Two Faces of Christmas

It seems to me there are two kinds of people when it comes to Christmas. Which side of the fence are you on?

CHRISTMAS CONFORMIST:  Keep an alphabetized list and address Christmas cards early so they will be ready before you get busy. They can be mailed on the first of December.

GRANNY GRINCH: I considered sending cards, but forgot to buy them and don’t keep a list anyhow. After a few years of this, I only get cards from the dentist and plumber.

CHRISTMAS CONFORMIST: Buy Christmas wrapping paper after Christmas when it is on sale. Store it in a plastic container so you can find it when you need it. Nothing beats the fun of wrapping gifts in colorful paper and placing a pretty bow on top.

GRANNY GRINCH: Are you kidding? Wrap gifts? Wrapping paper became extinct when gift bags came into my life. Gift bags are the best invention that Santa ever made.  

CHRISTMAS CONFORMIST: Buy Christmas gifts all year long when you find things on sale. Then you can enjoy the excitement of shopping for a few items at the mall without being under pressure.

GRANNY GRINCH:  Getting mauled at the mall in the Christmas crunch is not my idea of fun.  I order online and let Google and Amazon do the walking.

CHRISTMAS CONFORMIST: Get the largest tree you can find and put it up before Thanksgiving. Artificial trees can stay up longer.

GRANNY GRINCH: What I’m waiting for is a pre-lit tree that also has the ornaments pre-attached and opens with a button,  like an umbrella. Until then my tree is getting smaller and smaller every year. By next year it may be gone entirely.  

CHRISTMAS CONFORMIST: Collectable ornaments make the Christmas tree special.  Try adding a few new ones each year. Or make your own and personalize them. Vintage ornaments also bring back special memories from previous holidays.

GRANNY GRINCH: Obviously you don’t have a cat. I spend most of the holiday chasing the cat out of the tree and picking up ornaments that she has pulled off the tree and knocked under the furniture .

CHRISTMAS CONFORMIST: Play Christmas music and bake some cookies. To really enjoy Christmas, you must get into the spirit and right mood.

GRANNY GRINCH: My Christmas spirit has been spirited away, right up the chimney with Santa.  I keep suffering though the hubbub and hullabaloo and manage to keep my sanity, or at least some of it. 

CHRISTMAS CONFORMIST:  Drive around the neighborhood and look at the outside light displays. Be sure to take the kids or grandkids.

GRANNY GRINCH:  The commercialization of Christmas has ruined it. Too many houses decorated with lights and choreographed with music; too many stores playing Christmas carols in October; too many Christmas commercials on television; and too many designer Christmas trees with coordinated ornaments.

CHRISTMAS CONFORMIST:  Give little hints about what you want for Christmas so you will be sure to get what you want.  You can also make a wish list at places like Amazon, or just ask family and friends for gift cards for your favorite restaurant or department store.

GRANNY GRINCH: I don’t want anything. I have everything I need. The best thing about Christmas is the Christmas candy. This year I’m giving myself a really great gift and take off from work.

CHRISTMAS CONFORMIST: Think Norman Rockwell, and Currier and Ives.  Keep your finger crossed and wish for snow. I LOVE Christmas! I only wish that the Christmas season lasted longer.

GRANNY GRINCH: Think Grinch, and Scrooge. Snow would be the last straw. All the planning and anticipation, all the getting ready, buying gifts, all the work, and in a day — it is over!  

Can I take down the tree and let the cat out of the basement now?

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

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A Christmas Tree Story

Dear Friends,

Thank you for the lovely Christmas card and for inviting us to your New Year’s Eve bash. I have been meaning to write, but we have really had a busy year.

We decided to have a real tree for Christmas instead of using an artificial one like we usually do. Decorating the Christmas tree has always been a favorite part of our holiday.

We didn’t know about looking for a tree that is fresh by bending the needles to see if they break. It was hard enough to find one with a trunk that wasn’t so crooked that the stupid tree would not stand up.

We were supposed to cut two inches off the trunk to keep it fresh, but you pay for those things by the foot. Why lob off $20 worth of the tree? We couldn’t find the saw and who wants to spend all evening sawing anyhow? We thought it looked okay the way it was.

I put some water in the tree stand when we finally got the thing standing up. Who knew a tree could drink so much water? It looked a little limp but we couldn’t run a hose to it in the house.

Did you know you can put an aspirin in the water to keep it fresh? Me either. I’m not Martha Stewart and I didn’t think it had a headache. I did, though, since by now needles were falling off the thing like rain.

I found some antique lights at a garage sale that were really nice. Somebody had probably torn off the UL label, but they worked just fine except for a few lights that blinked and sizzled a little. It didn’t matter to me.

I plugged all the lights sets together and put them on the tree. I know they say that you should only use three sets on one extension cord, but I couldn’t have extensions cords running all over the house. We would probably trip on them and knock the tree over. I used one extension cord and ran it under the rug where it would be out of the way.

It was a beautiful tree. Everyone agreed it was the prettiest tree we have ever had.

We are still not sure what happened. We were eating dinner on Christmas Eve when the smoke alarm went off. This time, believe it or not, it was not my cooking that did it. We thought it might be the candles on the table until we realized that smoke was coming from the living room.

Have you ever seen a forest fire?

Thank goodness for neighbors. They heard us outside in the snow screaming FIRE, FIRE and called 911. After the firemen left, we went to a motel and will stay here until the house can be rebuilt. We were not very happy about all our Christmas presents burning up, but the firemen said we were lucky as it could have been much worse.

When it was on the evening news, the news anchor said that fire departments get a lot of calls during the holiday season from people like us who set the Christmas tree on fire with unsafe lights. I’m glad we are not the only ones. Did you see the story on the front page of the paper? You probably didn’t recognize me in the picture with all the soot on my face.

Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know that we will not be celebrating Christmas this year. We plan to help out at the local soup kitchen since we now know what it is like to be out of house and home during the holidays. I don’t care if I never have another Christmas tree — ever!

We would love to come to your New Year’s Eve party, though. It will be nice to be with friends and celebrate after such a hectic year. Thanks for asking.

You are not planning on shooting off any fireworks, are you?

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Don’t worry, the part about the house burning is fiction. However, the safety precautions are real. Somehow people seem to remember a fictional story better than a lecture. Happy holidays!

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Blue Christmas

I am never sick– at least not in a viral sort of way. Moan and groan — I have the crud. It must be the coronavirus. I’m going to die! Don’t touch me! I’m contagious! I wore a mask, I stayed home, I did everything right. Just my dumb luck. Some people go out to eat, go on vacations, party with friends and yet I’m the one that gets sick. Life is not fair!

It happened pretty quickly. One evening my throat started getting sore. It hurt all night. By morning it was a sure thing. My head felt like a boom box, and my throat was a roaring fireplace. Nothing helped, not Tylenol, not Hall’s menthol cough drops, not salt water gargles, none of the usual home remedies.

I figured if I was sick enough to die, I was sick enough to go to the doctor. Of course, you can’t see a doctor when you are sick. You have to have an appointment and by the time he can see you, you are no longer sick.

So … enter Convenience Clinic. Yes, the one on the corner down near where Walmart used to be. The Convenience Clinic had real doctors in its former days. Now clinics have nurses playing doctor. And they are everywhere, mini clinics even in drug stores. I guess real doctors don’t want to waste their time treating sneezes and runny noses.

At this point I was not particular. I just wanted to see someone medical. I must say, the nurse practitioner was very thorough and professional. It didn’t really take a doctor to swab my throat and take my temperature. I think she actually checked me out better than the doctor usually does.

And if it is something really bad, the clinic will refer me to the emergency room saying they are not equipped for serious problems. Bad as I felt, I didn’t need an ER yet. I was shocked when they told me I had strep throat. I’ve never had strep throat in my entire life, never. But I have it now.

“So, how long will I be contagious?” I asked.

“Forty-eight hours after you start taking the antibiotics,” she replied.

“Then it isn’t the coronovirus?”

“No, you do not have the right symptoms, but we will do a test anyhow.”

“So, I guess I am not going to die after all.”

I didn’t want to make everyone else sick for Christmas. I got my antibiotics and went home to be stranded for 48 hours unless my test comes back positive. I suddenly remembered how I had put off my Christmas shopping until the last minute. This is why you shouldn’t do that, I thought, after it was too late.

I declared war on germs and got out my bottle of Lysol. I cleaned anything that hands touch, doorknobs, light switches, telephones, you name it. Strep is caused by bacteria, not a virus, you get it out of the air, just by being close to someone who sneezes or coughs. I don’t know where I got it. But a sore throat is not what I wanted for Christmas. Still, it could have been worse, much worse.

My time is almost up. Three more hours and I won’t be contagious any more. I can go shopping. Thing is, I’m too sick. The crud has gone to my head and I can’t breathe. And my stomach is acting up. I feel worse instead of better. I think I’ll go back to bed.

Santa came early at my house, and if this is my present, I must have been really naughty this year. On the other hand, at least he didn’t bring me the coronovirus.

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss
Revised 2015

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All I Want for Christmas

One year my little granddaughter came in smiling with her two front teeth missing. She was at that age when the baby teeth go and the permanent teeth come in.

“Where did your teeth go?” I asked. Silly question.

“I went to the dentist and he pulled them.” She replied.

“Do you know that song ‘All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth’?”

She said that she did. Bless her heart. Her permanent teeth were starting to erupt and it seems that the thing to do these days is to get the baby teeth extracted so the others do not come in crooked or behind the baby teeth. Actually, what she probably needed for Christmas was her dental bill paid, but we won’t go into that.

When I was a kid, baby teeth were pulled by tying a string to a door knob and the other end to the tooth and slamming the door. This seems a bit brutal now that I think of it. I think I wiggled and wiggled my loose teeth until they finally were loose enough to fall out.

I asked her if she went to sleep for them to be pulled and she said “No, he just pulled them.” I think maybe she just doesn’t remember or else they were really loose already. Whatever, they were gone and she was okay with it.

These days it is hard to know what to get people for Christmas. Most of the people on my list already have their two front teeth and want gift cards or money. Seems so crass, but why give them something they don’t want? Actually, I really like gift cards myself.

My grandson long ago got his two front teeth and found out about the Santa myth. Usually, he wants gift cards, which he calls “credit cards.” This year, however, he came up with something better, an upgrade on his cell phone.

They tell me the popular gifts this year will be electronics: iPhones and iPads. Boy, the price of Christmas keeps going up, just like the price of dentistry. If they get an iPad this year, it makes me wonder what they will be asking for next year. But I suppose the thing to do is worry about one year at a time.

Little kids like my granddaughter are easy to buy for. They like everything and the assortment of toys is unending. She probably has a list for Santa already. That’s good, since her teeth will have to be a gift from nature, not from Santa.

Christmas has gotten way out of hand. In spite of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the endless ads online and catalogs that come in the mail, people say they already have everything they want. I guess that means everything but an iPad.

What I really need the most is for everything in the house to quit breaking at the same time. The septic tank backed up, the washing machine broke down, the car had to have a battery, and the phone quit working, all in the same few weeks. That is not to even mention how the chandelier fell out of the ceiling and crashed on the table for no reason at all.

Maybe Santa could bring me some better luck. Either that or he should avoid my house altogether as he may break a leg – or lose his two front teeth.

If you know of a way to bring good luck to your home, please let me know. In the meantime I’m trying to think of a way to get my granddaughter to sing “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” so I can make a video. Now that would truly be a gift that is priceless.

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss

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Barefoot Barbie


I went to Walmart to check out the selection, which wasn’t the greatest. What does a grandma know about buying a Barbie doll? I selected a pretty-faced, blonde called Beach Party Barbie and a package of assorted Barbie clothes. So far I had a Barbie investment of under $25.

Lately my granddaughter has been coming to visit. While I keep a supply of all-occasion toys, I found that I had a gross deficiency in toys geared toward little girls. I needed to add a few girly-girl toys directed toward her more feminine interests.

Enter Barbie: All little girls like Barbies, don’t they? Oh, I know some people hate Barbie, saying she looks anorexic, teaches the wrong ethical values, and is all about shallow values like looks and clothes.

Barbie may be fixated on fashion but otherwise seems relatively harmless. She is just a toy, not likely to kidnap a child and drag her away to New York for life in the fast lane.

Then the ugly truth about Beach Party Barbie was revealed. When granddaughter tried to dress her up, none of the tiny shoes fit. It seems Beach Party Barbie is a misfit in the Barbie world. Unlike other Barbies with tiny pointed feet that fit only in stiletto high-heel shoes, Beach Barbie has big flat feet. Putting shoes on her is like trying to slip Cinderella’s glass slipper onto one of the mean stepsisters.

We decided to name her “Barefoot Barbie” and hope she didn’t mind. Surely they make shoes to fit this Barbie, I thought. I went to eBay to check and found that big-footed Barbie had no shoes of her own, but had to wear Ken’s shoes.

So, I ordered more dresses, long ones so the big flat feet wouldn’t show. Add another $10.50 to the Barbie bill. The dresses came, miniature evening gowns in all colors. What does a few extra dollars matter when the clothes are so cute?

But, what fun is it to dress-up a Barbie that has no shoes?

Granddaughter brought dolls from home to keep Barefoot Barbie company. For all her genetic defects, she was generous and shared her wardrobe with the other girls without complaining. Of course, they had tiny Barbie feet that fit perfectly in the shoes that didn’t work for the misfit Barbie.

Poor Barefoot Barbie!

I decided to buy some Ken shoes so she would have something to wear. Add another $14 for 25 pairs of assorted Ken shoes, a steal at the price. The Ken shoes arrived, a wardrobe bonanza. Some of them fit and some didn’t. Barefoot Barbie now had tennis shoes and clogs to wear, not the high-fashion high-heels of her Barbie sisters, but, hey, she isn’t the jealous type.

Meanwhile, I spotted another batch of cute Barbie butterfly dresses — more money into the bottomless Barbie fashion pit. It never ends. Where did I ever get the idea that getting a Barbie for a child was a good idea? I’ll soon have a fortune invested in clothing for these tiny plastic humanoids and the entire wardrobe fits into a plastic baggie.

I don’t know whether manufacturing the flat-footed Barbie was a mistake, a response to criticism of the high-heeled icons, an attempt to make her more realistic, or simply a ploy to snag unwary grandmas that don’t know beans about Barbie.

Maybe I can cut down some of those tennis shoes with manicure scissors. But, I’m wondering what to do with all the extra Ken shoes, the tiny ice-skates, roller skates, and hiking boots? Maybe I should get a Ken doll to dilute all the estrogen, but then I would need to buy outfits for Ken.

Next time I want to buy a toy, will someone please remind me that Barbie does not teach children the right values? Also, if anyone thinks Barbie looks anorexic, they should see my pocketbook since she came to live with me.

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss

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Over the River and Through the Woods


Over the river and through the woods

What ever happened to “Over the river and through the woods to grandfather’s house we go!”?

I would like to go to grandfather’s house for Thanksgiving too. “Potatoes and cranberries cooked to a turn and biscuits as light as a breeze,” or something like that. “Gravy boats swimming and glasses a brimming with cider, as much as you please.” I suppose it is just another one of those Norman Rockwell paintings that we try to live up to.

Now I’m a grandmother, but when they come over to my house for Thanksgiving there is no river or woods, only an Interstate highway, and there is absolutely nowhere at all to park the horses and sleigh.

I used to actually cook a giant turkey – the kind that cooks all day and is raw until the pop-up button pops, at which time the turkey is immediately overdone and dry as cardboard.

Gravy is sometimes more successful than it is at other times. Eventually, I just quit worrying about lumps. I learned how to secretly strain the gravy while no one was looking so it was as smooth as silk.

Stuffing is something I’ve never liked or understood. Soggy bread, all squished up and full of sage. Yuck! But I make it anyhow because other people seemed to like the stuff. It did make the house smell nice while it was cooking.

Mashed potatoes were the real kind, not instant potato flakes. I blended them with a portable mixer instead of a potato masher. Add too much milk and they are thin and bluish. After a few years of blue potatoes, I decided that instant potatoes were just fine.

Green beans like mama used to make were cooked in a slow cooker. None of those crispy, half-cooked, steamed green beans. Southern style green beans are cooked for hours and are full of bacon grease, of course. A vitamin couldn’t possibly survive.

Every year I threatened to abandon sweet potatoes. Too much trouble. However, due to a mutiny in the kitchen, I was overruled and forced to cook them or go to the gallows. The best kind are candied with plain sugar water instead of being sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Cranberry sauce? It must be something left over from the New England Pilgrim days. Just to be proper, I open a can of the goo for my family to ignore and then throw it away after the holiday.

I’ve never made a pumpkin pie in my life – would pumpkin bread work okay? Pumpkin pie is another non-favorite. Sweet potato pie looks the same but tastes different. Practically any kind of pie at all will do since everyone is too full of turkey to eat it anyhow.

Yes, I would like to go to grandfather’s house for Thanksgiving and let grandmother do the work. The thought of cooking all this food myself doesn’t excite me any more.

This grandmother ordered a pre-cooked turkey dinner this year.

“Over the river and through the woods to Kroger’s” does not have a nice ring to it, but it sure beats spending the entire day in the kitchen. That makes it holiday music to my ears.

Copyright 2007 Sheila Moss

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Kitchen Man

My son decided to bake cookies. He doesn’t usually cook, so I’m not sure what got into him this particular time. I think he was really hungry for cookies and couldn’t talk his sister into baking them. Chocolate chip cookies are a powerful incentive.

He used to cook at a restaurant in one of the odd jobs he had while finding himself. Now that he no longer works as a cook, he likes to pretend that he doesn’t know how to cook any more. I think it is one of those male ego things. They want to say that anything they are too lazy to do is “woman’s work.”

I decided the best thing for me to do was to stay out of the kitchen before he decided that mom might be talked into making cookies if he pleaded amnesia. Not a chance. I passed along the family recipe and told him, “These are the ones Grandma Moss used to make.”

After the mixer quit running and I thought it might be safe, I went into the kitchen to get a drink of water and check out the damage. He was throwing the handle of my big wooden spoon into the trash can. Obviously inferior, it couldn’t stand up to his mixing skills.

“It is okay to mix them with your hands,” I offered.

“I’m not putting my hands in that stuff,” he declared.

It was time for me to return to watching TV. It was too late to save the spoon anyhow.

Later I slipped into the kitchen again for another peek. He had finished mixing and was dropping batter by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. They looked awfully close together. Making cookies is not like grilling steaks. They spread when they are cooking.

“I’m almost done,” he told me. “I’ve finished mixing them.” But, mixing is only half the work in cookie baking. The real work is baking them, batch after batch. I resisted the urge to say anything as I didn’t want him to get the idea that cooking can be done better by a woman than a man.

“Do you think there is something wrong with him?” my daughter whispered. “I’ve never seen him bake anything before.”

“He has probably been watching Chef Ramsey on TV,” I assured her. Men just pretend they can’t cook. Why not, if they can get someone else to do it?

So far, so good — the smoke alarm has not jumped off the wall and committed suicide yet. Funny, though, I don’t smell cookies baking. Against my better judgment, I decided I’d better check the situation again.

The light was out and all was quiet. I flipped the switch. The cookies were done except for the last sheet which was still cooling in the pan. The sink was full of dirty pans and dishes. No wonder he turned out the light.

He was in his room lying in bed resting. Apparently, by the time he finished baking, he was too tired to eat them.

“Are you done?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied.

I began washing the pans that would not fit into the dishwasher. I would need the kitchen tomorrow and couldn’t function with dirty dishes everywhere. I wonder who he thought was going to clean up the mess? Elves?

I must admit that the cookies looked really good, though. He better watch them or they will disappear just like the batch that his sister made last week. Somehow, cookies always disappear and no one admits eating them, I thought, as I helped myself to a large one.

Yes, he could cook just as well as a woman. Now if I could only convince him that a man can also wash dishes just as good as a woman — maybe even better.

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss

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Raleigh? Really?

“Raleigh is one of the country’s smartest cities,” exclaimed my honey, reading from the computer. “They are one of the four cities in the U.S. with the most educated people,” he continued. “It says so right here in the Yahoo news.”

“Oh, yeah? If they are so smart then why do they smoke so much?” I asked. Sometimes my mouth is faster than my brain. When I think of Raleigh, Durham, or Winston-Salem, I tend to think of cigarette manufacturing and assume that people consume what they make.

It seems, however, that cigarette smoking fell into disfavor and cigarette manufacturers fell into hard times. So cities like Raleigh reinvented themselves and became technology and healthcare centers drawing from nearby universities like the University of North Carolina and Duke.

Who knew?

As it turns out, North Carolina is not even one of the states with the most smokers, at least not according the statistics I was able to find. So much for that theory.

“So what city is the number one smartest city?” I wanted to know.

It’s Washington, D.C. The smartest people in the country are the ones running the country. That was reassuring for a while, until I realized it is not necessarily the politicians that are smart, it is the contractors, lobbyists, and lawyers, those attempting to influence the policy makers. Washington attracts people with degrees because they are the ones trying to change government.

Of course, I then wondered about my city. We have never been especially known for having the smartest people in the world in Tennessee, and constantly fight our redneck image. Nashville was not on the list of the ten smartest cites, just as I figured. However, it was not on the list of the ten least smartest either, those with the lowest education – but Memphis was.

Strangely, at least to me, places like Las Vegas and Orlando were also low on the scale of people with higher education. It seems that these are cities that cater to tourists and draw lower-educated people to work in less skilled jobs. The smart people are those who visit, but not those who stay.

Nashville is somewhere in between. On one hand we are an entertainment Mecca, drawing tourists in with the country music business. On the other, we are a healthcare and research center with large universities. Before we were Music City, we were the Athens of the South. Maybe we are somewhere in between now, maintaining a balance.

But there is still that troublesome tobacco thing. Southern states tend to have the most smokers and Tennessee is right there among them, puffing away, with even more tobacco users than North Carolina. Washington, of course, ranks pretty low in tobacco usage.

I don’t know why I read and get caught up in these studies. Do they really mean anything? They simply show with numbers what we know or suspect to be true anyhow. And if the numbers vary, there is always an explanation of why.

But, if the politicians are not making the statistics for education climb in Washington, I would feel much better if it was the Department of Defense, rather than lobbyists and lawyers.

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss

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Stormy Weather

It started off as usual, the morning routine, the commute to work, the office tasks, with the only thing unusual being a trip to the employee clinic where I get allergy shots. Nothing exciting around there – that’s for sure.

I left the building to walk across the street to the clinic. As I stood waiting for the light to change, I noticed a black cloud in the far distance.

“Looks as if we might get some rain,” commented an elderly gentleman also waiting for the light.

“I was thinking the same thing.” I agreed.

“No point in going back for an umbrella as far away as that cloud is,” though I vaguely remembered something about thunder showers on the TV weather that morning.

I signed in at the clinic and sat down to wait. Others people came in mumbling about how dark it looked outside. I began to get a bit nervous. “I wish they would hurry up so I can get out of here before the rain comes.”

It was only a matter of minutes, but it seemed like hours before they finally called my name. As soon as I was done, I headed back, in spite of the fact that I was supposed to wait for 20 minutes before leaving. I didn’t have 2 minutes to spare, much less 20.

When I came to the glass doors going outside, I couldn’t believe my eyes. In a matter of mere minutes, the bright sun was gone and an ominous darkness prevailed.

I better run.

I hurried, certain I still had time to make it back before the rain began – certain but wrong. I got to middle of the street and the bottom fell out. The rain began to pour. I ran to the closest building and huddled in the doorway with all the other people huddled there.

“I can’t stand here forever. It could be hours until it decides to stop.” I decided to make a dash for it.

Lightning flashed and thunder crashed. The rain began blowing in sheets. I could feel it soaking my shirt and my shoes were swamped. Water was trickling into my eyes and as I brushed it away, I realized my hair was soaked.

Why didn’t I wait? Why didn’t I take an early lunch hour and stay until the rain stopped? A monsoon poured down on me. It must be a tsunami. That much water couldn’t come from the sky.

My hair was dripping, my clothes drenched, even my underwear was wet.

The security guard gave me a suspicious eye but let me pass when I got back. I tried to sneak onto the elevator, but wouldn’t you just know that someone who knew me would get on.

“Gee,” she commented, “Was it really that important to get back to work?”

“I love this place,” I said sarcastically. “Can’t keep me away.”

I sneaked into the ladies room where I tried to dry my hair with paper towels. It was pretty hopeless. I was going to be wet for a while. I returned to my desk and no one seemed to even notice. Hard to believe how involved people are in their own lives.

I remembered the tee shirt in my drawer, the dry tee shirt that I brought for emergencies like coffee spills. If this isn’t an emergency, I don’t know what is. The dry shirt helped a lot, and so did the sweater that I keep around for chills.

My hair began to dry. My polyester pants had not absorbed to much water.

A co-worker came by. “You won’t believe what happened to me,” she said. “I got caught in the rain. I had to go in the drugstore and buy an umbrella.”

Seems I’m not the only one around here that misjudged the cloud. She didn’t look very wet. Should I tell her what happened to me?

Nah, I didn’t want to steal her thunder.

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss

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iPhone is Not for Dummies


“Open it.” He said, handing me a small box.

It isn’t my birthday and it is too early for Christmas. The box had an apple with a bite out of it on front. Even I knew what that logo meant. And when I opened it, there it was — a shiny new black iPhone.

I’ve never really been a gadget person. Some people have to have the newest and latest electronic item as soon as it is released. When the iPhone first came out, we had to go to the Apple store and stand in line with the other early innovaters so Honey could get one on the first day.

But here it was, the future staring me right in the face — ready or not.

The guy at the phone store had transferred my phone directory already and had it ready to go. Go where, I wasn’t quite sure. I figured turning it on was a good place to start. I pushed the only button and the phone came to life. “Slide to start,” it said on the phone, so I did and up popped a screen like a mini computer.

“Where’s the owner’s manual?” I asked.

“That little 10 page pamphlet?” How hard can it be if it takes only 10 tiny pages to explain? They seemed to assume you were somewhat technically savvy. Like most computer manuals, it didn’t make much sense. I decided to try and figure it out myself and things went better.

I found a tiny keyboard where I could type text messages or email. But the keys were so tiny and my fingers so large. I could not get it to type the right letters. After typing the letter before, the letter after, and the letter above, I finally figured out that if I lined a key up with my hangnail, it would type the right letter. This is going to be some slow going, I thought.

I found out the browser is called Safari, not Internet Explorer. You can tell I’m not an Apple person. Anyhow, I was able to check my email with the help of my hangnail and the backspace.

I really didn’t see the point when I had a computer at home with a screen big enough to see. I supposed I would learn to love it. Everyone else seems to. And Honey was so pleased with himself for thinking of it that I couldn’t disappoint him by being too dumb to use it.

I eventually figured out how to make a call with it. Sometimes I hit the wrong name in the directory, and had to explain I was breaking in a new phone.

I finally figured out how to make the tiny web pages large enough to read, though it really seemed like more trouble than it was worth unless you are really desperate to read a web page. Actually, I learned this from the TV commercial which showed how to pull it in two different directions to enlarge.

“Can I borrow your iPhone?” asked my grandson when he found out I had one.

“What for?” I asked.

“My friend and I want to make a video.” he said.

I knew it had a camera, but this thing makes videos? I finally figured out that feature. At least I am as smart as a fifth grader.

And now, 10 years after the fact and many iPhones later, I’m as addicted to an iPhone as everyone else and can’t imagine life without one.

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss

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