Archive for June, 2009

Can you Cheat the ‘Cheat Death’ Scale?

June 30, 2009

On the last page of the June 22 issue of Newsweek Magazine under ‘Back Story’ there is an interesting collection of statistics presented under the title, “Can You Cheat Death?” It rates life style choices and other factors’ influence on your ‘life expectancy’ on a scale of +10 to -15 years. For example, the very first entry states that if “You have a blood relative who has lived to be 95 or older” – well – Good Job! – because that’s worth an automatic ‘+10′ – ten years added to your probable life expectancy. My husband achieves that one. His mother is 96 and still kills at Scrabble, which, by the way, makes her a living testament to the second entry: “You regularly play puzzles like Scrabble or Sudoku.”: +5 years. Does that mean she’s going to live to 101?

Continuing with this “Cheat Death’ scale, here’s the third entry: “You’re a married man”: +5 years. Wow! Hey guys, marriage adds five years to your life expectancy! – a fine, deserving testament to all the good, hard-working women of this world! I mentioned this encouraging note to my husband, lauding the praises of my presence in his life. His reply: “Yeah, well, life just seems longer when you’re married. It really isn’t.” What a killjoy he is.

Well anyway, here we go, further down the scale: “You’re a married woman.”: +0 years. What? A big ‘Zero!’ – ‘Nada!’ – ‘Zilcho!’ increase in life expectancy if you’re a married woman? I’m assuming they mean heterosexual marriage here. That statistic is surprising, given, by itself, the increased amount of exercise a married woman can get just cleaning up after the average man. There actually is nothing on this chart about exercise. Probably because too much exercise can kill you, or drive you to an early death, or even make you want to die just to get out of exercising. But in any case, ‘marriage’ wasn’t defined in this chart, either. What if you are a woman, say, living in Massachusetts or somewhere, married to another woman – what with women being so good and so pro-life-extending, your union could likely increase your life expectancy by ten years. Two grown, good, hard-working women united in marriage, managing the household … Yeah!

One explanation as to why a woman married to a man gains ZERO extra time in regards to life expectancy might be because the average man is completely untrainable when it comes to doing laundry. Even if he does mean well. Take my husband, for instance. He knows full well how I want the laundry done since I have spared no opportunities to instruct him – like every time a dark purple stain ends up plastered to the front of my white t-shirt or white lint gets plastered all over my favorite black cotton-ribbed sweater. “SORT THE LAUNDRY! – Darks with darks, mediums with mediums, whites with lights, leave the DELICATES! and WASH TOWELS SEPARATELY!” I tell him all this in the nicest tone I can muster (deep breathing helps) ABOUT 300 TIMES, I bet, in our 28 years of marriage.

Left alone in the laundry room without supervision, however, and my husband’s infinite wisdom trumps my instructions. His mission: “Make the dirty clothes disappear.” You see, he doesn’t like ‘clutter’ and by scooping the whole pile up and tossing it into the washer he does make the clutter in the laundry basket disappear. What’s the point of loading up the washer with ‘whites,’ leaving five dark, smelly, dirty socks (there’s always an odd number) lurking in the laundry basket to assault your senses as you enter the house through the back door? Ugggh! So yeah, the laundry room looks great when I get home. “Thanks honey, now would you please make the clean clothes disappear so I don’t have to see the ruined whites or my black knee socks, now afflicted with a seemingly serious case of impregnated nits or some such foul thing contracted from the WHITE TOWELS!”

Also, our washer and dryer sit in front of double windows overlooking our back deck. My pet peeve is – I don’t like stuff placed on interior window sills – clutter! – on display in full view to the outside world. For example, ME, TRYING to relax in my chair on the deck, while looking through the laundry room window at the box of laundry soap and squirt bottle of ‘Shout,’ sitting there all cockeyed on the interior sill. I don’t like STUFF on window sills, PERIOD. My husband’s pet peeve, HE doesn’t like STUFF sitting on the dryer – like the box of laundry soap and the Shout. HE likes the washer and dryer surfaces clear of everything. So … he props the laundry soap and Shout on the window sill. When I pass through the laundry room and see them there – why of course I snatch them off the window and back onto the dryer – BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE STUFF PROPPED IN THE WINDOW! We have done this at least 500 times since moving into this house 9 years ago. Hey, who’s right here? I think I am!

We should both live five extra years because we regularly play each other at Scrabble. Except, my husband, in his unbridled ruthlessness, kicks my butt nine games out of ten and it makes me sore, losing so much. Stressful! Between that and the laundry debacle I might just lose five years life expectancy – because – to quote the scale: “You frequently feel stressed out”: -5 years.

But then being married to my 98-per-cent-wonderful (except when left unsupervised in the laundry room or playing Scrabble) husband keeps me safe from engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners – which, according to the scale – if I did engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners then it would knock seven years off my life expectancy.

I guess I won’t start using IV drugs at this juncture of my life, either, since I see that would decrease my life expectancy by 15 years. That would maybe mean that if I started tomorrow I could be dead by the next day, given my age now.

… Unless we continue with Scrabble and my hubby ends up, for some unforeseen reason, taking over completely on the laundry. Then I might end up shooting myself up, dealing with the stress. Well, maybe I should opt, instead, for flossing my teeth non-stop. Because I see from the “Cheat Death” scale that daily flossing increases life expectancy: +2 years. I could make a life style change and start flossing, say, 20 times a day, just for good measure and maybe some extra added years. Cheat the ‘Cheat Death’ scale. I’ll be sure to leave the used floss on the dryer. You know, just for fun. Heck, why not try, at least, to have a little fun while I’m still alive? After all, even when you think the laundry is done, there’s always more dirty clothes.

‘Decompression over lawn mower hard work’

June 19, 2009

“How does decompression handle work on lawn mower” – I spotted this today under ‘Top Searches’ in the wordpress site admin section of my blog, exclusively for my viewing, I guess.  Hmmm.  What was I supposed to do with this information? What in the world does this phrase mean and why does it comprise a ‘top search?’  I typed the words in as a search to see if the phrase would bring up my blog. But it only brought up numerous <a href="“>lawn mower sites. When you click on this and scroll to the bottom of the page you will also see a site: “New Tanaka chainsaw features automatic decompression.” Now that could prove handy as a stress-buster!

Getting back to the initial question, I can tell you how my decompression handles work on lawn mowers: badly. It does work better if I decompress both before and after I have to deal with the mower. Pushing it, for one thing. That is backbreaking work, since the self-propulsion on the wheels doesn’t work. That feature went kaput last fall, which is what landed the mower in our basement, where my husband was determined to fix it (it being November by now and way too cold to work on it in the garage). He took the mower all apart, ordered new parts for the wheels, put it all back together and zing!started it up! (Yes, down in the basement). The wheels were propelling themselves so well that they dragged the mower instantly to a 5×7′ rug, where the blade, just freshly sharpened, sliced a big hole in it and then lodged itself in a corner of the rug, stalling the engine. I, in the meantime, flew down the stairs to investigate the engine noise, which I knew had to be related to something much more serious than, say, the water heater going out or something. What the hell was going on in the basement and where is my husband? – were questions I was asking as I jetted to the basement. The mower was quietly at rest when I got there and I proceeded to help my hubby un-impale the mower blade from the rug.

He knew right then and there he had me where he wanted me. Because next, my husband looked at me straight on and inquired as to whether I would be willing to help him get the now perfectly fine mower up the thirteen stairs from the basement to the garage (where it would be ready to go and mow come spring!). Well he obviously couldn’t accomplish this Herculean feat by himself! So of course I agreed to get on the upside ‘handle’ end of the mower and pull on it to help him (who was engine side, pushing) get the mower out of the basement. (I pick up right here on this story in about the seventh paragraph of my ‘Ping Pong vs. the Lawnmower’ Blog posted in March – which was written in connection to the 14 or so sessions of physical therapy I ended up getting to fix my back …)

“How does decompression handle work on lawn mower” Well, luckily I haven’t had much to do with the lawn mower since we got it up out of the basement. My hubby stoicly fired it up for it’s maiden spring mow of 2009 and it worked beautifully. Just that once. The next time he fired it up, he had to push with dynamo strength to keep it moving. The self-propulsion had gone out again. But he had worked so hard – had gotten the mower into the basement and succeeded in fixing it himself! We had dragged it up the thirteen stairs to get it back out of the basement! I subsequently went through 14 physical therapy treatments to fix my back! There was just no way he was not using that mower! So every five days he’s out there mowing our grass with that thing, wedging the handle against his belly, pushing with his body weight to propel the mower, digging in his toes. He doesn’t expect me to do it and I don’t ask. I have suggested we give up on the thing and purchase, say, a riding mower. Then I would mow for sure. And if the thing crapped out we could just roll it down the stairs into the basement for my hubby to fix it and then drive it back up the stairs to get it back out again.

In the meantime I have to decompress over the fretfulness and strain I experience just watching him mow the front and back lawns. But I guess that beats decompressing over me having to do it.

‘Technology – Menoprodigy’

June 15, 2009

It’s pretty funny that I have an i-phone.  I am way over my head with it (surprise! surprise!) – I mostly try to ignore all those colorful icons on the i-phone screen that could be connected to programs, links and  technology – all accessible with a mere touch of a finger!

“What programs, links and technology?” that’s what I say.  Those things only complicate my life.  The only reason I got an i-phone is because my husband got an i-phone.  We were both perfectly happy with our old phones but our cellular company was bought out by AT&T and we were forced (and reaching the deadline) to get new phones. We were at the AT&T store, and my husband started fiddling with an i-phone, and a young, perky female sales associate was on him with her sales pitch like a starving fly to dried jelly.  I saw the writing on the wall, a vision if you will, right there on the spot:  Of me  sitting with him at the hearth at home, craning my neck, watching him play with his i-phone –  checking  on the current weather in London, typing out witty texts to our sons on his i-phone keyboard (with its keyboard sound effects), doing instant  internet fact searches to back up his conversation, listening to his favorite i-tunes …  I … wasn’t having it.  With two i-phones we can have concurrent internet searches and I’ve even beat him to the facts a couple of times.  Well, one time.   I totally text our sons like never before (okay, maybe ten times by now) and I have nearly a hundred photos stored on my phone, compared to his <10.  So there!  He does lots of other stuff quite comfortably with his phone, about which, I am clueless.

We could download God-knows-how-many i-tunes off the, uh, i-tunes website?  I don’t know.  I’m not in a big hurry to know.  I like my CD’s.  I still have two boxes of cassette tapes I cherish by fabulous artists like Supertramp and Carly Simon.  I immediately toss dept. store fliers advertising Wii’s and  i-pods and …  i-pod docking stations (docking stationsShouldn’t those be confined to outer  space?)  I still have much to learn about my i-phone, to ‘simplify’ and enhance my life.  Yeah, right.

Okay so I know I should try to learn, be willing to learn, how to better use more technology. For my sake. For my kids’ sake. For society’s sake.  So I can still function (in my home?) and communicate with the outside world in twenty years (ten years?… five years?).   So I don’t evolve  into a  frightened, disconnected, reclusive, geriatric, anti-techno-frustrate-stage-four crazy person.  (Who, Me?)

Wow! That’s  not a pretty picture!  Well, exploring my i-phone is a start. I’ve succeeded in taking my first picture of myself with my i-phone, and yes, it was a fiasco:

the budding anti-techno frustrate

the budding anti-techno frustrate

I’d better go now and throw out our TV with the bunny ears.

Have Camera, Will (Not?) Shoot Foot.

June 9, 2009

It happened in the back seat of our rental car during our trip to Phoenix in April: I accidentally activated the camera function  on my new i-phone and, poof! – I took a picture!  Then  I took a bunch more.  I can store them on the phone or delete any photo – it gets sucked off the screen and into the trash by simply touching the trashcan icon in the lower right corner. Although once you suck a photo into oblivion, I don’t think you can unsuck it, which, for me, sucks – and which might explain why I now have over 70 photos stored on my phone.  I’m rather attached to them. This also explains the profuse addition of photos to my blog (novel idea- geez, why hasn’t anybody else thought of this?).  And I have to admit, it’s down right painful now to view my  pre-mid-April picture-less blogs, all of them a sea of words, words, words!  Photos are the bomb!  Er, what I mean to say is, some of my photos might classify as bombs.

You figure it out

You figure it out

Take this one for instance.  I was aiming to shoot scenery out my passenger window as it flew by (no, not the window, the scenery).  I had the camera ready to roll and … poof! Well, I missed my foot.  What you see here in focus is the dash of our rental car.  The rest of it is up to artistic interpretation.   This was like, my fifth or sixth photo and I was really flying with this i-phone photography, or so I thought.

Below you will see a more successful attempt at my capturing the sunset, um, over some hills or something, not sure.  I’m very good at math, so I calculated  the upcoming sign rushing toward us at 75 mph vs. its distance away, over time,  so as to push that camera button at precisely the right moment, to capture this photo:

What were the odds?

What were the odds?

I don’t know why I don’t have photos of the magnificent red rock cliffs of Sedona, or of  Indian ruins we visited. These photos  pretty much comprise the scope of my Phoenix shoot.

And I’m thinking it’s time for me to get a photo of myself on my blog.  I would feel real comfortable with the look of my High School senior portrait, but since I graduated from High School  in 1971, guess I should opt for one a tad more recent.  I haven’t tried taking a picture of myself with my phone – admittedly,  that sounds  like a fiasco.  Although I feel confident that I could take a pretty decent photo of my foot.