Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

It was a weekend morning, and I flipped on the TV hoping to watch “Tennessee Crossroads,” one of my favorite programs on local public television. Instead, the channel was having a fund raiser and showing a program about trains.

“Um, this is kind of interesting. I might as well watch it.”

Honey was snoring away blissfully still asleep and unaware that the program was convincing me that we should ride a train. The trains on the program were not ordinary trains, of course. These trains were steam locomotives, puffing, coal-eating, smoke-belching locomotives.

Although steam locomotives were retired and sent to rail yards to rust years ago, some survived. Train enthusiasts loved the old engines and a few have been restored to become popular tourist attractions. In Tennessee some train-lovers believed that trains were not only to look at, but also to ride.

“How can you learn about trains unless you can ride one, see the steam and feel the clackity-clack of the rails sliding beneath you?” they reasoned.

I woke Honey up early the following week to drive the 150 miles to Chattanooga. I chose a one hour train trip as I was not quite ready to commit to six hours on the rails. Once we left the interstate in Chattanooga to look for the attraction, the roads became small and narrow and led us to an industrial area. It seems that train yards are not necessarily in the best part of town.

The old train depot had been restored to its former glory, however, and was a sight to behold, as were the sidetracked black engines and bright red cabooses in the rail yard. Inside the depot we bought our tickets and waited on the long wooden refinished benches, while watching the old antique clock tick. The old ticket booth was fully restored and looking through the bars on the ticket window, I could see an old manual typewriter, just like the movies.

Finally, the train arrived with much whistle blowing and steam hissing. The passengers from the first trip departed and we boarded the train. I had forgotten that conductors punch your tickets after you get on the train instead of at the steps. Speaking of steps, I had also forgotten how steep and high they were.

“All aboard” yelled the conductor. We were off on our adventure to nowhere.

Our tickets were finally punched and the train ride was pretty much as I remember trains, though it didn’t shake quite as much since the train moved rather slowly instead of at the tooth-rattling speed of a diesel train that I once rode from St. Louis to Washington, D.C.

The main attraction of this particular tour was a long tunnel under a mountain ridge, dug by hand prior to the Civil War. Unlike in olden times, we were not robbed by outlaws or attacked by savage Indians.

In case you are wondering, this train is not the infamous Chattanooga Choo-Choo, which has been permanently de-railed and turned into a commercial hotel, inviting guests to spend the night in luxurious sleeping cars, which include modern amenities, even free Wi-Fi. It is rather sad that the Choo-Choo train no longer runs.

Our tour guide, who looked like Santa in a conductor’s uniform, lamented the fact that we had missed the six-hour train to Georgia, which has a dining car. I have dined on trains before, though, and remember that eating on a train involves dishes vibrating on a white tablecloth while you try to ignore the splashing liquids in the glasses and eat before your plate slides off the table.

The most interesting part was watching as a fireman shoveled coal into the firebox to heat the boiler and make steam. It is not the conductor or the engineer that makes the train run. It is the fireman who shovels the coal that makes it go.

Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss

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The Me Day

Last week I was feeling sorry for myself. Like many women, I tend to take care of the needs of others and forget about myself. It was wearing me down. Time to take care of me, I decided.

I made the announcement to my family: “I will not be on duty this Saturday; I am taking a ‘me’ day.”

“That’s great,” said my daughter, “You should take some time for yourself.” The others just sort of stared at me like, “What’s a ‘me’ day?”

“A me day is a day when I take care of me,” I explained. “I am going to the clinic. My neck feels stiff and I want to see a doctor. Then I am going to get my hair done. When I’m finished, I am getting a manicure and pedicure. And after that, I’m going shopping — and not for groceries.”

I saw an outfit that I want. I’ve been thinking that I should go back and buy it before it is too late. I also like to bargain shop at the thrift store. It’s a fun thing, not a necessary thing, but I’ve not done it in ages.

I could hear them thinking, “What about us? Who will clean the house? Who will feed us?”

They will not starve to death. I am not the only person in the house that knows how to cook and there are plenty of restaurants if they are too lazy to fix a sandwich.

I felt a little guilty as I usually clean house on Saturday since I don’t have much time through the week. But dirt can wait. It will still be there next week. Or, someone else can do my share of the chores. It will not hurt anyone to do a little extra.

So, Saturday morning, I was off to the clinic early. I got a prescription for my aches and pains and told the doctor that I was taking a ‘me’ day. “That’s good,” she said, “Everyone needs to take a day for themselves once in a while.” Now it was official. The doctor approved. It was practically a prescription.

At the hair salon, I didn’t just get a haircut and hurry home, which is what I usually do. I had a shampoo, cut and blow dry. It was wonderful.

From there it was the nail shop. I didn’t go to the usual place where it is always crowded. Instead, I found a new shop that didn’t look busy. They pampered my feet with a spa treatment and pedicure and I got a French manicure for my nails, pink and white, very chic.

Before the shopping, I decided to go by the house for a sandwich and check things out. Everyone was still in bed asleep. “Why was I concerned?” I thought. “They did not even know I was gone.”

I spent the rest of the afternoon shopping for clothes. I didn’t make it to the thrift store to hunt bargains, but that’s okay. I didn’t want to mess up my nails digging through old clothes anyhow. Besides, it gives me something to do the next time I have a ‘me’ day.

When I got home, Honey was glued to the TV watching a ballgame.

“I noticed that baked spaghetti is on sale at Fazoli’s.” I hinted.

“Why didn’t you call and get orders?” grumbled Honey, out of sorts because he had been ignored all day. But then he remembered that he was hungry and decided he might go get carry-out.

They all made it without me for an entire day. No one starved to death and no one died from neglect.

I feel like a new woman. I really should do this more often.

And the baked spaghetti was fabulous.

Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss

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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Do you have trouble decided on a place to go when you eat out, or are we the only ones? And eating out is not the only time we can’t decide. The easier the decision, the harder it is to make, it seems.

“Are we going anywhere this weekend?” Honey asks me.

“I don’t know.”

If he has asked me this once, he has asked a dozen times. Why can’t he just say, “I would like to do something this weekend?” But if he did that, he would have to say where he wants to go, and that would involve making a decision.

Men are always very decisive about which sports teams are best and what program to watch on TV, but when it comes to something as simple as picking a restaurant to eat out, they can’t decide.

Almost every time we go out, it ends up going something like this:

ME: Let’s eat out.

HIM: Okay, where do you want to go?

ME: I don’t care as long as I don’t have to cook dinner.

HIM: Okay, pick a place.

ME: What do you want to eat?

HIM: It doesn’t matter to me.

And so it goes until I finally say the name of a restaurant. I tend to favor local restaurants, not because they are better but because they are closer. I only want to eat and go home, especially on a weeknight. Eating out during the week is not a gourmet dining experience as far as I’m concerned.

Of course, if I pick the wrong place, he complains about the food. He doesn’t like chicken, he does not eat pork and he does not eat seafood or catfish. That somewhat limits the choices.

I have my prejudices against certain restaurants and I never pick them. I don’t like Olive Garden. Why? I don’t know why, something about the spaghetti sauce. “You could order something else besides a marinara sauce,” says Honey. He doesn’t argue too much though, as he really wants a steak.

“Let’s go either to Cheddar’s or to Logan’s.”

“Tell me which one.”

Eeny, meeny miny, moe – I don’t care which one, just go. Finally, I say, “Cheddar’s, if they are not too crowded.”

Every local chain has a problem of some sort. Cheddar’s is always crowded. Chili’s will let you starve to death before they bring food. Logan’s gives you peanuts, bread, a salad and a drink while you wait. By the time the food arrives, you are no longer hungry. Jim & Nick’s is never crowed, has great food and service, but they feature pork barbecue. “You can order something else,” I say. He would prefer another place.

And it goes on and on. We usually end up at Cracker Barrel, not because we love Cracker Barrel, but because it is a compromise place and we are hungry.

“Did I ask if we are going anywhere this weekend?”

“I don’t know. Did you have a place in mind?” I know he doesn’t. He wants to do something, but he doesn’t want to bother with looking for a place to go. Even though he has more free time than I do, he has important things to do, like watching sports on TV.

I guess I will find something for us to do this weekend. He will be happy because he doesn’t have to decide on anything and I will be happy because I don’t have to hear football on TV all weekend.

“Let me know when you decide where we are going.”

“I will. By the way, did you make hotel reservations for next weekend?” We have been planning this trip for a year. I told him that he is responsible for the hotel reservations and I am responsible for the event registration.

“You didn’t tell me where to call,” he says.

I should have known.

Copyright Sheila Moss 2013

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Lost

Dear International Airport:

I would like to apologize for all the fuss I created this week when I drove my car onto the airport runway. I am not a terrorist and I was not trying to hijack a plane or blow up the airport. I have a new iPhone and was trying out the navigation app. All I wanted to do was return my rental car. How was I supposed to know that nice, wide, concrete road was not for cars?

I did notice that the other “cars” were much larger and had wings, but I figured they were some sort of government vehicles. I saw the flashing lights, warning signs, and concrete markers, but I thought those were for other people, not me. Afterall, I drove right through the gate and no one stopped me.

If I may make a suggestion, you really should put a security fence around your airport if you don’t want people driving on the runways. May I remind you that I was not the only one to make this mistake; another person did the very same thing only a few weeks ago. As open and accessible as your runways are, it is a wonder you don’t have vehicles running all over them.

In case you didn’t know, a GPS leading someone astray is nothing new. Other people have followed their device’s instructions onto boat ramps, into lakes, on railroad tracks, down stairs, into desserts and to the edge of cliffs. At least I didn’t cause a crash or hurt anyone. It is a pretty scary thing when your navigation system turns sinister and tries to throw you under the bus – or in this case, under a 747.

It’s not my fault. I was following directions. How was I to know that the instructions on my phone were not accurate? As much as I paid for the darn thing, you would think that it would know what it is doing. From now on, I will keep a 1956 Road Atlas in the glove compartment and see if it can get me to the car rentals section without nearly killing me.

Haven’t you ever made a wrong turn or somehow gotten on the wrong road? Everyone has. It can easily happen, especially when it is dark or the place is unfamiliar. Just take my word for it, though, when you start meeting up with luggage carts, something is wrong and you better get the heck out of there before an army of security guards descends on you like locusts.

Things could always be worse, I suppose. you’ve heard about the ladies who were stranded in Death Valley for several days because they took a side trip off the main road, thinking they were okay because they had a GPS. By the time they figured out that their stupid GPS was lost, the car was out of gas. They were lucky to make it out alive.

One more thing, I’m really glad that you notified the company of the problem with the route guidance. I also contacted their customer service department and registered a complaint. I hear they have disconnected that part of the system now so no one else will follow its lousy instructions. I also heard that the airport put up some barricades and closed off access from the taxiway.

It’s about time! Why didn’t you do that in the first place?

Anyhow, this is all I have to say about the matter. I had no idea I was going to create an international incident and be on every news site in the entire world just for taking a little short cut. The entire thing has been very embarrassing for me.

You may be certain that from now on I will trust my eyes instead of my iPhone.

Copyright 2013-2022 Sheila Moss
Edited

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How to Remodel a Home

As most people will tell you, any home remodeling job is a long and endless process. I recently had to have my kitchen floor replaced due to a leaky refrigerator and this is how it went:

Step 1 – Choose a general contractor to replace the floor.

Step 2 – Contractor comes, measures house with a laser beam, and walks around looking and nodding. Great, at last we are getting some place.

Step 3 – They will find flooring to match what I have now. Only a small area was actually damaged.

Step 4 – The place where I bought the original floor doesn’t have it in stock. I guess the floor will not be done as quickly as I thought.

Step 5 -They can’t find a match, but know of another place that might have it.  Why didn’t they look there in the first place?

Step 6 – They found some almost exactly like I have – almost. The entire floor of the kitchen, dining area, and living room will have to be replaced. The cost will only be 10 times as much as the original estimate. They will call my insurance company with the good news.

Step 7 – They cannot purchase the wood until the contract is signed. (Translation: They will not order the wood until the check for the down payment is signed.)

Step 8 – Good news. The wood is on order. Bad news: It is not in stock and will have to be back ordered. Why am I not surprised?

Step 9 – The wood is not in yet. Did they have to chop down the trees and float logs from South America?

Step 10 – The wood is here. They cannot trust the seller’s delivery service as they dumped and ruined an entire load on another job. I didn’t really want to know that.

Step 11 – The wood is finally delivered. I have boxes of wood all over the house, in the kitchen, in the living room, in the hall. We are climbing over and around boxes, but it won’t be much longer.

Step 12 – They cannot install the floor as the wood has to acclimate, whatever that is. The house is like a Brazilian rain forest. The cats climb and jump on the boxes playing king of the jungle.

Step 13 – The sub-contractor who will do the installation comes to walk around looking and nodding. It apparently takes a village to install a floor. He forgot to bring his tape measure, but will use the measurements of the general contractor.

Step 14 – The sub-contractor is coming at last to install the floor. The general contractor assures me it is worth waiting to get it done right.

Step 15 – The sub-contractor comes and walks around looking and nodding, then leaves one young worker who does not speak English.  After a few hours, he injures himself and is bleeding. I call the general contractor who calls the sub-contractor who calls me, who passes the phone to the worker. 

Step 16 – My house is full of big men in big boots walking around, speaking in a foreign language, running extension cords, sawing, moving furniture, hammering, stapling, carrying boards, throwing scraps out the back door. We can’t get inside our own house due to the commotion – but at last they are working on it.

Step 17 – Good news, the floor is almost done – almost. They ran out of wood.  The general contractor will order more. Here we go again. The phone isn’t working, no internet, not to mention an uncompleted job on the floor.

Step 18 – The men come and move the furniture back – sort of – and clean up the sawdust – sort of. Things begin to get back to normal – sort of.

All I have to do now is wait for the rest of the wood to arrive, be delivered, acclimated, and be installed. Things seem hopeful – until my daughter walks into the kitchen and finds the dishwasher leaking.

Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss

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Apple Time

I used to think it would be great to have my own apple orchard, but I didn’t have room for an entire orchard, so I settled for four dwarf apple trees. They are nothing like the giant apple trees that I remember from childhood, trees with apples so green, hard, and bitter that a bite or two could turn your mouth inside out and give you a stomach ache for a week. 

We planted four different varieties. I can’t even remember what they were except that one was Jonathan, in honor of my grandson, and one was Granny Smith. I studied the Stark Bro’s catalog all winter figuring out which trees cross-pollinate best and mature at different times so they would not all produce at the same time but stretch out over the entire apple season. 

As it turned out, the pollination problem didn’t really matter as the trees died one by one until only one tree was left, thank goodness. I say thank goodness because the volume of apples produced by the one tree is way more than any ordinary suburban homeowner can deal with. Apple trees produce more apples than the tree can support, and half of them fall off still green. The birds peck some of the remainders, the rabbits and squirrels eat a few, but there are bushels left to deal with. 

You can only eat so many apples: fried apples, apple pies, apple cobblers, apple dumplings, apple fritters, and everything else apple. I don’t have a freezer and I am sick of apples. I bought an apple cookbook, but I really had not intended to spend the rest of my life making apple sauce when I planted apple trees. I only wanted a few for eating. If I knew then what I know now, I would have planted a weeping willow. 

The tree does not understand that it is not supposed to produce apples without another tree to cross-pollinate with. I suspect it of fooling around with the crab apple tree. I was surprised to learn that you cannot plant an apple seed and expect to get the same sort of tree as the tree the seed came from. Each tree produced from seed is different from the parent, probably due to the unknown pollinator. 

Most apples from seeds are small and bitter, like the ones I remember from youth. A few by chance have desirable characteristics and those are cloned (actually, grafted) to produce an apple like the original tree. So, all apples of the same variety are clones and clones of clones. Apples are one of the oldest fruits, if not the oldest, in existence. That’s a lot of cloning. 

There are many hundreds of varieties, but the number is dwindling as older varieties fall out of favor and only a few supermarket favorites remain. Soon there will be only five varieties left, experts say. I can only think of a few apples that can be purchased in the grocery: Red and Yellow Delicious, Fuji, Gala, and the green and slightly tart Granny Smith, my personal favorite. Red Delicious is what most people think of when they think apple. Unfortunately, home-grown apples do not grow large, red and shiny with wax on them like the ones in the store.  

All those trees that Johnny Appleseed planted probably produced mostly culls and small green apples only fit for making hard apple cider. Apple cider was the alcoholic drink of choice in early times since it was fairly easy to make. Prohibition caused apples to be eaten fresh and gave them the healthy apple-pie image that they have today. 

I guess I should count my blessings instead of my apples and be thankful for the bounty, even if there is a bit too much of it. 

Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss

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The Real Thing



According to Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultant, the world’s most valuable brand now is Apple, not Coca-Cola. Imagine that little guy somewhere down the chain of command that is going to get the blame. Regardless the size of the corporation, someone always has to be the scapegoat.


Ring-ring-ring

Hello, Coca-Cola Marketing Department.

No, I don’t know how it happened, boss. Coke was number one for over a decade. Everyone loves a Coke. “It’s the real thing.” We made that slogan up ourselves, right here in the marketing department.

And now we’ve been displaced, reduced to a mere number six of the best-known brands in the world. It is downright humiliating. But most of the top 10 are technology firms. It is hard to compete with technology when they have the newest and greatest stuff first because they invent it.

No, I’m not trying to make excuses, boss, just trying to explain. You say the new iPhone sold millions already, huh? Well, consider the fact that the iPhone costs $1000 up and a 12 pack of Coke costs $3.99. If you look at it that way, we are selling a lot more than they are to earn a profit.

They are now selling iPhones like hotcakes in China? Well, we market all over the world too, but we are primarily an American company. Coke provides a little bit of home wherever you are in the world.

“I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, I’d like to buy the world a coke and keep it company.”

Okay, so they went by financial profits and influence of the product on people, not units sold.

Yes, the song is an oldie, but still a goody. Quit living in the past, huh? You are right, boss. We need to come up with something new and innovative, something that everyone wants, something more seductive than an iPhone. Great idea, but what?

We tried “New Coke.” Boy, was that a bummer. Three months and we had to bring back the old formula. People get mad when you mess with the Real Thing, but they seem to love it when Apple messes with the iPhone.

And don’t forget we came up with Coke Zero. It probably comes out of the same faucet as Diet Coke, but what does it matter? People like it. And there is Cherry Coke, and Vanilla Coke, and Lemon-Lime Coke and Caffeine-Free Coke.

Marketing didn’t come up with those? That was Research and Development?

Well, what about we change the color of the can from red to silver? Quit screaming in the phone. I was just joking… sort of.

Yes, I saw the New York Times, USA Today, and CNN. You don’t have to remind me. Apple first, Coca-Cola sixth. But remember, we were first for years. Doesn’t that count for anything? It doesn’t huh?

Well, we can get right on it, boss. We have come with some with some great ideas already. There is the iPhone app with the spinning coke bottle; it’s like playing spin the bottle. It brings out the social aspect of having a coke. And there is the Magic Coke Bottle app that is like the Magic 8 Ball. You shake and it answers your question. It’s a hoot.

Been done before? Not innovative? Well, I expect we will be coming up with something else for a better iTunes app any day now. You don’t like iTunes apps? You don’t want Apple to be successful because of our apps? Well, at the rate we are going, I’d say there isn’t much chance of that. Ha, ha, ha….

You are not laughing?

Well, at least we beat out Pepsi. Don’t say that word in front of you? Quit screaming! You have to put up a front and pretend not to mind that we sunk to number six.

Just remember, if it wasn’t for marketing, we would still be selling coke syrup out of a pharmacy. Marketing! That’s what made us what we are.

I really need to get off this iPhone now and get to work.

Yes, I have an iPhone? Don’t you? Doesn’t everyone?

I’m FIRED!?

That’s gratitude for you.

Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss
Updated 2022

Posted in Humor, Technology, Work Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

As Seen on TV

Do you ever get tempted by those TV commercials and become the proud owner of something you don’t need? You know the kind of commercial, “Hurry and buy now and we will send you two instead of one.”  Oh, you get the item, but it is always something of questionable quality that you would never buy in a store. You don’t need one, much less two.

Okay, I confess.

I took the bait yesterday and bought a comfy cushion — I mean two comfy cushions. They are foam with a jell cushion inside. Sounds pretty comfy, huh? That’s what I thought. It was expensive, $20 plus shipping and handling — but I get a second one for free, just for paying shipping and handling. I don’t know what I will do with a second one since I only have one bottom, but that’s beside the point.

It really was not as much of an impulse buy as it seems, honestly. My computer chair always seems to get hard after a while, regardless of the quality of the chair. I tried buying a seat cushion, but it was too small and didn’t work. I tried stealing the cushion off the rocking chair in the bedroom, which worked pretty well except the rocking chair is wood and really needs a seat cushion.

There must be a decent cushion I can buy somewhere, I thought. WHAM! There it was right before my eyes in a TV commercial. “I want that,” I thought, even before they gave the 800 number to call and even before I found out I would receive a second one for free. What a deal!

So, I ordered.

I can never write the 800 number down in time, but the web address was easy to remember. As it turned out, shipping and handling was $10 for each cushion, $20, exactly the price of the first cushion, so I didn’t exactly get anything for free. Of course, I didn’t realize that until I had already giving my credit card number and clicked the “buy now” button.

This is pretty expensive for a couple of cushions. I would never pay that much in a store regardless of how numb my bottom was. They didn’t say anything about returns if you are not satisfied. However, like most people I will probably keep them regardless. It is too much trouble to send things back.

I am looking forward to receiving my cushions in only 6-8 weeks. By the time they come, I will probably forget that I ordered them. I’m still trying to think of a use for the second cushion. Maybe I can give it to Honey, although he has not complained about his bottom getting numb. Of course, he has a new chair.

My old chair was so hard that I took his old one. It is a little bit softer. The main problem with his old chair is that it loses the pressure. I can adjust it to the highest position and by the end of the day, it is in the lowest position and my knees are under my chin.

When I get the new cushions, in only 6-8 weeks, I can go back to my old chair that is hard, but doesn’t lose pressure. I may even stack the cushions and use both of them to make it really comfy. See, I’ve got this all figured out.

Meanwhile, I saw the neatest expandable hose on TV. It is lightweight and shrinks up to nearly nothing when it isn’t being used. Buy one hose and you get a second one for free. I don’t really need a hose right now, but you can always use an extra hose sooner or later. Hurry while supplies last!

Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss

 

So, what did you buy that you didn’t need?

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Green Wheels

My car is now running on pure nitrogen.  Not in the fuel tank — they haven’t perfected that yet. I have nitrogen in my tires. Apparently, the technology has been around a while, but I didn’t know about it until my auto tech, Cindy, told me they had Nitro Fill.

It seems that race car drivers discovered that tires with nitrogen get more mileage and last longer than tires with regular air. One less pit stop makes a big difference to race car drivers, but whether the average driver needs to have tires filled with nitrogen remains a matter of debate. Some people say why spend the extra bucks as plain old air from the atmosphere is 80 percent nitrogen anyhow.

When Cindy suggested I switch to nitrogen, I couldn’t remember much about it, which shows how much attention I paid during science class. “Isn’t that explosive?” I asked, visualizing my car going up in a mushroom cloud during a fast takeoff.

“Oh, no, you are thinking of hydrogen,” she explained.

Well, that was a relief.

Actually, helium is the element I would really like to have in my tires. I could float away like a helium-filled party balloon or like Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang, the flying car in an old Dick Van Dyke movie. But helium can’t even keep a rubber balloon floating for very long before it passes through the rubber and the balloon goes flat.

Let’s get technical. The reason nitrogen is better in tires has to do with the size of the molecules in different gases. Nitrogen has fat molecules that can’t pass through the rubber tire as quickly as the skinny molecules of oxygen. I wondered why my tires kept getting low. I get them inflated and before you know it, the tire pressure warning lights are doing handsprings.

I really hate putting air in the tires myself. It involves getting down on some filthy parking lot or standing on my head while trying to measure tire pressure. Service stations have crummy air with water vapor that is really bad if it gets inside your tires, or at least that is what the nitrogen people say. With nitrogen, you can get them refilled at the dealership without feeling guilty or stupid.

Until now, I thought nitrogen was only good for fertilizing the garden or the lawn. It seems, however, that nitrogen comes in many different forms, including the gas in the atmosphere.  Using nitrogen in tires is supposed to reduce your carbon footprint and be good for the environment.

They are coming out with a lot of things to help the environment. The hydrogen that I can’t put in my tires can be put in my gas tank. I read an article about how Hyundai has developed a car that uses a hydrogen cartridge instead of gas. The hydrogen makes electricity and that runs the car. I’m not really sure I want to have a hydrogen bomb in the trunk, but I suppose it is no more explosive than the gasoline that we are all so fond of now.

I am going to hate missing out on the new tires that tweet when you reach the right pressure. Have you seen that ad on TV? I wouldn’t have to measure tire pressure any more. Hallelujah! It tells you when to quit. However, if they really want to invent something useful, why can’t they create a tire that uses carbon monoxide? Then my car could blow up its tires right from the exhaust pipe.

Anyhow, if you see a car with green wheels driving by, it will not be something new from Detroit. It will be me in my nitrogen chariot. I still think helium might be fun, though.

Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss

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Vacation from Hell – Part 3

On Friday I was awakened by a loud noise I did not recognize. Later, I found out it was some kind of vacuum cleaner that looked and sounded like a lawn mower and maintenance was vacuuming the parking lot. (I kid you not.) The kids upstairs were running and hollering and throwing ice cubes off the balcony. Mama was yelling at them, and the two dogs next door were going wild barking and jumping against the window. Situation normal.

I hurried to get dressed and take Dixie out before she went potty inside again. While outside, I found a snack machine and a microwave in the laundry room. But it is Friday, and the week is almost over. I have all my groceries and snacks from Walgreens now, so I fixed cereal for breakfast and ate snacks for lunch. Mo sneaked out early this morning and I’ve not heard from him since.

On Saturday he left before I woke up and there was no word from him all day long. I was supposed to know he was eating tacos supplied by the bridge club for dinner. Well, I’m a little slow but by 7:00 pm I knew he was not coming back, so I ordered dinner from Cracker Barrel. It took me about two and a half hours to get it delivered. I ordered a lot of food as I wanted enough for the next day too while ordering.

When I finally got the food and started to eat, you guessed it. Dixie got sick and I had to clean that up. This dog has been housebroken for 14 years and never does this at home. I was pretty fed up with it all by the time Mo came in. But he said he was not playing cards Sunday as everyone else was going home. So, we could do whatever *I* wanted to do. Hooray!

I thought it would be nice to go for a drive in Smoky Mountain National Park as the town was crawling with tourists and I didn’t want to shop for souvenirs. It was a nice drive even though the trees were not green yet and the azaleas were not bloomed. I didn’t see many of those wildflowers they were talking about on TV either.

When we got back, I had the leftover food from Cracker Barrel, so Mo walked to a restaurant and got food and I warmed up leftovers in the microwave that I found in the laundry room. Not to disappoint, Dixie once again went to the bathroom while I was trying to eat even though Mo had walked her before he left.

Something went haywire with the TV remote Saturday night and the TV would not turn off. In addition, some loudmouth people checked in next door and talked and talked until 3:00 am before finally shutting up, so sleep was hard to get. I finally got up and pulled the plug to turn off the TV.

I woke up Sunday morning with a migraine, took a migraine pill and went back to sleep. Mo took a shower and loaded his stuff in the car. I got up and took another migraine pill and finished packing. The traffic getting out of town was bumper to bumper, horrible. When we finally got home, Mo wanted to go to go out to eat.

Although I have not had a bath in a week and probably stink, and my migraine was coming back, I didn’t care. At last, I would have food on dishes instead of in Styrofoam boxes. But, while we were eating, Mo got sick and had stomach cramps, so we got “to go” boxes and came back home. The tension of playing cards 14 hours a day for 6 days, eating different food, and all the driving probably wore him out. I was sure he would recover in time to play bridge at the Senior Center Monday, however.

As it turned out, he was still sick Monday and had to go to the ER. It seems a lot of the people at the conference were sick and the Health Department is investigating. I knew he must feel really bad if he was willing to miss another bridge game. At the ER, they x-rayed and found a gallstone and recommended he have surgery. I guess there are worse things than spending a week alone in a motel room with a sick dog. If I was not such a nice person, though, I would call it karma.

Anyhow, the reason I wrote all this down is the fact that I usually journal trips and had plenty of time on my hands to do so. Also, in case he ever wants to go to another bridge convention, and I forget and think it might be fun, I can read this.

Copyright 2022 Sheila Moss

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