Uh Oh, Now I’ve done it

The Holiday Season is such a fun heartwarming time of year.  A time of good cheer, not a time of danger to your marriage.  Picking out gifts for family members and friends is creative and fun.  It’s a challenge to find just the right thing and then all of a sudden you have a whole pile of “just the right thing.”  And that pile just gets bigger, but how did that happen?  May the following story be a warning to those of you who are happily married.

Last year we were spending Christmas in California.   First we’d spend Christmas Eve and part of Christmas Day with our daughter and the twins.  Then after gifts were opened, we’d head to our son’s house, four hours away and spend it with our two grandsons.  We were going to drive as I had all the gifts for everyone gathered in the guest room.  I’d had a good time shopping and found all sorts of just perfect gifts which soon became a big pile taking up more space than they should have in the guest room. The night before we left, Tom wanted to pack the car so we could get an early start in the morning.

 

“What is all of this!” he shouted in dismay,           “All of these wouldn’t even fit into Santa’s sleigh!”

Those dreamy blue eyes were full of fury,                I left that room in a great big hurry.

Yes I went overboard a wee tiny bit                             But he didn’t need to throw such a big hissy fit

“We’ll need two cars!” he sputtered and fumed.    But he started carrying gifts from the room.

He got it packed, everything fit,                                    Although we barely had room to sit.

Next year he said, each kid gets just two,                 I’m making a spreadsheet to send to you.

So I said those words he was desperate to hear,   Those two little words, “Yes dear.”

Oh the stress!  Does any of this sound familiar?  It’s really hard to buy just two gifts each for our adorable, deserving grandchildren,  You find the perfect two gifts and buy them and then something even more perfect comes along. Then what do you do? Take a chance on the fury again or just stop.  I stopped at three, which I thought was a perfect compromise.

Has this ever happened to you or am I the only one to bust budgets?  By the way, what budget?  Do you actually have one?  How does that work!

 

 

 

 

 

I Should Have Said No

 

I had the amazing idea of creating a summer bucket list.  At the top of the list was lowering my golf handicap.  Also on that list was going to Mt. St. Helens.  We accomplished Mt. St. Helens, but the golf handicap isn’t going as smoothly.

Blowup holes and aim.  My noble goal of lowering my golf handicap this summer didn’t actually happen.  In fact, it went up which I didn’t think was possible.  Tom and I played Twilight golf on Tuesdays, which was a regular event at the course we played on.

Paired with a couple we didn’t know, we approached hole #1.  I was in front of the green in 2 and preparing to pitch onto the green for maybe a par and at worst a 5.  Feeling cocky, I swung and hit my pitch shot straight left into the green side bunker.  Our playing partners shifted uncomfortably and looked down at their feet.

Most husbands in this situation would be supportive. Tom looked at me in disbelief.  “That was a pathetic shot” he said.  “How did you even hit that?”  “Do you think I TRIED to hit that shot?” I said.

Two shots out of the bunker and two putts later, I had my first blowup hole.  My humiliation wasn’t complete as the second hole only got worse. So two holes played and I already had my blowup holes. After nine holes I had 3 blowup holes under my belt and a pretty high score.  How does this happen?  I should be good at golf. (By now, all you non-golfers out there are bored to tears and I get it).  But at dinner they announced the results and I came in second on the back nine winning $7.  The couple we played with started laughing and Tom rolled his eyes.  Yes, that is the result of a very high handicap.  So hey, it turns out a high handicap isn’t all bad!

Which brings me to Chet and his used golf clubs.  It’s tournament time in the Senior Men’s Group at the par 3 Sah-Hah-Lee Golf Club.  I joined the men’s group last year as they didn’t care and now we’re up to 6 women and about 50 men.  Usually about 4 of us women show up and they pair us together every week which is a lot of fun.  We only play 9 holes but the tournament is two days and it’s 18 holes each day.  I signed right up for the tournament but it turns out none of the other women did so it was me and all the men.

Day one and I was on the tee playing with Chet, Fred and Jim.  Jim had the whitest legs I’ve ever seen and white socks to match.  Chet could barely move (Tom yells at him as he walks the course “Don’t stop Chet.  The vultures are circling”).  Chet has bad knees but is really friendly, as guess why, he sells used golf clubs and had honed in on me as a hot prospect.  Chet with his used clubs in the picture.  It was 97 degrees the day we played.

I played really well on the front nine, better than I’ve ever played before.  When we hit the back nine Chet moved in.  On the back nine there are some holes I need to hit a driver.  Chet just happened to have a ladies driver in his bag and guess what?  It was for sale.  I had my own driver but I got talked into trying this fantastic driver which was priced at only $39.  I might not have even tried this if I hadn’t been told by someone who fits golf clubs that the club I need to upgrade is my driver.  New drivers are $400+, so $39 sounded really good.

I hit Chet’s driver really well, straight left into and under a bush.  Chet smiled and said “I have that same trouble with that driver.  The face is closed and you need to open it to hit it straight. And who really cares about the golf score anyway.”   I do, I’m in a tournament!  The next driving hole Chet pointed out has a wide open fairway and I really should try that driver again.  Same result.  Straight left into a big bush. It happened that the big bush was in a completely different fairway from the one we were playing on.  Chet is unfazed.

“Hey, I have a couple of other brands of ladies drivers in my garage which will be much better for you and I’ll bring them on Thursday.”  Thursday was the second day of the tournament, a day that did not go well for me even though I didn’t use the two old ladies drivers Chet brought for me to try.  I felt like Thursday was an 18 blowup hole day.  I’m sure I need a whole new set of golf clubs to solve my problem.

Any secrets out there to prevent blowup holes?

 

 

 

 

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.

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!