About to be 70

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Who knew?  I thought I was the female version of Peter Pan.  Yet, the next time I blog I will be a septuagenerian.  Believe me, in the past several months, this reality has been on my mind. Seventy has forced me to examine my life.  Have I made a difference?  Have I contributed to the greater good?  Have I been the best mom I could.  I don’t know.

 

Then last night I decided to take another tact; I asked myself, “What modern invention rocked me?”  My grandfather, who was born in 1892, said over and over, electricity changed his life.  Of course, he enjoyed the convenience of indoor plumbing too, which came later.

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In preparation for this blog, I asked my 93-year-old mother what rocked her. She struggled with her answer, describing herself as a child of war–born shortly after WWI and living through WWII.  She did note she and my dad got their first television in 1950, which later morphed into a big-screen entertainment center.  Microwave ovens, cellular phones, disposable diapers, and rotary lawnmowers.

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I suspect you think I will say the computer–it, indeed, rocked me.  It certainly changed my life, but it was not the first thing.  It was my watch. Like many, my first big-girl watch was a Minnie Mouse. Admittedly, numbers have never been my best friend, and I labored learning to tell time.  My maternal grandmother frustrated me when I’d ask, “What time is it?”

“Quarter past.”

What does that mean?  There’s no quarters on my watch, nor halves, nor three-quarters.

Eventually, I mastered the art of telling time, but my world was shakened when Texas Instruments introduced a digital watch in the early 70’s.  Now, with a simple button press,  I instantly knew it was 5:45.  I didn’t have to wind it.  I was in heaven! Thus, began my love affair with watches.  I have designer, analog power ones, and was once gifted a Rolex.  Rolex–the most over-priced, over-rated, high maintenance watch on the market.

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I’ll take my newest one any day.  You know the one.  The one that counts my steps,  monitors my blood pressure, sends me messages and emails, allows me to answer in-coming calls, search the internet, etc.  And it tells time!

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Seventy is creeping up my shorts.  Got to go.  Time’s a wasting.

 

Skeptical Sue

IRS-scam

 

“This is the IRS. You have failed to make your payment, and federal agents have issued a warrant for your arrest.  Please call this number immediately to avoid prosecution.”

“Oh really?” I shouted at the recorded voice.  “Bring them on, baby.”  Sadly, in Arizona, folk called the number and lost over two million dollars in the scam.

internetscam-620wThe news in awash with unsuspecting people being ripped off to free their grandchild from a Mexican jail, wire money to buy a designer puppy, or help some romantic interest get home from abroad.  Dating sites are filled with these predators.  I’ve also received a number of emails informing me I won the Irish Sweepstakes or I’m the last known heir of a family fortune.  Of course, I needed to wire “x” amount of money to claim my prize or my inheritance.

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What chaps my heinie most is scammers prey on the uneducated and the elderly.  When I read an elderly woman gave her life savings to someone who promised to repay her double the amount in an hour, it sickens me.  So for the most part, I research those with whom I do business.  My tile guys, my roofer, my HVAC guy, my pool guy, my landscaper have all been vetted by recommendation of friends or outstanding reviews.  Nor do I purchase big ticket items, like appliances or cars without perusing consumer reviews.

Yesterday when I went to the grocery store, I needed to change a Ben Franklin into two US Grants.  My grocery houses an unknown bank, probably some start-up.  I handed the teller my Ben Franklin, “I just need two fifties, please.”  He marked my bill with an authenticating pen.

“Do you have an account with us?”

“No.”

“Would you like to set one up?”

“No. Thank you.”

“Our policy does not allow us to give change to non-customers, but I’ll make a one-time exception in your case.”

WTF?  It’s not like I asked for $100 in quarters, nickels, and dimes. No wonder I never considered doing business with this sketchy bank.

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The Cicada and The Tortoise: A Curious Tale

Admittedly, I’m a technological immigrant.  Further, I’m technologically challenged.  I belong in a special class with any 10-year-old teacher.  Even five-year-olds today, know more than me.  My daughters and the school board folk have drug me into this new arena, and I know just enough to be dangerous.  While I enjoy that the world is now just one arrow key away and adore my cell phone convenience, I abhor “auto correct”  and the feature of speaking rather than typing. Lord knows, I sent far too many incoherent messages and emails.  A heinous crime, when the author is an English major!

On the other hand, I laugh uproariously when I receive one of these messages.  This week I received the following:

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Hmm.  A large cicada, which looks like a desert tortoise.  I was engulfed in laughter.  A family pet?  Even funnier.  Did they clip its wings so it wouldn’t fly off?

Really?  I see no likeness in the least.  Yet, I was sad I have no artistic talent.  Can you imagine the joy of creating such a creature?  I bet Dr. Seuss would have drawn and made millions on this hybrid character.

My neighbor and I had several hilarious conversations discussing the email.  We concluded the sender must be whacked.   Twas, not the case.  Damnable auto correct was at fault.  Behold the sulcata tortoise.

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I Am A Slave

Though never held in chains and leg irons, I was a slave.  Isn’t every woman with a husband and young children?  My orders were cook, clean, wash, iron, drive to this class, root on the sidelines, coach softball, host a party, yada, yada, yada. Eventually, my kids grew up, and my husband chose the proverbial other side of the septic tank.

Granted, I was alone.  But I no longer had shackles; I was free!  I could do as I pleased, on my terms, when I wanted to do whatever.  Certainly, I still had responsibilities to all of my dogs, my house work, the pool, the garden,  etc., but it was now solely up to me.  No orders. No timeline.

Then, this free woman did an incredibly stupid thing.  I asked for a Fit Bit for Christmas, and my adorable daughters delivered.  At first, I found it amusing.  I easily viewed emails and incoming phone calls while searching for my cell phone in the depths of my purse.  However, Fanny Fit Bit soon became annoying.

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“Sue, I’m here solely to get you up and moving.  You haven’t reached your step goal today.  Your pulse is “X,” your fat burn is “X,” your stair climb is “X.”

“Frankly, Fanny, I don’t care.”

With that Fanny morphed into the witch monitor from hell.  She wakes me at dawn:  “Give me 250 steps.”

“I haven’t had a cup of coffee yet.  Leave me alone.”  I close my eyes; my wrist vibrates.

“Time to get up and get moving.”

Damn.  She’s right; I do need to go to bathroom again–probably, for the sixth time since I initially went to bed hours ago.  One of the perils of aging.  Hopefully, I have another few years before I clip coupons for Depends!

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In the meantime, when Fanny demands, “Fifty pushups now,” she will find herself at the deep end of my swimming pool. RIP.  (Unfortunately, shortly after I wrote the last sentence, my cell phone landed in the deep end.  Karma?)

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Friday from Hell

When I worked full-time, I rejoiced on TGIF. I reveled in a weekend of fun and foolishness.  However, Friday, March 24th was deplorable.

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First, I was awakened by the sound of heaving.  (One of my dogs, an inherited Heinz, burrows herself every night under the blanket.)  I leaped from the bed, threw back the cover, only to witness her vomit a disgusting mess of grass and yellow bile on the sheet and mattress cover.  I looked at the clock–5:50 AM.  Really?

After sentencing the soiled linens to the washer, I went to make a cup of coffee.  Damn! Out of K cups!  Remembering my grandmother’s advice to never leave home without donning clean underwear, I got dressed, semi-combed my bed hair, and drove to the Golden Arch’s drive through.  “One small cup of coffee, please with cream.

“That will be $1.08 at the first window.”

As I reached in my purse to retrieve the money, I remembered my wallet was on my kitchen table.  I scoured the bottom of my purse for errant change–67 cents.  Now what?  Fortunately, I don’t store my credit cards in may wallet, so I offered the clerk a charge card.  Her face was filled with disgust as she swiped my card.  I imagined her thinking, “Dumb old broad, driving a nice car, without $1.08 in cash.  She must not own a hairbrush either.”

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Wait! It gets worse.  The mail comes with my credit card bill.  I peruse it and quickly realize my account has been compromised.  Immediately, I phoned.  “Enter your zip code, enter the last four digits of your credit card number. Press one for….Press two…. ”  What?  I need to talk to someone; no choices dealt with my issues.

Two hours after this mayhem began, I finally talked to Amber, and my compromised card was cancelled.  But March Madness didn’t end.

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My house phone rang once, then stopped.  Again and again.  Once.  Then, nothing.  The house phone screen message, “Line in use.”  I can’t deal with this; I destined in end up in the emergency room on a Friday night.  I’ll suffer a full-blown heart attack, die on the gurney, while all the drunk, car-accident victims are ushered into ICU.  My cell phone quickly connected me to the cable phone service, and Frantesa answered.

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Swiftly, my Friday from hell vanished.  When I explained my problem, she offered help.  “What’s your first name?”

“Sue.”

“Miss Sue, let me reset your modem.  Are you physically able to unplug this and that?”

What?  I’ve not lost all the cards in my deck…yet.  “Certainly.”

“This will take a few moments.  Since you said you’re older than me, do you have any words of advice for me?”

What?  I’m trying to get my phone fixed.  She persisted.  “Frantesa, you are 29-years old.  Vote.  Pay attention to local, state, and national issues.”

“We’re not allowed to discuss politics with customers.  Come on, give me some to improve my life.”

What?  Now, I’m a shrink?  “Frantesa, your goal in life is to be remembered for what you gave, not what you had.

“Wow, Miss Sue, those are powerful words.  I do give, but not enough.  I’m sorry I can’t resolve your phone problem.  A technician will be by tomorrow morning.”

NEVER in my long history had this cable company scheduled promptly.  “By the way, Miss Sue, I flagged your account.  You’ll receive a $10 credit, and I will receive an urgent message when your problem is fixed.”

The technician arrived three minutes ahead of schedule Saturday morning and within another five minutes, my phone problem vanished.  Even in light of the vitriolic hate currently spread across America, our country is brimming with wonderful people who give, regardless of what they have.  Frantesa, thank you.

 

Dr. Suze Is an Immigrant

 

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In the past two weeks, I’ve experienced what it is like to be the proverbial stranger in a foreign land.  My heart aches for the numerous children that sailed into Ellis Island over a hundred years ago and encountered a new language, culture, and social mores.  My heart aches for the numerous children who fled from poverty and Mexican drug cartels.  My heart aches for the current refugee children fleeing their homelands in search of safety and security.  Most of these children came to American public schools where they not only encountered a new language, but often the feeling of intellectual inadequacy.

I feel their pain.  First, it took me a while to learn teenage slang.  My daughters were continually using words like rad, meh, and tight, which in my mind were meaningless in context.  Then I was forced to learn text talk.  I vividly remember receiving a text from one of them–FOFL.  What does that mean?  And now there’s texting for seniors!  Just yesterday, I texted one of my high school friends and asked, “How are you?”

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His reply, “LOL.”  Hmm.  Why was he laughing out loud?  He wasn’t.  He was Living On Lipitor!  I inquired, “Where are you?”

His reply, “BFF.” Another strange answer, which meant Best Friend’s Funeral in senior speak. 

By now, I was crazy and responded, “WTF?”  I literally meant what the f@#k!

His reply, “Sue, really?  You wet the furniture?”

So as I struggle to learn a new computer and a new printer, I’ve been forced to learn another new language.  Bear with me.  Someday I may understand what an iCloud is.

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Dr. Suze Says Is Dead

It’s true.  My blog died several weeks ago with the advent of a new computer, and the switch from a pc to Mac has almost killed me off!  I’ve spent copious hours reading online manuals and watching tutorials; I swear learned nothing!  Even though I thought I could read, listen, and understand English, technological talk renders me illiterate.

It chaps my heinie that simplistic directions of “how-tos” have been so confounded for folk my age.  Can you even imagine how difficult it would be to execute a Betty Crocker recipe written in techno-talk?

  1. Open your search engine.  Enter the exact name of the recipe.
  2. Click on the button.
  3. When the recipe appears, scroll downward using the arrow key.
  4. Note the ingredients needed.  If you need help, press the help icon.
  5. To alter the portion setting, press the space bar by the number of servings needed.  If you need 12 servings, press 12 times.
  6. If you enter serving amount incorrectly, press F7 to go back.

Ad infinitum!

I was doubly foolish.  I bought a new printer.  THE printer created by some genius who delighted in making my life absolutely frustrating and miserable for two weeks.  When I finally got it to print, I tried to scan.  Of course, there were no directions, except online.  I found them and clicked on print, so I could follow them.  A message appeared: Do you want to print all 196 pages?  WTF?  Is this the great American novel?

But my nightmare didn’t stop.  The sound bar on my “smart tv” fell silent.  The more buttons I pushed, the more online advice I read, just made matters worse.  Fortunately, I was somewhat lucid enough to buy another, less sophisticated sound bar that works…as of this moment.

With that being said, please be patient.  Dr. Suze Espouses is a work in progress.  It takes a long time to teach this old dog.