Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Remnants of the Smoking Age

Oh those were the days when every room had a built in ashtray, at restaurants, hotels, hospitals, the office….

I was in an older hotel a little while ago and I came across this in the bathrooms by the conference rooms – I had to snap a picture.   

Now taking photographs in a john is usually frowned upon and I was quick to snap the pic before anyone walked in, lest I would Iook like some kind of weirdo, which would have been a perfectly acceptable look if one were to hear a camera click and a flash go off in a public restroom.  Anyway -I was safe, no one saw or heard me take a picture in a bathroom.  Of course, until now…

This just brought back memories, as a kid I always disliked it when people smoked in family restaurants, not the kind that had bars and served drinks – but the Big Boy kind of restaurants, without smoke eaters zapping in the ceilings.  I never understood why – weren’t you there to eat with your kids and get out?

But everywhere else, I suppose you had leisure time to relax with a cigarette…

Like say while on the toilet – really, what else were you doing, there weren’t cell phones to play games or text on back in the day and there aren’t any magazines in a public john, so yeah – go ahead, light up – get a couple things done at once….

I remember when I moved to Detroit, my first job was downtown – not quite in the city center, but close and there were ashtrays built into the walls of the building - every five feet or so – all around the perimeter.   You know, so you didn’t have to go too far from your desk to flick that ash, let alone go outside.  Outside would have been a ridiculous suggestion….

I also should say this place was a brokerage, lots of stress, lot and lots of smoking…

They also had lounge chairs in the women’s bathroom in a separate room as you walked in, you know, in case us ladies ever felt faint and needed a little rest.   

It was an interesting place, where you parked inside a barbed wire parking lot, with full security and the bums rolled down the block with fires built inside shopping carts – portable heaters per-se.  

Oh and the parking lot sometimes became a giant sink hole, there are old salt mines under Detroit, twice I came outside to see two or three cars swallowed up in a giant hole from the parking lot collapsing into the abyss.  A vision you never forget…big Lincoln Town cars, tilted and sunken into the earth.

Ooooh and we used to get hams or turkeys for Christmas, remember those days?  Wow – now that really was a long time ago!  The brokerage doesn't exist anymore, Manufactures Bank – who also doesn’t exist anymore, bought them out and did them in, as they did themselves in….

Ah, those were the days, just think, if you were a smoker, you could have smoked the ham right at your desk getting it ready for the holiday – yet again, accomplishing more than one unrelated thing at a time….Bleh

Monday, November 26, 2012

Peripheral Vision

It’s very exciting, after ten years in this house, we finally got a new microwave!  

Due to the stupid high cost of an over the oven microwave (why are they $250 and up, when the ones that sit on the counter are $35??) and the fact that the old cream colored one still worked, we waited it out for its passing – and it’s funny, it’s the first thing I wanted to change out in the kitchen and the last appliance that went.  It’s like it knew I hated the cream color of it and the fact that it did not match any of the other appliances, even before we changed all the others out (one – at - a-  time) so it just hung on and on.

Then it slowly started to pass, it would turn on for no reason, just put ten minutes on the timer and go, bzzzzzzzzzzzzz – running all on its own.  Or it would scream, that wretched microwave beep in one long signal EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, again, for no reason.  Or my favorite, you would go to use it and hit the minute button and suddenly it would show F-2 on the clock screen and then do nothing.  Actually, my favorite (and the hubby’s) was waking up at 4:00 to a screaming microwave, and then having to crawl up on the stove to reach the plug in a high cabinet and yank it out, half asleep, cold and cussing ….

So here’s the thing, soooo excited to have a new pretty microwave, and suddenly it’s like the beige one got its final revenge.  

I stand in this view/angle of the picture above when I am cooking, cleaning, making coffee, getting dishes out of the cupboard,  silverware out of the drawer, washing dishes, etc – and from this view – out of the corner of my eye, it looks like the damn thing is open.  The cream colored microwave was well, bright and light, this one has a big black square in the middle and it looks open – all the time. 

Cutting vegetables – oh the microwave is open, turn – oh, no it’s not.  Making coffee, oh the microwave is open, turn – oh, no it’s not.  Getting silverware - oh the microwave is open, turn – oh, no it’s not.   Grabbing spices - oh the microwave is open, turn – oh, no it’s not.  You get the picture.  Driving me nuts!      

Here’s the other thing, personally I like white appliances, not cream, but white.  And they are so much cheaper.  I know the big thing is stainless and we were very, very slow to get on board, but stainless is hard to keep clean and well, it’s dark.  White is all bright and happy and easy to clean, a nice porcelain coated appliance cleans up fabulously.  Anyway, I know others feel the same way; they just aren’t letting on… 

So I vote we argue to bring back the designer status of a nice bright white appliance, now mind you – we have at least ten years to get this movement rolling, everything in our kitchen is now stainless (or brushed steel – if a magnet sticks – it not stainless, you’ve been lied too and overcharged..) and I’d like them to hold their value for a few years now that we have joined the lemmings.

But in ten years – let’s make classic white classy again!  Or for those of you that have white appliances now – yeah – I applaud your stand against being trendy!  Woohoo to your bright and sunny kitchen!   And I bet your microwave only looks open – when it actually is…..

Friday, November 23, 2012

Taxi, Oh Taxi!

Hmmm, not sure if you can read the above, but it goes something like this:

There was a robbery, the cops showed up, gave chase, the suspects fled, two were caught the other two ESCAPED IN A TAXI……

That’s right girls and boys - a Taxi.

This little snippet is from my town’s monthly paper, these are my crack police officers our hefty property tax dollars are paying for.  Now granted, they have had a lot of cuts to the force in recent years, but how exactly does one escape a robbery – in a taxi???

This is Michigan - we don’t have Taxi’s unless you call one up and order it for a specific time for a specific place.   Even in Detroit city proper, you can’t just randomly catch one there either.  They don’t roam the streets looking for fares like they do in other large cities of the world.  On occasion, if there is a big to-do going on in the D, there could be a line of Taxi’s at the Ren-Cen, but that’s about it.

Plus this is the suburbs, not too many Taxi’s just tooling around the neighborhood streets looking for a fare.  Ok, not ANY.

Can you imagine, your running from the cops, you whip out your cell phone, find the number for a taxi service, anticipate your whereabouts in 20 minutes, show up, flag the taxi and get in?

Or – you’re committing the robbery, you realize that all the loot you just grabbed won’t fit in the car with all four of you, you call a taxi to take some of the guys away after you get your getaway vehicle all loaded up.  The cops show up, you start to run down the street, here comes the taxi – so you act like your late for the airport with your big black trash bag full of loot and say – get us to the airport – pronto!  Taxi guy thinks nothing of it – takes you 35 miles away to the airport, you walk around the terminal for a half hour, walk back outside and take another taxi home – free and clear – with you garbage bag full o’loot!

I’m not exactly sure why they printed this article, wouldn’t it also have been true to just say the other two burglars escaped in a different vehicle?  You really didn’t have to say it was a Taxi?  Do the officers even feel foolish?  Or did they get a big pat on the back for catching two? 

Moral of the story, and you don't need Sherlock for this one, if your house ever gets robbed, remember that taxi you just passed heading away from your home– then check at the airport for anyone wandering around with big black trash bags, full of your stuff.

Ah yes, I feel safe – how about you?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Waiting for Black Friday -

On a Tuesday……

My sister and I were out and about and we passed these fellows, camping on the Best Buy sidewalk, on Tuesday, for a sale that starts on Friday.

For those of you who don’t know, in the states we have this thing called Black Friday – it’s a big sale day after our Thursday Thanksgiving holiday.  This “big” after Thanksgiving sale has been getting bigger and bigger over the years and people have started to camp out for the bargains, but usually they don’t start camping four days early…

Four days - sleeping on the Best Buy sidewalk….. For something you may not even get, the quantities are always “limited” as in three to six total - per store….

At least they don’t have to worry about wildlife, there won’t be any bears  – and the Best Buy has a bathroom, plus they are in a plaza, the grocery store is next door and Starbucks and Taco Bell are in the same center.  It’s not like they are roughing it – completely.  

On our way in my sister asked one of the three guys what they were camping out for – the answer, a video game.  Yes, a video game…. Am I worried about the youth of America – damn straight I am!  Here we have it – our future leaders, obviously smart guys, brought a big tent, chairs, music, a football, hopefully warm sleeping bags (and I’m guessing some video games) – and their life is on hold for four days to get a video game deal.  Or should I say three games – one for each of them. 

When I was in my 20’s (and especially if I were a guy) I would have had no idea what the Black Friday deals were.  They always seem to be tailor made for moms who want to get their kids the latest and greatest thing for Christmas, or some appliance. 

I don’t know, now some stores have decided to start the sales early this year, on the eve of the holiday itself.  Here’s the thing, some working people (i.e. retail employees) only get three holidays a year, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas day.  Three guaranteed days off a year. 
And now, well now some retailers, like the Wal-Mart’s of the world, have decided to take that away from them and to open up on the holiday itself, getting that all important “sale” started early.

It’s not a holiday we don’t celebrate – everyone celebrates Thanksgiving – seems ludicrous to commercialize the only holiday we had left that wasn’t.

Come-on greedy commerce, the people will still be buying on Friday, I can’t see how Thursday can make it better?  You’ve been starting the sales at Midnight for years, wasn’t that enough to ask of your minimum wage employees?  

Then again, I’m not your target market – I don’t care if they are giving away my dream convection oven – you will never catch me sleeping out on a sidewalk, for a sale and I’m quite frugal, master coupon user all the way!

Anyway – good luck to you boys, hope you get your video game and you still have a job on Friday – that is if you haven’t been playing the game non-stop since the time you brought it home and have lost all track of time, thus missing your shift, and well – you see where this circle is going.  Sigh.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, may the wishbone break in your direction!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Riding - On My Mower - Through Town

On first glance this may look like a guy cutting his lawn – but it’s not… It’s a guy - riding down the sidewalk - on his mower.  

It’s November 19th in Michigan, our lawn mowing days have been over- for many, many weeks….

I was out for a walk and spotted this guy coming at me.  I thought – is he riding down the sidewalk?  

Three blocks later as I stepped out of his way, it was clear, he was riding - on his mower - down Beaconsfield.  Not the street I would pick if I was using my lawn mower for transportation since it seems to be the ONLY road our Police Department ever monitors.   But, there he is – just driving along….

I get past him and clumsily “whip” out my cell phone and zoom in.  I was waiting for him to cross the street.  I bet if I had turned around and stealthily followed behind him another block I could have caught him in the road.  Why you ask?

Because the only valid reason I can think of for hauling your Lawn Boy out in late November and driving it down the sidewalk would to be to take it to the gas station or to Lowes.  Both of which would have required him to cross the road to get there.  The Lowes option being a much safer one, as it is literally located in our neighborhood.  The gas station, on the other hand, would require he cross six lanes of traffic, on Eight Mile, for a fill up.
I was thinking he may have needed a part and was just taking the thing to the source, instead of taking the part out and carrying it into the Lowes, like everyone else does.  Then again, the mower seemed to be running just fine, so what part could he have needed??
I simply don’t know - maybe he was jonesing for a coffee and was on his way to the Tim Hortons?  They say “You always have time for Tim Horton’s” – but maybe he didn’t and when walking wouldn’t get him there fast enough – he resorted to his trusty mower….

I’m gonna zoom, zoom, zooma, zoom, I’m gonna zooma, zooma, zooma, zoom!!