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The BOMB

Welcome to the BOMB.



The Blog Of the "Mother" of Bandit.
Bandit is my Hairless Chinese Crested--he's the "normal" one. I, on the other hand, am unrepentantly "pet-crazy." You know the type--the spinster who lives in the haunted house three blocks over with 72 cats...okay, so I don't have 72 cats, and my house isn't haunted--but my dogs wardrobe is better than mine! Need I say more? :~)
I've never been consistant at journaling, so the timing of my blogs will be sporadic at best. I just hope they are as entertaining to you as they are to me; however, be forewarned: Most of my blogs will be about The BaldOne. In spite of his Don King "do," I think he's just as cute as any of the Brothers B!
Now, if I can just remember not to get him wet--or feed him after midnight...

About Me

My photo
My bags are packed and I'm always ready to seek out an adventure with Bandit and Moggy in tow. Bandit is my ten year old Chinese Crested, who I frequently call The Bald One or The BaldOne Boy (like he was one of the Baldwin Brothers). Moggy’s full name is Pip-Moggy. He’s my gansta-resuce kitty. I couldn’t decide between Pip (which are the spots on die and domino tiles) and Moggy (or Moggie when I mistakenly thought he was a she), so I combined the two. Moggy refers to the British term for "cat of unknown parentage .” So in essence, I have an almost bald dog, and I’ve named my cat “Spot.”

Fun Stuff (I'm doing now or have done)

  • Artistic Attempts weekly (alternating between Painting With A Twist, That Art Place, and Peniot's Palette).
  • Bunko with the Belton Bunko Babes monthly.
  • Participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge.
  • Spades and Liverpool Rummy with the Spadetts weekly.
  • The Mighty Texas Dog Walk, Austin (fund raiser for Service Dogs, Inc--they train shelter dogs to be Service Dogs, then give them free of charge to people with disabilities.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Some People Make Me Want to Screem! (Or Hang Up on Them)


So I had my windshield replaced while I was at work today. Pretty cool. Actually, it was replaced because of the cold—I had a pre-existing nick and the extreme weather change yesterday put a swirly crack all the way across the windshield. 

This morning, I called the Tax Accessor Office to see if I needed to do anything extra when I renew my tags (other than have the car inspected, hold on to the receipt, and  enter the information on line).  I had forgotten that this is the year I go to a one-sticker system.  So, trying to be an upstanding citizen (albeit a procrastinator), I called and the  woman on the other end of the phone actually tried to intimidate and bully me—doesn’t work. I don’t intimidate. And I fight bullies.

Power Tripping Government Employee:   “You know you can get a ticket for not having the tag displayed on your windshield.”

Angelic Me:  “It just cracked yesterday  and the first available repair was today.  I will have it inspected and entered into the computer tonight.”

PTGE:  “But you can still get a ticket because it will take a week for the tag to come in the mail.”

AM:   “I’m sure any police officer that stops me will see the receipts and cut me some slack.”

PTGE:  “Well they don’t have to!”

AM:   “Even if I had already had my vehicle inspected, it would not have the sticker today, because I’m getting the new windshield today. I’m sure they will not ticket me.  Especially since they will likely be focusing on actual criminals.”

PTGE:   “You can still get  a ticket!!!! It will be up to the discretion of the officer.”

Not-so Angelic Me:   “You know what, they give me a ticket and I’ll contest it in court. I cannot be expected to have a sticker on a windshield I don’t have yet.”   Thinking to myself:  You’re an idiot!  
Click.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Idiot? Or Not?



In Junior High School (7th -9th grades) I had a friend who fancied herself a linguist. She was always showing off a new language she was learning. I don't recall if she was ever fluent in anything; however, she taught me many phrases from some eclectic dialects. And from time to time I have occasion to remember her and one of her phrases.  My recent funeral trip was one such occasion when I recalled the Siamese phrase she taught me...


A couple of weekends ago, on a  Sunday we buried my cousin in Melissa (tiny town north of McKinney). Because it's a bit of a drive and I didn't want to be late, I decided to make a weekend of it and get a hotel in Seagoville, which is about a 45 minute drive away.  It's also the town where one of my paternal Aunts lives, so I thought I would be able to see her as well sometime during the weekend. That was the plan.


On the drive to Seagoville, I either ran over something in the road or hit a jarring pot hole.  A couple of months ago, when I turned too close to a culvert, I popped a tire and the sensor light came on immediately, and I learned an expensive lesson—blingy  tires are okay; however, they must be standard size—otherwise you will be purchasing a wrong-sized, over-priced  tire when it is the only thing available after hours on a weekend night.  


After the jarring jolt, I anxiously stared at my dahs console—the one with more gadgets and gauges than the cockpit of a Lear Jet. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration.  But the warning lights are pretty impressive—and very responsive—so when the warning light did not  immediately  come on  I thought I might have dodged the new tire bullet.


And then I noticed the light.


I don’t know how I missed it before, but there it was.  Next to the little car outline, in the passenger front position, there glowed a little orange light.  It's near the triangle emergency flasher. I was in the middle of nowhere. Again.  At the next exit  I turned off the interstate and drove into a small town with absolutely no night life.  And more importantly, no gas station or air compressor.  In fact, the only establishment open was a small country store akin to Sam Drucker's General Store in the town of Hooterville, on Petticoat Junction and Green Acres. I’m sure Sam Drucker would have had the odd sized tire my SUV requires, but this particular general store was nothing like Drucker’s.


I was told the closest air compressor would be in Italy.  So, I drove to Italy and found an automatic air compressor (it stops automatically when your tire pressure reaches 30 psi).  I added air and rechecked my sensor.  It was still on. However, there was a truck stop nearby and it was suggested that perhaps the mechanics there would be able to repair my tire if it was in fact repairable.  


Alas, their tools were all for semis, but even though it was after 6pm on a Saturday evening, the guy was awfully nice, and he aired up all four of my tires (he told me they were all running a little bit low and that the sensor light would come on if it was as little as 5 psi too low). He also told me about a tire chain that is supposed to be open at 7am even on Sunday. If I could just make it to the hotel then I could have my tire repaired or buy a new one before the funeral Sunday afternoon.


Then he told me a back roads “short cut”  close to where  my hotel was.  Before you gasp in disbelief—No, I did not tell a total stranger where I was heading. I said South East Dallas. And unbeknownst to him, he told me directions to one of the two exits that go to my Aunts house. My hotel was an exit or two away. While he was telling me about the shortcut, my vivid imagination was already thinking about all the things that could go wrong if I took his shortcut:  he could be setting me up; the shortcut was dim and back woods country—no mile markers to use if I needed to call for assistance; I could be stranded in a no phone service area;  he could be working in cahoots with a nefarious slave trade ring…the scenarios got darker with each tick of the clock. I thanked him sweetly, asked his name and he pointed to his jacket with the embroidered name of Alpha. I immediately thought of Jesus being called the Alpha and Omega (the Beginning and the End), but I would not let this sway me into believing he was one of the good guys: the jacket could be someone else’;  the name could be a made up plant to lure unsuspecting girls with a little knowledge of the Bible into trusting him… and again, the imagination got kind of wild.


Anyway, I ended up driving in the direction of the short-cut, fully intending to turn around once I was out of sight (so it would appear I was following his advice), and then turning around in another parking lot and getting back to  the relative safety of the interstate.  That was my intention.


However, I’m an idiot. I  ended up taking the short cut all the way. Even though I knew better. Even though I tell the idiots in scary movies to be smart, I was being dumb. I knew better. Yet here I was making the wrong choice. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot.


I watched my rear-view mirror like a hawk. No one was following me. I was starting to relax. Maybe he really was one of the good guys. Maybe he was my Guardian Angel. Maybe...


My thoughts turned dark again as I arrived at a very dark and secluded stretch of road. Nothing was in front of me except blackness. But there in the distance behind me were two sets of headlights.


They were gaining fast.


The sign said I was 12 miles from the nearest town. I sped up.  The cars behind me gained on me. I didn't want to drive too fast and stress the tire; however, I also didn't want to lollygag and get caught between a couple of semis. I sped up.


The next sign loomed ahead:   9 miles.  I sped up a little bit more. I didn't think I would make it before the cars  behind me caught up.  A third set of headlights appeared close in pursuit of the other two.


Cresting a hill I saw lights twinkling in the distance.  The sign said:  6 miles. there was hope. I might make it after all. But then a fourth car had joined in. And by now they were close enough I could tell they were not cars at all—but they were also not semis. They were the Cadillac of Texas:  a mixture of Dooley’s and  SUVs. That did not reassure me. They could, and would, out run my dinky little mid-size SUV. I floored it.


The next sign: 4 miles. 


But by a miracle, when I checked the rearview mirror I saw  all four trucks turn down a dirt side road!


I was once again alone. Was it a trap? The false security to lull me into letting down my guard?
I didn’t let up on the gas until I was in town. I’m lucky I did not get a speeding ticket. Actually, the police office on duty had someone else pulled over. I thanked the other driver as I coasted past.


I found the interstate and got back on. I’d take my chances with blowing a tire on the interstate.  After all, I had already proven the higher speeds weren't too much of a stressor on the tire.


I arrived at my hotel, and as I parked, I noticed the sensor light was off—then I remembered: some sensor lights  need to reset with a total “reboot” of the engine before they will go off. I had not turned off the engine. Maybe that was all I needed to do after I aired the tire. Maybe I really am an idiot!


The next morning when I took Bandit out to potty, I checked—the sensor light did not come on.
At least not until that afternoon when I started to make the 45 minute drive to the cemetery.
I just hoped Melissa was large enough to have a WalMart with a tire shop.


The light never went off. But the tire never read as if it were losing air. So I kept driving. Maybe the sensor light needed to be recalibrated post-jolt.


I stopped at the Dealership Monday after work to have them check it out.


I am an idiot—the car outline? Not a car. It is the outline of a lock. The orange light? Not a tire sensor—it's a light that comes on when the car doors are locked. Unless I manually lock the doors (which I usually don’t) they automatically lock when I reach a predetermined speed. In other words, the reason I didn’t always see the light didn’t have anything to do with the fact that the tire was low on air (at least not this particular sensor light)—it was merely reporting the locked status of the doors.


It was at this point that I had cause to remember my Junior High School friend who was interested in linguistics, and the  Siamese (now known as Thai) phrase she taught me syllable by syllable. I repeated the phrase over and over until I got it down pat. Then she taught me to say it faster and faster until it liltingly left my lips. The phrase was: “Ohhh—wha—tah—goo—si—ham.”  


I will leave it to you to decide….




Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My Charmed Life

A friend, I’ll call her Linda,  recently received a speeding ticket for doing 100 mph in an 80 mph speed zone, in a po-dunk west Texas town on Interstate 20. I know that interstate.  It’s hard not to get sucked into speeding there.  Even doing 80 mph, you will be the slowest driver on the highway. In fact,  everything on the road, including the tumbleweeds and free-range cattle,  will pass you as if you are a statue. I didn’t give Linda  too hard a time about the ticket; but, I did ask if she had to return to the little town and go before the Judge. She couldn’t recall—she had just paid the ticket and forgotten about it.  I thought 20 miles over the posted speed limit was an automatic date with the Judge. So I teased her about the possibility of needing me to  post her bail when they arrest her for failure to appear. 

Linda’s near brush with the Texas Judicial System got  me to thinking:  I need to be hyper defensive in my driving, because I’m living on borrowed time.  At risk of jinxing myself, I’ll tell  you I haven’t had a ticket or an accident in almost 4 years.

Both the ticket and the accident occurred on the same day, in two different towns, and my tags were expired 2 days past the unofficial grace period most police give you. It was not a very good day. I respect and admire the police; however, the less I see of them, the better I like it. Since I’ve been driving the speed limit (for the most part), I figure I’m probably due for a police visit.

I hope I haven’t  jinxed myself by thinking about the absence of police in my life.

Last night my mind was wandering a little as I drove home, I didn’t think I was speeding; however, when the blue flashers appeared in my rearview mirror, I couldn’t tell you what my actual speed was. To make matters worse, I was on the downside of a viaduct—a place I know is a favorite speed trap of the local police force.

Shielding my actions from view (I hoped) as I turned into a parking lot,  I snapped my seatbelt into place. It would not do to add a seat belt fine, to what I already feared  was going to be an epic ticket. Waiting for the Officer to approach my  window, I began the show of rummaging through my purse. I call it a show because I had realized earlier that I did not have possession of my wallet, money, credit and debit cards, or driver’s license and insurance card. They were all in my tote bag.  At work.  Luckily, I knew my tags were not expired—at least not until the end of this week.

So, in review:   I pulled over for an as yet to be announced reason (perhaps speeding, perhaps not); however, I was not wearing my seatbelt, and  I did not have my driver’s license,  or my insurance card. I was the poster child for moving violations. I felt it imperative to keep my mouth shut, speak only when spoken to, and then do so in the most respectful tone I could muster. Otherwise the need for a single phone call attached to bail money and an attorney might soon be required.

The Officer introduced himself and asked me where I was headed and where I had been. I told him I was coming from a small country community (it was easier than telling him where Linda actually lives), and I was on my way to WalMart to pick up some DDP for work. He asked me another question and had to repeat it four times because I could not understand what he was asking me!  The encounter reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode where the spoken words of others were replaced with progressively more gibberish words. We finally were able to communicate and the Office told me the reason he pulled me over was  “failure to maintain my lane.” I finally realized, he thought I was drunk!  I could hardly keep a straight face—and I hoped he would not ask me to walk the line, because with my neuropathy and balance problems, there is no way I would pass the test, even though I was not drunk. Tired?  Yes—I had been up since 2 am. Distracted?  Maybe—I had been mentally making my list so I could be in and out in under five. But drunk?  Nope.  I don’t play that game.

The Police Officer  was able to pull my information up using my work ID and he decided I was neither drunk nor crazy, or at least I was not a menace to myself or society. I am  actually an upstanding, employed, citizen with a valid driver’s license, and current insurance.  He let me off with a written warning. He never mentioned the seat belt, and I didn’t mention it. I asked if I needed to present proof of my license and insurance to the Court like I had another time I didn’t have my proper documents, he assured me I had to do nothing. Computers can be a good thing. Although their Big Brother aspect is kind of creepy. 

I decided I must have a guardian angel looking out for me—and she deserves a raise.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New Trick vs Old Memory

Before I left this evening I looked at the space heater and wondered how cold it was supposed to get tonight. I usually only leave it on for Bandit if it's freezing or below freezing. There are plenty of blankets and throws for him to snuggle under.  Besides, he's got a better wardrobe than I have (if he'd only keep his clothes on!). Moggy has hair that keeps him a little warmer.  He mostly snuggles on top of the covers, but on a couple of really cold nights he has made his way under the duvet. 

I thought I decided not to turn the heater on, so I was quite surprised to come home to a toasty house. Either I'm getting forgetful, or one of The Boys has learned a new trick. 

I'm  torn--Bandit would be the one who would benefit most; however, he's been my Roomie for about 8.5 years now, and although he's honked the car horn at me (three times) and rolls the windows down (every time the child locks are inadvertently turned off), and strips neked when I dress him (except in freezing and below freezing weather), he's never turned on any of the space heaters. At least I don't think he has. 

Moggy, on the other hand, has only lived with us a little over a year, and he's proved himself to be quite the clever prankster:  hiding and pouncing on all feet/paws as they approach and playing Houdini by escaping from the carrier, and the house, into the great outdoors.  And the heater has never come on before--except by my hand. At least I don't think it has. 

Speaking of hands, on the other-other hand, I am increasing in cake candles, so it is possible I actually turned it on and forgot.  That's scary. Although I qualify for certain discounts, I don't have that many cake candles!! 


At least I don't think I do. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Assimilation


In a recent Facebook post on a friends wall I spoke of the need for assimilation when coming to the USA from another country.  A third person stated there was no absolute right or American ideal and then commented that she wanted to know what I meant by assimilation since it is not cut and dried. This is how I responded: 

Assimilation is taking on qualities of another. It is becoming like them. I do not mean they should become our clones—every culture has a rich heritage that can enhance our own. We are after all a melting pot of cultures.  


To all aliens seeking refuge legally, I say "Come"—However, don't come to my country and then demand that I give you a better life than some of our own people have (work for it). Don't demand that I learn your language in order to communicate with you (learn the language accepted as ours). Don't attempt to impose your religious beliefs and practices on me—find ways to worship and honor your beliefs without infringing on my freedoms and rights to worship in the way I see fit. Keep your customs as long as they do not violate our laws. Share them with me, and if I find beauty, relevance, or value in them I may add them to my own belief system and customs—but don't try to force them on me, and don’t expect my beliefs and customs to conform to yours. Be a positive influence on my country rather than a blight on our society. Add flavor to my country—don't try to destroy it.


If you are unable, or unwilling, to assimilate in these ways, then get the heck out of my country!


For several years I worked in the English as  Second Language Ministry of my Church. I know for a fact that some of the students that I taught were illegals. I wish that were not the case. I wish they were all here legally. Many of them did come forward and seek legal status. I applaud that action. I write this, not to take glory for my "open-mindedness," I write it to say I want refuges to continue to come to the greatest country in the world!  Refuges are what have made this the greatest country. 

However, I take exception to the illegals that come and demand special treatment. I take exception to the refuges who think they should be handed the American Dream without any work or sacrifice on their part.  I take exception to countries who dump their criminals on us. I take exception to suicide bombers posing as refugees fleeing their homeland due to persecution. Again, I say: If you dream of a better life, come to the USA to work for it—but come legally. Come and assimilate. Bring the best of your customs and beliefs and add them to the melting pot, I may find use for them in my own life, but don’t expect me to assimilate to you.