Sunday, January 30, 2005

Mission on Earth

Richard Bach said "Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't."

Think about it.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwiches

Men and housekeeping go together about as well as peanut butter and pickles.

Okay, so some of you are saying, "hey, I like peanut butter and pickle sandwiches." And, to that I say, "gross!" But, it proves my point that there are probably some men who like housekeeping too.

My husband isn't one of them. He'll be the first to admit it. After he tells you about all the other stuff he does around the house, like the yard, and the gutters, and the electrical repairs....well, you get the picture.

I agree, he's a lot of help when it comes to yard work and cleaning gutters, but when it comes to cooking and cleaning toilets, I'm on my own.

Which makes his grumbling about the other men in his office priceless. His exact words were, "If all guys act like the guys do at work then all men are f***ing worthless!"

I almost fell out of my chair laughing so hard. I hurried for pen and paper so I wouldn't miss the best single opportunity I would ever have to hear him disparage his "own kind."

My husband works in an all-male office. Very rare these days, but it's true. The Business Manager is female, but she isn't in the office full-time, preferring to work from home, so the six guys are on their own.

My husband complains that these guys won't do anything to clean up after themselves or each other unless it absolutely needs to be done. And that's only after they've let it go until howls of complaints fill the air.

According to my husband, they won't replace toilet paper or paper towels or even let anyone know when something has run out; like the toilet paper or paper towels!

My husband is a little spoiled in this area because at home I buy those two items in bulk. We are NEVER without a roll of toilet paper or paper towels. To me, these two are the "must have" items within reach at all times. Every bathroom in my house has a constant supply. I vigilantly track the inventory, always replenishing before supplies run out. To my husband we have a toilet paper fairy that magically replaces rolls after he uses them. But, all that fades in comparison to the time he spends at work.

He has to live in the real world at work. In their world, no one tracks inventory or replaces supplies before they are gone. They don't have wives or mommies to look after them. They're lucky if someone even mentions that they're out of TP.

However, I'm seeing a good side to this torture he endures every day. It's helping him to see how much responsibility there is in keeping a home running smoothly.

Last week, they ordered lunch into the office and had no supplies to eat with. My husband, ever diligent, went shopping for plastic ware and paper plates while everyone else sat in the office watching their food get cold and waiting.

My husband told me that he bought two sets of everything and kept one in his office in case they ever run out again. I asked him, "What does that teach anyone?"

He looked at me blankly and said, "Well, we'll have stuff when they think we've run out."

I chuckled and said slowly, "You're teaching them that you'll be there to provide for them so they don't have to worry about it."

Blank look.

"Just like I do for you."

Understanding dawned slowly on my dear husband's face. Although, he wasn't as amused as I.

With stubborn defiance, he said, "Well, I'll just keep the supplies for myself and when they run out I won't give them any."

I didn't say a word. I only murmured and nodded my head in a wifely kind of way. Inside I was thinking, "Oh sure, let me try that theory out here at home."

I wonder if he would be as supportive of that method of teaching if I used it by only washing my clothes and not his? Would he be standing in the closet, naked as the day he was born, nodding understandingly at the lesson he was just taught?

Yeah, right. And one day I'll enjoy a nice peanut butter and pickle sandwich.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Have things in life gotten too convenient? Has everything in our life become so convenient that it's a bother to even get in the car and drive to a store to purchase an item?

I needed a new shredder. I'm a shredder freak and I basically wore out my old one. So, did I find my keys, grab my purse, put my dog in his crate, get in the car, drive to Office Depot, walk the store, find the shredder, wrestle it into a cart, go through check out, wrestle the shredder into the car, drive back home, let my dog out of his crate, put my purse and keys away and set up my new shredder?


I got on my computer, logged into Office Depot, compared thirty different shredders, clicked on the one I wanted, entered my credit card information and verified my order.

Office Depot will deliver the shredder tomorrow. I didn't even have to pay delivery charges because my total was over $50.00.

Is that just over the top way too convenient?

Monday, January 24, 2005

Enough Time?

It was my 7th year wedding anniversary yesterday. My husband and I celebrated by exchanging anniversary cards and having dinner at Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa, FL. Dinner was fabulous as always and dessert was absolutely to die for. I had a chocolate cake confection that melted in my mouth and gave me a sugar high for several hours afterward.

I noticed a theme in the cards we exchanged. Both of us chose cards stating the desire to spend more time together. It's strange that we both felt compelled to express our needs in words yet we haven't spoken the desire outloud.

Most days it just seems that there's never really enough time for us to spend together. We have the demands of work and home and by the time those chores are done there's not enough time or energy to spend just for us. Is that what life is supposed to be all about?

It seems like our private time together goes by too quickly. If only we could find a way to add more hours to the day. Logically, that means cutting out some of the work and activities that we do now. Is that possible?

One of the things I love doing with my husband is talking. We started our relationship talking and I'm sure right up to the end, we'll be talking. If we could add more time in our life so that we could just talk, that would make me very happy. I love talking with my husband because he listens to me and he lets me have my own opinion. He doesn't tell me that my ideas or opinions are stupid or dumb either. We have wonderful debates about day to day issues as well as popular political topics.

So, do we already have enough time in our life? Do we need to learn how to manage it better? Rearrange our priorities? I think so. So, the dishes sit in the dishwasher for another day and some e-mails go unanswered for another 24 hours. Is it going to be all that bad? Will the world end? No, not hardly. But, I'll get to spend some extra time with my husband and that makes all the rest insignificant in my world.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Open Case Surgery

Nothing makes me queasier than watching my husband hover over my open computer with a screwdriver in hand. Just the thought of him removing the tiny screws from the casing gives me the willies.

Now, I’m not a faint-hearted female that drops at the sight of a needle or a bloody nose. I’ve given birth to three children and had my share of cuts, bumps, bruises, and trips to the emergency room. Heck, I can even watch real surgeries on the Health Network channel while eating dinner and I don’t bat an eye. But get me in view of my open computer and I go into a tizzy.

The words I dread the most haunt my nightmares. “I gotta open it up.” My heart pounds; my palms sweat. I can’t sit still. That one little statement can cause me to fret and fume for hours. My brain ceases to function. All I can think about is what could go wrong. Even undergoing surgery to remove suspected cancer tumors didn’t leave me as fearful as the horrible images I was envisioning during a simple network card swap out. Dread nestled deep into my bones. What if my beloved computer didn’t boot up again when I turned it back on? What if I lost important; unrecoverable story ideas? What if I lost my setup files? How would I remember all my favorite settings?

The first time I saw the insides of my baby I didn’t think it was going to be so bad. Shoot, I’ve opened other people’s computers up lots of times to replace a floppy drive, add hard drives, or swap out a network card. No big deal, right? Wrong. Not when it’s your own baby that is lying on its side, case off, cables drooping. There’s just something that wraps its gnarled claws around your heart and squeezes tight when it’s your own baby.

After several unhappy episodes, my husband has learned to give me fair warning when he needs to perform open-case surgery on my PC. We’ve learned the hard way that it’s just better if I don’t watch. I have to leave the room or else I’m a nervous wreck, worse than any expectant father pacing a too-short waiting room.

No matter how many times my husband reassured me, I still wouldn’t rest easy until I saw for myself. I’d hover anxiously over my husband’s shoulder peppering him with questions. “What are you doing?”

“I told you. I’m giving you more hard drive space.”

“Ok, but what are you doing?” I didn’t like the look of those pliers dear husband held in his hands.

“Sheesh. Will you get off my back?” He meant this literally.

I backed up a couple of steps, removing my death grip from his shoulders. “Why isn’t that cable connected?”

“What cable? Darn.” He dropped a screw.

“Don’t you need that?”

“Not right now, I don’t.”

“Want me to get it for you?” Eager to help my husband, I was already reaching in to pluck the little screw from the bottom of the case.

“No! Get back.” He pulled his hand out of the innards of my computer, a large flat box in his hand, dragging cables and wires like entrails.

“Oh.” I eyed the excised box. I didn’t feel so good. “Is that supposed to look like that?”

“What? It’s just a hard drive. Don’t lean on me, I need room.”

I backed up again. Spoilsport. I only wanted to see. “What did you do with my files?”

“What files?”

“What do you mean, ‘what files’?” Panic set in. “The files on that drive you just took out of the computer?”

“I moved them to another drive. Hey, don’t touch that.”

I had been stroking the brightly colored cable dangling from the inside of the case. I thought if I made contact, my baby would understand somehow that I was still there. “Um, what drive?” I peered into the empty cavity of the case trying to find the other hard drive.”

“Not in there. On the server.” He wedged his hip in between me and the table, trying to get back to work. “You mind?”

“Are you finished?” I was anxious to get my computer back together.

“No, I have to put the new drive in if you’ll let me.” My husband’s attempt at dry humor. I wasn’t amused.

“Alright. Here, do you need this?” I handed him a flathead screwdriver.

“Do you want to do this yourself?”

Uh oh. Threats. “When are you going to be done?”


I didn’t like the sound of that. “Depends on what?”

”Depends on if you leave me alone to finish the job.”

I took the not so subtle hint. I was relegated to the hallway outside the office. Under penalty of undisclosed torture I wasn’t allowed back into the office until my husband was finished.

I paced. I fretted. I offered encouraging words. To my computer.

I kept my distance but peered around the corner of the doorjamb as far as I could. I studied his hands, watching every movement. He reached for the case covering. “Are you done?” I called out.

“Just about.”

My feet did a little happy dance. “How much longer?” Already I was thinking about all the extra space I’d have with the bigger hard drive to save the hundreds of websites I know I’ll want to review some day, download more games –er, research material, and copy all those cool free animated graphics to add to my own website some day.

“A few minutes.” Now, if you know my husband, a ‘few minutes’ means anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Disappointed, I paced. And, I fretted. And I called out words of encouragement. To my computer.

Finally, I was allowed back into the office. Only after I promised to sit in my chair away from the desk and not touch anything.

I promised.

One screw, then another, then another went back in place at each little hole in the casing. I watched as dear husband searched from side to side. “What are you looking for?”

“Another screw.”

“Oh, was that the one that you dropped earlier?”

If looks could kill I’d probably be six feet under right now.

“Ummm, I mean, didn’t a screw jump out of your hand earlier?” Whew. I think I glossed over that snafu nicely.

After sending another nasty look my way, dear husband fumbled about; albeit unsuccessfully to retrieve the little screw from the depths of the computer. “I have some spares, I’ll fix it later.”

“What do you mean later?” I was shocked. How could he put my baby back together without all its screws?

He lifted the computer from the desk. The screw scraped ominously along the bottom as it rolled.

I opened my mouth.

“Don’t say a word.”

I shut my mouth.

I patted my computer. “Don’t worry,” I whispered to my baby. “Even I didn’t get put back together with all my parts when I had surgery.”

I looked up just in time to catch my husband rolling his eyes.

We’ve finally worked out a system when it comes to computer upgrades and repair. If I hear the words, “Are you going to need your computer today?” I go shopping. For a long time. And I call before I come home.

His job? To make sure all evidence is cleaned up before I get home. Oh, and that my computer still works.

The perfect arrangement.

My first blog

So, I've decided to see what the big deal was all about. Everywhere I turn, I'm seeing someone's Blog address and reading messages saying "come see my blog", so here I am. And yes, I'll now be one of those who post messages saying "please come read my blog." I'll have to figure out how to link my blog to my website so that it can be accessed from there. Let's hope my web skills are up to the task.

I don't intend to have any sort of structure to my blog, only that it be an open frame to post my thoughts on what inspires me and what moves me. I'll post my spiritual aspirations along with any thoughts I might have on current events, if I'm so moved to do so. Heck, I'll even post about my dog, Jack. He's such a character, he should probably have his own blog.

This Sunday is my 7 year anniversary. My husband and I are planning a wonderful dinner at Bern's in Tampa, FL. I just made the reservations for Sunday. Bern's is one of those places that really make a production out of the meal. Every course is served with serious dignity. While the meal isn't too extravagant, your waiter gives you time to eat your meal and extra time between courses to let your meal settle before the next course. Don't expect to be in and out in an hour or less. This is a true dining experience and as such takes a couple of hours or more if you include the kitchen and wine cellar tour. The entire place is dark and romantic, the various rooms, if dipped in gold, would be straight from Donald Trump's decorator. The best part of the entire restaurant is upstairs, in the dessert room. The dessert menu is bigger than a phone book and contains enough decadent descriptions of luscious treats to give you sugar shock while you read. Of course, you don't have to eat dinner at Bern's to visit the Dessert Room, you can make separate reservations just for dessert and a drink in one of their private dessert rooms equiped with a video monitor so you can see and hear the piano player as he plays in one of the larger rooms. Requests are always welcome.

After re-reading my blog, am I a walking advertisement for Bern's Steakhouse? Hardly. But I do enjoy the place, the food, and of course the desserts. It's definitely a special place, perfectly made for those special occasions. I'd recommend it to anyone who came to Tampa for a visit.

I guess, most of all, I'm looking forward to going out to dinner with my husband to a special place and having some alone time together.

Whether you enjoyed my first posting or not, I hope that you'll comment. I'd like my blog to be an open dialog between me and my readers.