Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Yes, Lady, Is Broken


I, like my mother, am a late and reluctant adopter of most new technology.  Larry recently reminded me that for the first few years of their existence, I insisted that I did not need a smart phone, my flip phone was fine: until the day my friend Alison was able to look up the seven deadly sins at a luncheon, and I realized that I NEEDED a tiny pocket computer.

My mother resisted the smart phone until last summer, when she had vertigo and couldn’t drive.  I pointed out that if she had a smart phone, she could get recent immigrants to come to her house and drive her places.  The vertigo blessedly passed, but she now uses Lyft to drive her anyplace that she fears might require parallel parking, a maneuver that she flatly refuses to perform.

A few years ago, Larry replaced the manual irrigation controls for our yard with some online thing that I refused to learn to use.  So recently, when I complained that I was being awakened at night by a sprinkler malfunction, he accompanied me to the side yard and began using his phone to turn on sprinklers.

One of the sprinkler zones had one dud sprinkler that didn’t pop up and sort of burbled.

“I don’t know,” I said, “I’m not sure that would wake me up.”

“Things sound louder at night,” Larry said, “I’m sure that’s it.”

I agreed to ask the gardener to fix it.  When he showed up a few days later, I realized that I was going to have to use the website controls to demonstrate the problem.

I said, “I think maybe one of these sprinklers is broken,” and started pushing buttons on my phone.

Suddenly a ten-foot geyser of water shot into the air from a zone that Larry and I had not tested.

The gardener and I both stood looking at it in awe for a moment, then he turned to me and said, in perfect seriousness, “Yes, lady, is broken.”

We admired it a little longer, and he said, “You turn it off now, and I fix it.”

I said, “I’m not sure I CAN turn it off, though” and it took me a solid minute or two to figure out how to make it stop.

He tinkered with it for a few minutes, then he looked at me very dubiously and said, “I think I fix it, can you turn on?”

After a few false starts, I did manage to turn it on, and he had, in fact, fixed it.

On the plus side: the sprinkler is fixed.  On the minus side: my gardener now thinks I’m a complete idiot. Or maybe he knew it all along.


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Last Christmas, I Gave You My Heart


Like many, I am somewhat dismayed that the Christmas season seems to begin earlier and earlier with every passing year.  Our local Safeway put up the Jack Daniels Christmas Gift Tower and a bunch of Christmas trees before Halloween this year!

There is one bright spot in this trend for my family.  Christmas movies!!  Hallmark and Lifetime have both already started showing a new Christmas movie every day.

Christmas movies are like the Bachelor franchise: either you think they are silly and fun, or you think they are stupid and pointless, and nothing I can say will change your mind.  But as for me and my house, we will serve snacks and watch them.  (To paraphrase Joshua 24:15)

Susan, Ellen, Amy and I unabashedly profess our love of Christmas movies.  Larry professes to think them stupid and pointless, but he moves his laptop from the study to the kitchen table with a view of the TV when we put one on.

Susan and I were very excited when we realized that in addition to the Christmas movies available on TV, there was actually one IN THEATERS - “Last Christmas” – AND it stars Henry Golding, so we had to go.

We packed up my capacious handbag with a full bottle of white wine and headed to a weeknight 10 pm show at the ICON Showplace up the road.  Perhaps not surprisingly, we had the entire theater to ourselves!

 








We took the best seats, poured our wine, and prepared to enjoy the show.  Which we did.  The twist caught us completely by surprise, and since we were alone, we were able to shriek "No Way!!!" without annoying any other patrons.

If you are planning to see this gem, watch out, spoiler ahead:  The entire movie is based on one line from a George Michael song: “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart.”

OK, signing off, I have to go read synopses of the available Christmas movies and record the ones with the most egregious plot points - Accidentally spending the holidays with the wrong family!  Falling in love with a prince while in disguise!  Saving the town by making wreaths!  (BTW those are all actual movies)

Sunday, November 17, 2019

My Terrible Teeth


I haven’t posted anything in a month because I was very busy feeling sorry for myself.  I had bad pain in two lower molars (due to the fracture and infection of old root-canaled teeth) which resulted in extractions and bone grafts which resulted in EVEN WORSE pain for a few weeks.

It’s better now.  I am, of course, missing two molars, which means I can only chew on one side of my mouth and it takes me an hour to eat a salad, but the pain is gone!  And I am able to pay for the whole procedure, for which I am extremely grateful.

But, oh my God, the pain after the surgery was brutal.  I guess a lot of nerves got severed, so even on the maximum dosage of pain medicine, I had shooting pains across my jaw.  And my sutured gums where my molars used to be were intensely uncomfortable.

For two weeks I was basically just existing until the pain and discomfort diminished.  The only things that soothed me were:

1.    Online shopping
2.    The Netflix series “The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes”
3.    The mystery novels of M.M. Kaye and Carola Dunn
4.    Draeger’s deli mashed potatoes

One night when the pain was especially bad, I examined all of the 573 sale items on the Coldwater Creek website.  A fun thing I discovered during my spate of online shopping was the number of “pajamas” that look like daytime clothes.  See if you can tell which of my current garments were originally marketed as sleepwear!

The Netflix series is fun to watch mostly because the two fifty-something hosts (a man and woman who are both married to other people) are clearly having A BLAST touring houses together.  Caroline and Piers, I wish I had a platonic friendship as strong as yours.

I first read the mystery novels of M.M. Kaye as a young woman.  I began reading them again because one of her novels is set in post-war Berlin (Death in Berlin) and I read it while doing research for my September trip.

The novels are extremely formulaic, which was just what I wanted while I was in pain.  They each feature an exotic location, an intrepid young woman, a mysterious death, and a rugged but honest confirmed bachelor who helps the young woman figure things out, while reluctantly falling in love with her.

The novels of Carola Dunn also feature an intrepid heroine, Daisy Dalrymple, who lives in London in the 1920s.  Daisy is an “honorable” who was raised on an English estate but who, for reasons that I cannot remember, now has to earn her living writing profiles of the landed gentry.

Every time Daisy ventures out to an estate, someone dies, so you’d think that after a while no one would invite her to stay? 

I <might> have lost weight during my weeks of pain, but I did not, mostly because early in my convalescence I discovered the Draeger’s Supermarket mashed potatoes.  They are magical mashed potatoes.  I went back for them so often that the deli guy would see me approach and just go stand by the mashed potatoes. 

The mashed potatoes soothed me during a rough time, but I realize I cannot keep eating them.  I am pretty sure that their deliciousness is due to their being at least half butter and cream by volume.

I went to see my oral surgeon this week and he told me that my gums look “beautiful”.  I was so pleased.  He also said, “You can have a glass of wine with dinner now!”  I said, “Dr. Lakha, that ship sailed weeks ago.”  He looked a little nonplussed.  But I think all the bourbon I swished over my gums fought off infection and helped me achieve my beautiful gums.