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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.)

Monday, May 30, 2016

My Left Palm Itched

In order to remember deadlines, pay certain bills,  or even attend fun stuff, I have to set alerts on my iPhone.  Before you even go there, this memory problem is not age-related. I’ve always been this way.  I’m not time cognizant. I have always lost track of time. In fact, I have to set two alarms for each activity.   The first alert is a “remember you have this” I set anywhere from 2 hours to 1 day before the event. The second alert is a “last chance reminder” I set 1-2 hours before the event. Knowing this about me, it will come as no shock that I remember very little  in the way of assignments or projects from graduate school—although, two of the more memorable do pop into my head from time to time, and have actually shaped what I believe. I say this because I went to school with  people who recalled entire tests—every essay question, and more disturbingly, all the multiple choice questions, with all the answer choices—in order of appearance! These students were sick, sick, sick, and they made me crazy.

I say all that to say, I actually remember an assignment from High School.  It was for a History Class during my Sophomore or Junior year. We were studying The Salem Witch Trails and were assigned a paper to write, by the time the list of approved topics got to me, the only  thing interesting was “Superstitions.”  So that’s what I researched and wrote about.  I have never been a superstitious person. Although I do avoid  stepping on cracks, since that involves Mama. And I don’t like working Psych Wards during a Full Moon. And I will not utter the Q word when a shift is without glitches. Well, okay, I might have an idiosyncrasy…or four. But other than that, I intentionally walk under ladders, love and allow free passage to black cats, and I don’t have a calm about re-opening my umbrella inside once I get to where I am going, so I can allow it to dry. Cracks, black cats, umbrellas, and ladders were pretty much the extent of my knowledge of superstitions until I researched and learned a lot of people have some strange superstitions.  And superstitions may in fact actually be based on past experiences or observations—even if they are faulty.

For example, Full Moons effect hospital admissions/ER visits,  and Labor and Delivery. It’s not so much that the moon is full as the gravitational pull of the moon. Even our tides are effected.

One of the superstitions I recall reading about is about itching palms. If the right palm itches, money is going out.  If the left palm itches, money is coming in. As it turns out, this superstition is true. Because every payday, my left palm itches. I’m most likely noticing it because having heard of this superstition, I am now more inclined to think about it either consciously or unconsciously. Therefore reinforcing its “validity” when it occurs.  When enough people “validate” an idea  it becomes “accepted” or  reliable. I personally subscribe to the notion that it’s a  form of self-fulfilling prophecy—it’s payday, I’ve heard my left palm should be itchy, and lo and behold—it is!  But to each his/her own.  The thing is, recently, on a non-payday day, my left palm began to itch.

I jokingly, if not longingly,  though perhaps my ship had come in—these 6-day work weeks are getting really old. How do people work this way for years?! Don’t say it—I know—they are usually a tad bit younger. I think I’ve surprised a few people who thought I wouldn’t last as long as I have.  So when my left palm started itching and it was neither payday nor my ship, I joked again and thought,  Maybe I won the lottery. Until I remembered, I didn’t play the lottery. No payday. No ship. No lottery. No long lost relative dying (thank you—I don’t like inheritances,  for the  simple reason:  somebody’s gotta die—besides, my family isn’t money rich—what they are rich in are a strong work ethic and pride of accomplishment). I checked my mailbox anyway. 

My Mortgage company had audited my account and found they had erroneously charged me a late fee and they were re-crediting my account a whole $19.99. Now, I ask you, why not be a full $20.00?  Who do they think they are kidding?  I know a $20 fee when I see one—even if they try to hide it by a penny. Then it hit me:  there’s probably a limit on the fee. Sly folk. Trying to Nickel and Dime me to death—but it’s all good, because my left palm itched and I’m getting it back. 

Having found the pseudo late fee, I thought that must have been why the incoming palm has itched. But my left palm was still itching. Then I opened up a letter from AT&T. 

It seems AT&T lost a Class Action suit I was unaware I was in. At first I thought it was another scam and started to toss the letter.  But the page was longer than it should be—and folded up. When I unfolded the page I found a check for a whopping $9.66  attached to the letter! Man-oh-man, I’m just rolling in the dough!  Not exactly an Erin Brockovich law suit settlement, but I’ll take it.

But more importantly:  my left palm was correct and it might make a believer out of me after all…unfortunately, it’s back to hard work for this girl, because my left palm is no longer itching…but my right palm is...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Memorial Day is not about the sales, long weekend, cookouts, or any number of ways we spend the time.  So for Memorial Day I wanted to post something more personal than simply forwarding a photo someone else took, or a post someone else wrote. I decided to write a poem.

Just a simple, rhyming poem of three or four stanzas. Nothing epic. Nothing sophisticated.  Nothing earth-shatteringly insightful...Just a simple poem expressing my gratitude to the men and women who have died in service to my country.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for those who currently serve (Armed Forces Day), and for those who have served, whether living or now deceased (Veterans Day).  But too often we forget those who died while serving us. Especially those who died in battle (war or "conflict"--it matters not what our leaders call it, many lives were lost to ensure the freedoms we frequently take for granted and seem content to give away).  Freedom comes to us at a great cost--the loss of lives--men and women with hopes and dreams of a bright future, leaving friends and family to mourn and carry on without them.

The human cost of our freedom is what Memorial Day is all about.

Writing something personal and heartfelt to convey my gratitude was the plan. But it seemed the harder I tried, the more elusive the words became. I put the poem  away for a while. Then I'd pick it up later--only to erase every word I had written in the last writing session.  And so it went. I lost hope I'd ever capture the words dancing just outside the reach of my fingertips.

Until I was driving to lunch today.

The first stanza popped unbidden into my head as I listened to the kids audio book I've been playing (Dragon Rider, by Cornelia Funke, and awesomely read by Brendan Fraser).

I turned off the CD player and repeated the stanza in an attempt to cement it in the ole noggin. As I exited the highway, the second stanza rolled off my tongue. This is the way I like to write:  effortlessly--the words seeking me. Unbidden. Some days it's this easy. Most days it's not.

Maybe it's easier today because I have a deadline. I do work well under pressure. Maybe it's easier because the subject is dear to my heart.  I love the poetry form, and the words are unpretentious and heartfelt. For whatever reason, it finally came to me. I'm posting today because I'll be working tomorrow.

Memorial Day 2016

Honoring the fallen
Who fought and died for me
That I might live my life
In a land that is still free.

They didn't even know my name,
For some I wasn't born.
Today I will remember
Their sacrifice, and mourn.

Sales and parties do abound
On this day that seems carefree
But I will quietly remember,
"Freedom is not free."



Saturday, May 28, 2016

I’m Not Too Old

Mama asked what I was up to these days.  I learned a long time ago to never volunteer information. I truthfully told her my 6-day work weeks were keeping me out of most trouble.  I didn’t mention I’ve only been doing them for a few months. Yes, I played the martyr.  I should be ashamed—but I’m not.  I just wanted a little sympathy. 

It backfired.

Mama proceeded to tell me, “You’re too  old to be working that much.”

That’s a first. Not that Mama told me I was too old for some activity—she’s told me that before—usually when it was something worthy of a young kid or unworthy of whatever my current age was.  It usually went something like this, “You’re too old to play with that doll.” Or “Only babies have pacifiers.” No, what was a first, was my Mama, the original work-horse, telling me I was “working too much.”  I learned my work ethic from her.

Fast forward to this week. I left work early (okay, it was to go to a hospital appointment for my iron transfusion—but that still counts as leaving  work early), and I drove to one of the back entrances to the hospital. I’ve gone this way a hundred times. This time, when I made the left-hand turn, I didn’t make it  to the far side of the median. Yep. I turned into the outgoing traffic lanes. And there was an oncoming car.  Luckily, she was way down the street, slowed for this yahoo making a turn into  traffic, and I U-ied before she arrived at the light. It could have been so much worse.

Since my infusion was in the afternoon and  takes a couple of hours to process, I plan for Friday afternoons and by the time I’m done, it’s time to go home. One Friday a month I know I will go home on time. Because I know I’ll be off home  on time, I make hair appointments for that afternoon. So, there I was in Tawni’s chair and she asked me about work. I told her I was still doing 6-day work weeks (she gave me the prerequisite sympathy—she received a good tip too),  and  I went on to tell her we have hired someone, she is training in Waco for a few weeks, then she’ll train in Temple for a few weeks, so my 6-day work weeks should be history in a month or so.  She said, “Hallelujah.” But what my ears heard was, “How old are ya?” So I promptly told her, “Fifty-six.”  Not all the steam rising from my head was from the warm water.  I silently fumed, I can still party ‘til the wee hours (after my nap), and I can roll in at 6am after driving all night, off-load the FurKids, and work a full day at the hospital (while chugging an entire 6-pack of DDP).  I’m not too old to work a little overtime!

 Awkward 3-second pause.

I thought that was a strange reaction. And I decided I really must color my sparkles.  Soon. I mix my own, because I’m not paying over $100 on my hair.  This was my second hair cut in only 2 months—and it felt like a splurge.  In the past, if I went to the salon more than once a year, the stylists would just about faint. Maybe one day, I’ll splurge on professional color, but for now I still color out of the box.

And then it hit me, she wasn’t asking me how old I am. She was responding to help on the way in the form of the new employee!  She had said, “Hallelujah.”  Well, I got the giggles. I could barely sputter out why I had divulged my age, and we had a good laugh.

When I turned 55 I started receiving monthly, if not weekly, coupons for hearing aids….

I am not old enough for that!

Friday, May 27, 2016

They Were Having Sex on Main Street

They were having sex on Main Street. In broad daylight.  Neked as jay birds--only they were not jays.  They weren't my Neked dog either. I wouldn't have had problems with seeing that--well, except I wouldn't want to see it happening in the middle of a busy street where they might get hurt. But here these two yahoos were. Neked and doing IT in the middle of a busy street. They had absolutely no qualms about it either. I figured they must be drunk or high.  Or exhibitionists.

Surely there was a reason for this over the top PDA.  I'm not a prude--I just think what goes on in your bedroom should stay in your bedroom.   I don't want to see others in The Act.  And I don't want to know about it. It's private--not a spectator sport. Let's keep it that way. There ought to be laws against this kind of crap--oh wait--there are laws against it.

I started to call the authorities, but realized they might not survive the wait--oblivious to the danger they were in, they edged ever closer to the passing traffic--luckily they were in a turn lane that no one was using. I say luckily--but maybe not, maybe they planned it because it was less used and therefore "safer."  Nah, they were just probably too dumb to think of safety issues. Either way, I was sure they would get hit before the police arrived, so I decided it was up to me to take matters into my own hands.

On a side note, this is one of the hallmarks of a cozy--the sleuth is an amateur, who for, what ever reason, feels she must take action. Think Angela Fletcher  from Murder She Wrote.  Sure that's just in books and movies, and the protagonist is usually trying to get themselves, a friend, or an innocent bystander cleared of murder charges, because they don't think the authorities can do it, and this was me, going to stop public sex on a busy street, and there has been no murder, but I trust you to understand where I'm coming from:  I felt compelled to take action.

I waited until the traffic cleared a little, then I pulled my SUV into the turn lane, parked, set my emergency flashers, and got out. With every step I took, I silently berated myself.  What are you thinking?!  You should have just called the authorities. If this couple is drunk or high they could hurt you. They could gang up on you, attack you in a substance induced rage, and throw you into the very traffic you are attempting to protect them from. Why in the world are you acting like the dumb bimbos in the teen horror flicks of your youth?! You knew enough to advise the TV actresses against stupid behaviors, so why are you now the idiot making a grave mistake?! 

As the other cars slowed and I neared the couple, they finally realized where they were, and the eminent danger they were in--presumably they felt I was the danger because they broke apart, and flew away to safety.  They may not have been Jays, but they were some kind of bird. Sadly, I originally thought one was injured or too young to fly and the other was attempting to get him to safety. It was only when they both took flight that I realized they were just mating. Since  I mistook sex for injury, I'm thinking I probably need to get out more.

True story.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Schlotzsky's Agelotzsky's

Did you know Schlotzsky's has a Senior Discount?  I've received it for the second time, from two different cashiers. Unasked. I'm kind of psyched.  

Schlotzsky's thinks I'm still in college! 

What?  It's not a college discount?  Surely they don't think I'm still...in High School?! They don't work for tips so they don't have to butter me up. But they don't need to stop either. I kind of like it. 

Oh. It's not a school-related discount? Well, I know AARP started pestering me when I turned 50. Actually, the first time I make a hotel reservation each year using my AARP rates, my savings pays for the annual dues, so everything I save thereafter is icing on the cake. I can forgive the pestering. At least it's not as bad as the hearing side offers that started coming in last year. 

But this wasn't an AARP discount I received. This was a Senior Discount, and each place offering a Senior Discount uses a different age. 

Hummm....receiving the Senior Discount could be good--if they have a really low age.   

Or, it could mean I need to "color my sparkles" as a friend says. 

I wasn't about to show my ignorance and ask them what their discount age was--so, to avoid embarrassing the cashier or myself, I Googled it. It was easy enough to find, but not to messy to read. 


Next stop:  Walgreens cosmetics section. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mistaken Identity

An emailer recently presumed to tell me who I am, what my job title is, and what my duties are—all without knowing to whom she was speaking.  Unfortunately she was wrong on all accounts except my name.  This is actually not that uncommon, as I have a very common name.

I was named after Mama, and Daddy was in the Air Force. In the military everything you do, everywhere you go, as dependents you are identified by your first name and your sponsors last name and last four Social Security digits.  People were always mixing me and Mama up. I can’t tell you the number of times I went to the Base Hospital and they pulled Mama’s chart—even when I would tell them my middle name.  Therefore, when I hired on at VA eighteen years ago, it did not phase me when they too had mistaken identity issues.  At that time there were at least eight Others in the VA system nationwide—(I say at least, because I was number nine)—they have probably multiplied by now.  One of The Other eight also worked here at my VA until her retirement about 8-10 years ago.  Prior to that, VA mixed up our Employee Health Records and Canteen Bill on a routine basis. When she retired, I thought that would be the last of it.  I don’t know what I thought would happen. I had a PollyAnna Moment.  They closed out my EPD (Employee Payroll Deduction) card.  Five years after she retired I still fielded the occasional telephone call for her. Since she's been retired about a decade now, I thought perhaps we were done with the mistake identity.  PollyAnnaPollyAnna, will you ever learn?!  Maybe not…. Although I thought I knew who I am after 56 years of living,  the emailer believed she knew me better and she proceeded to tell me about myself….

The original email talked about Travel Vouchers. The local Other worked with travel, but I don’t think she did anything with vouchers—so I’m really not sure why the emailer would have been sending it to her—unless she was working from a back log of over eight years ago.  I am in the habit of returning emails and telephone calls to inform the sender that they reached the wrong person, so they will not be expecting a response from me. I also tell them I am a Registered Nurse/Patient Care Coordinator at my VA—just to clarify. Most people thank me, then find the correct person. No problemo. Not this emailer .

I received a second email telling me I was in fact the correct person because "you are a travel voucher processor and per CGE you returned the voucher to the traveler."  As I read her email I could envision speaking to a child or not-so-bright adult, while shaking her finger in their face.

What I thought:
Sorry to bust your bubble toots but you are wrong on all counts. I don't do vouchers, haven't a clue what CGE is, and the only travelers I deal with are Bandit and Moggy.

However my employer frowns on less than professional interactions, so this this what I emailed:   "No. As I stated in my last email, I am the  Patient Care Coordinator on 2K. You have the wrong Mary Robinson."  I thought that was succinct (people say I tend to be a bit wordy) and easy to understand...

The third time she interrupted my exceedingly busy, more problem-prone than usual day, was not with an apology for the  mistake and the two follow up annoyances—where she in essence told me I wrong—and I am evidently unaware of who I am.  

Nooooooo,  her  email  said, "Sorry if you are not the person Mary Robinson."  

What?!  IF I'm not the person?!  Of course I'm the person. Of course my name is Mary Robinson. I'm just not the Mary Robinson you are seeking!! Are you a bot?!  (Sorry for the insult to bots all over the world.) Have you beenreading my responses to your emails?!

But again, I was unable to write any of those responses. In fact, I did not even respond.  Sometimes you just gotta pull a Frozen and let it go.  Interestingly, Elsa was someone in the process of finding her identity…

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Tickin'

I saw the flash fiction contest late last night and came up with the bones of a story but got sleepy before I could whittle it down to the 100-word limit.  So rather than waste the story I decided to toss it on the blog just as a  practice story.  The rules stated the following words had to be in the story (they can be part of larger words , but the letters must remain in order:  may, whee, play, brie and quick).  Since it didn't make it into the Flash Fiction Contest, I'm calling this my Slow Story Psuedo Submission.  The tittle is included in the word count and not needed for the submission, so I never title the submissions when I get them in on time. I'm calling it......

Tickin'

"Power Ball. Quick Pick," grunted the octogenarian placing a two dollar bill on the counter. 

"Hey Silas." The clerk sing-songed the salutation in two syllables as she checked the bill for authenticity. "I didn't think ya played." 

"Don't.  Feelin' lucky. First day of the rest of my life an all." Seeing Sally's blank look he tried again. "I'm like a Timex--I take a lickin'  an' keep on tickin.'"  Nada. "I got sprung from the hospital. Had my ticker battery replaced." 

Sally reacted, but not to his news, "Oo-whee, Mr. Silas!  It just shocked me. It's the winning ticket! See!"  

The static electricity jolted him as their hands brushed during the transaction. 

"Tell ya what Sally, if you just sold me the winning ticket, I'll send you on a vacation to anywhere you wanna go--where'll it be?" Folding the ticket in half, Silas tucked it into the chest pocket of his chambray shirt, double tapped the snap shut, and kissed his grease stained fingertips. 

Without hesitation Sally said, "I wanna take my Mama on an Alaskan Cruise."

"Alaska it is Sally." Reaching into his front jeans pocket he pulled out a five and said, "Danged heartburn, keeps coming back. Give me whatever anti acid you got."  

***
Just before the 10 o'clock news Silas sat down to eat his bedtime snack.  He poured  a bowl of Grapenuts cereal and added milk out of habit. His stomach remained acidic and he starred at it blankly. He pushed the unbeaten bowl aside when the live Lottery drawing filled the TV screen. Is it my imagination, or is the drawing more exciting tonight? 

"Five.....one...." the girls voice announcing the first two numbers broke into his musings. 

The gnawing burn intensified as he realized his first two numbers were May Day.  Five-one, isn't that what she just said? He fumbled with the snap in his pocket. One more and he'd win his ticket price back. Hurry up girl! I'm sweating like a pig! 

"Nineteen."  

Nope. But there's still three more numbers--wait--I need to get my eyes checked--there it is--nineteen.

"Fifty-six."  

Hot diggity!  Four numbers!  I'm winning something. Maybe a thousand. Just wish I could belch. He tried to force a belch but came up silent. 

"Thirty-three."  

Oh, man!  I can't breath. I've never had five numbers before! "Come on twenty-eight. Come on twenty-eight." 

"And the final number in tonight's 415-million dollar Power Ball drawing is...."

"Please be 28." Silas breathed with his eyes shut. 

"...twenty-eight!"

Mid-victory jig the pressure in his chest exploded like Fourth of July fireworks and the winning ticket fluttered to the floor. Sally and her Mama will have to wait on Alaska. "Wonder if I'm the briefest multimillionaire in the history of the lot..."