Because That’s What Men Are For

You say up, I say down.  I want to go left, you want to go right.  You get the picture.  The difference between men and women is we don’t even begin to think the same way!

Take sports for instance.  Do you know what OBP means in baseball terms?  How about a “Pick N Roll in basketball, zone defense, or in football, OLB, MLB?  Ok, I admit to knowing all of these things because I love sports, but the average female doesn’t.  But this is what stumps me. The sports trivia question that the announcer throws out like:

What was Hank Aaron’s batting average in 1959 or which pitcher had an ERA of 1.12 in 1968, which football player had the most catches in 1999?  Tom knows the answers to all of these questions. It’s just unbelievable.  Just the other night he asked me

“Do you remember who played Point Guard for the Warriors in 2003?”

Of course I don’t.  But I can tell you what I remember vividly about December 29, 1982.  We were walking home from a neighborhood party and I was 9 months pregnant.  Tom suggested I walk half in the street and half on the curb to see if I could induce labor so our baby, who turned out to be Max, could be born in 1982 for tax purposes.  I also remember my reaction to his suggestion… then my water broke about 2 AM and we rushed to the hospital and Max was born in 1982.  Even though I hadn’t done as Tom suggested he took credit because he’d “planted the seed” with that stupid suggestion.

Which brings me to the point of this entire blog.  I was nursing a swollen knee from playing pickleball so I had to sleep on his side of the bed in case I had to get up in the middle of the night.  His side is closer to the bathroom.

I have been complaining for two years now about the neighbor who lives across our fence.  They have an incredibly bright light that they leave on all night which shines right in my eyes on my side of the bed.  Not only do they leave that light on , but they leave all the lights in the house on all night.  This is definitely not a grow light , trust me on this one unless they are growing something illegal or just newly legal.  Has Tom paid ANY attention to me other than to grunt?  No.  Worse, he said it doesn’t bother him because I’m blocking the light from shining in his eyes.

We were talking to our next door neighbor one afternoon when I asked him if he had a BB gun.  (Tom had refused to use his because he said he’d be the only suspect).  Our neighbor is younger and a hunter so I was sure he would have one and not be afraid to use it for a good cause.  I suggested he might shoot out the neighbor’s light for me which to me seemed like a perfect solution.  He declined as he pointed out he’s on our HOA Board and it might not look good if he were caught.  That’s when Tom said the light was inside the house not outside.  And believe it or not, it is inside, this incredibly bright light. Which took the BB gun option right off the table.

Then it took one night of him sleeping on my side of the bed with the prospect of facing at least two more nights, guess what happened.  In less than three minutes in the garage he came back with the piece of wood you see in the picture.  Yup, problem solved.  You might wonder why I hadn’t come up with a solution to my own problem.

BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT MEN ARE FOR!

And now you finally know.

You’ve Been Pickled

The ball came flying over the net but I was ready.  This was it, the final point.  No way were we going to lose 11-0.  How humiliating.  The ball bounced, I swung and missed.  It was right to me but when it bounced it went in a crazy direction and I missed it.  “We’ve been pickled” said Jerry. He must have seen the blank look on my face as he then said “We lost 11-0, that means we got pickled.”  Welcome to the sport that’s sweeping the Nation, played by thousands, mostly old farts, lots of whom used to play tennis.

Pickleball.  A game played on a court smaller than tennis but with a lot of the same ideas.    The paddle looks like a giant ping pong paddle and it’s played with a wiffel ball but you’d be surprised at how far that wiffel ball can go and how crazily it can land when someone who knows what they’re doing spins the ball.

It started innocently when I noticed the clinic for pickleball wanna-be’s at the gym I belong to.  I decided I needed to know what the big deal was so Tom and I went to one.  Then we went again.  The cute guy in charge of the program said he needed substitutes for the league as some people were on vacation.  We jumped right in and volunteered.  My first day I went at the 10am start time and found out it was not one hour, but two hours of play.  I have to admit, I was a little nervous.

 

Meet my team of Larry, Jerry, and Carrie, so of course I told them my name was Mary. Right away Jerry and I lost to Larry and Carrie 11-0.     Now I know what pickled means.  Losing.  “But I just started” I wailed, “I’m a beginner.”  BIG MISTAKE.  Immediately Larry and Carrie smelled blood and slammed spinners across the court to me.  Then when we switched partners, Jerry slammed spinners at me even though we’d just been partners, which I called him on and he pretended he didn’t even know me.  Or they’d hit a soft spinner.  When a soft spinner bounces, it spins off to the left or right depending on how they hit it.  You think you have a shot and find yourself swinging at air. “Don’t worry Mary,” Larry said, “eventually you’ll get the spin.”

If you want to feel body parts that you’ve never felt before and who doesn’t, this sport is for you. So what if I’m writing this with a swollen knee which I can barely walk on, I’m just praying the swelling goes down by the time Wednesday comes so I can get back out there and play again.  No more getting pickled for me!

How about you out there?  How many of you play this fun game?  Any good or bad experiences to share?

 

The Prize Patrol

It started innocently enough.  I got a fat envelope in the mail sometime in November from Publishers Clearing House so I opened it.  What the heck I thought, I’ll just fill out the entry form and forget it.  Once I waded through all the promotions and found the correct stamps to put on the form which wasn’t easy, I entered.  I stuck it in the mail the next day and that was that.  Or so I thought.  This is not your Publishers Clearing House of old.  A few days later it started.

It started with one email:  Stephanie!  Just One More Step To Complete!   Really?  I thought my entry was complete. So I opened the email and looked at the four pages of promotions. You don’t get to submit your entry until you’ve gone through all four pages. In tiny print it says a purchase does not enhance your chances of winning.  That’s good I thought.  I’m done.  All I have to do is wait until February 23 to see if I win anything.  I did not know how PCH in today’s world works.  I was about to find out.

That one email turned into two a day, then three and then four.  They are marketing geniuses at PHC.  The more I opened them and went through their promotions and their searches, the more tokens I accumulated and the more chances I had to win.  Then I got in deeper and deeper, once you’ve gotten all these tokens, you can’t quit now!  I know they have a tiny room at PHC where they’ve locked in psychologists and sprinkled in a few con men or women to figure out how to prey on the vulnerable shlubs who actually open their emails.

I complained to my husband about how every single day I had just One More Step to Complete! or I was in danger of losing it all.  I dreaded going to my email, I was depressed.  Why wouldn’t they leave me alone?  Tom said I was an idiot and how could I have fallen for this in the first place?  “Just stop” he said.  He added “I have as much chance of winning as you do and I haven’t entered.”  Did he realize what he was saying?  I had hundreds of thousands of tokens, how could I just stop?!  What if I won?  My brother-in-law told me to just unsubscribe.

“You didn’t actually buy anything did you?” he asked?  “Of course not!” I replied indiginantly.  “I’m not a complete moron.” But PCH has that covered too.  If you reach the end of their offers without buying anything they start feeding on your guilt. It’s like the homeless guy with the on the street corner with the sign  “Homeless vet desperate to feed his family, will do anything.  God Bless.”  I think they hired a few of them to lock in the room with the psychologists and con artists.

“Stephanie, your cart is empty.  Won’t you please reconsider.  Just one purchase could get you to super VIP status.”  Really?  Super VIP status?  That’s got to be good, right?   I couldn’t wait until February 23.  I wanted the emails to stop!

Here I am in my car cleaning the dashboard with the very clever dust block I bought.  I even got another one thrown in for free so we have one for each car.  Then I got a magazine subscription to a magazine I was thinking about subscribing to anyway.  The last thing I bought and I can hardly wait until it gets here is a mesh laundry bag to put your dirty tennis shoes in.  Now here’s the genius part.  It has straps on the back to hang on your dryer door so you don’t have to send the shoes through the dryer.  Really clever!

The big day came.  The PCH email said the truck was on it’s way, you could follow it like you can follow when a package will arrive.  Would it stop in Portland?  the email said.  Geez, you just never know.  I stayed home.  A friend called and I told her if I hung up on her it was because The Prize Patrol was at my front door.  “What?” she laughed.

No one knocked at my door that day.  Deep down I knew that and was relieved that I wouldn’t be thrown into a higher tax bracket and that now those emails would finally stop.

Several days later the emails have not stopped.  Now they are awarding prizes through March 3.  Don’t Lose Out!  You are now a VIP as you’ve been so loyal.

Huge Prize Guaranteed For Award!
Trouble viewing this email? | Please add us to your Contacts
PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE -- PCHSearch&Win PCHSearch .com
Info You Need — Prizes You Want
Act Now, Stephanie!
We’re Guaranteed To Deliver The
$4,978,632.OO SuperPrize
To A March 3rd Winner!
Take The Final Step!
Stephanie, take the final step for TWO Entries to win from this notice, ACT NOW!
This Itinerary can be used if you are selected as the March 3rd Winner
Coordinate with Katu-tv to provide coverage for winning moment
Stop at Chevron to fill up the Prize Patrol van in preparation for prize delivery
Pick up flowers from Happy Baskets in Portland
Drive to Serleth residence  to deliver the “Big Check” should you win!
Stephanie Serleth, take the FINAL STEP! Enter promptly, and a $4,978,632.OO SuperPrize could be in your hands before you know it!

Now that you can see we’d know where to go if you’re selected as the winner this March 3rd from PCH Gwy. No. 76OO & PCH Gwy. No. 7667, nothing should be stopping you from acting now to secure TWO Entries to win.

Take The Final Step!
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Tell me that you too fell for PCH.  Lesson learned.

One More For the Dingy Dock

 

“Swing like you’re out of control.”  Those words came from my golf instructor. Not the words I was expecting to hear and who hears those words anyway from a golf instructor?  He said I had a good swing it just needed to be faster.  We were invited to Palm Desert for a few days and I couldn’t wait to try that out. Let me just say I need to practice that some more as most of my shots went out of control along with the swing.

From Palm Desert it wasn’t a very long drive to Balboa Island to see a very good friend. Ann Marie and I had driven from Minnesota to California in my blue 1967 Mustang when we graduated from college.  We both had teaching jobs in Anaheim, CA in the same school.  We discovered Balboa Island and rented a house there, which wasn’t a bad commute to Anaheim.

There were some cute guys living in a house right down the street from us, one of whom Ann Marie was very interested in. Suddenly I didn’t see much of her. But what about Dick, her college boyfriend,  still in Minnesota? Everyone knew Ann Marie and Dick were going to get married and everyone loved Dick, especially mom and dad.  Ann Marie’s sister Sheila came out to visit and on meeting John, the new guy, she became very alarmed.  This would just not do!  She rushed back to Minnesota and told Dick he’d better get out to CA ASAP as Ann Marie seemed to be quite enamored with the intruder down the street from her.

Then came that fateful day. I was doing dishes or something and looking out of our window.  Ann Marie was down the block at John’s.  Who do I think I see walking down the street with a suitcase in his hand?  It couldn’t be could it?  But it was!  I called her in a panic and said “Ann Marie, get home now, Dick is walking toward our house with a suitcase in his hand!”    She ran out of John’s house and caught Dick before he got to our house.  Later we heard that John and his roommates had pulled all the shades and locked all the doors.  Dick was a big guy.

Ann Marie broke up with Dick and after she and John had been dating awhile she was expecting

Where are the fish

an engagement ring for Christmas.  She dragged John back to Minnesota for Christmas so her parents could share the joy of her engagement.  John was a California guy and the prospect of a cold Christmas in Minnesota didn’t thrill him.  Ann Marie’s parents had still not gotten over her breakup with Dick but they were trying.  Under the tree on Christmas day there was a large box from John for Ann Marie.  “Surely,” Ann Marie thought, “it’s one of those boxes that has smaller boxes inside.  How romantic!”  What was inside of this box?  No small boxes, no ring.  It was a wetsuit.  She wanted to burst into tears but couldn’t in front of her parents.  She had to act happy and doing that when she just wanted to kill him was really hard.  John was so proud of himself for picking out the perfect gift.  He was a sailor, a boater, a deep sea fisherman after all and had just given his girlfriend the perfect gift.  Shortly after that John was given an ultimatium. ” We get married or I’m out of here.”

John and Ann Marie were married for 48 years and John just passed away.  He had an incredibly

“Always room for one more Dingy at the Dingy Dock”

dry sense of humor, he was a great  story teller, loved an argument and also to manage his kid’s careers much to their dismay.  We all loved his sayings.  He had a lot but my favorite and everyone’s favorite was:  “There’s always room for one more at the dingy dock.”  You could take that several ways but we’re sure John is now parked at the dingy dock in the sky and we will all miss him and his witticisms very much.

 

Their daughter and our daughter are the same age and happen to live in the same county in the Bay Area.  They have become friends.  I call that a happy ending.

 

 

 

A Used Pair of Shoes

They were actually nice shoes.  I don’t know what he’s complaining about.  Our son gave me a very nice Nespresso machine which froths my milk for coffee beautifully for Christmas. I love frothed milk in my coffee and I had an old, very loud froth machine which took forever and sometimes didn’t even froth the milk at all.  But because he spent so much money on that Nespresso, Max decided his dad could use a pair of his old shoes which he explained he only wore once so they were just like brand new.  I thought that was a great solution.  Probably not Tom’s style but his style could use a change.  This could be a whole new Tom.

Tell me what you think of the shoes and if you received something used for Christmas!

 

Victoria

All was quiet for two weeks after the disastrous dinner party and then…

It may have been the top hat and tails or maybe the car full of new shoes purchased with their first month’s rent plus security deposit or the idea that Joan wasn’t moving to Japan after all and was planning to live in the basement that stopped the couple from moving in.  So Joan stayed in her flat and rented out her extra bedroom.

Tom is my guest editor for this story as I was not present for it.

I first realized that’s what she was doing when a guy came to our door introducing himself as Joan’s tenant and asking if he could hang out at our house because Joan was on a rampage. He didn’t rent for much longer.  The next renter was a young woman named Victoria who was attending College of Marin.  She was also pregnant.

 

Victoria’s room is where the small windows on top are.

Not long after Victoria moved in, Stevie was flying and I had the kids, so I invited a friend, Uncle Smoky, and his two dogs to dinner. Uncle Smoky richly deserved that moniker as he loved smoky links and it was a name he was proud to have.  I took the kids to the grocery store with me.  Returning home we passed a paramedic truck coming out of our street.  I didn’t think anything of it until we pulled into our driveway and there was a police car in Joan’s driveway.  She was handcuffed and the officer was talking to her.  Joan was in another world doing her ballet stretches using the police car as a barre.  The kids watched in awe as the officer pushed Joan’s head down as she climbed into the back seat.

Uncle Smoky arrived, we played with the dogs and had dinner. As we were cleaning up, the phone rang.  It was Victoria.  She was calling from Marin General Hospital and needed a ride home.  She explained that Joan had pushed her down, she had called 911 and the paramedics and police had shown up.  She was in the paramedic van we had seen on our return from the grocery store.  The kids were worried about Victoria and the baby so went with me to pick her up.  On the way I asked them not to mention the baby suggesting they let Victoria tell us what happened.

Naturally, as soon as Victoria got in the car Max asked “Is the baby ok?”

That got Victoria started with the story.  She said that Joan was in a manic phase and Victoria called Joan’s doctor.  That infuriated Joan who yelled at Victoria and pushed her causing her to fall down.  Worried about the baby and concerned that Joan wouldn’t stop, she called 911.  The paramedics took her to the hospital to be checked out.  The baby was unharmed.

When we pulled into the driveway and Victoria got out of the car, she looked up and saw Joan outside the house hosing the walkway.    I took Victoria into our house where she was greeted by Uncle Smoky’s dogs jumping around her.  I left her with Smoky and went up to “talk” with Joan.

“She’s not welcome in my house!” Joan yelled

“You have no right to go into her room, much less shove her!” I yelled.  “She’s staying at our house tonight but she has every right to the room she rented and you need to stay out of it!”

As I left, I turned and there was Joan hosing down a telephone book.  I assumed it was open to the page with the doctor’s number.  I turned away to go back to my house.

“Tell her I fed her cat!” Joan yelled

As I walked down the walkway the door to the lower flat opened and a man whispered to me

“Can I ask you a question?”

“Of course.  What do you want to know?”  I asked as I walked to meet him at his partially open front door.  His girlfriend was standing in the room behind him amongst the boxes from their move-in that afternoon.

“Does this happen often?”  he asked.

“All the time.  Every tenant has been driven out by her craziness.  If I were you, I’d stop payment on the checks you’ve written to her and move out immediately.”

“Should be easy”  he said as he turned and waved to the still fully packed boxes filling the apartment.

When I got back to my house Victoria was gone.  Smoky said she went out the back door.  Then we heard a siren.  It was the police.  Victoria had gone to her room while Joan and I were yelling and found that Joan had thrown her things out onto the deck so she called 911 again.  The police hauled Joan off to jail where she was held for 72 hours before being released.

By the time Joan was released three days later both Victoria and the tenants in the lower flat were gone leaving Joan free to rent to new tenants.  Shortly thereafter three young women moved into the lower unit.  All seemed well for a week or so until I came home from work one afternoon, pulled into the driveway that faced Joan’s house and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  There was Joan, crawling along the ledge that surrounded the now enclosed corner room of the lower apartment.

“What are you doing?” I yelled

“I got locked out.” She replied

“Locked out of what?! Their apartment?  You have no right to go into their apartment! “ She ignored me, climbed down from the ledge and stalked away.

That night I heard noises from next door and went outside a couple of times to see what was going on but there was nothing unusual to see.  Then I heard the distinctive sound of a police car rumbling up the street (we lived at the end of a one lane street that was very quiet except when garbage trucks or police cars made their way up to our driveway.)

I ran outside to see what was happening and saw the policemen inspecting the house with flashlights as the house was completely dark.

“What’s going on?”  I asked one of the policemen.

“We’ve had a complaint from the tenants about the landlady” he replied.

Joan was hiding in the basement where she had shut off the main power switch.

The police eventually found her and hauled her off for another 72 hour hold.

This time I wrote a letter to the courts requesting that she be held and treated as we were sure she was bipolar.  Naturally, she was released after the 72 hours were up and the tenants and my pleas for treatment ignored.

Shortly thereafter as we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to live next door to Joan, a miracle occurred.  Joan’s house went up for sale.  She couldn’t keep up her house payments and had to sell the house.  It may be cruel to be happy about someone else’s misfortune, but we were ecstatic!

After her house sold, that wasn’t the last of Joan.  She came back a few months later for the large iron gates she claimed were hers.  As she wrestled with one of the gates, it came undone and fell on top of her.  I ran outside when I heard all the commotion.  The gate was too heavy to lift off of Joan, so I called 911.  As the fire department arrived, one of the men looked down and said:

“Oh, it’s you Joan.”