I got an email from Mike Taylor of Radar Online that included this: "We all hope to live our last moments with quiet dignity, surrounded by loved ones. But it doesn't always work out that way."
This piqued my interest, so I went to the site, and found their list of the 100 worst ways to die. I think we all enjoy the schadenfreude of reading about someone kicking the bucket in a particularly embarrassing way. Their list made up, but pretty good all the same. Some worst case scenarios:
-The back of the Hallmark Store, clutching a Precious Moments figurine.
-Reclining in a purple box, after volunteering to be a magician's assistant.
-The cougar pen at the Bronx Zoo, gingerly retrieving your Swatch.
I think I've mentioned that we had a drought in North Florida recently. Many of you will have read about the wildfires in Florida and Georgia.
The upshot of all that and my neglect of my lawn is that it wound up resembling a giant, sandy anthill. Giant ants, red ants, black ants. Very little grass, lots of sand, lots of weeds. Not so pretty.
A friend had just gotten his yard landscaped, and was singing the praises of his new, improved property. In a moment of profound weakness, I told him he could give my name to his landscaper, who came by the next day to give me an estimate.
He painted quite the vision, a yard of lush grass, punctuated by hardy but beautiful flowerbeds. In other words, low maintenance and beautiful. It would, of course, involve a sprinkler system.
So we agreed, and the work began. He's had some other jobs, but I told him I wasn't in a hurry.
He installed an extra pump so the system would not affect my water pressure. Installing the system has been hard even to watch. My yard is full of roots, and they've been digging trenches all over the yard, like giant demented moles, piling roots by the side of the drive.
But it's been progressing.
Anyway, Friday, my family came into town. We had dinner at my folks', and when I got home, I did what I usually do---went straight to the computer to check the blog, read my email, and do all the stuff that people who live alone and have a computer tend to do.
Couldn't get on the internet. Couldn't get my email. The little "ready" light on the modem kept blinking. I rebooted the computer several times, as well as unplugging the router and DSL modem for ten or fifteen minutes at a time, to no avail. I wound up unplugging everything, to give the equipment plenty of time to contemplate the error of its ways, and retired.
Saturday morning, I started getting ready for Mom's birthday party that afternoon. Fortunately, I had pre-blogged for Saturday. But first thing, over coffee, I replugged my computer, the router and the modem and confidently clicked on the internet icon. Nothing. The "ready" light calmly blinked at me. At that point, I had a revelation and tried to phone my cell phone from the land line. No dial tone. No ringing. The phone was out to lunch.
I then navigated the complex calling system for the new AT&T, and finally got a live representative on the phone. He had me remove the filters, unplug everything, replug everything. No luck. He scheduled me for a service call between 8 AM and noon the following day (Sunday).
OK, said I. I figured I have my cell phone if I need a phone, and I had preblogged for Saturday, so if he fixed it the next morning, I could do a quick post and return to my houseguests. Meanwhile, I concentrated on the party, and had everything finished (with the invaluable help of my brother and sister-in-law) just as Mom arrived with more family.
The next day, everyone went to breakfast, but I stayed home to read the Sunday paper and wait for the repair man. 8 AM, 9 AM, 10 AM, 11 AM, noon. No doorbell rang. My cell phone remained quiet.
After about 1230, I went back through the daunting phone drill to AT&T, using my cell again, and finally got a representative who said "Oh, no, that was cancelled. The note said everything had resolved and we cancelled the service call." I had a stroke, of course, but what I heard over and over was "Sorry, there's nothing we can do, we'll send somebody out tomorrow."
Not good. I told them I have to work, that no one will be here, but got the same refrain over and over.
One thing we did to was find the telephone box on the side of the house and plug in a corded phone. No dial tone. That means the problem is not inside the house, in spite of the fact that the representatives kept telling me there was no interruption up to the house. No matter. I have no phone and no DSL line. I still need to have something repaired. I wondered, fleetingly, if the visit had been "cancelled" because I have repair insurance, and there was no money to be made. Cynical, I know.
Meanwhile, one zone of the sprinkler system kept coming on, instead of the sequential watering that was supposed to take place, and when it was on, I had almost no water pressure in the house. This morning, I showered with a dribble coming out of the shower head.
So I have no phone, no computer, and precious little water pressure, and an uncharacteristically defeatist attitude about the chances of getting all this repaired any time soon.
And I fear that the root cause of all this was my desire to have a green(er) lawn and something pretty to look at when I open the window.
My real name is not particularly common. So imagine my surprise when I found out there is someone else in town here with the same name. We found out long ago, when I got phone calls intended for her, and after one angry call, we unlisted our phone number. Then I discovered we were both members of the same YMCA.
Anyway, when L.C. sent me this site, I was intrigued. How Many of Me will tell you how many of the 301,563,166 people in the United States have the same name as you (not counting middle names).
Here's my result. There are 135,704 folks with the same first name, and 205,064 with the same last name. Only 92 have the same first and last.
Find out for yourself. Many of you are unique, others not so much. I mean, I'm sure YOU are, but maybe your name isn't. For instance, there are 49,799 John Smiths in the U.S., each one an individual like no other.
Or the site can just pick random names for you. Entertaining, for a while, at least.
There are 46 folks in the U.S. with L.C.'s name. Just half of mine. I wonder what that means.
Word verification shouldn't be the same as self-validation, but everytime I comment on someone else's blog, and get the word verification prompt, and mess it up, I feel like a criminal. I know these are for our own protection (well, the blogger's, anyway), but every time I'm told I can't post a comment because I failed the prompt test, I feel like I've been booted off the island. It's even worse if I have to retype the inspired, brilliant comment. I can never remember quite what I said that first time.
Is there any reason why these can't be set up so that each is legible to a human being? There must be a wide selection that a computer wouldn't be able to pick up but I would. Is that asking too much?
I don't know if I'm the only one who goes through this. If that is indeed the case, I need to get my eyes, and maybe my head examined.
When Congress decided to move Daylight Saving Time to three weeks earlier, they were hoping that having it stay light later might save millions of dollars in fuel costs.
Never mind that some businesses stand to gain as well. People who make money from the sort of golf stand to make $150 million (about $200 million/month) in golf equipment and greens fees, and the barbecue people will sell about $75 million more in equipment and fuel.
But did they think it through? This early change is already being blamed for the fact that my Outlook calendar at work shows a meeting time time an hour off from the time in the subject heading of the email asking me if I can make the meeting. I wonder how many millions in screwed-up meetings this will cost over three weeks. Not just mine, I mean.
In addition to resetting all your clocks and appliances, unless you have a brand new computer, you may have to reset the clock on the computer, your cell phone, and any other electronic gadgets you have with clocks on them. Then you may have to remember to reset them again in three weeks, when your computer decides to do a time change on its own.
So not only will you lose an hour of weekend at 2 AM Sunday, you'll likely waste another hour trying to find the manual telling you how to reset your Blackberry. Not to mention actually doing it.
Other time-sensitive things like online trading or banking, or (gasp) setting your Tivo will be affected as well.
May as well just shut yourself in a sensory-deprivation chamber for three weeks.