From the Files of Random Humor: This is why we can’t be friends???

Over the years I’ve had friends come and go. I suffer from open-mouth-insert-foot syndrome, so there have been many times in the past where some of these friends were probably justified in leaving. I’m not really in the mood to be accountable for my past #mistakes, #hubris, #drunkeninstagram photos. Instead I’d like to talk about some of the other reasons former friends have given me for why they couldn’t be my friends any more.

The case of the really loud turn signal

I had a “friend” complain on more than one occasion that the turn signal in my car was too loud. She suggested I take it back to the dealership and have them adjust the volume. Seriously? Is that actually a thing? I looked at her like she was insane and refused her suggestion. That was the last time I ever saw her.

The one time I wasn’t late

My ex was constantly late to everything. Everything. I wasn’t raised that way. I was raised to be on time or a few minutes early. But after living with my ex for a few short months, I found myself falling into his bad habits. Soon enough, it didn’t matter if he was with me or not, I became the person who was late all the time.

There was a short period during our relationship where my ex went out of town for a couple of months. This was back when I still liked him so I found his absence unbearable. To make time pass, my friends and decided to go to Las Vegas for a long weekend. The morning of my flight, I arrived at the airport two hours early, checked my luggage and went to the gate.

When I arrived, my friend and her husband greeted me with this really annoyed look.

Former Friend: You’re early.

Me: Well….yeah. TSA is is telling everyone to arrive two hours early so here I am.

Former Friend: But you’re never early. You’re always late. The only thing people can count on from you is that you’re always late. Why are you early?

Me:  Um….because TSA is telling everyone to arrive two hours early and I assumed they weren’t kidding.

Former Friend: We thought about having you drive us to the airport but we didn’t think we could count you to show up on time. I can’t believe you would do something like this!

Me: (Putting the pieces together and doing all of the math) Oh. So what you’re really upset about is that you had to pay for parking? She flashed a “oh crap, she’s on to us” look at her husband and then made it very clear to me that they had no intention of spending the entire weekend with me because they wanted “alone” time. That was fine by me. I had no desire to watch them get jiggy with it. Newsflash: I’m not into that.

The case of really thick hair

One of my college roommates actually told me that she and I could never be friends because every time I combed my hair, it sounded like someone was raking leaves.

Me: Well, your halitosis isn’t appealing either but I was willing to overlook it.

The case of the chain smoker

Former friend: I can’t be friends with you anymore.

Me: Okay…..

Former friend: You never let me smoke in your house or your car. So what if you have asthma? You’re really selfish.

Me: Well having asthma doesn’t exactly rock my world either but it is what it is.

Former friend: Something has to change because this just isn’t working.

Me: Okay. I can change.

Former friend: You can? You’re going to let me smoke around you.

Me: No. When I said I could change, I was referring to my phone number, email, and Facebook friend status.

I think if I’ve learned anything in my 35+ years of life, it’s that I wasn’t put on this planet to be liked by everyone on it. Likewise, I wasn’t put on this planet to like everyone either. Neither of these two reality checks upsets me.

Now it’s your turn. Have you ever had a ridiculous fight that ended a friendship? Tell me all about it in the comments!

 

 

Dear Ellen: It could’ve happened to anyone

I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

Last August, I went back to school to begin a degree in computer science. My computer skills were limited to slapping the monitor and cussing at it in fictional languages. That was fun for a while but then I decided it was time to learn more. Through the course of the semester, I developed an interest in malware (computer viruses). Apparently there’s a job title out there known as Malware Analyst in which professionals with a computer science degree get paid to study computer viruses: how they work and what information they collect. This sounded like a fun job to me so I started to research how individuals could develop skills in this field.

According to the Internet, various websites recommend that people practice playing with actual viruses. Great! All I needed to do was get a computer virus. After sending the four-year-old off to school, I ran some errands at the local super center. I picked up a quart of oil, bananas, and diaper rash cream. Then I headed over to the electronics department in search of a computer virus I could purchase. The sales rep had the strangest look on his face when I inquired about where I would find a virus and if there was a coupon I could use with it. He was definitely disturbed by my question.

Problem 1

Where does someone who wants to play with a computer virus acquire it? The grocery store didn’t have any and when I called the gas station, the person on the other end of the phone hung up on me.

Just when I thought all hope was lost, I had an epiphany!  Angels sang! There was a halo around my head! I felt alive and excited that I solved this problem on my own. I knew exactly how to get a virus on my computer. The next day, I sent my laptop to school with my four year old. Nothing says “cold & flu” season like an elementary school. My throat aches and my nose runs every time I drive past the building.

That afternoon I greeted my son at the school bus stop – eager to see him and my infected computer. Much to my disappointment, the laptop came home with everything but a virus. It was covered with painted fingerprints; slimy, sticky goo all over the keyboard; and a note from his teacher asking me not to send anything battery operated and having a value of over $20 with my child for his show & tell time.  (Picky, picky.)

Problem 2

While scrubbing my computer clean, I realized I was going about this the wrong way. Before getting a computer virus, I needed a safe place to put it so my computer wouldn’t get destroyed.

Through reading about experiences from people who were lucky enough to get their hands on a virus to play with, I learned that before you acquire the virus you need a sandbox to put the virus in so that the rest of your computer is protected. This makes total sense….sort of….I wasn’t entirely sure what they meant by a “sandbox.”  Regardless, I decided my focus should be on preparing my computer for the virus. But how do I get sand into my computer?

Cue the angels singing! I put the laptop inside of the neighbor’s sandbox on an especially windy day. After a few hours, I recovered the laptop and turned it on. Everything seemed fine…the computer made a strange grinding noise but it worked. I looked through all of the folder-thingies on my computer, in search of something that said sandbox or had an image of a sandbox. There was nothing. Just the same old crap I always have on my computer: pictures of the kids, recipes I’ll never fix and a calendar with an alarm set to remind me that my anniversary is next month because whenever I’m pregnant, I forget my anniversary.

It occurred to me that maybe sand never made it into my computer. I picked it up and shook it a few times, hoping I’d hear sand rattling around inside. No luck. I couldn’t hear anything. It took a few YouTube videos to figure out how to take my laptop apart but eventually I was able to get a peek inside. Sure enough, my computer had a decent amount of sand particles inside of it. However, this clearly was not what was meant by a sandbox.

Figuring that this method wasn’t going to work, I grabbed the vacuum cleaner from the closet and used the extension to suck up the sand out of my computer. There were a few popping noises and a couple of sparks which I thought was weird, but other than that, I was able to get all of the sand sucked up.

It was a few hours later before I got around to turning the computer on.  My husband wanted dinner. The four year old wanted to take the toaster apart and my three year old wanted to tap dance on top of the kitchen table.

When I did eventually get around to turning the computer on, it wouldn’t work – a fact that was a complete mystery to me. I knew the battery was charged. It worked earlier that day. But for the life of me, I couldn’t get the computer to turn on. Resorting to old habits, I started smacking the computer and cursing at it. My husband heard the ruckus and asked what the problem was. As I explained, his face turned three shades of red and the vein in his forehead pulsated.

So….through our discussion – in which I was certain he was going to have a stroke – I learned two things. First, a sandbox (in the world of computers) isn’t necessarily software installed on the hard drive.  It can also be a sacrificial lamb – an entire computer dedicated to only holding computer viruses. Second, the popping sounds I heard while vacuuming the inside of my laptop was static electricity. Apparently static electricity is bad for a lot of things: fingertips, hair and electronic devices.

Well, Ellen, tomorrow is a new day and for my son – a show & tell day. Guess it’s time for me to get his back pack ready…..where did I put the hand mixer?

Sincerely,

A. Marie

 

 

Lessons in Social Engineering: Let the games begin!

Photo taken from Amazon.com

This topic was inspired by a book I’m reading called The Art of Deception, by Kevin Mitnick & William Simon. Kevin Mitnick is a world renowned con-artist who scammed a lot of people by getting them to give him seemingly harmless information and then putting all of that information together to get what he was really after. He has since switched teams and now works with agencies and businesses all over, helping them figure out what their vulnerabilities are and what they can do to tighten up security. I have no idea who William Simon is.

The topic of this book is all about social engineers – people like Kevin who work tirelessly to gain sensitive information for profit by convincing you first, that they’re your friend and then asking you for whatever it is they need.

It occurred to me when reading this book that I’ve already encountered my share of social engineers. In fact, I’m willing to bet just about everyone who reads this has had a social engineer cross their path at one point in time or another.

For me, the most entertaining and persistent social engineers were the individuals who called claiming they were from Microsoft. When I was living in Georgia, I was plagued by these phone calls. They called several times a month. The scam was always the same: We’re receiving numerous error messages from your computer and with your help, we can go in and fix the problem.

Here’s how I knew this was a scam. According to Microsoft, an estimated 400 million devices are running Windows 10. This next number varies from website to website: there are an estimated 100,000 employees working for Microsoft. If Microsoft were actually monitoring every device running Windows 10, each employee (secretaries, janitors, sales reps, security, engineers, programmers, developers, cafeteria workers, etc.) would have to monitor 4,000 users every day. That’s not possible. Microsoft doesn’t have the staff or budget to handle something like that.

After receiving the first two phone calls from “Microsoft” I decided to have a little fun with next caller.

Me: Hello?

Scammer: Yes, hello. I’m calling from Microsoft. We’ve detected a number of error messages being sent from your computer. If you follow my instructions, I’ll help fix the problem.

Me: Now’s not really a good time.

Scammer: It’s important that we do this now. If we don’t, serious system issues could result later.

They always sound urgent when they call, trying to rush or panic you into being cooperative.

Me: Yeah. The thing is, I’m pretty sure this phone call is being monitored by the police.  I’m a person of interest in the disappearance of my third husband which is really unfair. Just because my first two husbands were found dead with a certain appendage missing does not mean my third husband is going to be found dead….and definitely not with a certain appendage missing because…well…maybe the real killer didn’t have time to remove it because a car was coming down the road. Things happen and sometimes basic survival instincts supersede criminal signatures. Not that I would know anything about this….you know….in case someone is listening to this phone call……. Besides, my first two husbands weren’t the nicest people. They were total scam artists – always trying to get something for nothing.

Scammer: Um….I see….Yes….well….

Me:  I can hear you, DICK LICKER!

Scammer: Excuse me?

Me: Huh? Oh. No not you. The people listening to our conversation.  I can totally hear them. Can’t you? There’s that strange clicking sound coming from somewhere……..(singing badly) SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW, WAY UP HIGH….

Scammer:  Yes…..that’s very nice–

Me: Shush. Don’t interrupt! It’s rude. THERE’S A LAND THAT I’VE HEARD OF ONCE IN A LULLABYE!

Scammer:  I can see this is a bad time for you. Perhaps we can schedule another time for me to call you back?

Me:  Sure thing. Would you like to do it before or after my arraignment? SQUIRREL!

Scammer:  A…what? Did you say squirrel?

Me: Yes.

(Silent pause)

Scammer: Okay….

Me: Just for the record….if I happen to be in custody when you call back, I’m not wasting my one and only phone call on you. 

Scammer: I see. I’ll call you back tomorrow.

Me:  I won’t be home. Have a nice day!

[End Call]

The fact that my phone could’ve been monitored by the police did not deter these people. And sure enough they called back….again and again and again.

The best thing you can do if you ever receive a phone call like this is hang up. Do not engage!  You never know what information you might accidentally give these guys that could prove useful to their cause.  Also, if you do receive one of these phone calls, report it to Microsoft or whatever company they’re pretending to be from.

Clearly I’m not smart enough to take my own advice. But some of the conversations I’ve had with these guys are too entertaining not to write about it. Plus, being that I’m a stay-at-home-mom to two tiny kids, I have an awful lot of days where I feel like this:

Sometimes I crave human interaction so bad I’ll talk to anyone…..even scammers. Sigh……I should stick to blogging.

And now it’s your turn to tell me. Have you ever received a call from “Microsoft” or any other telephone scammer?  Please tell me about it in the comments.

 

Dear Ellen: 3 Uses of Rotary Phones

I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

Technology today certainly has its advantages. There isn’t much you can’t accomplish with one swipe of the finger. But with all of the advantages, there are disadvantages. For me, one of those disadvantages was the untimely death of the rotary phone.

Photo courtesy of pexels.com

Here are three reasons why I miss rotary phones.

Glamour

Rotary phones have a glamorous and charming quality about them. Or maybe it was the way they were depicted in movies. Some stunning beauty would be standing in an evening gown in her spotless kitchen wearing a pristine apron over her dress. She’d remove cookies from the oven right as the phone rang. Seconds before she answered the phone, she’d use one of her hands with perfectly polished french-manicured nails to swipe a 65 carat ruby earring from her ear before putting the receiver up to it.

Glamour like that only takes place in the movies. In reality – my reality – I’m the woman, covered in flour, with 2.5 kids standing in their diapers screaming at me for cookies when the phone rings. “Hello?  Oh, hi, LeeAnn. Can I call you back in a few minutes? I’ve got my mother-in-law coming over in a bit and I lost one of the butt-ugly ruby earrings she gave me from her aunt’s estate….I think it fell in the cookie dough……Hope it’s not in the oven with one of the cookies…..The day I’m having it could be in the dishwasher…..Knowing my luck, it’s hiding in the house somewhere with all of the missing socks….Okay….Talk to you later.”

This next reason was an excellent case-in-point made by one of my readers in the comment section of this post. Nothing demonstrates anger or frustration better than when you hang up on someone by slamming the receiver down on the phone so hard the phone lets out a small ring. That small ring is probably the phone complaining, “Ouch! Watch it!” But when you’re angry, the phone’s feelings are never a concern.

But does this happen today? No. Today when we want to hang up on someone, we hit the “End” button. No dramatic effect whatsoever.  Sometimes, if I’m really frustrated, I slam my cordless phone down onto the table, after. And what happens? The batteries pop out and make a run for it. Hanging up in anger just isn’t the same since rotary phones became extinct.

Anonymity

Rotary phones didn’t come with caller I.D. Yes, that’s right millennials, there was a time in our history where it was anyone’s guess as to who was calling the house. It could’ve been your mother calling or it could’ve been a serial killer, casing your house. Life was much more exciting when the rotary phone rang. Likewise, rotary phones endowed individuals with the power to call and hang up on people. Calling all love-sick teens! There was a time when you could call the object of your affection and hang up when he answered and he’d never know who it was calling. Those were good times!

And, due to their lack of sophistication, the person calling had no way of knowing if they had the right number until you answered the phone.

“Hello?”

“Hello, Jamie? It’s Berta with the PTA. I’m calling to let you know that we took a vote and nominated you to be the coordinator of this year’s bake sale/car wash/generally annoying fundraiser. It’ll require you to work every weekend for the rest of your life with over-eager-but-noncommittal teenagers who will expect letters of recommendation for doing little-to-no-work.”

“Lo siento, pero, no habla Ingles.” [I’m sorry, but, I don’t speak English]

“I’m sorry? This is the Peterson residence, isn’t it?”

“Ah….No puedo hablar. My cerveza esta in el bano.” [Um. I can’t talk. My beer is in the bathroom.]

“Oh goodness. I’ve dialed the wrong number. Terribly sorry.”

Jamie hangs up the phone.

“Who was that?” Her husband asks.  

“Don’t answer the phone tonight,” Jamie responds. I think a serial killer is casing the place.”

Death by Phone

Rotary phones were heavy and could do a lot of damage. One smash using the entire phone could kill anything – insects and humans. Just think about this for a moment: If someone breaks into your house while you’re on the rotary phone with the police, you could use that very phone to smash the robber’s head in. Can we say that about our phones today? Um….NO.

Robber enters the house, approaching the victim in a slow, creepy, horror-movie walk. Victim shouts out, “You’re in so much trouble!  I’ve got the police on the way AND…..” taps the Internet browser on cell phone. “Oh yeah…..AND I’ve got the home improvement page open on my smart phone.” Turns phone so intruder can see it. “Yeah…..that’s right, Butt Face! Take one more step and I’ll Feng Shui your rear-end onto a Pinterest board!” Uses phone to smack the intruder three times on the forehead. Intruder takes a step back, stunned by the stupidity of the moment. Victim looks at cracked screen on phone. “Awe, man!” Turns phone toward intruder. “You see that!  You broke my phone! You’ve got serious problems now! Not only are the police after you but now my insurance adjuster is too! Yeah, that’s right. There’s nothing worse than having an insurance adjuster run you down. And my adjuster’s a total bad ass. Her name is Jake! She wears Khaki pants and works for State Farm!

I really wish they’d bring back rotary phones.

Sincerely,

A. Marie

Calling all readers! Is there something you miss about rotary phones that I didn’t mention? Is there a piece of technology from your day that you wish would make a comeback? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Dear Ellen: Tonight’s discussion was about stuff and super powers

I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres.  No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

My husband came home from work around his usual time.  I was sitting at the kitchen table feeding my children a well-balanced meal consisting of meat, cheese, fruit/vegetable (depending on how one classifies a tomato,) and whole grains. What can I say? They love pizza. Pizza and pancakes are about the only things we can get them to eat.

Hugging and kissing each of the kids, my husband looked at me and smiled:

Husband: How are you?

Me: I don’t feel good.

Husband: What’s wrong?

Me: My head hurts, my nose hurts, my throat hurts, and my teeth hurt. I have really bad gas and I think something’s growing in my stomach.

Husband (chuckling): Could you be pregnant?

Me: Well that would explain the recent weight gain and compromised immune system.

Husband: But not the gas?

Me: No. I’ve decided the gas is a super power that developed late in life.

Husband (laughing out loud): Why do you say that?

Me: I let one loose in the basement earlier.  Ten minutes later I went up to the second floor of the house and both the cats were on the floor of the hallway, unconscious.

Husband (shaking his head): How about the kids?

Me:  They’re fine.  They’re immune to anything that involves sleep. That’s their super power. Listen, I’m finished with dinner and I feel like crap.  If you don’t mind, I’m going to go upstairs and die now.  Don’t worry, there’s plenty of pizza left to get you through the funeral.  But when you run out, you’ll have to order it yourself.  The number is saved in our phone under the name “What’s for dinner?”

I wish I had more to say on this topic, Ellen, but I feel icky (it’s a totally legit medical term. I know because I made it up.) I’m going to bed.

Sincerely,

A. Marie

 

Dear Ellen: My husband crossed over to the dark side

I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

My husband has never really been into social media.  He had a Facebook account that he never used and an email account he rarely checks.  If his family wants to know what’s going on with him, they call me. That’s the way it’s always been.

And then last week, it happened.  Out of the blue, my husband informed me that he started a blog, created a Facebook page for the blog and a Twitter handle.

My response: I don’t know who you are or what you want, but go back to what ever laboratory you came from and return my husband to me right now!

He shook his head and laughed at me.

When asked, he told me that his blog will consist of weekly letters that he writes to President Trump. In addition to posting these letters on his blog, he’s also been mailing them to the White House.

Me:  The president?  The president of the United States?  You’re writing the president?

He nodded.

Me:  You’re writing your boss’s, boss’s, boss’s boss?

Him: Yup.

Me: (Slumping into a chair) Well there goes the pay check and health insurance I enjoyed having.

Him: I think you’re being a tad dramatic.

Me: I’m six months pregnant. I’m allowed. It’s in the manual for pregnant women. We can be dramatic for any reason whatsoever while we’re pregnant and if we want to be dramatic post-pregnancy, then we just need to cite sleep deprivation as an excuse.

Not only has my husband been following through with his blog, but now he’s posting things to Facebook – both his personal account and his page. Surely this is a sign that the world is coming to an end.

Even though the fact that he’s writing his boss’s, boss’s, boss’s boss scares the crap out of me, I’ve decided to encourage my husband and his efforts by coming up with a list of topics he should discuss in his letters to the president.

My List of VERY Important Topics

1. Minibars – Effectively immediately, the president should issue minibars to every stay-at-home parent/legal guardian in the nation. Funding should also be supplied to keep the minibars restocked. (A little alcohol can go along away when you’re potty training Satan.)

2. Emergency implementation of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Socks – because what household in this country hasn’t suffered the unexplained loss of socks when laundry is transferred from the washing machine to the dryer. Something needs to be done about this!

3. Research and development – if it isn’t underway already, the president needs to encourage and promote research and development for Jetson homes. I’ve included a video of the Jetson’s for any millenials reading this.  All Jetson homes should come standard with refrigerators that refill themselves, self-cleaning kitchens and bathrooms; and dryers that fold laundry while it’s still in the dryer. (Aforementioned appliances should NOT talk.  That’s just creepy and unrealistic.)

That about sums it up, Ellen.

Sincerely,

A. Marie

 

 

From the file of random instruction manuals

How to Pee Standing Up

   1.  Locate the toilet. For the most part, they’ll always be found inside of the bathroom – that place where a sink and shower/tub are also located.

This is what the toilet looks like.

If you’re in public, the door to the bathroom may have a symbol like this:

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

2.  Lift the toilet seat up.

This is what the toilet will look like after the seat is lifted.

3.  Pull your pants and underwear down and hold your fire hose OVER the toilet bowel (that’s the thing holding the water).

4.  If you have any concerns about your aim, let me know and I’ll provide Cheerios to help you focus.

Cheerios

 

 

5.  After you’re done relieving yourself: flush the potty, push down the toilet seat and WASH YOUR HANDS.

My dearest sweetheart,

I’ve assembled these instructions to help you learn to go pee pee like a big boy.  Please practice whenever you have the opportunity. Between the two of us, you’re the only one physically capable of training our four-year-old to pee standing up.

Much love and kisses,

Wife

P.S.

Just in case you’re concerned, I’ve checked with the homeowner’s association and Cheerios are not on the list of unflushable items. They won’t ruin our septic system.

 

Dear Ellen: I needed a toilet

I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

This whole thing started because I needed a picture of a toilet. Not just any picture. It had to be taken from a specific angle.  The most obvious way to accomplish this would be to take a picture of one of my toilets.  The only problem with that is I’d have to clean one first and that was more work than I wanted to do. But if I photographed it as is, I’d never hear the end of it from my mother.

Honest to goodness. Who raised you? Is that what you’re having my grandchildren poop on? That’s disgusting. Get off of Facebook right now and clean those things or I swear to God, I’m coming out there.

To avoid housework – something I excel at (the avoiding part, that is) – I searched the Internet for a picture of a toilet. None of the pictures that were free were taken from the correct angle. The only photos I found that were of what I wanted either had a price attached or the photographer wanted to be attributed.  Seriously? A price?  Is photographing toilets a thing?  Are there art galleries that feature the work of up-and-coming artists who photograph toilets?

….and over here we have a display of toilets in their four most common stages. Happy Toilet. Sad Toilet. Busy Toilet. Toilet Versus the Stomach Flu. I think the artist did a marvelous job of capturing the essence of the toilet, demonstrating how underappreciated it is by individuals who take it for granted on a daily basis.

Personally, Ellen, I’d rather not see photographs of “Busy Toilet” and definitely not “Toilet Versus the Stomach Flu.”

And then there’s the whole attribution thing. Don’t misunderstand. I don’t have a problem with giving credit where credit is due.  The last thing I’d want is for someone to think I was stealing another person’s work – especially when it involves a device used to collect human waste. Still, I can’t fathom why anyone would insist on collecting credit for a picture of a toilet.

….It took me 235 photographs before I captured it at just the right light. Do you see how the porcelain sparkles just a little bit more on the left side than it does on the right? It’s almost like it’s winking at me.

I thought briefly about purchasing one of the photographs I saw until I imagined the conversation my husband would have with me regarding the bill.

Husband: Honey? What’s this bill for $135?

Me: It’s for a picture I bought of a toilet.

Husband: A what?

Me: A picture of a toilet. I needed it for my blog.

Husband: We could’ve bought an actual toilet for that much money.

Me: Don’t be silly. What would we do with another toilet? The four that we have work just fine. I suppose we could put it in the living room and use it as another chair.  If nothing else, it’d make a lively conversation piece for when we have guests over.

After hemming and hawing over it for a bit, I decided the best thing to do would be to pick one of the four toilets we own for this once in a lifetime photo opportunity (because I have better things to do), clean it, and snap a photo.

This mission is now accomplished…although I feel a little traumatized by the whole thing.

Sincerely,

A. Marie

Dear Ellen: We can’t keep throwing things away

I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

My four year old got a hold of a pen this weekend and used it to draw all over our table cloth.  My husband, extremely annoyed by this, declared the table cloth garbage and took it off the table. The problem is this isn’t the first time the discussion of throwing ink-decorated items has come up.

“Um. No,” I said.  “I appreciate that you’re annoyed but we’re not throwing this thing away. The purpose of the table cloth was to protect the table and it’s definitely serving its purpose.

“It’s trash,” he said, waving his arm in the direction of the table cloth.

“We can’t keep throwing things away because the kids color on them.  We won’t have anything left.”

Seriously, Ellen, take a look at the list of things we’ve disposed of in the last year because the kids colored on them.

  1. An entire roll of paper towel
  2. Miscellaneous clothing items
  3. DVD’s
  4. A roast beef
  5. A box of condoms
  6. Four remote controls
  7. A tooth brush
  8. My diaphragm
  9. Some folding chairs
  10. A television set
  11. A container of ice cream
  12. A set of curtains

If we keep getting rid of things the kids color on, we won’t have a house left.

Anyway, Ellen, I won the battle over the table cloth and after a few rounds with an all-purpose cleaner, managed to dramatically fade the ink drawing.

My son’s drawing

Sincerely,

A. Marie

P.S.

Totally random thought – the disposal of items #5 and #8 might have had something to do with the conception of baby #3.

 

Dear Ellen: Open mouth, insert foot.

I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

I suffer from open-mouth-insert-foot syndrome. It’s caused because my mouth works faster than my brain. I work really hard to keep my foot out of my mouth but on days like today, that’s easier said than done.

Early this afternoon, I heard someone opening my storm door. Then the door shut. I waited thinking maybe it was my husband. When I didn’t hear the door unlock, I went to the peephole. No one was outside. So, I opened the door and found a package from UPS marked urgent. The problem was, it wasn’t for my household. It was for the neighbor down the street.

After dropping off my son at school, I drove to my neighbor’s house to return the package. A very nice man opened the door. I held up the package. “Is this your mail?” I asked.

He shook his head. “No. It’s for the previous owners.”

“Oh,” I said. “UPS brought it to my house just down the street.”

The skin on his forehead crumpled. “Huh. Well now I’m confused. They delivered this package to me yesterday and I took it back to UPS with “Return to Sender” marked on it.

“Well,” I began, “That doesn’t surprise me. We had this problem with them last year. They kept delivering a package to our house that was for our previous tenants. I took it back to UPS twice and they still kept delivering it. Lazy people. How hard is it to match the street address with the number on the package. My four year old could do that.”

He reached for the package. “I work for UPS.”

“I’ll take it to work tomorrow and give it to my supervisor,” he said.

“Thanks.” I croaked. I felt like a complete idiot. I walked back to the car shaking my head the entire way. Of all the neighbors we have, leave it to me to make a snarky comment like that to the one neighbor who works for UPS.

He seemed like a really nice guy, Ellen. I just hope he has a forgiving sense of humor. Otherwise I might not see another package delivered by UPS again.

Sincerely,

A. Marie

Calling all fellow readers. Tell me about one of your open-mouth-insert-foot moments. Please! I don’t want to be the only one who suffers from this.