found a selection in WalMart. Now of course the way WalMart does things I won't be able to find it again. Since it comes in drinks and soup it is something that could be used anywhere. Jimmy and I stood in the kitchen last night watching the hot chocolate can just like two little kids. There is a pink dot on the side which turns white when the container is at the right temperature. I was really surprised to discover that the hot chocolate was very good. So far the company has four styles of coffee, two cocoas, two teas and two soups. The only problem, to me, is that it is a little pricey at nearly $3 each. I saw on the OnTech website that 12 packs of these are $34.99.

On the whole, I was impressed with the drink and the technology of the self heating cans. I understand that there are ways to self cool cans too. It seems to be a good idea. The FDA has deemed it safe. So the door is now open and I wonder what is next.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cold Cereal for Breakfast Anyone?

As I stumble down the stairs for breakfast I get the bowl out of the cabinet and the milk out of the fridge. Then I get the cereal out of the freezer. Huh? What? Who puts a box of cereal in the freezer? I confess, I did. I blame to grocery sacker. Who else am I going to blame? When we went to the grocery store the other day the sacker put a bunch of the frozen items in one bag. When we got home I was in a hurry to get the stuff put away. Daisy was upstairs in our bedroom. I always put her in there when we go grocery shopping.This makes it easier cause she won't be underfoot as we bring in the groceries, nor will she be able to sneak out the door. Lady is too lazy but given the chance Daisy would bolt out the door and down the street. So as I started putting the groceries away, I checked each bag. Can goods were in one bag, Milk in another. Other things were in a bag for the refrigerator. Most of the time the bags are fairly well organized. But this time I guess the sacker thought one bag could hold another item. So he put the box of cereal in with the frozen dinners and other stuff that go in the freezer. So, I glanced into the bag and saw the frozen stuff. Without even thinking, I just dumped the bag in the freezer. I ran upstairs, got Daisy and took her outside. Then I got supper ready. Finally everything was done. We ate and later I washed the dishes. It was not until two days later when I went to get something out of the freezer did I realize that there was a box of cereal in the freezer. I guess it could have been worse. I could have put a frozen pizza in the pantry. As I took the cereal box out of the freezer, Jimmy asked why I had put it in the freezer. I had no logical answer. It does give new meaning to the phrase "cold cereal for breakfast". Now let's see, where did I put the laundry detergent?

Friday, January 18, 2008

How Well Do You Know Your Pet?

I saw an old clip of comedian Jonathan Winters the other day. I always loved his skits. In this clip he asked "do you take your clothes off in front of your dog?" While this seems to be a funny question, think about it. Do you? I have had both cats and dogs at one time or another. The cats I have had always seemed to tolerate us being in their world. My dogs, on the other hand, always wanted to be right in the middle of everything. So I thought about it. What do our dogs think about us naked. Do they notice that we have put on weight? "Hey, pop, you'r getting a little tubby around the middle". Or, "Put some clothes on, will ya!"

Most of us pay attention to the obvious comments our pets make. Let's see, I have heard the slap of the food dish as it went sailing across the room with no food in it. I have been chastised by Lady and Daisy for not moving fast enough to tend to their whims. Sometimes I think Daisy would like to be a fashion critic. "You're wearing that again?" "Hurry up, I've got things to do!" Lady likes to sleep in the bed right next to my husband. Not just curled up. Oh no, she had to lie in the bed on her back as if she were human. If we give her a funny look, she looks to us as if we are the crazy ones. But now I will have to watch the dogs a little closer. They do seem to have opinions on things we do here. Do they really have to watch me brush my teeth? Maybe I should just ask their opinions. After all they watch everything. "Either of you girls need a blanket?" "What do you mean you want me to move over?"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wait for the Beep

Aren't answering machines fun? We have a land line at our house mainly for use of the internet. Our downstairs phone is on the computer desk. The other phone is a desk phone with a fax and answering machine. Rarely does anyone call here. My daughter does occasionally. Most of the calls we get are hang ups or people looking for my stepdaughter who used to live here. I quit answering the phones because when I would tell the caller that she was either not here or no longer lived here they still called.

We also are on the no call list so we really don't get many useless calls. But it does not stop calls from companies with whom there is a relationship like the cable company, electric company, banks, etc. So it is not surprising that Amanda still gets a lot of calls. She gets a lot of calls about her bills or her bank. You would think these guys would get the message. But, most of them are automated calls. That is what makes the calls so funny. One day the answering machine had a message from a collection agency. As the message ended it said something like, "this has been a message from a professional debt collection agency. Thank you and have a nice day." For some reason the idea of a collection agency saying thank you and have a nice day struck me funny. It did seem to be a bit ironic too. Then again it was a recorded call , not a live person.

Then there are the other messages that leave me perplexed. I guess these are recorded too. They never seem to start the message after the tone. I wonder what " call and get the lowest rates now, before they go up" was about? The message started somewhere in the middle. I never heard the first part. Oh well, DELETE, click. Then there are the calls that want a response. Yeah well, don't expect one. Three numbers don't make a telephone number. I really love those. Who are you and why are you calling? Ever wonder why we don't call back?

This is why I have a love/hate relationship with my answering machine. My daughter hates it and yells into the phone Mom, Mom until I finally answer the phone. I still can't figure out why when she calls I run upstairs to answer the phone. I guess I go to all the extra trouble to run upstairs because I want to make sure I delete what was on the answering machine. The downstairs phone doesn't have caller ID, so I don't usually answer on that phone. That is probably why Annie yells at me. Is she trying to make me get enough exercise by running up the stairs? I have been known to run up the stairs to see who was calling only to have them hang up before I get there. Then of course there are so silly ones which never seem to come out as a whole message. I don't know who they are cause they never seem to get the whole message out. I can't call a partial number. Ha, ha. Like I would really go to that trouble. I could print out the journal of calls. But why bother? I have nothing to say to them anyway. Too bad technology has not figured out how to make an automated calling system leave a whole message. They never seem to listen to the instructions which tell a caller to wait for the beep. Ha! Let's see, think I'll delete them all! Should have waited for the beep.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Good Thing I Don't Bet on Football

I was interested in watching the football games this weekend. But Saturday we went store browzing. It is rare to get Jimmy out of the house on week-ends so I gave up the afternoon game. We did get back in time to watch some of the late game. I had my ideas of which teams would win. Well the Packers won. I was glad, although I do like the Seahawks. But I figured the Packers would win. I also thought the Patriots would win. No brainers, right? Hey, I'm on a roll here. Not so fast oh little Texan fan...

We sat down Sunday to watch the other games. I figured Peyton Manning would lead the Colts to victory. Cough, cough. What happened here? Maybe it was a good thing that Jimmy kept changing the channel to movies. "Bad Company" was better than the game. I was irritated every time he flipped the channel. Maybe he knew something I didn't. We did see the last few minutes of the game. I thought the colts would pull out the win. I held a secret desire to have a Manning vs Manning Superbowl. But I was also hoping the Cowboys and Romo could put the distractions behind them and grab a win. I had been a Cowboys fan ever since one of the guys I went to high school with played safety for them in the 70's. Alas neither choice was to be. Well, at least the Manning boys' mother won't have to fret over them playing against each other. On the other hand did the New York Post hurt the Cowboys by planting a fake Jessica Simpson in the stands? So now Eli has to get tickets for Peyton. That is a twist.

So now the Chargers will play the Patriots and the Giants will play the Packers. Let's see. The Chargers have a good chance against the Patriots. And yet again a Manning will go for a title chance. Just not the Manning most people thought it would be. Will the Patriots go all the way to an undefeated season? Or will the ultimate upset occur ? All I know is that I am not an odds maker and I am very glad I did not have money on the games this weekend. I give up. But stranger things have happened. Only time will tell.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

In My Next Life

Sitting in my chair surrounded by my two dogs, I came to a conclusion. If there is re-incarnation I want to come back as my dog(s). What a life. They get good food. Well, I guess it is good since they like it. They sleep in a nice warm kingsize bed. Most of all they have their people well trained. When they want to play, they pile the toys in front of me. When they do a good job, they know they will get a special treat. Yeah, stop bumping the back of my leg, Daisy! Daisy always lets me know when I don't give her a treat fast enough.

Daisy follows me everywhere. If I go to the kitchen, she's there. If I go to the bathroom, she is there knocking on the door. If I go to the bedroom for any length of time, she jumps on the bed to wait patiently for me to do something. Lady, on the other hand, doesn't follow me every where, just to my chair. The minute I sit down in the morning with a cup of coffee, there she is sitting up waiting to get into the chair beside me. Since she is ten years old, she need a little help getting in the chair. Then she worms her way into position so she can gaze at me with those big brown eyes. Yeah, I get suckered a lot! Daisy doesn't bother to beg for a spot. She just jumps on the arm of the chair and then pushes her way onto my lap. Sometimes I think Daisy tries to keep me from moving when she lays across my lap.

Yes, it is nice to be a dog in my house. They want for nothing. They give and get affection. They don't ask for money or to borrow the car. They are always happy to see me. How come my kids weren't that nice? Lady and Daisy have a great life. No wants, no worries. Well, occasionally they get in a hurry to go outside. They know what they have. Sometimes I wish I led their lives. Hey, my water dish is empty. Where is my food. Poof, it appears! Chilly, hop on the bed and dig under the covers. The only contest is who will get in my lap first.

Not all dogs are as lucky as they are. That is why I have often said I would like to be re-incarnated as my dog and live like they do. There are times when I have even thought having dogs was better than having kids. Yeah, think I will come back as a pampered pooch. Now if I can just find the right patsy, I mean human.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


The candidates are polishing up the rhetoric and talking and talking and talking. Yawn. Just think we only have ten more months of this. Of course at some point the field will be narrowed to two and there will then be a sprint to the finish. Who will win the White House? At this point it is still a question. There are a lot of primaries to go and a lot of speeches still to be made. The one word that all of those running for the office of President of the United States is "change". Change? Even some news reports have caught on to this question. It seems like every one running for any office uses, or over uses the word. Watch MSNBC, Fox or CNN. What do we see? The word "change" is flowing like a river. Everyone says they plan to change the course of the country. They all want changes in government. Obviously, there will be change for the Republicans. Mr. Bush can't run again. Now the Republicans have to decide who will be the new standard of the party. Let's see, we had eight years of the elder George and eight years of the younger. Jeb is not available. So who do they choose? That will be a change, no Bush. Now what?

The Democrats are calling for change. At least that is the one word they use over and over. Clinton, Obama, Edwards and everybody else running keep telling us they want change for the country. I wonder if some people may be wary of Mrs. Clinton because of Bill. Some may feel that would not be a real change cause he would be "advising" Hillary. Yet Democrats keep saying they want change but isn't that what they tried recently? Gee. I thought that is what Nancy and all her pals wanted to do when they took control of the House. Right? What happend to all the changes they were going to make? They were not going to rubberstamp whatever Mr. Bush wanted. Yeah, they changed a lot. Now let me see, what were those promises they made? The Democrats promised change. They apparently forgot the old adage "the more things change, the more they stay the same". Did they change anything? Uh...

At this point I wonder if there will be any real change. Our country has some real problems. We need someone with courage and determination. Just saying we need a change won't mean anything. Tears won't mean anything. Hoarseness from speaking won't mean anything. Shaking hands won't mean anything. We live in a country that used to be admired and feared. We have a country like no other, a model of democracy. We must change. We must change for the better. Politicians can talk about change and how they want to make this country better. But talk is one thing, action is another. Ultimately, in November, we will have to make the choice. We will be able to choose the leaders of our government. Who we choose to represent us could change the course of History. Then again, we have hoped for change before. We have even voted for change. Will we see any? I guess that will depend on a person's point of view. Think I'll change the tv channel. Wonder what movie is on TMC. Probably one I have seen before, kind of like the politicians.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Should Have Sent It By Snail Mail

Love conquers all , but not for politicians. Houston Republicans are all up in arms over the love life of the District Attorney. Chuck Rosenthal was elected District Attorney in 2001. Prior to his election he had been Assistant DA for 30 years. He had planned to run for re-election, but his e-mail love notes got in the way. Several tv stations got hold of them and posted them on their websites. When the Republican Party found out they asked him not to run. At first he refused to drop out of the race. The Republicans quickly gathered together to try to find a viable candidate to replace him in the upcoming election. Finally Rosenthal decided not to run for re-election and resigned as Harris County District Attorney.

Now the question is why did a seemingly smart man use the Harris County computer system to send romantic e-mails to his executive assistant? Maybe since he is married he did not want his wife to know so he did not use his personal computer? Most companies frown on employees using business computers for personal use. Of course employees do it anyway. But sending love notes to the person with whom an employee is having an affair? Bad idea! When in doubt don't leave a trace on the company computer. That is just dumb. I worked in a hospital where an ER employee got into hot water for using the business office computers to play games while he was on duty. At least this guy was not the local DA.

Guess this should be a lesson. Employees should not use company computers for sending love notes. At least they should delete them before the bosses see them. And by all means politicians need to be more careful with their private trysts. Just ask Bill Clinton. So a 30 year career as an assistant and 6 years as an elected District Attoney ended. Maybe if the e-mails had not been discovered, he would still be a candidate? Should have used snail-mail. Maybe he should have texted her on his personal cell phone? Tisk,tisk.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Is It New Year Yet?

I hope everyone had fun during all the New Year's stuff. Hopefully we will all have a better 2008. I am still trying to remember where the week-end went. Jimmy had an extra day off since they did not work Monday. My daughter, Annie and her family came down to visit. They were going to come in on Friday but that would have put them here around midnight so they decided to go to Waco and spend the night with my other daughter, Traci and her family. So we expected Annie to come in around early afternoon. Yeah, that worked out well. They did not get here until 11:00pm on Saturday. So much for not having to wait up for them. We enjoyed seeing them again. The boys have grown a lot. The boys loved the aquarium. Ever watch a five year old boy lick the glass of an aquarium? I have yet to figurre out why he did that. They did have fun feeding the fish. Wonder if the fish did? I had forgotten how much energy five and three year old boys have. I also had forgotten how loud little boys are. They did actually manage to tire out Daisy. They chased her around and around the living room. That was one pooped dog!

On New Year's Eve Annie and Jason went to Amanda's for a party. Jimmy and I, on the other hand, struggled to stay awake long enough to see the New Year in. As we watched tv we also watched the clock. When the clock hit nine, we groaned that we had three more hours to wait. I guess for the people having parties time flew by, but not for us. All we could think about was going to bed. Sleep was more important.

I was quite proud of Daisy this year. She did not freak out nearly as much as she did the last couple of years during the fireworks. She only barked a few times. But neither she nor Lady wanted to go out to do their business with all the noise. They looked at me as if to say that they would rather wait to finish in the morning. I can't really blame them.

After they got on the road late yesterday afternoon, we relaxed in the quite of the empty house. Even the dogs quietly relaxed. It took a lot of energy to chase those boys around. Then came the nasty realization. The holidays are over. Jimmy wondered where the time to relax went. All those days off came to an end. It almost felt like we missed it all. It is New Year's, right? 2008?