Would you like your receipt?

I remember the days when you could go into a store and order a cup of coffee or buy a pack of gum and the clerk would just hand you a receipt.

But sadly, the world has changed. Now, many establishments offer you a choice, a decision to make. It seems simple enough. It’s a yes or no question.

“Do you want your receipt?”

I don’t know why this is so hard for me. I’m prepared for the paper versus plastic debate. I know whether I’m paying cash or credit. I’m ready to answer “no” when they try to sign me up for their rewards program.

But for some reason I can’t decide if I need that little piece of paper. I stand there, with my mouth hung open, “uh…. yes … no, wait.” I look to the other customers for a signal. What do you guys think? “Um.. No. Hold on. Yes, I want it.”

It’s even worse than the “would you like the receipt with you or in the bag” question. I don’t know. Either hand it to me or stuff it in the bag. I really don’t care. And maybe that’s why I have such a problem with the question. I guess I really don’t care. It’s usually asked by a fast food type restaurant and I know I’m not planning to return the veggie burrito I just scarfed down. Therefore, do I need the receipt? I still don’t know.

So, I make random, haphazard decisions, clearly based on whim. Sometimes, it’s a yes. Sometimes it’s a no. But, I can’t say that I’m comfortable with the decisions I’m making.

See, this is what happens when I say no: I watch as the receipt is ripped from the register, crumpled in the hand of cashier and then tossed into the trash beside them. I stifle a gasp. Fear runs down my spine. What if I really do need that receipt? How will I know they didn’t over charge me? What if there is super-secret information on that receipt that can now be harvested and used against me by the coffee making people?

But then this is what happens when I say yes: Receipts upon receipts pile up around me.

Now, instead of sitting in the trash at the local Starbucks, they’re lingering in my purse.

They take up residence in purses I haven’t used in years.

There’s even more in this purse, than in my current purse.

According to the plethora of receipts, I haven’t used this purse since June, 2011.

Some of them even get to live in this ceramic pot.

I don’t know why some grocery store and coffee receipts are more special than others, but they are. That is why they get crammed in the ceramic pot with the coupons I may or may not use and a birthday card from 3 years ago.

So, I fee like I need a plan, a strategy. Should I answer “yes” across the board? Or give a “no” if it’s less than $10? Less than $20? Maybe a “yes” for all goods from Starbucks, so they can’t harvest that super-secret information about me?

Or, I can just continue what I’m doing.

I don’t know. It’s just too stressful. Retailers, please, just make the decision for me. Just give me the receipt. And don’t you dare ask me if I want it printed or emailed.

Advertisements

What does getting older have to do with Top Gun?

deadline

Image courtesy Kalexander2010 via flickr.

I’ve known for a while that I’ve gotten old. I call it Old Age Awareness and there are obvious clues…

–When I go out, everything and everyone seems too loud. But at home the TV is never loud enough.

–Then there’s this scenario:

My husband: Do you want to watch a movie?

Me: Looks at the clock and realizes this must be a joke. It’s already 9:00 p.m.!

–And this happens more often than it should: Wait, how do you spell ‘hello’ again? No, that can’t be right.

At least one of these little reminders pops up on a daily or weekly basis.

Then there are other clues. The ones that crop up when you are in the presence of someone much younger than you, who by the way is very adept at pointing out how old you are.

Example:

Much younger cousin: We’re going to see Macklemore tonight.

Me: What’s a Macklemore?

Much younger cousin: He’s a singer.

Macklemore

Yep. This is him. I hear he likes to go thrift store shopping. (Image courtesy San Francisco Foghorn via Flickr CC 2.0)

Me: Oh. Never heard of him.

Much younger cousin: Yeah. *Giggles and points at me* It’s because you’re old.

Me: Sighs and decides to Google Mackelmore when I get home. A few minutes later I can’t remember what I was supposed to Google. An hour later I remember and decide to write it down, but I can’t find my quill and parchment.

Well, the latest clue that jumped up and smacked me in the face had to do with movies. Sure, I already knew I was out of touch with most of the new movies out there. The only reason I’ve seen Bridesmaids and The Hangover is because my younger cousin bought me a DVD player (Ha! I almost typed VCR) and then gave me her movies.

And I have a problem with most big budget action movies made today. Hold on, let me go get my cane so I can wave it in the air all angry like. This is what I’m thinking when I watch these movies: This movie relies too heavily on special effects. Where is the character development? I don’t even care about these characters. The computer animation is too much. It’s taking away from the story. Remember when the movie had a plot? It wasn’t just about the computer animated three-headed, mind reading, furry but also scaly, snail who types 80 words per minute. Ugh. How am I supposed to believe any of this is happening if the graphics are too real?

But this latest whack with the “you’re old stick” came from my much younger cousin’s failure to have seen, and subsequently fallen in love with, the movie Top Gun. Wait, what??

Nope, he’s never seen it. I know, I know. It’s like saying you’ve never seen Casa Blanca or Gone With the Wind. (They’re both on my to be watched list)

I was gutted. How can someone not have seen a movie that was so iconic? So brilliant? A movie that factored so significantly in my life. I don’t care that it was made almost a decade before he was born.

Top Gun

Image courtesy pculter via Flickr CC SA 2.0)

It’s the movie that gave us Maverick and Goose. Oh, Goose. I still weep for you.

The movie that gave us lines like:

“I feel the need… the need for speed.”

Sheer poetry, I say.

AND

“You can be my wingman any time.”

“Bulls**t! You can be mine.”

Hold on, let me wipe the single tear from my eye.

AND

“Talk to me Goose.”

The simplicity of the line is what gets me. It says so little, yet says so much.

The movie also gave us Kenny Loggins’s Danger Zone. A shiver runs up my spine when the opening sequence of the movie plays.

Yes, I’ve been known to act out the flight deck signals as the opening credits roll. Or when Danger Zone happens to find itself on my iTunes playlist. How can you not?

Navy shooter signals launch

The signal to launch. (Image courtesy the US Navy via Wikimedia Commons)

Jennifer Windram recreating top gun

My re-enactment. It’s probably not regulation, but it’s the only yellow top I had.

US Navy

The signal to hold position. (Image courtesy the US Navy via Wikimedia Commons)

Yes, we have a lot of hot sauce in the house. My husband loves the stuff.

Navy aircraft carrier

The signal it’s okay to launch. (Image courtesy US Navy via defense.gov)

DSC05901

This one just reminded me (again) how old I was.

But alas, my dear, sweet, much younger cousin has never experienced the cinematic wonder that is Top Gun. And I wonder how many other young people are out there, walking the city streets, with no understanding of what it truly means to be the best of the best.

I might be old, and unable to remember where I put my keys, but to me Top Gun will always be about more than fighter planes.

Disorganization: The result of hoarding, procrastination and simple laziness

This is a warning to all Type A personalities, neat freaks and the uber-organized. What you are about to see might cause heartburn, increased blood pressure or the irresistible urge to whip out your label maker.

My very talented husband recently built mismatched (but still matching) nightstands for our bedroom. See:

handmade circular nightstand by Logan Windram

Here is my husband’s new nightstand.

White handmade nightstand by Logan Windram

And here is mine. Notice the nice big drawers for storing things.

This immediately creates two conflicting emotions:

Excitement – Hey, I just got a brand new, handmade, nightstand to replace the bulky, cheap, mass-produced one that I had for years. Yay me!

Dread – Hey, I just got a brand new, handmade nightstand that now needs to be filled with the contents of my former bulky, cheap, mass-produced nightstand.

This is a problem because:

1. I’m a procrastinator (you all know that). Why do today, what can be done tomorrow?

2. I’m a bit of a hoarder. Hey, I might need that Betamax VCR one day!

3. I don’t use traditional techniques like filing, sorting or categorizing to organize my things. I like to haphazardly stuff objects here and there. Secretly, I think this boils down to laziness.

I’ve included a few pictures so you can understand the full extent of the problem:

So, here is one of the drawers from my old nightstand. Note the complete lack of order. You might also note that I collect boxes of various heartburn medications.

Inside unorganized nightstand drawer

Here is a close up of the ooey-gooey inside. See how some of the items are stained red. That’s because I spilled NyQuil in the drawer a couple of years ago and then just let it dry. You’ll also note that I have decided I must keep a single pink balloon, tire levers for a bike and post-it notes in the nightstand–should I ever need to inflate a balloon, flag something or … I’m not really sure what the tire lever does… in the middle of the night.

Close up of old nightstand drawer

And the problem is not just with the nightstand drawers. It has infected the whole house:

First, the living room end table drawer. Contents include: various chargers, cat toys, a remote control, a piece of copper pipe and travel brochures from a trip we took over a year ago.

DSC05874

Next, our wine rack drawers. This one has cat nail clippers, napkin rings, wine charms (hey, those actually make sense here), toothpaste and expired (I think) gift cards.

DSC05875

The second wine rack drawer has a watch I haven’t worn in over seven years, batteries, some screws, and a random key. And by the way, the mint boxes are empty.

DSC05876

And lastly, our linen closet. (Yes, that’s our coffee maker on the top shelf. Don’t you keep your coffee maker in the linen closet?) I won’t even go into detail here. We’ll just call it a disaster and leave it at that.

DSC05877

Often this method of storing things works just fine: Of course I know where the ballet tickets are. They’re in the wine rack with the empty box of mints, next to the cat’s old rabies tags.

But then sometimes this happens: Where is my new credit card? I know I left it in this pile of address labels, paper Christmas ornaments and old flight itineraries.  Proceed to tear house apart and accuse spouse of throwing it away. Find it two years later under the sofa cushion.

Now, I will say there is one drawer in our house that is always meticulously organized. And, no, it’s not my husband’s nightstand drawer. Although, that one is pretty organized too… It’s our spice drawer.

DSC05882

Logan added this awesome spice drawer to one of our cupboards a couple of years ago.

DSC05884

See how all the jars are neatly in place and all the spices are labeled. They’re even alphabetized!

And in case you’re wondering, I started this project a week ago. The contents of one drawer has been emptied, organized and neatly placed in the new drawer. The other one is still sitting on the living room floor.

How to start and manage a blog (In the Real World)

computer cat

Image via Wilson Afonso via Flickr Creative Commons.

Day 1: Begin with the realization that you don’t spend enough time sitting on your behind, staring at a computer monitor. Then, conclude that the best way to remedy this problem is to say to yourself: “I think I’ll start a blog.”

Day 3: Figure out what the heck goes into creating a blog and spend a ridiculous amount of time deciding on the perfect shade of pink for your background.

Day 4: Become uncharacteristically indecisive and continue to tweak the background color and header image until you have them just right.

DSC04450

Maybe this one… No. Not enough color.

DSC04456

Now it has too much color.

DSC04451

Maybe this one? No. It doesn’t seem right either. Perhaps I should take a few more photos…

Day 21: Now that the blog’s appearance is finally right, you begin to think about your blog content. Hmmmm….. what the heck are your going to write about?

Day 23: Realize there are all these blog memes out there and you want to participate in all of them. Then, being the realistic person you are, you whittle it down to Teaser Tuesday and Wordless Wednesday, and then two other posts a week. You can post four times a week. It will be easy. You even promise yourself that you will keep to your blog schedule, with the hope of having your blog posts typed and ready to go ahead of schedule.

Day 25: Become super psyched about your new blog and its awesomeness. Prepare six blog posts in advance, just to give yourself a little content to fall back on, should you ever fall behind. The exercise seems a little silly, because you won’t fall behind. You’re dedicated and it will be easy.

Day 30: Click the publish button on your first post, knowing that it’s unlikely anyone will read it. But there’s a little hope, just a little, that someone will stumble upon it and see it for the masterpiece that it is.

Day 31: Feel your heart flutter the next morning when you receive notification that you have a new follower. Yes, you have a follower… and it’s not your mom.

excited kid

How you’ll look when you get your first follower. (Image courtesy Tim Parkinson via Flickr Creative Commons)

Visit their blog to see if you want to follow them, surely you will because you must have common interests. Your heart flutter will now become crushing disappointment. They have no interest in you or your blog. They want to sell you something.

unhappy kid

How you’ll look when you realize that person isn’t really interested in your blog, or they are a robot. (Image courtesy Peter Dedina via Flickr Creative Commons)

Day 33: Publish your second post and wait for the likes and comments to roll in. Keep your eye on that magical notification button on the top of your screen. You wait for it to turn orange, but it doesn’t. Maybe it’s like the saying about watched water not boiling. You decide to step away and check back later.

Day 33, five minutes later: Certain that you’ve given it enough time you check for the orange button. You’re likely disappointed, but you still hold your head high and continue your blogging quest.

Day 70: Prepare for Monday’s blog post. It’s Tuesday, but hopefully no one will notice. You’re short on time, so you scroll through your pre-prepared blog posts. Sigh when you discover you’ve already used them all. Yes, in six weeks you’ve gone through all six of them. Quickly throw something together and hope your followers still like you. Strangely, this becomes one of your most popular posts.

Day 120: You’ve now been blogging for a few months and have found some great blogging friends (Hi everyone!). Your number of followers continues to go up and you finally understand what the blogging community is about.

Day 140: Allow your hope to slowly fade away. Blogging takes way more commitment than you ever anticipated. But you will persevere. Just maybe with one less post a week. No one will notice, right?

Day 160: You’ve now gone a whole week without posting. You feel guilty, but assure yourself that it won’t happen again.

Day 174: It’s happened again. Tell yourself that it’s okay; everyone gets busy now and then. You’ll do better in the future.

Day 178: Spend a couple hours catching up on your reader. Begin to wonder if those people who post 2, 3, 4, or 28 times a day are really human. You begin to wonder if they are aliens, or a type of superhero you’ve never heard of. Or perhaps they are human, but they’ve become immune to the most virulent time wasters of the Internet. Or they don’t spend hours researching the difference between lay and lie, only to forget the next day, so they just avoid use of the words for all eternity. Anyone? Anyone?

aliens

The very prolific alien blog writers (Image courtesy Interdimensional Guardians via Flickr Creative Commons)

Day 192: Hit the publish button on your 59th post. Not only was it posted on the day it was due, it was actually written in advance. Yep, you’re back on track… for now. You consider writing a few back-up posts, in case you become swamped again in the future… Nah. You won’t fall behind again, you’re sure of it…