Take Time to be Thankful

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking of a few things other than turkey that we are thankful for. Since you probably know but just have trouble remembering, here is a small list of thoughts to put us all in the mood:

Be thankful when you are feeling down, someone else is always worse off than you are.

Be thankful for small things to worry about, they give us practice for the big stuff.

Be thankful if getting old and fat is the worse thing that you have to worry about.

Be thankful for laughter and for the things you are laughing about.

Be thankful we don’t have to pay for sunrises or sunsets as we could never afford one.

Be thankful for having too much work to do, that’s job insurance.

Be thankful you are free to vote your choice… even when your choice is a loser.

Be thankful for friends that are aggravating. They probably feel the same way about you.

Be thankful for uncertainty as it gives you more time to make a decision.

Be thankful that when you make a mistake that you can always blame someone else… or the dog.

Be thankful that if you don’t have time to wait, you can wait until you have more time.

Be thankful when someone says you are wrong. It gives you a chance to prove otherwise.

Be thankful that you have right to say what you think, especially when what you think isn’t worth saying.

Be thankful that the best things in life are free. This gives you more cash to spend on the second best things.

Be thankful that if you can’t avoid making a mistake, you can at least avoid repeating it.

Be thankful that there are always things to smile about – even if you sometimes forget what they are.

Be thankful for needs that are met, especially when they are met in way different than what you expected.

Be thankful for finishing last because you have the opportunity to do better the next time.

Be thankful for sticky stuff, greasy spots, and cat hair — they help us remember nothing is perfect.

Be thankful for stress – it motivates us to make changes.

Be thankful there is always enough blame to go around, so you can share it if you need to.

Be thankful for the fast lane… it gets the people that are speeding off your bumper.

Be thankful to see things as they might be instead of the way they are.

Be thankful for animals… they help us to remember that we are human.

Be thankful we don’t always get what we deserve, as what we deserve may be worse than what we have.

Be thankful that when you’ve seen it all and done it all that you don’t have do it again.

© Sheila Moss 2004
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Clean Up, Spruce Up, Fix Up

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Winter is here. Time to clean up, spruce up, fix up before the holidays. I don’t want to remodel the entire house but I just can’t seem to help myself. No matter how much I argue, the adrenaline seems to take over and I find myself working like my mother-in-law is coming to visit.

Adrenaline: Go to the store and buy supplies.

Self: I don’t want to fix anything!

Adrenaline: You heard me! GO!

Self: Well, maybe I can get some paintbrushes and caulk for the bathroom.

Adrenaline: And then find the paint and touch up the walls.

Self: I am sort of getting used to the “distressed” look.

Adrenaline: That’s for furniture – not the living room wall.

Self: Oh.

Adrenaline: I thought I told you last week to chip out all the cracked caulking in the bathroom.

SELF: I did, but I was too tired to finish the job.

Adrenaline: So, its just sitting there half done – when do plan to finish it? And what about the painting?

SELF: Paint is messy and I really don’t want to get into something like that until I can finish the entire house at one time.

Adrenaline : The outside of the house needs some work too. Those shutters could use a new coat of paint.

Self: Yes, yes, I know. Couldn’t I just hire that done?

Adrenaline: Pay? For something you can do yourself?

SELF: But, everything in the living room needs to be moved around for that stupid TV  we bought. Pictures will be in the wrong place. I’ll have to touch all that up too. I don’t know why I ever got into this.

Adrenaline: The more you get done now, the less to do later.

Self: I really would rather take a nap.

Adrenaline: And what will you do when the house falls in from neglect? Nap?

Self: Okay, okay, but that stupid hutch is full of dishes. I’ll have to take those out before I can move it.

Adrenaline: So??

Self: I can see it now. My entire weekend shot. I won’t have time for my regular schedule due to all the extra stuff, and next week I’ll be further behind than ever.

Adrenaline: Excuses, excuses, excuses. Are you taking your vitamins?

SELF: NO! I don’t have time to take vitamins! I’m too busy painting and moving furniture!

Adrenaline: Calm down, it will all be done eventually, and just think how nice it will look.

Self: I’m thinking about all the work involved.

Adrenaline: These living room curtains are a bit drab. Don’t you have some others upstairs? You’ve been meaning to bring those down for years and never have.

Self: I’ll have to buy different rods and put those up first.

Adrenaline: Well, after you move stuff into the living room, you will spend more time there. If you really want to look at those stupid curtains for the rest of your life go ahead!

Self: I wonder what I did with the electric drill the last time I used it?

Adrenaline: I was just thinking. Do you know how to hang wallpaper? The bathroom is really getting bad.

Self: I swore I’d never try to hang wallpaper again. The last time I tried, I was saying “sailor words” before I got done.

Adrenaline: Pity, if you were not so resistant you could really fix things up around here. Did you notice the paint on the patio table is chipped? You really need to do something about that too.

Self: You are killing me!.

Adrenaline: Shut up! Women are supposed to spruce up and fix up before a holiday. It’s traditional.

Self: If it wasn’t for you maybe I could get some rest.

Adrenaline: Don’t blame me. I’m only doing my job. If it wasn’t for me, nothing would get done around here.

Adrenaline: No one has ever died from fix-up fever.

Self: What about an adrenaline overdose?

Copyright 2006 SheilaMoss
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Buying a New Desk

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On Sunday morning my honey and I have developed the habit of going to the local pancake house for breakfast. This past Sunday was as usual, so we found ourselves headed down the road to the pancake place.

I need to mention that we had been looking for a computer desk for several weeks, but hadn’t found one yet.

“We could go look for the desk after we eat since we are already out,” suggested my honey.

I had already figured on this and brought my checkbook.

“I also need a few things,” he added. “I need speaker wire, a breaker bar, and a light bulb.” We could get that stuff at any Wal-Mart any time, I thought.

“We need to shop for the desk first because it will take more time,” I pointed out. He agreed, but I knew he really was more interested in speaker wire than a desk.

We got to the pancake house, which is always busy, and put our name on the waiting list. While we were waiting for a table, he mused, “I could run over to the office supply store and get a breaker bar while we are waiting.”

I couldn’t believe it, but he left me setting there and went to the office supply store. I decided if they called our name, I would go in and eat and he would just miss out. Fortunately for him, he made it back in time.

After eating, we went to the furniture store – well, actually, to two furniture stores. For some reason he has to look in every store in town before buying.

They didn’t have what we wanted at the first store, which was what I figured. We then went to another furniture store, a chain store just like two other stores we had already been to on other days, not to mention the four additional furniture stores we had browsed.

He finally found a desk that he liked. It was the exact same desk I had picked out the first day at the first store.

After the deal was done, he decided to look for an electronics store to buy his wire. That figures. A storm was coming up, but I knew he would not be satisfied until he got the wire. So we drove around in the traffic and pouring rain until we found an electronics store.

“Are you going in?” he asked

To buy a spool of wire? “No, I’ll just wait here.”

I thought he would be happy after that, but I should have known better. He still needed the light bulb.

“Can’t you just get one at Wal-Mart?” I asked. It was still pouring rain and bolts of lightening were flashing.

“That delivery guy broke the bulb the other day. The store will replace it.” So, we drove 25 miles in the rain to get a free light bulb. I was getting pretty aggravated.

Then he decided that we really should have purchased the hutch that went with the desk.

“I want to go home!” I said.

“Okay, I’ll take you home and go back by myself. But we could just go by on the way home.” Except it wasn’t on the way home; it was in a different direction.

I gave up.

We drove all the way back to the furniture store in the middle of a storm.

I suppose I should quit complaining and just be happy that we are done shopping. At least I didn’t have to go to five different Wal-Marts looking for the right kind of light bulb.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
Previously published as
The Wire, Breaker Bar and Light Bulb
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Finding German Roots

Not humor but an interesting story from http://BlueDanbueBlog.com

Blogging the Blue Danube

Dachau entrance

My partner, Morris, was born in Germany, but came to the U.S. with his parents as an infant when they immigrated. Ever since I’ve known him, he has wanted to see where he was born (Föhrenwald, Wolfratshausen, Bavaria, Germany) now called “Waldram.” This is his story, not mine. He should be the one telling it, but I doubt he ever will, at least not on the Internet.

His parents were Jewish and fled all over Europe trying to escape the Nazis during World War II. They were successful in evading capture and were in a displaced persons camp near Munich when the war ended. When they had an opportunity to come to American and escape war-torn Europe, they took it and moved to Pittsburgh. There they raised Morris and his two younger brothers that were born after moving to the U.S.

His mother was Ukrainian, his father Polish. We were…

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Better Late than Later

I am being done in by the mundane things of life, those little home repair jobs that are so unimportant that I can never get around to them. It is easier to put up with the minor inconvenience than take the extra time to fix things. Finally, these chores have begun to accumulate to the point that I am starting to worry about being buried under a pile of procrastinated tasks.

The other day I stuck my head out of the pile of undone chores and looked around like a chipmunk.

“Are you going to do the chores?” I asked my man hopefully.

“No, I need a day to recover from watching football.”

That figures!

But, I’m the handy person of the home, anyhow. Superwoman! That’s me! So, I decide to take a day for chores. It will be the perfect time to catch up on those little aggravating “do it yourself” jobs.

Most of the really bad stuff, as it turns out, is outside. Outside chores pile up in the late fall because, well, because it’s cold outside. So, I dressed in my superwoman insulated underwear and got ready to work.

First on my list is the garage window, which is falling off and making the house look like it’s haunted. Somehow the storm window came loose, the screen fell out and the glass window came out of the frame. Not a big deal for a superwoman, only a matter of putting it all back together again and putting in a screw in to hold the frame tight. After an hour of tugging, fitting, and sliding, I finally managed to fix it. That’s one down for superwoman.

Next is my weird holly bush with long shoots sprouting out of the top that make the whole thing look overgrown. It’s just a matter of getting out the ladder and trimming off a few wild branches to tame it down until spring. I hate this task because holly is thorny and I always get scratched. This time is no exception. I thought superwoman was bullet proof, not to mention thorn proof, but apparently not.

Then there is that dead flowerpot sitting by the back door creating an eyesore ever since cold weather killed the flowers. Superwoman picks it up and it breaks in her hands, falling to the patio and shattering into a million pieces. Probably her super strength. Well, that takes care of the flowerpot. Now all I have to do is sweep up the mess right away before having a chance to procrastinate again.

Dead leaves have blown up and settled around the back door to my house. I am sick and tired of wading through wet leaves to get inside the house. I don’t really know where they come from since the trees were long ago bare, but I rake them up. Superwoman does not have a leaf blower or it would be much easier.

By the time I finish bagging the trash, I am exhausted and half-frozen. My super powers are beginning to get out of whack. I forgot to change the light bulb by the front door, which has burned out and is making the house look one-eyed. There is also the torn screen on a bedroom window. I take the screen as far as the hardware store, where it stays to be fixed.

So, that pretty much takes care of the chores. Trouble is things never really get caught up when you have a house. I noticed that the windowsills need a paint touch-up, the shutters are faded, and there are small tree branches that have blown down and need to be picked up so the lawn can be mowed next spring. The weeds are starting to sprout again too.

A superwoman’s work is never done – which is yet another good reason to put off doing things until later.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
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The Plumber

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I really hate dealing with service people, but there comes a time in the course of home ownership when one must have repairs done, like it or not. In my recent situation, it was the plumbing needing attention.

I thought by now that everything that could leak had leaked, and everything that needed replacing had been replaced. But that seems not to be the case with a home that is growing old. It is unending.

Water has been seeping from under the shower for a while. I tried ignoring it. I tried soaking it up with a towel. No use, it is probably leaking between the walls. Water leaks cannot be ignored forever. Time to call the inevitable plumber.

Service people never show up when they say they will. They always get tied up on another job and call to say they will be there later, or tomorrow, or whenever the mood suits them. Usually this is after I’ve taken the day off work to be there.

Things started out well with this plumber, however, when he said he would be there at 10 and showed up at only 11:30. He turned out to be the talkative type. He tried to sell me their long-term service plan. I really just wanted him to fix the leak and leave.

He looked at the leak and decided it was not coming from between the walls, it was leaking under the shower door. I didn’t think so, but what could I do? “I’ve been a plumber for 14 years, mam, and I see this all the time.” Do I insist on having the wall torn out for no reason? Of course not.

We had also noticed a shortage of hot water lately. I figured since he was already here, I might as well get that checked out too. “When we take a shower, there is never enough hot water.”

His eyes lit up. That figures. They would rather work on something they understand than a mysterious leak. He proceeded to explain to me how water heaters work, how they have magnesium rods to keep them from corroding and how a tube carries the cold water to the bottom of the tank.

Who cares? Just fix it, I thought. So he pulled the magnesium rod and it was nearly eaten up with corrosion. Then he tried to pull the cold-water tube and it was too corroded to repair. “Mam, you need a new hot water heater — or I can put this one back together if you want to wait until it goes out completely.”

He proceeded to show me the corroded parts and the calcium deposits and to explain the realities of making hot water. Eventually I ended up purchasing a new hot water heater. Of course, he gave me a fabulous deal and a 50-gallon tank for the price of a 40-gallon one.

He was happy as a lark putting in the new one. This is something a plumber was born to do. He called me out to the garage two or three times to see what he was doing and to explain. As if I cared, just fix it, I thought. I tried to seem interested, but what I was really interested in was how to pay the bill.

“What about the leaking shower?”

“I’ll put some caulk around the shower door, mam, that should take care of it. No extra charge. We will take the price of the service call off the total too and there is a discount coupon in the yellow pages if you want to use that.”

I can’t figure out why I’m so broke with all the money I saved getting my leak fixed. But at least I have 50 gallons of hot water. I think I will go take a shower now and see if that leak is still there.

It better not be. If it is, I will not need a plumber. I will need a hit man. I wonder if there is a discount coupon in the yellow pages for that?

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
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Empty-Nest Syndrome

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Mothers sometimes complain that adult children abandon them after they grow up and leave the nest. Empty-nest mothers feel as if the children no longer care. They want to know whether the children still love them.

Here is a simple test to help mothers know the score.

Regardless of how hard it is, do NOT call or contact your adult child for one week, but wait to let her or him contact you first. Subtract 1 point for each day that passes without a call or visit. If you give in and call the child, subtract 10 points.

Positive _____ Negative _____

Call up your adult child on the phone and say, “I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to lend you any more money. Ever.” If the child says, “That’s okay, mom, you’ve done more than enough already,” give yourself 1 point.

Positive _____ Negative _____

Visit your local hospital and call the adult child. Say: “I’m calling from the hospital. Can you get over here right away?” Hang up. Give yourself 1 point if the child is there within an hour.

Positive _____ Negative _____

Invite your adult child to come over for dinner. When the child arrives, say something else came up and you didn’t have time to cook. If the child offers to take you out to eat, 1 point. If it’s fast food or no food, subtract 1.

Positive _____ Negative _____

Ask your adult child to take you to your next medical appointment. On the way home, ask her or him to stop at the pharmacy, the grocery store, and the dry cleaners. If the child complains, subtract 1 point. If he or she offers to take you to the doctor again next time, add 1 point and thank your lucky stars.

Positive _____ Negative _____

The next time you see your adult child, give him or her twenty dollars. If she or he keeps it, subtract 1 point. If she or he says, “I don’t need your money, Mom.” Give yourself 1 point. If he or she offers to give YOU money, add 10 bonus points. (Of course, this will never happen.)

Positive _____ Negative _____

Call your adult child and say that you need help with mowing the grass, painting a room, cleaning carpets, or washing the car. If the child agrees to help, add 1 point. If the child makes an excuse, subtract 1 point.

Positive _____ Negative _____

Send the adult child a card on their birthday. If she or he calls to thank you, add 1 point. If the child actually remembers your birthday or even Mother’s Day, add 1 more point.

Positive _____ Negative _____

Ask your adult child to go to church with you. If he or she goes, add 1 point. If he or she says he will go, but doesn’t show up, subtract 1 point. (But you should have known that this would happen.)

Positive _____ Negative _____

If the adult child calls you for any reason except to borrow money or baby-sit, add 1 point. If the child visits any time except on a holiday, give yourself 1 more point.

Positive _____ Negative _____

If the adult child has a picture of you displayed in her or his home, add 1 point. Subtract 1 point for every picture of the child or grandchildren that you have displayed in your home.

Positive _____ Negative _____

If the adult child never borrows money from you, add 1 point. If the child borrows, but only for emergencies, subtract 1 point regardless since everything is an emergency to children. If the adult child pays back the money they borrow, add 10 bonus points. This is not likely, but we won’t give up hope.

Positive _____ Negative _____

TOTAL _____ TOTAL _____

SCORING

If you ended up with more points that are positive, the child loves you, but it’s time to cut the apron strings.

If you end up with the more points on the negative side, you are being neglected, and can continue nagging.

If you didn’t bother to keep score, count your blessings and quit whining. Your kids are grown and your work is done.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
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Beetle Mania

“We are infested with ladybugs, thousands, all over the house outside, coming in through every crack!”

It was a text message from my daughter. Naturally, it was at a time when I was so busy at the office I could not spare a second for anything, much less bugs.

“I got the vacuum out. I’ve killed over a hundred inside. They are everywhere.”

I’ve never heard of such a thing — bees, maybe, termites, maybe, “Are you sure they are ladybugs?”

“Yes, swarms of them I have probably 200 on my window. The garage is full of them.”

And so began, a full-fledged episode of beetle mania. I felt like my head was going to explode. I could not deal with one more thing. The kitchen floor is missing thanks to a leaky refrigerator, the bathroom toilet was been broken, I lost my car keys… and now THIS?

When the plumber came to fix the toilet, he had cheerfully told me that bad things happen in threes. Not at my house. At my house they happen in swarms.

“Call the exterminator. What is the name of that one that came when we had termites?”

Later, another text came. “He can’t come until tomorrow. They have hundreds of calls. They have called in extra people and are working double shifts.”

Ladybugs are supposed to be cute and harmless. Children’s toys often look like ladybugs. I have jewelry that looks like ladybugs. Ladybugs are supposed to bring good luck.

“Okay, keep vacuuming.”

When I got home, I found out she was not exaggerating. In the garage, bugs were crawling up the wall and all over the ceiling like a scene from a horror movie. On the outside of the house, they crawled all over the house, especially the windows.

I found a half-full bottle of insecticide in the garage and went to work spraying around windows and doors. My son sprayed the garage.

Ladybugs may be cute when there are only a few, but no insect is cute when there are a thousand of them. Besides, these ladybugs were weird-looking. They were orange instead of red. I found out later that they were not local ladybugs. These were Japanese beetles, sometimes called Halloween beetles because that is the time of the year they appear. These were right on schedule.

“Weather is getting cooler and they are looking for a warm place to spend the winter. They are harmless, just leave them be and they will go away on their own,” advised an article on the internet. Obviously, their house was not swarming with hundreds of them.

The most aggravating part about the whole thing was when I found that the government released them as a natural enemy of aphids, which are tiny bugs that infest fruit trees. A large crop of tasty aphids and perfect weather conditions had made them fat and sassy.

They have no natural enemies here and can do as they please. Apparently, what pleases them is to reproduce. I guess the goverment guys didn’t notice they have WINGS and won’t stay where they are released.

I only hope this is not some biological warfare experiment and next thing they are releasing is killer bees or fire ants.

On the news that evening, there was a segment about the ladybug invasion. Apparently it is not just me. They do not carry disease, infest your food, or gnaw the house down. They do bite if aggravated.

The next day the exterminator finally showed up. Even after he sprayed, I still see a few. I can deal with a one or two walking across the ceiling upside down, just not hundreds of them.

Good grief, there is a ladybug walking across the computer screen now while I’m trying to type. How brazen can you get?

If ladybugs bring luck, I must be the luckiest person in town.

Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss
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Munich, Germany

I have recently started a new travel blog about a trip to Europe. I hope you will check it out when you have time. https://bluedanbueblog.wordpress.com

Blogging the Blue Danube

Where to begin? Germany is very modern and at the same time very traditional. The people are friendly and cultured. Much of Munich was destroyed in World War II, but has been restored.

We are divided into three groups by the tour director, blue, red and orange. Our blue group was first to leave early in the morning so we were supposed to eat and be ready. However, this didn’t go over well, so the tour director, with the soon to become familiar lack of planning, told everyone to go ahead and eat early if they wanted. This meant the groups leaving hours later crowded the lines at the buffet almost preventing us from meeting the deadline to leave.

After breakfast, we went on another hour-long bus ride getting back to Munich. Then we toured the city by bus. The local tour guide was knowledgeable and pointed out sites, most…

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Musical Rooms

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We are playing “musical rooms” at my house. This is similar to the children’s game of “musical chairs” in which everyone switches chairs while the music plays. I made the “brilliant” decision about a month ago to change my house around. The living room was the largest room in the house, but seldom used at all, so I decided to change that situation.

I always really hate the musical chairs game as a child because someone was left with no chair when the music stopped, and that child was out of the game. I’m finding that playing musical rooms is almost the same thing as playing musical chairs.

Let the games begin.

The office will become my daughter’s bedroom. Her bedroom will become my grandson’s bedroom. The living room will become the media room. But, just like in musical chairs, we seem to be one room short. When the music stopped, I no longer had a living room — unless you consider the attic the living room since that is where all my furniture is, except the hutch, which is now in the kitchen, one end of which has become the dining room.

I knew moving rooms around was going to be bad, but I didn’t realize just how bad. It is almost like moving from one home to another except I’m packing and unpacking all at the same time. Nothing is in the same place and a new place has to be found for almost everything. I spent the evening yesterday figuring out what to do with all the leftover items, and tripping over topsy-turvy computer cables in an upside-down house.

Furthermore, my house is full of strangers. The TV people came on Saturday to move the television connections. The phone company came yesterday to put in a new phone jack. The cable company came to move the Internet connection. I still have to get movers to move some of the heavy things to the attic that we can’t budge and probably a handy man. The pictures are all the wrong places. That means patching the nail holes and touching up the paint.

My grandson’s room is hopeless. It will have to be repainted. He has selected orange as the color choice he wants. Never ask an eight-year-old what color to paint a room. I feel like I’m living in a Dr. Suess story. Mr. Brown is upside down and everything else too.

Is the ceiling fan on the floor? We didn’t move the bathroom, did we? Thank goodness the refrigerator is still in the same place, And the furniture for my grandson’s room, which is now in the attic, can stay there until the movers come.

It is hard trying to carry on with normal life in the middle of all the chaos. People have to eat, sleep, take a shower once in a while, and go to work. The normal tasks are hard to do because we are too busy dealing with the abnormal ones.

At least it is only temporary. Actually, the living… er … media room didn’t look too bad this morning. It will just take some getting used to. I still feel as if I am living in someone else’s house, though. I’m trying hard not to think about it right now as I might loose my sanity completely. I’m already having nightmares about the Cat in the Hat.

Please, stop the music while paint I the bedroom orange.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
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