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Category: Satire

Strictly snarky observations about everyday events.

These Huddled Masses are Tired and Poor after Navigating Electricity Providers

“Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, “reads the inscription at the statue of liberty.

This motto could serve as the mission statement for electricity providers as well. 
We satisfy all qualifications; tired of being taken advantage of, poor from paying the monthly electricity fee and huddled trying to stay warm.

I’m tempted to call my doctor for a prescription for Xanax before I renew our annual electricity provider contract. I know I am going to flail and swear over the deceptive and sneaky, miniscule small print caveats.

We can choose our service providers, but that is small comfort when the choice is between stick-it-to-me or hello-sucker.

Now I know how a gambler feels when he/she is behind on payments to their bookie. Electricity providers are right up there with organized crime bosses. The only difference is State government sanctions the electricity  provider.

Armed with a spreadsheet, green highlighter and a realm of paper in the printer, and a giant bag of potato chips, I begin the exercise.

One might think it is simple to figure the price per kilowatt hour and make a decision. Not true, and this is where the games begin.

At first glance the rates don’t look too bad, the more kilowatts you use, the lower the rate. But wait! We don’t use that many. You’d think that would be a plus, right? Remember the scene in crime movies where the old guy who owns the candy store has to pay more and more for”protection” from the mob? Well, buying electricity is just like that.

By the time I wade through the electricity facts label my eyes feel like my feet when I postpone a pedicure. Now comes the fun part,finding out where they hide the base charge, user credit charge, and energy charge.

This discovery leads to acceptance; we are screwed six ways to Sunday. I call the provider whose website has the most colors and select that plan.

At the end of a laborious venture, I call the liquor store rather than the pharmacy. The liquor store has home delivery; the pharmacy does not.

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Pack Rat or Collector?

What is the difference between being a pack rat or a collector?

In spite of having recently purchased Roku, we are keeping our VCR and an ancient tv set that has its own VCR. One of us firmly believes we may need it one day.

During a recent reorganization, I unearthed a box with spare buttons. Most of them belonged to garments long ago consigned to Goodwill.

What would happen if I threw away the whole shebang?

I’m telling you, within seconds of the buttons becoming fodder for the recycle bin, my beloved would inquire if there were a spare button for the old jacket he swore he burned. That jacket is so ugly, our dumpster diver wouldn’t retrieve it.  A missing button on that jacket is a minor flaw.

He promises to organize and discard, but the man has serious issues when it comes to eliminating anything. There is no twelve-step program for this kind of retention obsession. At the supermarket, he manages to secure extra twist ties. He has managed to escape arrest, thus far for his petty crime. They are taking over the kitchen junk drawer. We could bungee off the roof with twist tie straps.

He has a lifelong love affair with paper. There is a file on his desk for every conceivable topic. He files most of the stuff under “loose ends” and “follow up.”

He clips newspaper items and prints online articles, but the information disappears. It refuses to cooperate and retreats mysteriously into a file known only to itself. A scanner and back up hard drive will never replace the manila file folders he clutches to his bosom.

He undeniably has a Tote issue. After spring cleaning, we agreed that the plastic Totes we have hauled all over the universe would go to new homes or the recycle bin.

That lasted two weeks. After the last family member’s relocation, he put out an APB calling for the return of all missing Totes, plus their lids. I have run out of places to store the totes. No one actually believes we have a beige, plastic sectional sofa.

I, on the other hand, methodically whittled down my assortment of vases and kept only the fifty that are unique. Organized by size, shape, and color, stored out of sight in their own armoire. I call my stuff collectibles; his treasures defy definition.

He prefers the term “collector,” refusing to accept the more accurate term pack rat. Currently, we are at an impasse, but we have agreed neither of us is comfortable watching “The Hoarders.”

Note: Originally published December 2011.
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Frantic Holiday Hype

Due to frantic holiday hype observance of Thanksgiving Day descended to serving as a prelude to Black Friday sales.

To begin with, misguided souls, bundled in fleece and thermal wear, sleep overnight on lawn chairs in retail parking lots while television reporters and cameras record the event.

Is it any wonder hyped up consumers charge stores like they are running with the bulls? They are overly caffeinated and desperate for a toilet.  Consequently, the rest of us feel like slugs or spendthrifts because we will pay more.

These antics produce stories for national and local newscasts. The day after Halloween, newscasters begin helpful hints on how to avoid the hazards of last minute shopping.

Under the guise of avoiding holiday stress, a grinning, giggly journalist begins a series of reports on how to survive. She is not old enough to have survived anything except puberty.

Why have we allowed the media to brainwash us into believing stress is a certain reaction to the holidays? We have more technology and conveniences at our fingertips than any other time in history.

No longer does hosting a holiday event involve fattening and slaughtering animals for food. Decorating is no huge ordeal with all of the retail options. No one gets punctured fingers stringing popcorn and cranberries.

To create more emotional landmines the endless articles about family dynamics proliferate during the holidays. Ranging from dealing with narcissistic family members; the difficult mothers in law; how not to relive your painful childhood memories; and how to revive your joyous childhood memories.

These touchy-feely suggestions are outmoded and there are obvious solutions to all of these issues.

• Stop watching television after Halloween.
• Shop online and enjoy Thanksgiving.
• Give up holiday decorating by declaring it environmentally irresponsible.
• Invite Mrs. Paul, Mrs. Smith, and Marie Callender for dinner.
• Skype and generous portions of white wine can render even the most obnoxious family member tolerable.

Hardcore traditionalist maybe horrified by these suggestions, but deep inside every woman is a holiday nonconformist waiting to emerge.

Note: Originally published December 2011

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Conflicting Science

Staying current with science and fashion is maddening these days.

Just when I think I’ve got it figured it out, a new study changes the rules.

A recent study, (probably covertly sponsored by the adult beverage industry) indicated the moderate use of an alcoholic beverage could stall memory problems and possibly decrease incidents of Alzheimer’s.

Another study indicated a small amount of alcohol consumed on a daily basis benefits the heart. Red wine reputedly has some health benefits. Beer may be helpful in slowing the advance of Osteoporosis.

A conflicting study (probably covertly sponsored by the religious right) indicated an increase in breast cancer in women who consumed one drink per day. The study concluded women should abstain or limit themselves to one alcoholic beverage per week. Clearly, breast cancer is to be avoided at all costs.

If I follow the new guidelines, are heart disease and dementia lurking around the corner?

Being slightly dim or having a minor hitch in your ticker is not a bad trade-off for being cancer free. On the other hand, one could do as one pleases, and wait for another study.

Fashion is a challenge, especially to those of us with generous body proportions. One fashion fix indicates hip-length jackets are best to mitigate a large booty. Other states we should cover up with a knee-length tunic or jacket.

This is clearly a no-win situation. Either the thing is exposed for the whole world to see, or it wobbles surreptitiously beneath a glob of fabric. A large following is nearly impossible to hide short of major surgery. Industrial strength Spanx tends to leave us breathless.

Hairstyles for round faces are especially troublesome. One stylist states short hair is best, while another says long hair lengthens the face. If your face looks like a dinner plate, you’re screwed anyway so wear a hat.

Pantyhose, a creation from the seventh circle of Hell, is making a comeback. Most people I know haven’t worn them since God was a boy. I wonder if their re-entry is not an evil plot by the Republicans to create jobs.

I have concluded my lifestyle changes will predicate that hopefully, I will be cancer free, but perhaps ditzier than usual. In case my family and friends do not recognize me, I will be the one in slacks, wearing close-toed shoes, sporting a hip-length jacket and topped by a purple hat.

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Note: Originally published November 2011
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Screw the Man Cave, It’s Time for Every Woman to Have Her Own She Shed

The revolution begins, and every woman should demand parity for the man cave…a she shed.

For some time now, the man cave has enjoyed prominence in home décor. Featuring a ginormous big screen tv, well-stocked bar, and a recliner; an enclave no self-respecting woman would ever want to visit.

While pretending the room doesn’t exist, wives surreptitiously place room deodorizers in strategic locations and close the door. The cleaning lady makes the sign of the cross and refuses to enter.

For generations, children have escaped to a tree house or playhouse for relief from adult interference, but for women, there was no place to escape. We wised up and created our own space; the she shed.

She sheds are located far from the man cave, kitchen and laundry room. Children are told to go to the important place; the man cave, if there is an emergency.

I don’t have a she shed but if I did,  it would be something like this:

There would be no tv;  soothing music, accompanied by the gentle trickle of a chocolate fountain, would replace the play by play.

No one would dare to disparage my luxurious daybed piled high with as many throw pillows as I want and a coverlet that is “a pain in the ass.”

My mini bar would have an unlimited supply of pinot grigio and white chocolate almond turtles.

Plants and flowers flourish would flourish, and unwelcome indoor fungus gnats would not.

I’m not sure if a she shed will fit on our patio, but I’m checking it out.

 

 

 

 

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Fun Facts About Venus and Mars

As long as there are batteries, label makers, and boxes, Venus and Mars will be planets apart.

When is it time to give a triple-A cell battery a decent burial? In our household, when remote devices balk, they undergo tortuous scrutiny. Mars shakes the batteries until their little hearts quiver. If this initial effort at life support fails, he proceeds to the battery tester. If there is a minuscule indication of life, the batteries survive for use in another unlucky device. In the meantime, the program Venus wanted to watch concluded hours ago.

The label maker indicates the battery is low, but Venus knows this is similar to the blinking yellow traffic light and keeps on labeling.

Venus waits patiently for the label to print. It huffs, puffs, and refuses to produce a label. Venus surreptitiously replaces the comatose energizers. Violá, a label makes an appearance. Mars hears the gentle tinkle of batteries hitting the waste receptacle and immediately rushes to resuscitate them in the battery tester. Again, they pass muster and join the inventory of iffy batteries.

Used boxes devour available storage space. Mars steadfastly maintains he must have all of these boxes. One never knows when a box will be required.

File folders, wire baskets and post it notes clog Mars desk. The overflow spills to adjacent bookcases and additional wire racks. He is a walking Wikipedia should he ever locate whatever could have been googled in seconds.

Advance planning with directions is a completely foreign concept to Mars. We have had some interesting travel experiences, If you don’t count the time we were lost in a really, really scary neighborhood in Matamoros, MX.

Venus does not own a battery tester. If devices requiring batteries do not function, she puts in new ones and watches a George Clooney movie.

Hide the label maker from Mars. The learning curve is too deep.

If the boxes don’t say “Prada”, they hit the dumpster.

Venus’ desk is neat and orderly. She scans important papers and saves on back up hard drive.

Venus prints travel directions after the scary experience in Matamoros, MX.

As long as there are batteries, label makers, and boxes, Venus and Mars will be planets apart.

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Note: Originally published May 2012. 

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Is Nanna A Bigot?

Is Nanna A Bigot?

This is a question voting age young adults might be asking if they have watched television journalist interview older people or more specifically old white people.

The recent ad on television, “You’ll Be there, I won’t” a satirical nudge to get young voters to the polls, while humorous, unfortunately, reinforces negative conceptions about older people.

Televised focus groups with a cross-section of regional voters conducted by an earnest-faced journalist typically include the area curmudgeon, usually male who is an avowed Trump supporter.  His female counterpart most often is a retired woman, who hasn’t changed her hairstyle since the Truman administration.

As an older white woman, it is presumed I am a Trump supporter, guilty by association, an assumption that fills me with outrage.

I can’t claim that I know multitudes of old people, but I know quite a few. 

None of them voted for Trump.

Most of them voted for Obama, both times.

None of the Nanna’s I know are racist.

Most are in favor of universal healthcare.

Many are pro-choice.

We are not in favor of a border wall.

We’ve seen the effects of fascism.

Most of us are in favor of legalizing marijuana. (Believe it or not, some older people smoke pot.)

We believe assault rifles belong on the battlefield. We grew up and lived most of our lives in an era before people were permitted to carry guns. Now we have church, school, mall, and road rage shootings.

We support separation of church and state, ” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

We couldn’t give a rip less about who someone marries or which bathroom they use.

Please dismiss any concern you might have about Nanna being a bigot.

If you hang around an older white person long enough there is a good chance you will find a liberal snowflake who wouldn’t be caught dead in a red MAGA ball cap.

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Are Bushy Beards the New Fashion Craze for Men?

If bushy beards are the new fashion craze for young men, I’m relieved to be out of the loop.

When our neighbor, who considers himself a “Mad Men” ad exec type, appeared with a scraggy crumb catcher I thought perhaps he was dealing with a personal tragedy.  His beard wasn’t a suave George Clooney number—but more like an Amish farmer. He seemed happy enough but the beard grew and grew and grew until he resembled a derelict moonshiner

I began to see more and more men abandoning the attractive stubble in favor of full beards. I wondered if I had stumbled into an alternate universe or even worse, I was hallucinating; the beginning of a downward aging spiral. When television commercials featured men with beards it was confirmation; I’m just out of step with current trends.

My hairstylist said full beards are the new deal (for men; if you are a woman see your aesthetician.)

My younger self swore she would never badmouth current trends. It is the kiss of death; a sure sign a woman was approaching cronehood; the crabby old female relative that finds fault with everything. The woman everyone avoids except at Christmas when people are well fortified from the wassail bowl.

I think the bushy beards hideous. Even George Clooney would have a hard time pulling off that look.

My younger self was a bit self-righteous. I see cronehood looming closer and I am at peace with that knowledge.

 

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The Ugly Chair

The time had come to say “good-bye” to the ugly chair. His discomfort was painful to observe. This was a difficult moment and he was going to have to find some way to get through it. His separation anxiety  ratcheted to an all time high.

His favorite chair and ottoman were being replaced; banished forever. A huge hole remained in the space they had once occupied, taunting him with their absence.

Shopping for new companion pieces was going to be difficult for him, but I would be sensitive and patient to ease the transition. I would try to disguise my glee at the opportunity to replace the Buick sized duo. I would diplomatically steer him to current options that featured comfort as well as style.

As soon as we arrived at the furniture store, my beloved headed straight for the recliners and I found myself in the ninth level of chair shopping hell.

His eyes lit up when he spotted a huge, dark brown number with massive overstuffed arms. The gimongous power cord peering from underneath the chair was a huge clue this was not furniture Nate Berkus would embrace.

The salesperson, obviously suffering from too much caffeine, could scarcely conceal her glee at an opportunity to unload the ugly devil on someone who fit demographics most likely to appreciate its benefits.

The chair did everything but make frozen margaritas. It reclined backwards at the touch of a button. She practically swooned as she demonstrated the chair tilting upward and forward, depositing its sitter upright, feet on floor with little effort.

Hubby informed perky salesperson; he did not require mobility assistance and left the store in a huff.

I am grateful to the overly zealous salesperson. Thanks to her, we are now the owners of a new chair that features comfort as well as style without a power cord.

Note: originally published October 2011. The new chair is showing signs of distress. Wash, rinse, repeat.

 

 

 

 

 

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Excellent Questions For Those Who Voted For Trump

Disbelief, followed by incomprehension surface when I discover someone voted for Trump. Some relationships are strained, but continue.

Family gets a pass – sort of. You still love them, but wonder what serious lapse of reason gripped them in the voting booth.

The  adage, “Show me who your friends are and I’ ll tell you who you are,” is etched in my mind. I do not have the right to tell anyone who they are. The other side of this homily is  I am someone’s friend and this has the potential to cast a taint on him or her.

The Japanese proverb, “When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends,” is a bit kinder to those of us with strong opinions.

John Pavlovitz is a writer, pastor, ad activist. In the past four years his blog “Stuff That Needs To Be Said”  has reached a diverse worldwide audience. A 20-year veteran in the trenches of  a local church ministry, John is committed to equality, diversity, and justice—both inside and outside faith communities.

I discovered an article written by John  that addresses how many of us feel about friends and family who voted for Trump. It is beautifully written and I’d like to share it with you:



You can read the remainder of the article on John’s website.

The piece is unbiased, balanced, politically correct and I hope John will re-post it as it is as relevant today as when he published it in 2016.

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