What the Chuck Were We Thinking?

When our beloved dog Daisy had to be put to sleep in December 2013, Mr. Maid and I were devastated. At only nine and a half (human) years old it was way too soon to say goodbye. She was equal parts sweet and snotty, and we loved her.

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This was Daisy. She was a good dog… most of the time.

Unlike a lot of dog owners, we didn’t rush right out to get another pet. We knew at some point we would, but it would take a long time to be emotionally ready. Would we get a puppy again? God, no. Why on earth would we want to go through that again? Don’t be absurd. We’re not insane. Next time, we’d get an older dog.

So, meet Chuck. Yes, he’s a puppy. And yes, we are apparently insane.

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Chucks glamour shot, shortly a week after bringing him home. (It helps to have a professional photographer in the family.) Seriously, how could I resist this face?

I blame this 100% on Mr. Maid. Unbeknownst to me, he had been looking at puppy porn behind my back. NO! Get your mind out of the gutter. That has nothing to do with puppies in compromising positions. No, his daughter was sending him pictures of the puppies available at the no-kill animal shelter where she works. Continue reading

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Baby of the Family Blues

Today is apparently National Siblings Day. In honor of that, here is a re-post from February 2017. 

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I am the youngest of three children. That’s right, I’m the “baby” as my mother would tell people well into my adult years. Stereotyped by older siblings as spoiled and immature, there are definitely perks to being the youngest. Our parents have been “broken in” by the first few kids. By the time we come along, they have seen it all and their energy has been diminished if not depleted entirely. This can be a good thing, especially if one of your older siblings had delinquent tendencies – you are allowed to skate by with moderately good behavior.

Before you get too envious of us, you should know that it is not all daisies and rainbows. On the contrary, the harassment we endured made us dream of having a baby brother or sister to take the brunt of the sibling tyranny, or better yet, the imagined paradise of only childhood.

Decades later, you can still see remnants of our trauma. Here are five ways that you can tell that someone is the youngest child.

  1. We flinch. A lot.
    My brother is nearly five years older than me, so he had a distinct physical advantage over me. I talked about some of his tormenting in this post. He specialized in Indian burns (sorry – still haven’t found the politically correct term for these), and grabbing my wrists to slap me with my own hands. Continue reading

I’ll Have the Paranoia Sandwich; Hold the Mayo

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Working from home, I don’t go out to lunch as often as I did when I was at an office every day. Staying in at lunchtime has been healthier for my wallet and my waistline. But every now and then I get a hankering for some fast food.

Such was the case yesterday. I started to crave a Jimmy John’s sandwich. Jimmy John’s isn’t my favorite place, but the stomach wants what the stomach wants. Several guacamole sightings last weekend had me thinking of the Beach Club sandwich. It has turkey, provolone cheese, guacamole, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo. That’s my go-to menu item: a number 12 on wheat bread, no mayo, but add Dijon mustard.

I decided that on Monday I would get one for lunch. My yoga class is on Monday night, so I don’t usually eat dinner, which allows me a guilt-free big lunch. A full stomach is not something you want when you’re bending and stretching yourself into a pretzel. I embarrass myself in class on a regular basis in a variety of ways. No need to add upchucking during pigeon pose to my repertoire. Continue reading

Dial “M” for Memories

I love my smartphone. I’m sure I’m not alone in that. We’re all addicted to the rectangular little monsters and all they can do for us. We do so much more on them than talk that it’s kind of odd that we still call them phones. They’re so far removed from the telephones of yesteryear, with features we only dreamed of. I wrote about my idea for one of those features here.

It wasn’t that long ago that cell phones didn’t exist. Home phones (what the whippersnappers call “land lines”) were a huge part of our everyday lives. Technology has come so far, and as much as I love most of it, I can’t help but be nostalgic for what no longer exists.

Gather ‘round children, and I’ll tell you about what it was like when this quinquagenarian was young and talking on the phone was all the rage. Continue reading

Here a Scam, There a Scam

Do you think the US prison system will allow me to continue posting on WordPress while I’m in the slammer? I sure hope so. My posting frequency is spotty enough without having to go on hiatus while I do my time. That’s right folks. I’m going to jail. The pokey. The hoosegow. I knew it was just a matter of time until the long arm of the law caught up with me.

Her is the voice message I received today, which I’ve transcribed verbatim:

“This is the IRS. We have just received a notification regarding your tax filings from the headquarters which will get expired in next 24 working hours. And once it get expired after that you will be taken under custody by the local cops as there are 4 serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment. We would request you to get back to us so that we can discuss about this case before taking any legal action against you. The number to reach us is XXX-XXX-XXXX.”

Oh good! I could use a change of scenery. I’ve always thought a prison sentence would be a good opportunity to catch up on my reading. Or work out enough to finally get those six-pack abs.

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Don’t worry; I’m joking. I don’t look good in orange. And if I’m going down, I’ll make sure it’s for something that makes for a better story than tax evasion.

I worked as an accountant for 30 years, the last 13 at a CPA’s office. I know that the IRS never, ever, ever, calls or emails about your tax filings. You will get a letter via snail mail. They will only call or email if you have a current inquiry open with them. If that’s the case, you will know the IRS agent in charge of your case.

As scams go, this call was a sloppy example. The language alone gives it away. “Taken under custody by the local cops…?” Whoever wrote this script should have watched a few more episodes of Law and Order. But not every attempt is so lame. While working at the CPA firm, we would get calls from distraught clients all the time. Scammers have gotten very good at sounding legit. Emails, in particular, get noticed. They often include realistic logos and enough personal information to get your attention.

Whenever I get these calls, my first reaction is to laugh.

My second reaction is anger and sadness because I know there are people out there who will take the bait. Vulnerable people who are afraid of the authorities – especially the IRS. Even to many law-abiding citizens, the IRS is the big bad wolf. They are the monster under the bed and the boogie man, all rolled into one, coming to take your hard-earned savings.

Wherever there is a fear, there is a scammer ready to capitalize on it.

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A few years before he died, my Dad got a call from a scammer posing as my nephew. He said he was in Florida for a bachelor party, got in a fight and was in jail. His friends had pooled their money to get another friend out but had left him high and dry. He begged my Dad not tell my brother (his own Dad.) He even explained his altered voice by claiming he had a broken nose and busted lip from the fight.

He had just enough personal data to make his story sound realistic. He obviously didn’t realize he’d contacted one of the world’s biggest skeptics. My Dad may have been old, but he was not stupid. He noted inconsistencies in the story and uncharacteristic behavior of his grandson but listened patiently. When asked if he would send money, my Dad said “Well of course! I’d love to help you out. Just tell me one thing. What was the place that your Dad and I took you and your brother camping when you turned 13.”

Click.

Way to go, Dad!

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Scammers have made untold millions from the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, even the savviest among us can fall victim to these creeps. Keep your wits about you. Warn elderly relatives about placing their trust in strangers on the phone or online.

Scams and cons have been around since the serpent offered some really juicy produce to Eve. It pays to be a skeptic.

Have you had a similar experience? Leave a comment. If the “local cops” don’t show up to throw me in the clink, I’ll respond.

So Many Blogs. So Little Time.

In my last post, I talked about distractions that keep me from blogging.

I follow a bunch of other bloggers. It takes up a good chunk of time to catch every post which keeps me from posting on my own blog. Also, the sheer talent out there gives my Inner Critic plenty of ammunition.

But I’ll continue to read them. When you read, comment, and engage with your fellow bloggers, you become part of a wonderful community. I think of them as pen pals for the modern age.

Here list of some of my favorites. Those of you lucky enough to be listed will reap the benefits of being read by my entire list of followers. That’s right – you could reach tens of readers! Congratulations! Continue reading

My Underdog Blog – or How to be Bad at Blogging

Ah, a new year. There’s nothing like it for charting progress and tallying up successes. In the blogging world, it’s the time many bloggers examine their stats and reflect upon how well they stuck to their publishing schedules.

Unless, of course, you are me. It’s no wonder my favorite childhood cartoon was Underdog.

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a blog! A BLOG??? (Only those of you of a certain age will get this reference!)

 

Oh, I looked at my stats all right. When it comes to posting on this blog, on a scale of “comatose” to “killing it,” I fall somewhere between “sloth” and “distracted toddler.” The most baffling thing to me is that I’ve actually gained some followers. And some of them aren’t bots, but actual real live humans! Crazy! Continue reading