Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Monday, May 25, 2020

Middle-Aged Curmudgeon

I've commented before that computers, the internet, and other forms of technology and I have a "cold war" of sorts.  We view each other with distrust & suspicion.  Today's update is:  same ol' same ol'.

The other day, I mentioned that I tore the only pair of jeans that still fits me.  With clothing stores closed or restricted, I finally gave in and browsed online.  I thought I found stores that had what I need.  ("I think so, Brain, but where are we going to find rubber pants our size?"  --Pinky)  Unfortunately, they didn't.  These are websites, after all, a form of technology that hates me.

I ordered two pairs of jeans from one website and some underwear from another.  In answer to your question:  no, of course I couldn't get everything from one place.  One had jeans but not underwear in my size, and the other had underwear but not jeans in my size.  I probably could have ordered elsewhere, but both would have been more expensive.

Moments ago, I got an e-mail from one of the stores that one of the two pairs of jeans I ordered was cancelled.  Already?  You see, this is why I hate the internet.  Even when I give it a chance, it turns on me.  No chance of detente here.

I guess I'll try the manufacturer's website next.  The price to order jeans directly from them is only a little more than the store that let me down.  Mind you, it was two days ago that I browsed their site, so either the price or availability probably has changed -- or both.

More Buying, Less Shopping

I have been so lazy, this note to blog about my second grocery-shopping foray has been on my keyboard for weeks.  I don't know why, since there isn't much to say.

I had most of the same items on my list as before.  (This one-per-customer rule, even if it's only in my head, is inconvenient.)  This time, though, I found most of them -- even the yogurt, hot dogs, and boxed macaroni & cheese.  Granted, there wasn't much of any of them on the shelves, but at least they were there.  Plus, there was toilet paper!  I didn't need any, but I picked up a package for visitors to use in the powder room.  I hope this one is more comfortable for them, although I still prefer the cheapest brand.

Ooh!  I just remembered something to add to my list for the next time.  Now, where's that paper?

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Seeing Things

Along with my actual waist size, there are a couple of other reasons I couldn't believe my eyes this weekend.  And it's only Saturday afternoon.

First, I saw four, teenage boys on bikes in my neighborhood.  I see lots of people out exercising, walking dogs, or playing:  parents, elderly, children -- but never teenagers.  I started thinking that maybe there aren't any in my neighborhood.  No teenager ever offered to mow my mom's lawn or shovel her sidewalks before I moved in with her, and I thought it was because they were too lazy or didn't want pocket money.  Maybe they didn't even exist.  The question now is:  are they all inside, playing video games?

The second thing I saw was during my walk this morning.  I saw an aluminum, beer can in the street.  I haven't had to pick up an aluminum can in years!

Size Matters

I accidentally tore through the knee of the pair of jeans I sometimes wear to work, so I need to replace them.  I tried on every other pair of jeans & trousers I have, and I'm embarrassed to say that none of them fits any more.  Even the ones marked "relaxed fit" are for skinny people.  The manufacturers must be lying their asses off -- which probably explains why they can fit in the jeans but I can't.  At least I'll have a generous donation for the thrift store.  (Now then, are there any other long-legged men in Albuquerque?)

And have you ever looked at the models in the photos?  Am I supposed to believe that someone with abs like that is actually wearing relaxed fit jeans?

Interestingly, I had a "regular fit" pair in my drawer (without tags, which means I must have been able to wear them in public at least once), and they weren't much different than the relaxed fit.  I guess each brand sizes and fits differently.  Still, I think the time has come for me to be honest with myself and go up a size.  (Since I live alone, and since it's a holiday weekend, I should be able to get all my sobbing done before returning to work on Tuesday.)

Alas, I can't go to the store, so I'll have to adventure online.  I first looked at the department store that I know sells a brand I like.  Naturally, they're out of stock in my size.  (Note:  that always happens in stores, too.)  I checked for the other brand I like, and they have my size, but they're way expensive.  Next, I looked at the discount department store's website.  They have the second brand, in my size, for an affordable price.  The website warns, "Runs large.  Consider sizing down."  (Believe me, I'm trying!)

For curiosity's sake, I took a tape measure and put it around my waist.  Freeow!  That number was a lot bigger than even the larger waist size of jeans!  (Maybe men's clothing designers lie as much as women's designers.)  It wasn't curiosity that killed the cat.  It was shock.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Why They Call it Grocery "Shopping", not "Buying"

Because I live alone and usually buy in bulk, I don't have to go to the supermarket very often.  The last time I went was about two weeks ago, after I thought the hoarding frenzy would be over.  I was wrong.

I don't need toilet paper, paper towels, or tissues, but I was curious to see what that aisle looked like.  I have never before seen empty shelves in a supermarket.  I take that back.  They weren't completely empty; there was one box of tissues on a shelf.

There were six more boxes in the shopping cart of the woman in front of me in the aisle.  I politely pointed out to her the numerous signs, hanging from empty shelves, limiting each customer to one item.  Ashamed at being caught, she put five boxes back on the shelf.  She probably circled around after I was gone and put those tissues back in her cart, but I'm sure the cashier would've noticed.

Here are the items I DID FIND and DID BUY.
1 "fizzy water", 12-pack (calorie-free, carbonated water w/natural flavor)
1 cheese block, 12 oz. package
1 mayonnaise, 16 oz. jar
1 bananas, 4 per stem
1 sandwich bread, loaf
1 shredded wheat cereal, box
1 apples, 5 lb. bag
1 tortilla chips, 1 lb. bag
1 mixed salad, 1 lb. bag
1 ravioli in tomato sauce, can
1 macaroni in tomato sauce, can
Did you notice I limited myself to one of each item, even if there was no limit?

Here are the items I DID NOT FIND or DID NOT BUY because they were completely sold out, or the store brand, which I usually buy, was depleted.
yogurt, plain, 16 oz.
hot dogs, non-beef, 8-pack
macaroni & cheese, box
cookies  (actually, I forgot to look for this item)

All in all, not a bad result.  Plus, since I limited myself to one of each item, I spent a lot less than usual.  Bonus:  I accidentally discovered where they had hid... moved my preferred brand of pickles.  (I did not buy any because, being one of the few name brands I like, I buy them only when they're on sale, and then I stock up.)

The warehouse club where I went on the way home from work this evening is notorious for moving items around periodically.  I think they do it because the managers think customers will walk by other items and impulse-buy.  All it does is get me mad at the time I waste looking for the item that "always used to be right there".  (Note:  tonight, they had moved the soda again.)

Unfortunately, the warehouse club has shrunk its hours in response to having fewer customers, so it's all I can do to leave work on time, drive the speed limit, deal with highway delays due to road construction or collisions (sometimes both), and get to the club before they close on weeknights.  (I never go on weekends.  It's a madhouse.)  Tonight, after I refueled my car (which I always do first, so any cold items I buy don't have more time to warm up), I had just fifteen minutes to do my shopping.  Did I make it?

These are the items I DID FIND and DID BUY.
1 milk, box of 2-gal.
1 eggs, tray of 2 dozen
1 sliced ham (for sandwiches), 2-pack
1 bacon, 4-pack
1 frozen veggies, mixed, 5.5 lb. bag
1 Dr. Pepper, 35 cans/tray (no, I don't know why not 36)
1 oranges, 13 lb. box
1 mixed nuts, 2.5 lb. jar

I think I got to the checkout line just at closing time.  Considering that the refrigerated and frozen section are in the very back of the store, in the far-opposite corner from the entrance, I think I did pretty well.  (Thanks, mom, for giving me such long legs.)  There were just three items I DID NOT LOOK FOR so DID NOT BUY on this trip.
ground beef
chicken breasts, boned
juice, non-refrigerated
(I'm not running out of them yet, so they can wait a bit.)

I didn't look to see if they had any toilet paper or paper towels.  Actually, since I don't buy those items at the warehouse club, I don't even know where that aisle is.

I'll have to return to the grocery store soon.  I've eaten nearly all the bread and cheese, and the salad is long gone.  (I don't care for the brands of bread the warehouse club stocks, and I don't think I could eat however many pounds of salad they sell before it goes bad.)  Plus, there are those other items I didn't get and still want.  And, if I get just one item at a time, I can slowly stock up on some of the others.  Come to think of it, some canned fruit would be nice, too.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Please Hand Me My Cane

I am at the age where there's a disconnect between my mind and body.  My mind feels young.  My body doesn't.  Then again, my mind also thinks that something from 12 years ago is "recent", so maybe I shouldn't trust my mind, either.

Plus, I've never been good at estimating people's ages.  I thought I had it right, for once, today.  Guess I was wrong again.

I was at the warehouse club, picking up a flat of Dr. Pepper.  A kid was there, and the flat he held was falling apart, so I helped him keep the soda cans from crashing to the floor & spraying all over us.  I say "kid" because he had down on his upper lip.  He looked barely old enough to shave.

"Thanks.  My wife asked me to pick up her favorite beverage."


This "kid" looks barely old enough to shave, and he has a WIFE?

Okay, I'm going to go home and die now.

Monday, March 23, 2020

You Can't Tell Me What to Do!

For a couple of weeks now, the media have been urging everyone to "practice social distancing".  Practice?  I'm an expert!  In fact, shouldn't my expertise more properly be called "anti-social distancing"?

A friend showed me this, this past weekend.  I loved it.
You laugh because you know it's true.  And, if you laugh because you know it's true, you, too, are an introvert.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Does This Color Make My Bumper Look Fat?

Because I drive the speed limit during my commute, I get passed by a lot of cars -- especially when I'm behind a vehicle driving even more slowly than I am.  I usually pass the time by counting how many cars pass me before I, too, can overtake the slower vehicle.  I've gotten up to 44 or 45 before losing count.

The other day, I tried something different.  I pondered if my peripheral vision could detect the color of the next car about to pass me, just as it entered my sight.  It did.  After 36 cars, the color I first saw was correct.

What surprised me was the limited number of colors.  Out of 36 cars, one was orange.  All the rest were red/maroon, black, white, or silver/gray.  There were no yellow, brown, green, or blue cars (unless the green/blue were so dark they passed for black).  I stopped at 36 because the sun had gone down, and it was getting too dark to determine any color.

I repeated the experiment another day, with 42 cars.  Substitute a chartreuse car (we'll call it ugly yellow) for the orange, but all the other colors were the same as the first time.

How boring.  I'll admit to driving a silver car (family tradition), but I'm surprised by how few car colors people choose, out of all the ones possible.  Maybe it's just in New Mexico.  Maybe the rest of the world drives interestingly colored cars.

I'm tempted to break with tradition the next time I buy a car, if only to liven up the road.  Can you see me in a purple car?  Blue with yellow lightning down each side?  Do you think any body shop could custom-paint my car to look like an owl?

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Cap'n Chlorophyll's Day Off

Since my friend Betty hasn't posted anything about it on her blog yet (And why not?  You can make fun of me in public for this!), I'll tell you about what we did on our day off.

The genesis and overarching goal was this:  the Jim Henson exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum.  I saw it in the paper a couple months ago, and we decided, "We can not miss this."  Since we're only a couple years younger than Sesame Street, we have been Muppets fiends our whole lives.

Okay, great idea, but can we make it work?  It would have to be a day we both were off work, and considering Betty's a shift-worker whose schedule changes weekly in insane ways, it wouldn't be easy.

Then my car reached 200,000 miles.  "Hmm," I thought, "I probably ought to have it checked out, since I've done nothing else to it but have the oil changed and replace the tires."  I further thought that this (whatever "this" is) probably would take all day, and even with several books, and even though they installed a comfy sofa (with soft cushions!) in the waiting room, I would not want to wait at a car service station all day.  Alas, I have no friends in town who could pick me up after I dropped off my car.  "Hmm," I thought again (I ponder a lot).  Could we work it that I drop off my car, Betty drives up from Socorro to pick me up, and we go see the Muppets?

This story already is too long, so I will shorthand it by extolling Betty's wisdom at putting in for a vacation day even though she already was scheduled that day off, because she knows her coworkers well enough to predict that one of them indeed wanted the day off and asked her to switch, but she had put in her request first.  Ha!  You will not deny us the Muppets!

I hadn't even finished the first book I was working on when Betty arrived.  (She is not a morning person, but she hit the road at 8:00 a.m.  Such a sacrifice to our friendship!)  We couldn't decide on a place to eat Second Breakfast, so we figured we'd eat a light snack at the museum to tide us over until a late lunch of cheesesteaks.  She entered the address into her phone's GPS, and off we went.  Wherever that was.  The GPS started spouting incomprehensible directions that made absolutely no sense.

This is entirely my fault.  I first thought it was my Weather Wizardry, which wreaks havoc with all forms of technology.  I apologized to Betty in advance if it happened to snow that day.  (The forecast was for sunny and 49 degrees F.)  A second possibility was that I plugged my phone into her charger and set it next to her phone.  Maybe her phone was nervous with a strange phone sitting next to it.  (Betty's cats were never all that pleased by my occasional visits, either.)  Maybe it was jealous that some other phone was using her charger.  At any rate, the GPS kept spouting incredible directions, and we might be halfway to, well, anywhere if we had actually followed them.  (Betty never again will doubt my judgment at bringing my paper atlas of Albuquerque streets "just in case".)

The Incident was also my fault.  I should have realized that yelling, "Go!  Go!  Go!" to a driver unfamiliar with the city and slightly distracted by her wonky GPS sounds remarkably like, "No!  No!  No!"  Fortunately, Betty did not drive her car into the curb, and we were not run into by two other cars (no matter how close their drivers came to ignoring the law of physics that prohibits two objects from occupying the same space at the same time).

After I promised not to say anything else to distract Betty's driving, we arrived at the museum without further incident.  We each ordered a breakfast burrito (passable) then were pleasantly enthralled by the exhibit.  (There were parents with young children there, but there also were many other middle-aged people like us, so we weren't the only ones instantly transported back to some of the most delightful moments of our childhoods.)  The most focus was on Sesame Street because it's familiar to the largest number of people, but the exhibit also included items from Sam and Friends, the Wilkins Coffee commercials, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and The Storyteller TV series.  Most of the actual Muppets on display were larger than I expected of hand puppets, but I realized they had to be, since many of them interacted with humans and had to be of similar scale.  Plus, I got to see my favorite:  Grover.

Alas, the museum shop did not have T-shirts, but Betty did pick up a copy of Jim Henson:  The Works.  (I already have a copy.)  We both already have copies of Jim Henson:  The Biography which also was on sale.  The store also had revised copies of The Monster at the End of This Book, which was a favorite of both of ours, and which we'd read over & over again, despite knowing how it would end.  We didn't buy that one, either.  I don't know about Betty, but I'll search used bookstores to find an original, Golden Books edition.

After the museum, we stopped by Betty's favorite tea shop.  Since it was nearby, since she was low on her favorite tea, and since she doesn't come to the city very often were all good reasons to go.  While Betty did whatever she did, I browsed.  The second room had some non-tea items.  I found a box of four Doctor Who coasters, which, obviously, she couldn't pass up.  (She cursed me in the most loving way possible.)

Incidentally, Betty had shut down & restarted her phone, and that brief nap did the GPS lady a world of good.

Betty got back at me, though, when we went to Page One bookstore.  I told myself that I would buy only books that were on the wishlist I had brought with me.  Then Betty pointed out Born to be Posthumous, Edward Gorey's biography.  Then she stood near a gardening book I wanted.  Okay, both those books were on my computerized wishlist, not my paper one, but, still, they both were wishlisted, so they count.  I also had told myself that I had an envelope of money in my jacket pocket and that was my budget, but...  It's a good thing I had my credit card with me.  Still, my wishlist did diminish by nine.

After that, we had our always-wonderful cheesesteaks at Philly Steaks.  Then Betty dropped me off at the service center & headed back to Socorro.  It was only minutes later that my car was back from it's test-drive and returned to me.  The day was ending much better than it had started.  (Betty sent me a text to let me know when she got home, so the GPS lady must have cooperated enough to get her out of the city.)

So, what did you do on your day off?