Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Take this cheese and move it

"Somebody moved my cheese." Ranks right up there with "is the glass half empty or half full ?" in terms of modern trite, overused cliches. But they both offer great possibilities for smart-ass elaborations. My "glass" imagery has overflowed, so now I turn my scorn to the cheese.

"Somebody moved my cheese." I can identify with the frustration over mobile goals. But in my kingdom, it's not always just the goal that moves. After a little (too much) thought , I found this one phrase could apply to oh, so many situations. A change in emphasis makes all the difference.

"Somebody moved my cheese." Meaning: I put it right here so I could start work on it right away. Now, 15 emergencies later, I'm here and it's gone. When I find out who moved it, there's gonna be hell to pay. Unless I didn't put it here, in which case, uh, never mind.

"Somebody moved my cheese." Meaning: I put it here. I know I put it here. I always put it here. Someone -- not me -- moved it. And why is it in the Little Princesses room, along with all my other stuff?

"Somebody moved my cheese." The most likely meaning: I put the cheese here so I could pick it up on my way out the door, and now it's gone and I will have to waste time looking for it and I'm going to be late -- again. Leave my freakin' cheese alone!

Another possible meaning: I put the cheese here instead of taking the extra five seconds to put it away properly. I knew full well I would have to move it. But now it's gone. Is it possible that someone else moved it for me? Could someone else actually have put something away? Aw no, that's just crazy talk.

"Somebody moved my cheese." Meaning: Awww man, I put my snack here and now it's gone. And I'm so hungry I might start gnawing off my own limbs. I've had a taste for cheese all day and I'm going to launch into full out pout mode if I don't get my cheese back. No, I don't want a cracker. I only hope they ate it, because if it sits out too long it's going to get gross and I'm not going to move it then. No way. No how. Oh, who am I kidding? Like anyone else would move a gross, smelly lump of cheese.

"Somebody, move my cheese." OK, a little change up, but it's close enough. Meaning: Would someone please move this cheese? It's been sitting here all week and you all have just been walking around it, setting stuff on top of it, generally ignoring it. Move the damn cheese already. What, are your arms broken? I'm not the freakin' housekeeper. Oh wait, I guess I am. Well, move the freakin' cheese anyway.

"Somebody moved my cheesecake." Meaning: Heads will roll.

"Somebody moved my cheese !?" Meaning: Huh, seemed much funnier when it first occurred to me and I was trying to drive and write at the same time. Back then it was like an epiphany that was worth the risk to my life. Now it's just kind of... (Oh yeah, you know what's coming)

Now it's just kind of cheesy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pot shots at the sunny side

Lately I've been thinking about optimism and flexibility. The outlook isn't good for either, and I'm sure it's not going to change. (Rimshot).

But seriously folks, I'm starting to doubt my optimism. And I am nothing, if not optimistic. Except maybe... pessimistic? (Another rimshot. Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. Please make sure to tip your waitresses.)

I don't know if it was the election (Nah, I'm a big picture kind of person. It's going to take more than four or eight years to really, really screw things up -- worse than they are); the usual holiday season malaise (eh); a birthday/aging related gloom (possible); or the ongoing glut of acquaintances diagnosed with cancer (hmmm); or a combination of these. Regardless of the cause, I've been questioning my ability to look on the bright side. And how can you question optimism without asking "Is that glass half empty or half full?"

The obvious answer is "depends on what's in it, and how thirsty I am." This snappy rejoinder reassures me that even if my optimism is waning, my smartass-ism is healthy. I've come up with several equally smartass answers.

Looking around the royal quarters, one might be tempted to ask not if the glass is half empty or full, but instead "Is the glass half dirty or half clean?" The correct answer is, "Either way, you can use it again." The same could be said for the laundry -- except for undies, in which case one always assumes they're "used."

If you were to ask the royal husband, he would respond "Glass? What glass? If it has to do with dishes, let me check with the wife." I've trained him well. Although I would prefer his answer to be more along the lines of "Glass? Where? Let me put it in the dishwasher for you, honey."

The little Prince would probably answer "Glass? Was it made of Lego? Did it have wheels?" If it doesn't fall into one of these categories, he wouldn't notice it if it were balanced on his nose. Once assured you weren't trying to get him to put away his toys, he would probably offer "That glass? I think my sister put it there."

Speaking of the little Princess, her answer would probably be "Glass? I looked for it but couldn't find it. Someone must have moved it." Of course, she would be holding the glass during this exchange.

All that deep thought, and I'm still not sure if I'm basically an optimistic person or not. But it does make me giggle. And in that case, I say the dribble glass is half full.

Drink up!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Birthday Decree

I hearby decree, by my royal authority (granted by me), that if you are unable to sit down and eat your birthday cake with family and/or friends it does not constitute an actual birthday, and you are not allowed to add another year to your age.

I can hear the commoners cheering now. "Huzza! Huzza!" I acknowledge the the teaming masses with the royal wave.

Therefore, following my own decree, I shall remain 42 for another year.

What I had planned as a low-key birthday turned out to be more of a no-key birthday.

There was careful planning on my part. I angled to get what I wanted without inflicting pain upon those that I love. Yes, yes. I know. I am far too kind.

I wanted to do something cultural. So I took the little Prince and Princess, and her friend, (another Princess, of course) to the C.R. Museum of Art to see an exhibit of work by the illustrator of Harry Potter. The Princesses enjoyed Harry Potter. The Prince often says he plans to be an artist when he grows up. It seemed a near-perfect match.

Apparently enjoying the act of reading or creating art does not translate into enjoying an art exhibit.

I believe the highlight for the kids was jumping on the beanbag chairs. This, of course, was the worst part for me. Who puts beanbag chairs in a public place?

Lunch at Appleby's was a passable hit. The kids were freezing but the food was hot. The dessert was gone in a flash. Happily, no fingers were lost in the feeding frenzy.

To make up for the museum debacle, and because I am certifiably crazy, I took the kids to "Planet X," super arcade and fun land. And because I am super cool, (and it was my birthday we were celebrating) I took part in all the activities.

The youngsters bounced with excitement as we pulled into the parking lot. They sang my praises as I purchased the nearly full-access (Laser Tag included!) passes.

They nearly carried me on their tiny little shoulders as we toured the facility.

Then reality set in. Laser Tag is played in the dark with sometimes faulty equipment. The cries of joy turned to cries of frustration.

I recalled my fear of heights about half way up the rock climbing wall. Luckily that was only about three feet off the ground, and rappelling is much more fun than climbing.

The trampoline-basketball thingee -- the kids loved it -- would have been fun if I didn't have post-childbearing bladder. It's hard to jump and cross your legs at the same time.

Putt-putt golf and the arcade games were huge hits. Although the automatic ticket counter may have been the biggest hit of the day.

All in all, about a 7 out of 10.

The other part of my devious plan was to stay home by myself and watch movies I wanted to see. I planned to send the King and royal babes off to the football playoff game, leaving me alone, by myself. With the TV all to myself.

There were seven movies in the Iowa City Public Library's catalog I wanted to see. Not new releases. Not super popular movies. Not movies you could find on Red Box at HyVee, or even at Mr. Movies. And not, as it so happened, movies you could find at the ICPL.

All seven of them were checked out. Some with waiting lists.

What kind of weirdos live in Iowa City anyway? Hello-0, not first run movies here, people. Get a freakin' life.

I could have understood it if one or two of them were out. But all seven? What are the odds? I'm sure they are right up there with the chance of me winning the lottery.

But I recovered, settling in with my own copy of Pride and Prejudice. This is a movie best watched alone, without anyone around to ask things like "why are they talking funny?" or "why is he wearing those goofy clothes?" or "why do they spend so much time just looking at each other like that." And those are the questions the husband asks. (Just kidding, dear.)

A happy, quiet time watching 4 of 6 VHS tapes, and a thorough cleaning of the house: a solid 9 out of 10. Wine would have bumped that to 10 of 10, but the frozen chimichangas didn't set right.

On to the great cake debacle.

The Royal Book of Rules requires that, at a minimum, a birthday must be celebrated with a meal not prepared by the Birthday Person.

Unfortunately this rule does not take into consideration the obliteration of the royal family by various stomach ailments.

Mid-afternoon (with nary a dining out offer) I sought refuge in the comfort of a chocolaty, Betty Crocker Warm Delights. No sooner had I licked the spoon clean than the royal family approached bearing gifts and cake.

Oh. Hmm. That timing thing. Not so good.

Gifts were opened and enjoyed. Candles were lit and blown out, songs were sung. The cake was cut.

The little Prince didn't want any because he had a tummy ache. This was most likely brought on by unfettered eating of Halloween candy.

The King declined, also because of an upset tummy. This one of the flu variety. After a polite interval, he lay down and slept for a day and a half.

I didn't want any because I had just finished desert, and I didn't want to end up with an upset tummy.

The little Princess, however, did enjoy a large slice with extra frosting and ice cream.

Leftovers, microwave brownie, and chicken noodle soup. On any other Sunday this would have scored pretty well (it was easy, anyway). But on the birthday scale, factoring in the cake debacle, it's about a 3 for festive birthday fare.

Clearly a Sign From God. A heavenly "pass" or "do over." A "Get Out of Aging Free" card, if you will.

And now, by Royal Decree, available to anyone else with unbelievably bad birthday luck.

You're welcome.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Requiem for a Laptop

Please join me in a moment of silence in memory of "Old Clunky," my beloved and belated laptop.

Ok, that's long enough.
It seems like only yesterday I was happily tap, tap tapping away at Clunky's keyboard when he started, well, clunking. But not when anyone else was around it hear it, of course. Clunky's clunking would immediately and miraculously disappear when I had my favorite IT guy and husband listen.
Eventually the clunking became both frequent and persistent enough to catch his attention. ("What the hell is that?") Irritating, but nothing to worry about, he assured me.
The sudden appearance of the blue screen of death? Unusual, but not fatal.
The switch to the boot up screen of no return, however, did catch his attention.
Plans were made -- hushed whispers, well out of range of Clunky. No need to add insult to injury when the patient is on (virtual) life support. After all, Clunky was considerate enough to let me finish and save projects before slipping into unconsciousness. For the most part.
Much too quickly Clunky's "spells" went from being a mere annoyance, to being a major pain the ass. One reason I can be a stay at home mom is that I can do all of my volunteer and "at home" work via computer. No computer, no volunteer work.
No e-mail, no patience.
No more Mrs. Nice Guy.
It was with heavy heart that I walked in the Best Buy that fateful Friday to find a replacement. How can you replace something that has been such an integral part of your life for lo, so many years?
No, really. How can you replace something that knows all your passwords and e-mail addresses an doesn't want to give them up? How can you replace something that knows all your documents and pictures? All your favorite programs that you have finally -- FINALLY -- figured out?
Yes, Slick, the new computer, runs faster (OMG, so much faster) and more reliably. And we (who am I kidding?), I mean, the IT guy was able to transfer all my old files. But the e-mails, bookmarks, and more importantly my passwords -- like for this blog! -- are somewhere in limbo between computers.
It is with heavy heart I embrace this new technology. The faster processor and slew of new games has made my computer the computer of choice by everyone else in the family. I have to wait in line to use my own computer. I frequently find my carefully searched out web sites abandoned, and my Mahjong games -- close enough to taste victory -- closed.
Don't even get me started on trying to figure out this new version (who knew?) of Spider Solitare. Open Office is nice, but it is so darned ... different!
My Cheese! Someone Moved My Cheese!
I am an Old Dog, being forced to learn new Programs. I am too lazy to learn new programs. To paraphrase Barbie, "Thinking is Hard."
Oh Clunky, how I miss you. And my passwords.
On the bright side, now I have a new excuse for those missed deadlines.